Known as “Mr. Soccer” in the Lake Wales community, Robbie Shields was named 2014 Citizen of the Year by the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce announced on Friday night at a reception and dinner at the Lake Wales Country Club.
Shields, manager of cost accounting at Florida’s Natural Growers, is known locally as a sports enthusiast extraordinaire helping raise funds for anything children-oriented.
Howard Kay, 2013 Citizen of the Year, presented the award to Shields.
“When he (Shields) saw a need for a soccer complex he made it happen by raising more than $1 million,” Kay said. “He keeps getting money grants each year so the kids can play soccer. He is a Rotarian past president and a tenacious fundraiser.”
Shields has helped raise funds for the Lake Wales Breakfast Rotary Boys Camp, a program that sends fourth and fifth grade children to summer camp at Circle F Dude ranch for a weekend for children whose parents can’t afford the expense.
“He is the most competitive person I have ever known and is a sports enthusiast and athlete in golf, basketball, soccer, hiking and more,” Kay said.
“God is so humbling,” said Shields upon accepting his award. “I am humbled. We all can make a big difference to all kids. But whatever you think is that is your passion and give it the best you’ve got.”
Jim Bell, former Lake Wales Chamber and Economic Development Council president, was recognized with a special presentation at the event for establishing the EDC.
Florida’s Natural was presented the Spirit of Lake Wales Award for its generosity of grants presented to numerous Lake Wales and surrounding communities for benefit of area citizens.
Florida’s Natural believes in the commitment to help others and that speaks well of their commitment to Lake Wales. Through its annual Florida’s Natural Charity Classic Golf Tournament that is its largest fundraiser with teams of volunteers, the event has raised “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Larry Bossarte, Coldwell Banker commercial realtor with Saunders, Ralston, Dantzler Realty, was presented the Community Leadership Award by Robert Brown of TD Bank.
“Worthy of community involvement, it was an easy decision to select Larry for this award,” Brown said.
Bossarte is the current president of the Breakfast Rotary Club, and is a district-elect Rotarian, serves as president of the Lake Wales Main Street board and on the board of the Lake Wales Chamber’s Economic Development Council.
He started the fourth Saturday of the month Lake Wales car cruise-in and promotes all events in Lake Wales.
“This came as a great shock to me when they first told me of this,” Bossarte said.”We have great leadership here and looking for great things to be happening here in Lake Wales. There are so many people I am blessed to be working with.”
Jean Kincaid Scott was presented the Public Servant of the Year Award by Joe Miranda of Joseph F. Miranda, Inc., for her work giving many volunteer hours to at least two of her passions, the Lake Wales Police Department and the Lake Wales Chamber of Commerce.
“This is just unbelievable for me,” Scott said. “I just do what I enjoy. I was railroaded into running for city commission and then I found I couldn’t quit so I help with the Chamber and the Police Department that is like a second family. They (Police Department) are so smart and courageous. Thank you so much all of you.”
Cheryl Garnett, Polk State College, presented the Community Service Organization of the Year to the Green and Gold Foundation. The organization, founded of former Roosevelt Alumni Association members, manages the B Street Community Center. Clint Horne, Albert Hawkins Jr. and Jerome Mack were recognized and named as hardworking organizers to make the project work. Dr. Latoya Davis-Craig, recently appointed director to take up the reigns of the B Street Center, was introduced.