Patricia Abbitt, M.D.: Spirit of Gainesville nominee

Published: Monday, August 13, 2012 at 2:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 13, 2012 at 2:26 p.m.

I wish to nominate Dr. Patricia Abbitt for the 2012 Spirit of Gainesville Award in the category of Community Service. Dr. Abbitt presently works full time as a faculty member in the Department of Radiology at the College of Medicine. Despite an extremely busy clinical and teaching schedule, she devotes an extraordinary amount of time to supporting important community causes. Her major contributions to the Gainesville community are summarized below.


Category: Community Service

About Patricia Abbitt, M.D.

Occupation: Physician

Years in Gainesville: 22

Children: Sam and Hank

First, for many years, she has been intensely committed to serving the homeless population of Gainesville. On a weekly basis, she cooks soup or chili for these individuals and helps to distribute this food on the Downtown Plaza. While distributing this food, she also provides basic medical care for persons who have minor illnesses. On multiple occasions, she has organized activities to help give the homeless a sense of meaningful employment. For example, she has personally employed a number of individuals to help with the restoration of Wilmot Gardens on the campus of the College of Medicine. She has paid these men and women with her own funds and personally transported them to and from the work site. Each year for the past four years, she also has organized a \"stocking stuffer\" work party at her home to prepare gift packages for the members of the homeless community. These packages contain basic personal hygiene items and food. She and a small group of neighbors annually deliver over 200 gift packages to the Downtown Plaza for distribution to the homeless.

Second, for over five years, Patricia has been a stalwart participant in the ministry of the Gainesville Harvest. On two days of each week, she collects and delivers several hundred pounds of food to Gainesville Community Ministry, Al\'s Place,

and Eldercare. In addition, she single-handedly convinced hospital officials at North Florida Regional Medical Center and the VA Medical Center to participate in the Gainesville Harvest. Prior to her intervention, these two centers discarded a large amount of edible and nutritious food each day.

Finally, Patricia has been tireless in her efforts to promote recycling among local businesses in our community. For example, on a weekly basis, she visits several individual private businesses and personally transports their cardboard and glass items to her home where she painstakingly separates these items and prepares them for pick-up. In addition, following each home football games, ,she personally assists local UF groundskeepers in clearing recyclable items from the area near the football stadium and parking lots.

In my mind, Patricia is the perfect candidate for the Spirit of Gainesville Award in the category of Community Service. She has an incredibly generous spirit and radiates humanism and compassion in everything that she does. She has enriched everyone around her and is a true treasure in our community.

Submitted by Judy Duff

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