Shirley Bloodworth: Spirit of Gainesville nominee

Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 6, 2013 at 11:47 a.m.

I am delighted to nominate Shirley Bloodworth for this year's Spirit of Gainesville Award for Community Service.


Shirley Bloodworth


Category: Community Service

About Shirley Bloodworth

Occupation: Retired

Years in Gainesville: 63

Spouse: Tom Bloodworth (deceased)

Children Beverly Alexander and Tom Bloodworth, 4 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild

Shirley is the epitome of a community member that has made a significant impact to the betterment of our community through her selfless time and energy.

This enthusiastic, giving, imaginative and energetic octogenarian has devoted her life to community service. First as nurse with advanced training in counseling, women's issues and gerontology ( in which she served with an exceptional degree of warmth and sensitivity) and now as an ardent volunteer advocate for seniors.

Shirley has most recently devoted her considerable skills and undaunted enthusiasm into re-energizing the Community Coalition for Older Adults. The CCOA is an organization of professionals that address issues of concern for seniors, such as affordable health care, intergenerational relationships, housing, transportation and safe environments. This organization is an arm of the prestigious “ Communities of a Life Time” a designation granted to our community of Gainesville in 2003 and was scheduled to sunset earlier this year. Knowing the many needs and serious concerns that our senior population face, Shirley immediately started efforts to revitalize this much needed organization. In the first few months of this year, she had the program up and running and providing programs that offer the members vital information to take back to their various groups and organizations. Currently the CCOA is working very hard to understand and make known the deep cuts caused by the sequestration that have impacted so many programs and services for seniors.

Shirley has as a personal goal to educate as many people as she can about Advanced Directives which is an end of life issue. She has given endless volunteer hours to educate hundreds of people to share her “kit” on Advanced Directives, often traveling from one organization to another and to outlying communities. The Advanced Directives informational kit is now offered as a series of seminars as a program of CCOA.

Long after she retired, she volunteered as a grief and bereavement counselor at Haven Hospice. After the Bill Moyers PBS program on Dying in America, On Our Own Terms, she served as the chair of the Community Coalition on End of Life Issues and helped to develop the Advanced Directive Kit which offered educational material to help people make informed decisions about living wills, selecting a health care surrogate, hospice care and many other end of life issues. Since that time she has added many important parts to her original kit drawing from frequently asked questions and updated legislation.

After her own experience as a caregiver for her parents and her in-laws at home and through her work with Hospice, Shirley organized and shared educational material about care giving and Alzheimer's Disease. She has provided several training courses for the Alachua County Sheriff's Department so that the dispatchers and officers could better relate to those individuals with Alzheimer's Disease and their caregivers. She has been a volunteer facilitor for support groups for individuals with impaired memory and those dealing with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease and their families.

In her ongoing volunteer work, Shirley continues to advocate for seniors. At Santa Fe College in 2005, she helped found and direct the Prime Time Institute, an organization that encourages life- long learning seminars for seniors. She currently is serving on the curriculum committee of the Institute of Learning in Retirement at Oak Hammock which produces classes, lectures and tours for the many members of that organization.

Shirley is a member of the board of RFUF (Retired Facility of the University of Florida) and has served as membership chairman. She is a founding member and strong supporter of the Senior Center. In addition, she serves as a volunteer faculty member of the University of Florida College of Medicine program in Interdisciplinary Family Health. She also serves on the Shands Cancer Committee as a Community Survivor Representative and is on the Ethics Committee of Shands Hospital. She is also a member of the Florida Free Speech Forum and has been a speaker there. Shirley has recently been invited to contribute as a Team Member on the upcoming grant proposal “One Florida” to Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). She is an active member of both the League of Women Voters and the United Nations Association. In her spare time, she is a world traveler!

Shirley is a dedicated volunteer whose ongoing unselfish devotion of time and energy continues to improve the lives of others in Gainesville. I wholeheartedly nominate this most deserving volunteer for the 2013 Spirit of Gainesville Award for Community Service.

Nominated by Sharon Faris

If you are fortunate enough to have met Shirley, you have met the Spirit of what we hope for, for Gainesville! Few have done, in our wonderful city, so much, for so many, for so long. Despite her 80 plus years, she keeps on giving of herself. We are blessed to have in our midst a person of her professionalism, expertise and energy. I hardily endorse Shirley for the Spirit of Gainesville Award for Community Service.

Comment by Lois Gorman

I am writing to support the nomination of Shirley Bloodworth for the Spirit of Gainesville Community Service Award. I have known Shirley for over ten years, and during that time I have seen her incredible energy used to improve and enrich the lives of seniors in our community in every way possible. From organizing seminars and presentations for the original Prime Time Institute at Santa Fe College, to planning classes for the Institute for Learning in Retirement at Oak Hammock, to making sure that people have accurate information about end of life issues and developing an Advanced Directives kit , to providing comfort and support to whose with serious illnesses, Shirley has been involved in just about every important program for seniors in Gainesville. She does this all with grace, an unfailing sense of humor, and a positive approach to life, helping to meet the special needs of a growing segment within our community. She truly exemplifies the spirit of Gainesville.

Comment by Barbara J. Oberlander

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