Girls Place executive director honored as community hero

Nickie Kortus, from left, Gail Carr, Crissy Hensley and Patricia Carr are the winners of the 2013 Carol Combs Hole Award, which is given annually by the Alachua County Library District to an individual or group that helps promote library services and community outreach.

Submitted photo
Published: Monday, October 28, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 1, 2013 at 6:56 p.m.

McGriff-Williams Insurance secured a $5,000 donation to Girls Place Inc., and recognized Renae Clements, the executive director of Girls Place, as a community hero. Clements, who was nominated by McGriff- Williams Insurance, is one of just 16 Community Hero Award winners selected nationwide by Safeco Insurance.

The award includes a $5,000 donation for Girls Place, and a chance to win an additional $10,000 for Girls Place through the Safeco Insurance Community Hero event. The voting deadline is 1 p.m. Nov. 4. To participate, click on the Safeco Community Hero ad on the home page of www., or click on the “Community Hero” tab on the Safeco Insurance Facebook page. Individuals can vote once per day until the contest ends.

Girls Place is a safe “home away from home” that provides after-school programs, summer day camp and various intramural sports for girls.


The Alachua County Library District recognized staff members with the Carol Combs Hole Award, which honors the memory of Carol Combs Hole, former community services coordinator for the district.

The award recognizes an employee or group for an outstanding project that exemplifies “thinking outside the book” to broaden, enhance, improve or promote library services and community outreach. The award was bestowed to the Viva Florida 500 Committee, a district-wide team that included Gail Carr, youth services librarian; Patricia Carr, library specialist at the Archer Branch; Crissy Hensley, library specialist in adult services at headquarters; and Nickie Kortus, marketing and public relations manager for the district. Individual staff who received honorable mentions for the Carol Combs Hole Award included: Carr, John Jack, librarian in eBranch-website and online services; and Ann LeZotte, library specialist at Tower Road Branch


Sarah Conde, a University of Florida graduate and student at Kennesaw State University in Mass., is a recipient of The Mark Beaumont Scholarship, established by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences in 2010 to support students who are pursuing careers specializing in the business of interactive entertainment.


The Golden Key International Honour Society chapter at the University of Florida was named a winner of the 2013 Key Chapter Award. The award recognizes chapters that go above and beyond the call of duty in their community. The UF chapter participates in service events on the UF campus and in the community, including the annual Rock for the Hungry benefit concert, which raised more than $500 for Children’s Table Food Bank.

Founded in 1977, Golden Key International Honour Society is a global collegiate honor society that recognizes college students for academic excellence. With more than 2 million members, the society has more than 400 campus-based chapters in eight countries, including Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, The Bahamas and the United States.


The Music & Arts Program for Youth Inc., or MAP, received a $1,500 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to support literacy programs. Based in the city of Alachua, MAP is a nonprofit organization that educates, empowers and impacts economically disadvantaged youth by providing quality music and arts programs at no cost to help youth achieve a better quality of life and to position them to serve others.

Since 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $84.9 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 4.8 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy or continued education.


Helen Rucarean has been named 2012 Volunteer of the Year of the Gainesville Fine Arts Association for her vision and mission to give GFAA a greater recognition in the area. Moving to Gainesville from Michigan in 2003, Rucarean brought with her a wealth of experience and vast knowledge of art organizations. Her vision for expanding the presence of GFAA became the annual Winter Fine Art Fair at Tioga Town Center, which will celebrate in seventh year in 2014.

As a friend of the arts, Rucarean forged many positive relationships with business owners to sponsor the art fair.


The Gainesville Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, or NSDAR, received proclamations in recognition of Constitution Week, which was observed on Sept. 17-23. Alachua County Mayor Ed Braddy presented a proclamation to Regent Linda Williams. DAR historian Kay Hal received a proclamation from Alachua Mayor Gib Coerper.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top