The 5th Annual Hometown Heroes Gala was held on September 8 at On Top of the World’s beautiful Circle Square Cultural Center. Over 300 guests and award winners enjoyed the festivities, coming from Marion County, Ocala, Belleview, Dunnellon, Citrus County, Levy County, Lake County, Sumter Couty, Alachua County, Putnam County and a task force who served heroically in the Miami condo collapse. Those honored were sheriffs, police, fire rescue, healthcare workers, hospice and utility first responders. The service provided by these men and woman, every day their job demands their utmost attention and clear decisions while protecting our communities.
Hiers Baxley Community Care organized the event. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Marion County) is the non-profit benefitting from the sponsorships.
Judge Lori Cotton was the keynote speaker. NAMI President, Carali McLean spoke about their programs. Carali summarized where Hometown Heroes and NAMI Marion connect—“all are real people—normal human beings—who have chosen to work in professions that require above average courage, commitment, and compassion.”
The Veterans Park had a wonderful 9-11 display honoring our heroes. Chief Pam Driggers presented Dennis Baxley, Steve Tweedle and Leena Williams with a plaque to acknowledge the detailed work involved to making this event so meaningful and for providing a path to honor our local heroes.