It was an emotional moment for Allie Biggs as she got up to accept the 2015 Citizen of the Year Award during this year’s annual awards dinner in Pahokee.
“Wow,” said a surprised Ms. Biggs, a longtime resident of Pahokee and former city commissioner. “What can I say but thank you all.”
Presenting the award was Pahokee Chamber President Lewis Pope, who recognized Ms. Biggs for her lifelong dedication to the Glades area. In his introductory speech, Mr. Pope said Ms. Biggs arrived in Pahokee at six months and has always considered Pahokee to be her home.
She worked for the West Area School District for 32 years, retiring from her role as chief transportation coordinator for the Glades area.
“We made sure to thank her for ensuring we got back and forth to school every day,” said Mr. Pope, who didn’t resist an opportunity to playfully joke with the winner. “When you see her on the road you move over because you know she’s in a hurry to a meeting one way or another.”
According to Mr. Pope, Ms. Biggs also served in innumerable capacities on various boards and other local organizations. She also recently retired after serving as a city commissioner in Pahokee for 15 years.
“Her motto is: ‘Do all I can while I can, for God and mankind.’ And we all know she does exactly that,” he said.
This year’s awards dinner was held Saturday, May 14 at the beautiful Pahokee Marina, and featured a “Groovy 60s” theme. Community leaders and residents donned flowers and buttons, with a few notable sights like the normally clean-head-shaven Mayor Keith Babb sporting dreadlocks for the night.
While Ms. Biggs secured the top honor of the night, six other presentations were made, recognizing everyone from this year’s firefighter of the year, to the pioneer family of the year.
Other award winners included:
Firefighter of the Year – Lt. David Byerly
PBSO Officer of the Year – Deputy Jimmy Smith
City of Pahokee Employee of the Year – Johnathan Johnson
Business of the Year – Bonelle’s Hair Salon
Outstanding Community Service – Frank and Ana Navarette
Pioneer Family of the Year – The Magrill Family
Congressman Alcee Hastings was on hand to enjoy the presentations, and also stood up to recognize the citizen of the year by presenting her with a flag flown over the nation’s Capitol.
“In this case we’ve honored a truly remarkable woman who has been steadfast for all of us, not just here in the Glades, not just in the states, but in the United States,” said Mr. Hastings.
“This is the greatest moment in my life,” responded Ms. Biggs.