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Spirit of Manatee Awards recognizes the best of the best

The Spirit of Manatee Awards luncheon is one of those events that makes you glad you live here. There’s something very uplifting about being in a room filled with the people who work tirelessly to make our community the best that it can be.

The Manatee Community Foundation began the program four years ago to honor “the best of the best.”

On Wednesday, community leaders, volunteers and the heads of many of the local nonprofit agencies took a break to honor this year’s award recipients.

The honorees included teen Ryne Smith who received the Young Spirit award and Debbie and Steve Tapp who were honored with the Volunteer Spirit award. The Leadership Spirit award was presented to Mike and Jaymie Carter, and Stu and Gerry Gregory were named Lifetime Spirit award winners.

Rose Carlson accepted the corporate Community Spirit on behalf of Bright House networks, but she gave the credit for the award to the employees for their service to the area. And Vernon DeSear, Carolyn Keller and Nancy Stolle all took the stage to accept the nonprofit Community Spirit award for the Manatee Memorial Foundation and Auxiliary.

Several past recipients attended the luncheon, including Anne and Gene Beckstein, Trudy Moon, Mary Ann Turner, JoAnne Duke and Ed and Joanne Dick.

Susan Wilcox, a Florida native, has lived in Bradenton for more than 20 years. She has been active in many local organizations as a volunteer or an employee.

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