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Posted on: August 30, 2022

City to recognize Gregory B. White, Sr. with Order of La Florida Award

Mr. Gregory B. White, Sr., 2022 Order of La Florida Award recipient

Presentation ceremony set for Monday, September 12 at 4:30pm

On Monday, September 12, 2022, at 4:30pm in The Alcazar Room of City Hall, the City of St. Augustine City Commission will recognize Gregory B. “Greg” White Sr., presenting him with the city’s highest honor, the Order of La Florida, for his years of selfless service to the community, specifically in West St. Augustine improving the lives of our youth and underserved residents.

Born in Johnson Crossroad, FL, in Putnam County, White moved to St. Augustine when he was 11 years old and graduated from Murray High School in 1965.  He married his high school sweetheart, Lydia, and went on to serve in Vietnam.  Since his return from active duty in 1969, he and his wife Lydia have lived in St. Augustine and raised their four children.

White lived through the Civil Rights era in St. Augustine and even marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Over the years, White became involved in the community, including serving as the Fifth District Commander for the American Legion, either as the chair or working on committees and sub-committees with Post 194.  More and more, White witnessed first-hand, the imbalance and disparity of services and support to the residents of West St. Augustine, and he made it his mission to make a difference.

In the years since his 2002 retirement from a career with Florida Power and Light as a residential energy consultant, White has dedicated himself to advocating for residents of West St. Augustine, working in partnership with everyone from congressional and senate representatives to state, county and local officials, business leaders, and residents alike.

All one has to do is walk down King Street in West St. Augustine to bear witness to his impact: the American Legion Kids’ Safe Zone, now in its 27th year; and the West Augustine Community Center, located at the Collier-Blocker-Puryear Park.  As Chair of the West Augustine Community Redevelopment Agency, White also was instrumental in establishing the Solomon Calhoun Center and Community Pool.

Other contributions to the community include a major coordinated effort with the City of St. Augustine to convert septic systems in West St. Augustine to connected sewer service.   This was an undertaking that began in 2002, required applying for matching grant funds from the State of Florida, and this still continues today.  White was responsible for helping to get the first brick and mortar homes in West St. Augustine and working with Habitat for Humanity to bring affordable housing options to N. Volusia St.

“Greg is an exceptional example of perseverance; he is a man that does not tire and does not quit,” Mayor Tracy Upchurch stated.  “Further, his ability to work with a great variety of individuals and groups to move projects forward is an example to us all.”  

Upchurch added, “There is no one more deserving than Greg to be recognized with this award.  The depth of his commitment to making St. Augustine, and specifically West Augustine, a better place to live, work, and raise a family, is beyond compare.  His contributions to our community will be a legacy that lives on for generations to come.”

Currently, White is working with Flagler Health +, EPIC Behavioral Health, First Coast YMCA, and various public and private entities, charities, and individuals to bring a full-service medical complex to West St. Augustine to include healthcare, mental health counseling, wellness and fitness services, business development mentoring, music programs, and youth mentoring programs.   He is also working with Ability Housing (Jacksonville) to bring the 92-unit Villages of New Augustine here.

The City of St. Augustine established The Order of La Florida Award in 1975, so that the City Commission, on behalf of the people of St. Augustine might recognize one who, “…over a long period of time has unselfishly devoted his or her time and talent to the welfare and betterment of St. Augustine’s citizens and heritage, who has exemplified the finest qualities of citizenship, and has contributed extraordinary services to the community.”  Recipients must be 55 years of age and there may not be more than 10 living recipients at any one time.  A nomination originates with a member of the city commission and is presented to the city manager who then puts it before the entire commission for confirmation.   This year, Mayor Tracy Upchurch nominated Mr. Greg White.

The presentation will be held at 4:30pm in The Alcazar Room, City Hall, 75 King Street., just prior the City Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting which begins at 5:00pm, and may be seen live online at www.CityStAugTV.com where it will be available for on-demand viewing the following day.

Questions and media inquiries may be directed to Melissa Wissel, Communications Director, at 904.293.3307 or via email at mwissel@citystaug.com.  

Recipients of the Order of La Florida Award

  1. Henry W. McMillan                                          05/28/75                          (Deceased)
  2. Herbert E. Wolfe                                              02/15/77                          (Deceased)
  3. John D. Bailey                                                  02/15/77                          (Deceased)
  4. Albert C. Manucy                                              05/09/83                          (Deceased)
  5. Lawrence Lewis, Jr.                                          01/29/84                          (Deceased)
  6. Eleanor Phillips Barnes                                     08/26/86                          (Deceased)
  7. Xavier Lopez Pellicer, Sr.                                  01/27/87                          (Deceased)
  8. Clarissa Anderson Gibbs                                  01/27/87                          (Deceased)
  9. Luis Rafael Arana                                             12/13/88                          (Deceased)
  10. Eugene Lyon                                                    10/26/92                          (Deceased)
  11. Edward G. Mussallem                                      03/26/94                          (Deceased)
  12. Jerome George Kass                                       10/05/97                          (Deceased)   
  13. Kenneth Beeson                                               05/14/01                          (Deceased)
  14. William L. Proctor                                             08/24/01
  15. Michael Gannon                                               09/18/07                          (Deceased)
  16. Kathleen Deagan                                              09/18/07
  17. Frank D. Usina & Elizabeth K. Usina                 09/14/09 
  18. H. L. “Herbie” Wiles                                         04/22/13                          (Deceased)
  19. Robert B. Hayling                                             07/02/13                          (Deceased)
  20. Carl D. Halbirt                                                   02/12/18                          
  21. Tom & Jean Rahner                                          09/09/19

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