Activists, Mayor, Rescuer
Among Courage Nominees


The Tampa Tribune
Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - Metro Section


By Ted Byrd



  TAMPA - One of Tampa Mayor Dick Greco's traveling companions on a trip to Cuba last year insisted the visit was "not about right or wrong." But a local priest thinks it was and has nominated Greco for the Hillsborough County Moral Courage Award for going.

The diverse list of this year's 10 nominees includes Hillsborough Commissioner Ronda Storms for taking on public access TV's programming and University of South Florida student Jimmy Baxter, who rescued a father and son after a car wreck.

Eastern Hillsborough nursery owner Roy Davis was nominated for activism on government issues affecting agriculture and landscaping industries.

Bob Samuels, a retired banker, was nominated by the Florida Prostate Cancer Network for his work with that disease.

this is the 12th year the county has given out the moral courage award.

"It was designed to encourage individuals to stand up to the government," said Commissioner Jan Platt, who initiated the award.

The criteria have become a little broader in recent years. Now people are nominated for anything thought to be courageous, whether government is involved or not.

The Citizens Advisory Board will consider the nominees in coming weeks and make recommendation to county commissioners.

Other nominees include Betty Shaffer, for fighting street crime in her neighborhood along 109th Avenue, and domestic abuse victim Natalie Pfister who went to law school and now leads an effort to create a division in the state attorney's office to deal specifically with abuse.

Also nominated were Ellen Nimon, director of the Homes of Regency Cove property owners association, and Anna Uninger, who founded the Wimauma Civic Association, for contributions to their communities.

The Taylor Road Civic Association was nominated for fighting borrow pits and other projects in the Thonotosassa area.

The Rev. Ramon Hernandez of St. Rita Catholic Church in Dade City recommended Greco because he thought the olive branch to Cuban leader Fidel Castro was "very, very, visionary."

Storms said her nomination by the Greater Brandon Republican Club was a compliment, although she couldn't accept the award because of her position.

|"But I'm grateful for the continued support folks give me."

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