The Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County Honors Community Leaders for Their Work on Local Tobacco Prevention Issues
By Dr. Barry Hummel, Jr., Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation

On May 26, 2015, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County presented their annual Tobacco Prevention Awards to local community leaders at the organization’s quarterly meeting.

The Tobacco Prevention Awards are presented each year to groups or individuals who have made an exceptional contribution towards the goals of the Tobacco Free Partnership.
Community Champion Awards are given each year to individuals who spearhead the effort on a particular tobacco prevention initiative.

Superintendent Laurie Gaylord was named a Community Champion for her support and efforts to pass a comprehensive tobacco-free policy for the Martin County School District.  The new policy includes all 12 components of a Tobacco Free Policy recommended by the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida, including enforcement, cessation referrals, inclusion of e-cigarettes, off-site school activities, and more.  Superintendent Gaylord’s efforts will prevent future generations of students from being exposed to tobacco use at all school activities, helping to decrease the number of youth who begin tobacco use.

Mike Lindgren and Robyn Vanover were recognized as a Community Partners of the Year for their work in creating the new, comprehensive language of the School District’s Tobacco Free Policy.  They’ve both been working on the new policy for over a year and their efforts have made a tremendous impact on the youth of Martin County.

Robyn Vanover
Kim Waser (L) and Dr Barry Hummel (R) present Robyn Vanover with her Community Partnber Award

Joanne Kelly was recognized as a Community Partner of the Year from Martin Health Systems.  As a Tobacco Free Partnership member, Kelly has been a tremendous help in connecting doctors and staff at Martin Health Systems to the Partnership, increasing their awareness of the Partnership’s efforts and services and building a strong partnership with the hospital.

Awards were also given for Outstanding Tobacco-Free Policies for the year, including Jay Spicer and the Martin County Fairgrounds, who adopted a tobacco free policy at the 2014 Martin County Fair, the City of Stuart Riverwalk Stage, which went tobacco free in 2014, and Ginny and Roy Umanzio from Beach Club Colony on Hutchinson Island, for their efforts in obtaining a tobacco free policy for their condo association.

Each year, The Tobacco Free Partnership recognizes key leaders from the Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Program. This year, outstanding leaders that were recognized included Jason Vetter and Angela Wang from Anderson Middle School, Alana Jakee from Murray Middle School, and Amy Hiltibidal from Stuart Middle School.

Daniel Knight, a student at Jensen Beach High School, was named 2015 SWAT Youth of the Year.  Knight was the President of his high school’s SWAT Clubs for his Junior and Senior year, and was also elected to the Statewide Youth Advocacy Board to represent the South Florida region.  Locally, he worked with County officials to push for tobacco free parks and beaches in Martin County

Daniel Knight
Daniel Knight receives the SWAT Youth if the Year Award

Cynthia Bishop, the SWAT Advisor from Murray Middle School, was named 2015 SWAT Advisor of the Year.  Ms. Bishop has one of the most active Middle School SWAT Club in Martin County.  Her students participated in a number of local events, and several of her students created an anti-tobacco public service announcement that took Second Place in a local Radio PSA Contest.

The Boys & Girls Clubs SWAT Club, led by Michael Williams, was named the 2015 SWAT Club of the Year.  Their Club participated in Outreach efforts throughout Martin County this year, and they partnered with the Palm Beach County SWAT Clubs at Sunfest in West Palm Beach to help spread tobacco free messages at the event.

Michael Williams
Michael Williams accepts the SWAT Club of the Year Award on behalf of the Boys & Girls Clubs.

The work of the Tobacco Free Partnership would not be possible without the support and the effort of all of its members. This year’s award winners once again demonstrated a special commitment to tobacco prevention that is continuing to make a positive difference in Martin County.

For more information on the work of the Tobacco Free Partnership, or to become a member, contact Kim Nash at, or visit