The Northwest Florida Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) celebrated another year of success as they inducted the 2019-2020 Board of Directors during an installation ceremony held Aug. 27 at Grayton Beer Taproom.
Leslie Moland was presented with the President’s Award, Shaye Smith was named Member of the Year, and Lindy and Jason Wood were named Person of the Year.
Each year during its annual board installation ceremony, the Northwest Florida Coast Chapter of FPRA recognizes a professional who has made a significant contribution within the field of public relations and has enriched the well-being of the community.
This year’s Person of the Year award was presented to Lindy and Jason Wood. Originally from Alabama, the Wood family relocated to the Emerald Coast in 2016 in pursuit of therapeutic opportunities for their son Weston, who was diagnosed with Level 4 autism and is considered non-verbal. In 2017, Lindy and Jason founded Westonwood Ranch, a non-profit organization located in Freeport, to address the tremendous service gaps for individuals with developmental disabilities within Walton and Okaloosa counties. They launched a capital campaign to construct an educational center and diverse farm-based campus where individuals with developmental disabilities can learn and demonstrate their unique abilities and talents.
In 2018, as part of their capital fundraising for the organization, Westonwood Ranch brought a professionally-sanctioned rodeo fundraising event to Hammock Bay bringing in over 120 contestants from the Southeastern US to Walton County and more than 1,800 local spectators for each show. The inaugural Westonwood Ranch rodeo, hosted in conjunction with Walton County Sheriff’s Office, was the recipient of 2018 Best New Rodeo of the Year award, presented at the Professional Cowboy Association Awards Banquet in Biloxi, Mississippi. Westonwood Ranch just celebrated their grand opening celebration and has opened its doors to provide new opportunities for individuals with special needs to reach their potential and shine.
The Northwest Florida Coast Chapter also recognized its Member of the Year, Shaye Smith, and President’s Award, Leslie Moland. All awards were provided by renowned local artist Maxine Orange, who recently created one of the sculptures for this year’s addition to the Cultural Arts Alliance Underwater Museum of Art. She also curates the rotating collection of art at Beachworx and is a new member of the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation board of directors.