Brenda Ford

Tampa, Fla. – AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson today announced that a longtime Jacksonville activist who has been a leader in the College Park and New Town areas has received the Trailblazer Award, a new AARP award for outstanding community activists.

Winning the award for the Jacksonville and Northeast Florida area was Brenda Ford. According to those who nominated her, Ms. Ford has worked tirelessly to engage and improve the communities of College Park, College Circle and New Town in Jacksonville. She has led a local Neighborhood Watch initiative, worked with the New Town Success Zone, led neighborhood clean-ups, helped on a local community-garden project to make healthy food more available to community residents, and partnered with the Mayo Clinic Wellness Prescription-Drug program and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

The Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus Community Trailblazer Awards were a highlight of AARP’s participation in the Florida Conference on Aging, the state’s largest gathering of organizations and individuals serving older Floridians, held Aug. 13-15 in Tampa.

Other Northeast Florida nominees for the program were:

  • Felicia R. Johnson, Jacksonville. As a service coordinator for the Jacksonville Housing Authority for almost 20 years, Ms. Johnson helps to link older area residents to supportive services and other community resources. Her goal for seniors is for them to maintain their independence and remain in the homes to avoid premature admission to more costly institutionalized care.
  • Fatima Conley Johnson, Jacksonville. A pioneering educator in helping to connect older people to friends, family and the outside world by helping them to learn modern digital technology, Ms. Johnson has made significant strides in reducing social isolation among older Jacksonville residents.
  • Sheila Jefferson, Jacksonville. Ms. Jackson works in her church and the community to encourage healthy lifestyles, nutrition and exercise. She has led several walking exercise sessions within the community.
  • Larry A. Dixon, Jacksonville. Now an independent consultant serving the aging-service field, Mr. Dixon was the longtime leader of the Community and Senior Services division of the City of Jacksonville. Dixon is a longtime AARP volunteer leader in Jacksonville, formerly served on the AARP Florida Executive Council and has been a leader in helping the Jacksonville AARP volunteer corps to become more effective in all of its initiatives. Mr. Dixon also is a past president and current board member of the Florida Association of Senior Centers and has been active in serving area youth as well.