The Villages Homeowners Association honored Villages Honor Flight as its Volunteer Organization of the Year on Wednesday night at Lake Miona Recreation Center.
Villager Steve Printz, retired U.S. Navy, said he was proud to be the one to present the award to Honor Flight.
“Their mission is dedicated to seeing as many U.S. veterans as possible transported to see their Washington D.C. memorials,” Printz said.
More than 600 veterans have been transported to Washington D.C. thanks to Villages Honor Flight.
Printz also saluted the Guardians who pay their own way to accompany veterans on Honor Flight.
For those veterans who can’t travel, Honor Flight created Flightless Honor Flight, he pointed out.
Printz said Honor Flight hubs across the country look to this hub as the model to which to aspire.
Service Organization of the Year
Sumter County Tax Collector Randy Mask was saluted for operating the Service Organization of the Year.
Sumter County Commissioner Don Hahnfeldt said Mask has made “dramatic changes” to his office which have improved service.
The office has received a customer satisfaction rating of 99 percent by taking a “business approach” to the job, Hahnfeldt said of Mask.
Hahnfeldt said that when a resident enters the office they are greeted by someone. There are also modern conveniences such as information kiosks and drive-up service.
“Randy you and your team have done such an outstanding job. I congratulate you and your team,” Hahnfeldt said.
Mask said the office emphasizes a culture of service.
“We work for you,” Mask said.
Partner of the Year
The District Customer Service Department was honored as the VHA’s Partner of the Year.
District Manager Janet Tutt said the Customer Service Department is led by Carrie Duckett, who joined the department as a brand new college graduate.
“That department has blossomed to take over responsibilities throughout the community,” Tutt said. The department includes five full-time employees and two part-timers.
“These folks, provide a tremendous amount of service,” Tutt said.
She said Customer Service answered more than 26,000 phone calls and handled more than 15,000 walk-ins last year. The department also oversees the 657 benches in The Villages. The department took over Welcome Wednesday in the past year, and it has become a tremendous information reference in The Villages. Customer Service also handles ADA compliance, website management and RV facilities.
The speaker for the evening was retired Sumter County Judge Thomas Skidmore.
“If your life is about community service, there is no better organization than the VHA,” Skidmore said.
Learn more about the VHA at thevha.net