Twenty years ago, the City of Homestead experienced devastation as Hurricane Andrew swept through hundreds of homes and businesses. Out of that tragedy, the kindness that people showed towards one another and willingness to help strangers overcome this disaster left a lasting impression on Councilwoman Judy Waldman.
Today in Homestead one still sees those who help strangers by volunteering, serving the community or just providing a random act of kindness. Councilwoman Judy Waldman has been honoring those deserving residents for the last ten years. The Kindness Awards are a way for residents in our community to recognize those acts, and to remember the resilience of the human spirit and its willingness to assist in times of need.
As highlighted in the WLRN Hurricane Andrew Under the Sun South Florida stories, in commemoration of Hurricane Andrew’s 20th Anniversary, Councilwoman Waldman invited the community to the 20th Anniversary Hurricane Andrew Kindness Awards Banquet on Tuesday, August 21st at noon at the Homestead-Miami Speedway Champion’s Club. Past winners of the Kindness Awards were honored and this year’s winners were announced. Various distinguished guest speakers were at the event and spoke about their experience during Hurricane Andrew. Among the speakers were: award-wining meteorologist John Morales, Director of the National Hurricane Center with Rick Knabb, Ph.D., Senator Gwen Margolis, who was the Florida Senate’s president during the hurricane, and Colonel Howard Davidson, who was the Major at the Homestead Air Reserve Base when Hurricane Andrew stroke.
Councilwoman Waldman initiated the Kindness Awards during Hurricane Andrew’s 10th year anniversary. “I realized that the kindness of strangers helped so many of us during that difficult time,” said Councilwoman Waldman, who lost her house during the hurricane. Every year, she invites residents and business owners to send emails or letters detailing an act of kindness that has been bestowed on them or someone else by others. The most compelling stories are read during a Council Meeting and the persons involved are recognized.
“You can still see the gentle spirit within us, as we see the love and care that these acts of kindness carry within them. Let’s recognize and celebrate together as we share in these stories of today’s modern day heroes”, said Councilwoman Waldman.