Panama City Beach, Fla – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida is proud to announce George Gilman as the recipient of the 2023 Virginia Thomas Big of the Year award in Bay County! This award is given to a Big who has made an exceptional difference in their Little’s life.
George was matched with his Little Brother Drionte in September of 2016. Over the past six years, their relationship has faced many challenges, including living miles apart. Drionte’s family moved to the Marianna area, following Hurricane Michael, but despite the long distance, their relationship has stayed strong. They share a love for geocaching and college football and have enjoyed many games together, even though they root for opposing teams. George is always encouraging his Little Brother to work towards his goals and has shown him that consistency is important in relationships. He has stressed to our staff that he is in this relationship for the long run and is fortunate to be a part of Drionte’s life.
George understands and encompasses the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida, as well as the vision of philanthropist Virginia Thomas, this award’s namesake. Thomas had a passion for opening doors and creating new opportunities for children and made a big impact in the Panama City community. This award was established to honor Thomas and celebrate a Big who exemplifies the passion of serving others.
On June 8, 2023, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida surprised George with the award at a local restaurant in Panama City. On behalf of the staff and Board at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida, thank you George, for making a profound impact on Drionte’s life and being a valuable member of our volunteer community.