Changing lives in a Big way
These individuals have exceeded the expectations of igniting, empowering, and defending potential in Northwest Florida.
We are so thankful for our 2022 Bigs of the Year!
2023 Beyond School Walls Big of the Year
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida is proud to announce Ginny Cranor as the 2023 Beyond School Walls Big of the Year. Ginny Cranor is the Chief of the Pensacola Fire Department and is responsible for strategic planning, administration, and operation of 7 divisions, 6 fire stations, and more than 130 men and women. Chief Cranor has graciously shared her time by volunteering as a mentor with our Beyond School Walls program since the Spring of 2022.
The Beyond School Walls program is aimed at helping students improve their chances of graduating and transitioning to the workplace and/or post-secondary education, vocational or military. Our corporate partners, such as the City of Pensacola, open the doors of hope and opportunity for students, by allowing them to shadow volunteer employee mentors in the workplace for a few hours each month during the school year.
Chief Cranor has been a positive influence in her Little Sister Deryn’s life for the past year. During their visits, they’ve discussed school and career goals and how to overcome personal challenges. Chief Cranor has also shared the importance of community service with her Little Sister, by volunteering at the Manna Food Pantries warehouse. Chief Cranor has gone above and beyond her duties as a Big Sister and has truly shown how just a small commitment for a few hours a month can make a Big impact on a child’s life.
2023 Ron Mobayed Military Big of the Year
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida is proud to announce Ken Morris has been named the Ron Mobayed Military Big of the Year for 2023. Ken was selected to receive this honor because of his commitment to helping his Little Brother Aundray learn, grow and reach his full potential.
This award was established to honor the life of Lt. Ronald Joseph Mobayed, who was an outstanding Big Brother while he was stationed in Pensacola for flight training in the early 1990’s. Tragically, on October 3, 1995, Ron and his crew were killed in the line of duty while responding to a distress signal. This award pays tribute to our military volunteers and is awarded to a Big who exemplifies the spirit of Lt. Mobayed through their commitment to their Little, to the Big Brothers Big Sisters agency, and to the children of our community.
Ken Morris was a tactical search and rescue instructor pilot for the U.S. Navy for 15 years and has collectively flown over 2,000 flight hours in 6 deployments and 2 wars. He has 13.5 years of sea duty and has flown 5 U.S. Navy aircrafts. He was also awarded an Air Combat Medal with Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service medal. Ken Morris has been a Big Brother in our program for the past 2 years. During this time, he has been a positive influence in his Little Brother Aundray’s life, by helping him overcome various challenges. Ken also exposes Aundray to new experiences, such as teaching him how to golf and swim, and taking him to the YMCA. Ken also shares with Aundray the importance of community service and giving back. We want to thank Ken for not only serving our country, but for all he has done for his Little Brother. Ken has embodied what it means to be a mentor, a volunteer, and a role model.
2023 Okaloosa County Big of the Year
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida is proud to announce John Holguin as the 2023 Okaloosa County Big of the Year! This award is given to a mentor who goes above and beyond and is dedicated in helping their Little learn, grow and reach their full potential.
John has provided mentorship and friendship to his Little Brother Isaiah for over two years. They enjoy all types of activities together, including disc golf, working on John’s family farm, boating and sporting events. They have worked through many challenges together, including transferring from Okaloosa Academy to traditional high school. John encourages Isaiah to make goals and work towards them and is an active, consistent person in his life. Last September, John took Isaiah to the University of Florida to visit family, tour the campus, and see volleyball and football games.
John is the Chief of Operations at the Okaloosa County Tax Collectors Office and is involved in several community organizations including All Sports, Florida Special Olympics, Fort Walton Beach Recreation Center, Krewe of Bowlegs, and the Take Stock Program. John is always willing to help share our mission and has personally recruited multiple mentors for Big Brothers Big Sisters. On June 6, 2023, BBBS Staff, Advisory Board Member Rique Gwin, and Isaiah surprised John with the award, during an All Sports meeting. John has truly shown how just a small commitment for a few hours a month can make a Big impact on a child’s life. We are grateful to have him as part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters family and are proud to present him with this award.
2023 Escambia County Big Sister of the year
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida is proud to present Alisha Lambert with the 2023 Escambia County Big Sister of the Year award. This award is given to a Big Sister who goes above and beyond and has shown dedication in making sure their Little reaches their full potential.
Alisha has demonstrated unwavering dedication and commitment to our program. She has been a Big Sister for over seven years and is a wonderful role model to her Little Sister Briannah. Her longevity as a Big Sister speaks volumes about her passion for making a positive impact in the lives of others. She consistently shows up for Briannah, offering guidance and support and is committed to helping her achieve academic goals, by helping with homework assignments, projects and studying. Alisha encourages Briannah to graduate high school and attend college to pursue her passion in social work, but also makes sure they take time to enjoy a variety of fun outings. Some of their most memorable experiences include travelling together to see one of their favorite music artists, Taylor Swift, live in concert.
On June 1, 2023, staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters surprised Alisha at her work, Soloway Law Firm, by delivering flowers and balloons. Alisha is a shining example of what it means to be an excellent mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
2023 Escambia County Big Brother of the Year
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida is proud to announce Kenon Beasley as the recipient of the 2023 Big Brother of the Year award in Escambia County. Kenon was selected to receive this honor due to his dedication in mentoring three Little Brothers.
Kenon has volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters for over ten years and is a current mentor to three Little Brothers. He was matched with Apricio in 2012, Richard in 2021, and Zayshawn in 2022. This is a huge commitment and one that Kenon takes very seriously. He always makes time for all three of his Littles and is committed to helping each young man reach their full potential. Kenon has been an amazing mentor and friend and has played a vital role in important milestones in each of his Littles’ lives. Kenon helped Apricio succeed in middle and high school and he is now enlisted in the U.S. Marines. Richard is attending Florida A&M University and studying Business Administration. Zayshawn plans to attend Pensacola State College and study Nursing.
Kenon is a devoted mentor and is dedicated to our youth in Northwest Florida. We are so grateful to have him as part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters family and are proud to present him with this award.
2023 Virginia Thomas Big of the Year in Bay County
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. Thank you George, for making a profound impact on Drionte’s life and being a valuable member of our volunteer community.
2023 Michael Robidoux Hero Award
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida is honored to posthumously present our 2023 Michael Robidoux Hero Award to a dedicated Big Brother, board member and longtime friend, A.J. Bacon. He was an advocate and true warrior for Big Brothers Big Sisters for many years and made an enormous impact on the Bay County community and the youth in Northwest Florida.
A.J. was matched with his Little Brother Danterius in 2011 and they stayed officially matched until he graduated. The relationship, however, continued, until A.J. tragically passed away in late 2022. A.J. was a father figure to Danterius and taught him many life lessons that helped guide him to be the exceptional young man he is today. Danterius shared with us that he plans to continue A.J.’s legacy by becoming a Big Brother in the future. On May 23, 2023, our staff honored A.J.’s commitment to Danterius and to the BBBSNWFL agency, by presenting the Michael Robidoux Hero award to his wife, Ivy Bacon, during a private ceremony.
Michael Robidoux was a Big Brother who was matched with his Little Brother Deontrez for over three years. On Sunday, March 25, 2018, Michael passed away after saving two young children from dangerous surf at Navarre Beach. In 2019, Big Brothers Big Sisters decided to honor his legacy by establishing the Michael Robidoux Hero Award and present it annually to a Big who exemplifies the passion for serving others as Michael did.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida will forever miss our dear friend A.J. Bacon, whose dedication to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida was unsurpassed. We are also grateful for Ivy Bacon, who continues to support our mission, by serving as a Bay County Advisory Board Member. Thank you, Ivy, for allowing us to honor A.J.’s memory and for being such a vital part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters family.