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Banker’s Cup honors Lockwood, Moraco for contributions to the community

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 · News

2016-5-24-picture-DAL-Banker's Cup

WINTER HAVEN — One is “the crazy cat lady” whose contributions to the community have “the greatest impact not on us humans, but on our four-legged friends.”

The other is “the catalyst to numerous changes within our school system in Winter Haven.”

That’s how the presenters of the Banker’s Cup Citizens of the Year awards Thursday described this year’s recipients, Suzanne Moraco and Doug Lockwood.

Moraco is a financial adviser for Morgan Stanley, but that’s just her day job.

“One nominator noted that she doesn’t understand how the honoree has time to sleep with all she does within the community,” said Bob Gernert, Banker’s Cup’s 2015 Man of The Year, who presented Moraco’s award.

Moraco has been involved with Kiwanis Club of Winter Haven, Our Children’s Rehab, Leadership Winter Haven, Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce, GiveWell Community Foundation and the Humane Society of Polk County.

Her biggest contribution may be to the Humane Society, Gernert said.

She has volunteered for the Humane Society for 15 years and helped lead the effort to build its shelter on Dundee Road that opened last year.

Before that shelter opened, the organization operated for almost 35 years out of cramped quarters on Sage Road. The new 11,000-square-foot shelter can hold twice as many animals.

“None of this would have been possible without the leadership of tonight’s recipient,” Gernert said. “Perhaps all of this is why her husband, Sal, forever commemorated tonight’s honoree with a brick in the Chamber breezeway that reads, and I quote, ‘Suzie The Crazy Cat Lady.'”

“I’m so honored and humbled to be among all the honorees,” Moraco said. “Words can’t express how thankful I am.”

The man of the night, Lockwood, is an attorney with Straughn & Turner.

The Winter Haven native has been involved with Good Shepherd Hospice of Mid-Florida, Habitat for Humanity of East Polk, Polk County Affordable Housing Task Force, Greater Winter Haven Chamber, Boy Scouts of America, Ridge Art Association, Our Children’s Rehab, Hope Now Transition, Angels Care Center, and the city’s Planning Commission and Code Enforcement Division, where he has served as special magistrate.

“All of that alone would be enough to leave and indelible impact on many people in the Winter Haven community,” said Bonnie Parker, Banker’s Cup’s 2011 Woman of the Year, who presented Lockwood’s award.

Lockwood was especially honored for his advocacy for Winter Haven schools.

He served as chairman of the Chamber’s Education Outcomes Committee, which conducted a study of the myriad of challenges facing Winter Haven’s public schools, Parker said.

He also assembled a blue ribbon committee of area educators and business leaders and helped form the Winter Haven Public Education Partnership, which set forth to implement the plan created by the committee. PEP has since started two tutoring programs — one at its tutoring center in Florence Villa and another at Inwood Elementary School.

“Despite the fact that his own children were not enrolled in Winter Haven schools at the time, tonight’s recipient was determined to improve our school system for the greater good of the community and for future generations to come,” Parker said. “It is with his perseverance that the needle has begun to move in several under-served areas in our educational system.

“And he continues to fight today,” she said.

Lockwood thanked his nominators, law partners and wife.

“I’m not going to stand up here and tell you how important our schools are — I’ll spare you that,” Lockwood said. “I’m just honored.”

The Banker’s Cup Awards recognize Winter Haven residents who have made a significant contribution to the community in years of service or through a single noteworthy project. The black-tie-optional event filled the Winter Haven Armory on Thursday and coincided with a small-scale Taste of Winter Haven, which included fare from local restaurants and caterers.

The first award was given in 1923. No awards were given in the war years of 1943 to 1945. And until 1965, the award was given to just one honoree, but since then both an outstanding woman and man have been honored each year.

-The Lakeland Ledger