September 08, 2015
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Winn-Dixie Resilience Award associate winners from left, Keith Fecke, Joseph Giametta, Deborah Couget, Darrell Beleski, James Montgomery, Patricia Alexander, Keith Anderson, Byron Brown, Dr. Sandy Bissant, Joey Medina. Master of Ceremonies Norman Robinson is at rear. Not pictured: Paul Kliebert.​

In August 2005, the world watched as Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. Today, the region stands 10 years stronger, and Winn-Dixie has recognized some of the people who made significant contributions to the recovery and rebuilding of the area in the wake of the storm.

The rebirth of the region could not have been possible without dedicated community members who invested time and energy into the area, often making personal sacrifices to do so. To honor the organizations and individuals who have given back tirelessly, the neighborhood grocer presented the inaugural Winn-Dixie Resilience Awards, awards that recognize the defining human attributes that were needed to rebuild the Gulf Coast—strength and courage in the face of adversity.

The Resilience Awards ceremony was an evening for commemoration and for reflection. It included a cocktail reception, a spirited performance by “the Songbird of New Orleans,” Robin Barnes, and a moving awards presentation hosted by renowned New Orleans television journalist Norman Robinson. The event was hosted in the historic Presbytere Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, which houses the impactful “Living with Hurricanes: Life Beyond Katrina” exhibit.

Some of the distinguished community advocates who were honored include: United Way of Southeast Louisiana; American Red Cross of Southeast Mississippi; the esteemed leader of Task Force Katrina, Lt. General Russel L. Honore'; regional and national media personalities, Sally-Ann and Robin Roberts; 11 Winn-Dixie associates; two students and a host of other very worthy recipients. Honorees were selected through regional panels and through social media nominations.

“Many of us in this room have stories of surviving the storm – literally and figuratively – and we can attest that we have been forever changed by the experience,” said Winn-Dixie Regional Vice President Joey Medina, who had been the RVP of the New Orleans region for a short time when the storm struck in 2005. “Some are more hopeful. Some take less for granted. Some are more appreciative or more reflective. But as a whole, we are all more resilient.”

Each award recipient received a beautiful one-of-a-kind plaque designed by renowned artist Terrance Osborne. Osborne’s work came to prominence after Hurricane Katrina as many appreciated his colorful depictions of the rebirth of New Orleans.

Even though the storm had such a devastating impact on the region, it also brought the communities closer together and made the people stronger. Knowing how crucial grocery stories are to their communities, Winn-Dixie associates throughout the region worked hard to reopen stores to neighborhoods whose people were often without power and in too many cases were without homes, food and belongings.

"As a local grocer, Winn-Dixie is so proud to have served the Gulf Coast community for nearly 60 years," Medina said. "We are honored to present Winn-Dixie Resilience Awards to individuals and organizations that make our communities better and our culture richer."

Honorees said they were humbled and honored to be a part of the Resilience Awards. Many of the recipients shared wonderful sentiments about the ceremony and the honor.

At United Way, we celebrate being a part of the team and a culture that continues to help change lives and communities," said Michael Williamson, United Way CEO. "Thank you, Winn-Dixie, for honoring us with this Resilience Award. Together, we can make Southeast Louisiana a better place to live, work and raise our families."

The Gulf Coast has come a very long way over the past decade, and there is still work to be done. But by acknowledging those who have helped to make the Gulf Coast communities better, we can sincerely celebrate being 10 years stronger.

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Master of Ceremonies Norman Robinson begins the ceremony.

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Winn-Dixie store No. 1472 Director Scott Schully, Regional Vice President Joey Medina, Winn-Dixie store No. 1329 Director Pete DeRocha, Award Artist Terrance Osborne, Winn-Dixie store No. 1430 Marlon Hawkins and District Director Mohamed Abul-Hawa.

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District Director Chip Turner, Jamene Dahmer, senior vice president of resource development and marketing of United Way of Southeast Louisiana, LaDana Williams and Michael Williamson, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Southeast Louisiana.

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Southeast Grocers Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Rebecca Sinclair and Lt. General Russel L. Honore.

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Winn-Dixie store No. 1411 Assistant Store Director Nicole Boudreaux, Community Involvement Specialist Clayton Majeste, and Winn-Dixie store No. 1504 Florida Lead Angela Shockey.

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Norman Robinson, Rebecca Sinclair, Dorothy Roberts and Joey Medina.

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Norman Robinson, Joey Medina and Southeastern Grocers Senior Vice President of Store Operations Mark Scates.

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Singer Robin Barnes entertains award ceremony attendees.

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Each award recipient received a trophy designed by renowned artist Terrance Osborne.

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