During the awards reception on Thursday, January 12, 2017, City of Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant announced Bob Blalock as the 2017 Manatee County Distinguished Citizen. The Distinguished Citizen award recognizes those individuals who have made significant and meritorious contributions to Manatee County in the way of volunteer community service. Since 1956, the annual Manatee County Distinguished Citizen Award has been presented by the members of the Manatee River Fair Association in cooperation with the Board of Commissioners of Manatee County. Bob, surrounded by his family, close friends and colleagues, made way to the stage to accept the award.
A lifetime resident of Bradenton, Bob lends his personal and professional expertise to community organizations, encourages volunteerism and philanthropy and has made a significant impact on Manatee (and Sarasota) Counties. As a board member of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Bob was instrumental in developing the strategic alliance between the Ringling Museum of Art and Florida State University, thus securing the future of the educational institution in our community. In appreciation, the Education Center bears his name.
Bob has either served on the Board or been a key figure in raising funds, starting endowments and working with clients to support numerous local organizations including: Southeastern Guide Dogs, Just for Girls, South Florida Museum, ArtCenter Manatee, Manatee Players, New College Foundation, Sarasota Orchestra, United Way, Anna Maria Island Community Center and the center’s Endowment Trust Board.
As a founding Board member and driving force behind the establishment of the Manatee Community Foundation, Bob “birthed” an organization whose mission is connecting the charitable interest of donors with ongoing needs in the community. As donors, Bob and his “bride” Marlene established a personal legacy, the Marlene and Bob Blalock Fund at the Leadership Level.
Bob was awarded the “Lifetime Spirit” award by the Manatee Community Foundation in 2012 for demonstrating active and ongoing charitable investment in the community, for his spirit of giving, and encouraging and motivating others whose direct financial support impacts charitable institutions within the community.
Bob’s efforts supporting our local nonprofits have shaped the history of our community; more importantly, he has provided a vision for the future.
“I can think of no one more deserving that our own Bob Blalock,” says Managing Partner Jonathan Fleece. “Mahatma Gandi once said, ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’ Bob Blalock has lived that quote his entire life. Congrats friend and colleague. Well deserved!”