Cocoa Woman Earns Excellence Award at Red Cross Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

By  //  March 18, 2016

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Connie Harvey presented with Presidential Award

Cocoa resident Connie Harvey (center) was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence, Humanitarian Services Award by American Red Cross President Gail McGovern (right) and Jack McMaster, president of the American Red Cross Preparedness, Health and Safety Services. (Image By Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — Connie Harvey of Cocoa was presented with the American Red Cross Presidential Award for Excellence recently at the organization’s National Awards and Recognition Dinner in Washington, D.C.

As the director of Centennial Initiatives, Harvey has spent her 20-year career at the American Red Cross as an ambassador for the organization’s mission to decrease the number of drowning deaths each year.

The Centennial Campaign is an initiative to help reduce drowning in communities where drowning rates are higher than the national average. Working with local Red Cross training partners, the Centennial Campaign provides swim lessons and water-safety knowledge and skills to those who might not otherwise be able to afford this lifesaving training.

The campaign is under way across Florida, including with the parks and recreation departments in Brevard County and the cities of Orlando, Haines City and Tampa, and the Sarasota YMCA.

During fiscal year 2015, Harvey exceeded student enrollment within her program by more than 60 percent, increasing participation in community programs serving those most at risk, the Red Cross reported, while also reducing budgetary cost.

“Connie represents the subject and our organization with grace and knowledge,” said Regional CEO Linda Jorge Carbone in a release. “She has garnered positive publicity in top-tier media such as Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the ‘Today Show,’ USA Today, and many others — all contributing to our priority to revitalize the brand.”

Harvey has been the featured speaker at many drowning conferences and other public events, according to the release. With her leadership, the Red Cross says it has reached 50,000 more participants over the life of the Centennial Campaign — launched at the 100-year anniversary of the organization in 2014 — helping more people of all ages to stay safe in the water.