VIDEO: Bernie Simpkins’ Charitable, Business Accomplishments Legendary
By Steve Wilson // July 23, 2017
2016 Lifetime Achievement Honoree
ABOVE VIDEO: Bernie Simpkins has left an indelible mark on Brevard County – and beyond.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Overlooking the Banana River, the view from Bernie Simpkins’ fifth-floor office at High Point Tower in Cocoa is spectacular.
NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center can easily be seen as well. However, as spectacular as the view is, Simpkins’ life has even been more so.
Simpkins is originally from Nashville, Tenn. At an early age, his parents were a major influence in his life. His father was a no-nonsense type of person, very straightforward.
Simpkins’ father pointed him toward the importance of humanitarianism and instilled in his son honorable traits such as “do not lie, tell the truth, and be honest in everything you do.”
He also told his son, “You can play hard, but work hard. Anything you start, don’t quit until you finish.”
While away at college, Simpkins lost his mother, who was equally as important in his life as his father. This hit him very hard. While away at college, each week he would receive a letter from his mom.
They would always conclude with the same remarks, “Hold your head up high and be somebody.”
In Simpkins’ entrepreneurial programs at Eastern Florida State College, he usually works this into his program. He has his students repeat after him, “Hold your head up high, and be somebody.”
Simpkins’ business dealings are legendary. He and his partner, the late Fletcher Sheriff, have owned oil companies, convenience stores, a car dealership, and much, much more.
Their company, S & S Enterprises, is well known world-wide. Simpkins has worked extremely hard to be successful, and in doing so, he has put himself in a position to help many people along the way. Simply put, Simpkins has a big heart. As he explains it, “I enjoy assisting or helping people in need.”
Simpkins is extremely proud of The Simpkins Family Foundation. It was created with a purpose in mind, and that is to pass on to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren the understanding of charitable work.
According to its website, the Simpkins Family Foundation is an organization “committed to providing support for innovative programs that promote meaningful change in its communities.”
The Board of Directors, which consists of family members and others, meets twice a year. At each meeting, members are encouraged to bring forward a charity that they would like to see the Foundation support. To be considered, an organization must be a 501(c)(3).
An example of one of the numerous charities The Simpkins Family Foundation has supported is Camp Boggy Creek, whose mission is to “foster a spirit of joy by creating a free, safe and medically-sound camp environment that enriches the lives of children with serious illnesses and their families.”
HAS LEFT LIFELONG IMPRESSION
As a former member of the Board of Trustees, Simpkins has a strong relationship with Eastern Florida State College.
The Bernie Simpkins Scholarship is awarded annually to an Eastern Florida State College student and offers financial aid based on a set of criteria that includes character and sincerity. This is no surprise, because it is part of the philosophy Simpkins has subscribed to his entire life.
Each year on the campus of Eastern Florida State College, the Simpkins Seminars take place. It is named after Simpkins, who established an endowment to create the sessions that have brought some of the nation’s top business leaders to the college.
A few short years ago, Simpkins wrote a book entitled “The Harder You Work, The Luckier You Become – The Bernie Simpkins Story.”
It is a fascinating read, detailing the life of Simpkins. A paragraph on page 92 sums up the charitable nature of Bernie Simpkins.
In part it reads, “We realize that we have been very, very fortunate. Our life has been good, health reasonably good, and God’s given us a lot to manage, for which we are very appreciative, so we give to the religious organizations and church foundations primarily, but also the hospitals, colleges, youth foundations and others.”
Yes, Bernie Simpkins has left a life-long impression on those with whom he has come in contact. When asked about future projects, Simpkins smiled.
You could see the wheels turning! Bernie Simpkins is truly deserving of the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award being bestowed upon him. And, he is not finished yet.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN ALUMNI
ABOUT THE CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN AWARDS
The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards were created to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that dedicate their Time, Talent or Treasure to help people in need locally – and around the world.
This year, more than 30 deserving humanitarians were honored during the Gala, which will be held Thursday, Nov. 2 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place.
“Over the years, our editorial team has had the distinct honor and pleasure of identifying and featuring the many members of our community who give back so much and are dedicated to reaching out and helping others, here and throughout the world, in a multitude of ways,” said Space Coast Daily Editor-In-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo.
“We remain firmly committed to identifying and telling those stories and providing a timely media platform to recognize Space Coast and Central Florida residents’ altruistic contributions on a regular basis in our magazines, as well as Space Coast Daily,” said Dr. Palermo.
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