Hengesbach Named Distinguished Citizen of the Year

It gives Citrus County Harvest great pleasure to announce Grace Hengesbach, Executive Director, has been recognized as this year’s Distinguished Citizen by the West Citrus Elks Lodge #2693.

elks award hengesbach 2018
Photo taken by Thomas Flannery

This award is given annually to a citizen who demonstrates outstanding and meritorious service to humanity. It is a prestigious honor that serves to recognize those helping others within our community. Mrs. Hengesbach was chosen by the Lodge’s Exalted Ruler, Tony Schiappa.

As a believer in Servant Leadership, Grace always looks for ways to serve and assist those around her. She has been with Citrus County Harvest for a total of seven years; serving as a volunteer on the organization’s Board of Directors for 4 years and 3 years as the Executive Director. Prior to her employment with Harvest, Grace was a teacher at Crystal River Primary School. At work, Grace directs the efforts of Harvest and their three feeding programs, including Blessings.

Under her leadership the Blessings program services 25 local schools and provides meals to 1,600+ children through its weekend feeding program. Additionally, Hengesbach was the driving force behind a summer feeding program piloted in 2017, with plans to expand significantly this summer. She continues her public service outside of work hours through her involvement with multiple volunteer organizations including; the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Rotary Club of Crystal River Board of Directors, Young Professionals of Citrus County (Chairman), Community Food Bank Agency Alliance, Community Alliance and Young Leaders’ Alliance. She is a graduate of the Leadership Citrus Class of 2016.

Mr. Schiappa formally presented the award at the Elks’ Annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner on March 10, 2018. Upon receiving the award Hengesbach thanked the Lodge Members and gave credit to Citrus County, the volunteers of the Harvest/Blessings programs as well as each donor. “Thank you for this incredible honor, though, I’m just a schedule-maker,” Hengesbach said, “It takes many hands to ensure the success of this program. It couldn’t be done without the support of civic organizations, like yours, local businesses and compassionate individuals. It would be an impossible task to do alone.”

Elks invest in their communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, meet the needs of today’s veterans, and improve the quality of life. Their Lodges are places where neighbors come together, families share meals, and children grow up. The mission of the Elks is “To inculcate the principles of Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity; to recognize a belief in God; to promote the welfare and enhance the happiness of its Members; to quicken the spirit of American patriotism; to cultivate good fellowship; to perpetuate itself as a fraternal organization, and to provide for its government, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America will serve the people and communities through benevolent programs, demonstrating that Elks Care and Elks Share.” To learn more about the West Citrus Elks, call (352)503-2010, email welksclub@tampabay.rr.com or visit their website at http://www.westcitruselks.com/.

“It takes many hands to ensure the success of this program. It couldn’t be done without the support of civic organizations, like yours, local businesses and compassionate individuals. It would be an impossible task to do alone.”