Wilmer Pearson of Ontario, Wis., and Sarasota, Fla., has been named the 2018 Marinus Latour Award recipient by the Florida Historical Society.
The award is named in honor of Marinus Latour, a former president and longtime supporter of the Florida Historical Society. This award recognizes an outstanding volunteer in a local historical society, library, museum or other Florida-history-related program or organization. The volunteer’s record of service should be of such significance that it is easily demonstrated. The winner receives a $200 stipend and a plaque.
In nominating Pearson for the award, staff members from the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Fla., wrote the following:
“Wilmer Pearson is someone who completely epitomizes the word ‘volunteer.’ He gives selflessly, not only of his time, but also his passion, his intellect, his warmth, his support, and his good humor. He has served at the Ringling since 2002 in numerous capacities, including as a docent, a family program volunteer, a greeter, a school tour guide and a department assistant. He has served as the chair of the Volunteer Advisory Council and is the present past chair of the Docent Advisory Council. He also has served three terms on the Ringling Museum Board of Directors.
“Wilmer has the special ability to provide cheer and goodwill to everyone he encounters. Beneath his gregarious and outgoing nature exists the keen mind of an educator and historian. He works tirelessly to make history come alive at the Ringling, connecting visitors with the stories we tell in ways that are meaningful to them. He effortlessly balances the needs of our institution with the needs of our visitors, and he is also a stalwart representative of his fellow volunteers, having served in numerous leadership roles among the Ringling volunteer corps.
“Conversing with Wilmer, even for just a moment, will put a smile on your face and leave you feeling inspired and energized. It is with great pride and gratitude for his tireless work on behalf of our museum that we nominate him for recognition.”
The museum staff will accept the award on his behalf on Friday, May 18, at the Florida Historical Society reception.
Pearson is a retired English teacher and librarian from the Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District.