2012 GREAT Awards
Read about our five 2012 GREAT Award winners:
Derrick Buchholz – Everglades University
A lifelong love of aviation has been a central feature in Derrick Buchholz's life. After receiving his privatepilot's license at the age of 20, he began flying commercially by 23. His promising career was nearly cutshort by a terrible car accident, followed by a cancer diagnosis. Either of these trials would haveknocked down most other people, but Derrick fully recovered and continued to work in aviation.Knowing that completing his college education would give him the best opportunity to succeed, heenrolled at Everglades University in Sarasota, FL to achieve a BS in Aviation Technology. Derrick isheavily involved in community service, being thankful for his own good fortune and wanting to give backto those in need. Some of the organizations he is involved with include the American Heart Association,the American Cancer Society, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, American Red Cross, Toys for Tots, andveterans support groups. With what free time he has left, he has a recurring role on a TV series, Miami24/7, playing an aviation mechanic. Life imitates art sometimes, and Derrick's success is an inspirationto all of those who may think that they cannot overcome challenges that may seem insurmountable.
Roman Coley Davis – Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts
Roman Davis has served his country in war and is now serving his community at home by fighting to endchildhood hunger through his involvement in Share our Strength, one of the nation's leading hungerelimination organizations. Roman is a veteran who has received multiple Purple Hearts, the Bronze Starfor valor in combat, and served as an interrogator and Human Intelligence Collector/Linguist (French andPashto), while on overseas deployments. He is a graduate of the prestigious L'Academie D'Art Culinairede Paris at Le Cordon Bleu, with a degree and diplôme in classical French Culinary Arts, and he currentlyserves as the Executive Chef and Director of Food Services at First Baptist Church in Douglas, GA.Roman's involvement with Share of Strength has been a defining aspect of his life, as he has devotedhimself wholeheartedly to ensuring that children in our country do not have to endure going hungry, ashe himself did as a child growing up on food stamps and free school lunches. Roman has beeninstrumental in providing direct guidance and assistance with expanding Share our Strength's outreach,and his selflessness and advocacy for those who are walking in his former shoes make him an idealchoice for this year's GREAT Awards.
Brook Herritt – Culinary Academy of Long Island at Star Career Academy
A successful battle against thyroid cancer early in her life set the stage for the perseverance that BrookHerritt would later show as she went from juggling the responsibilities of raising five children tograduating from the Culinary Academy of Long Island at Star Career Academy and being hired to work asa Culinary Production Manager and Food Stylist for the Food Network. As part of her training, shelabored up to 60 hours a week, unpaid, while her husband worked two jobs in order to support theirfamily. She graduated as valedictorian, and is currently working on the upcoming season of The NextFood Network Star, a highly sought‐after position. Brook somehow finds the time to stay active with heralma mater, speaking to the inaugural culinary arts class at her school's new campus in New Jersey, andinspiring future chefs with her strength and determination to accomplish her goals.
Anthony Phillips – Everest Institute
Anthony Phillips' dreamed of becoming a professional football player since he was child, and when theAtlanta Falcons picked him in the draft to join their team, he jumped at the opportunity. After severalyears of play on the field, Anthony was released due to injury, and while he managed to recover to playagain with over professional and semi‐professional teams, the injuries returned and his career was cutshort. A life without football was hard to imagine, but he was able to turn his own pain into amotivation for helping others. Anthony enrolled at Everest Institute in Kalamazoo, MI to become amedical assistant, and despite his own health issues, including kidney failure that left him on dialysis, hegraduated from the program and is now making a difference in the lives of others who are living withpain. Anthony's grit and resolve to win in his own life have made him the success that he is today.
Debra Stewart – Ashford University
No one can say that Debra Stewart is an underachiever! As a parent busy with working and raising herchildren, she didn't have time to further her education. However, she decided that in order to achieveher professional goals, she needed to go back to school. As a working adult, that would have beendifficult enough, but she was also a caregiver for her husband, he had been diagnosed with heartproblems and dementia. She found the balance she needed to succeed at Ashford University, where sheearned two Master's degrees – a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Teachingand Learning with Technology. She received a promotion at work as the Director of Wellness at a seniorliving community, and she has also started a company offering corporate wellness programs toorganizations, in addition to writing a book exploring new approaches for advanced dementia care. Sadly, Debra's husband passed away last year, but in her own words, she says "His passing challengedme to review my goals and over a period of time, I discovered that my goals are still in line with who I am. I feel that my education has helped me to serve the marginalized at a level that I never thoughtpossible."