​​​​The Volusia/Flagler Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers-Florida Chapter held their annual Social Work Awards dinner Friday night, March 31, 2017, at the LPGA International Country Club in Daytona Beach. The Awards Dinner honors selected community members who are committed to bettering the lives of their fellow citizens as well as one Social Worker who exemplifies Social Work goals.  

NASW-FL Award Recipients Shown, from left to right: Patricia Oaks – Public Citizen of the Year;  Andrew Spar – Elected Official of the Year; Judge Dawn P. Fields – Elected Official of the  Year; Randy Herman, Social Worker of the Year; Gary Wandelt – Public Citizen of the Year. (Photo by  Kevin Ferguson)

This year, five individuals were honored:

PUBLIC CITIZEN OF THE YEAR -Patricia Oaks - Prevention Specialist & Counselor for The House Next Door in Deland.  ‘Miss Patti’, as she is known to her students and families, is an advocate and nurturing presence to the young people with whom she works.  Ms. Oaks believes that every student can succeed no matter what barriers they face.  

PUBLIC CITIZEN OF THE YEAR - Gary Wandelt, Retired Police Officer and Community Volunteer.  Mr Wandelt is on the Board of Directors of the Sunset Civitan Club, advocating for the developmentally disabled.  He is also active with the Salvation Army and Halifax Urban Ministries.

ELECTED OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR awards – Judge Dawn Fields, Seventh Judicial Circuit.  Judge Fields is President Elect of the South Daytona/Port Orange Sunset Citizen Club  - a volunteer/service organization that supports individuals and agencies with developmental disabilities.  She is a tireless advocate for vulnerable individuals and populations and mirrors social work values and ethics.  

ELECTED OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR - Andrew Spar, President of Volusia United Educators.  Elected to his post in 2003, Mr. Spar has worked diligently to increase the voice of teachers and workers in our public schools.  He has also served on the Executive Board of the Florida AFL-CIO and spent 8 years on the Executive Cabinet of the Florida Education Association.

SOCIAL WORKER OF THE YEAR - W. Randolph (Randy) Herman, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus. Dr. Herman began his career as a Vietnam Era social worker in the US Army before assuming the directorship of an adoption agency and subsequently becoming director of a day treatment program in California.  In 1979, he accepted a faculty position in New Zealand where he taught for 10 years before returning with his family to the US and joining the faculty of the University of Wisconsin and the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.  Dr. Herman led multiple mission and international study abroad trips to Central and South America. He was instrumental in establishing a semester-long program in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and taught that program several times before and after his retirement and move to New Smyrna Beach, FL. Dr. Herman has a small private practice and is active in community affairs as a member of the NSB Neighborhood Council, Citizens for Smart Growth and the Residents Coalition. Dr. Herman was honored for his lifelong commitment to social work education and his work as a community activist. (Write up by Marilyn DeLuera)

Dear NASW-FL Members, 

The NASW Volusia/Flagler Social Work Celebration 2017 was a huge success.  Due to the hard work and dedication of our steering committee, our banquet came off without a hitch.  The members of the Steering Committee are Teresa Wright, Nancy Brighton, Marilyn DeLuera, Phyllis Lavigna, Bonnie Hines, Elizabeth Ferguson, William Burns and Jessica Hemeseth.  Our honorees included Public Citizens of the Year, Particia A. Oaks and Gary Wandelt. Our Elected Officials of the Year were Judge Dawn P. Fields and Andrew Spar and last but not least, our Social Worker of the Year was Randy Herman. I highlighted our spectacular CEU events this year and the dynamic professionals that presented our workshops. We look forward to another productive year.  

As a unit, we have added two local Social Work concerns. First and foremost, we need to increase the presence of Social Workers in our schools. It is a sad day when every school has a deputy with a loaded gun standing guard outside, but  many times no School Social Worker inside working with the students to prevent conflict. In a world full of uncertainty, school violence and fear of terrorism, there are few professions that can grasp the complexity of human relations in this new world order, like a fully trained and credentialed Social Worker.  Andrew Spar, President of Volusia United Educators spoke of the need to bring more Social Workers back into the schools. We look forward to working with him to bring this about.  The demand for more School Social Workers issue was also brought up with Jim Aiken and our representatives at the last NASW-FL Board meeting. Mr. Aiken asserted that it would become part of our 2017 official agenda. We would also like to take up the banner for microeconomic projects for women in our community. Research has shown that investing in the women in a community will have a direct and positive influence on the economic development and family stability in a neighborhood that will directly benefit our children.  

Best Wishes to all, 

Elizabeth Ferguson
Volusia/Flagler Chapter

NASW Invocation 3/30/2017
Please join me in a moment of reflection and thanks:  

praying together, each of us, according to our individual beliefs; offering thanks for our food and fellowship?
Lord, we are from many walks of life, yet we are in unity, for we have the same goals and we thank you for our work and the blessings it provides; such as this banquet dinner tonight. 

May we always be a source of hope for those in need:  With our friends beside us, and no person beneath us; With our goals before us, and no task beyond us; Let the feelings of love, kindness, and a well-directed, yet gentle spirit always be reflected in our actions… Thank you for our country and for the heritage which has come to us through the efforts of the many guardians of freedom, justice, and righteousness.

I ask that you bless and keep these guardians of justice here tonight, just as they bless others with their service, giving them the wisdom to continue teaching others to love, to respect, and to be kind to each other. May their days be filled with laughter and love, May their lives overflow with fulfillment and satisfaction, and May peace be the song for their hearts and souls. 

Lord, help each of us remember that we have to work at, nurture, protect, and pray for justice. Be with us now as we go forward in fellowship continuing to reflect your loving kindness on all whom we meet.  

Reverend Donna Choate and New Church Family


Elizabeth Engelman-Ferguson, LCSW - Unit Chair



Marilyn DeLeura, LCSW

Unit Chair/CE

Elizabeth Engelman-Ferguson, LCSW


 Special Events Chair

 Teresa Wright, MSW

Membership Chair

Nancy Brighton, LCSW

Unit Secretary

Jessica Hemesath, MSW

Legislative/ PACE Chair


Communications Chair

Leah Hampton, MSW

Member –at-Large

Phyllis LaVigna, LCSW

Past Chair

Matt Gilmore, LCSW



August 29, 2017 • Daytona Beach, FL   
*NASW-FL Volusia/Flagler Unit is hosting their Annual Kick-Off 
from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Houlighan's Banquet Room, Daytona Beach, FL.  Come learn and discuss some of the most important issues that will be impacting our work this year.

2017 Volusia/Flagler Unit Award Winners

Social Worker of the Year:  Randy Herman 
Elected Official of the Year:  Judge Dawn Fields 
Elected Official of the Year:  Andrew Spar 
Public Citizen of the Year:  Gary Wandelt 
Public Citizen of the Year:  Patricia A. Oaks

Our Face book page just keeps getting better and better thanks to Leah Hampton.  Check it out for more information regarding all recent and future events!


As always, all unit meetings are held the third Tuesday of each month at New Church Family at 3520 West International Speedway Blvd. Daytona Beach,( Route 92) at 6 p.m.

Join NASW today! 1-800-742-4089

NASW-FL Volusia Flagler Unit Social Work Award Winners