Tallahassee Democrat Editorial - 10/18/2006

 

Steve Uhlfelder was student-body president at the University of Florida when the bug for public service really took hold. His '60s generation was famous for political activism, and in some respects the Tallahassee attorney continues to keep his eye on political issues - but with a goal of solving problems, not just pointing them out.

Tuesday at the Governor's Mansion, Mr. Uhlfelder was honored with a national Daily Point of Light Award by Gov. Jeb Bush and Bob Goodwin, president of the national foundation that grants these high honors - one a day around the nation to extraordinary volunteers in public service. The award came during ceremonies honoring this year's weekly recipients of the Governor's Points of Light Award in Florida.

Mr. Uhlfelder serves as voluntary chairman of the state's mentoring effort, which he helped develop in 1998 during Mr. Bush's campaign. The result, the Governor's Mentoring Initiative, has made Florida one of the leading mentoring states in the nation, with more than 206,000 active mentors.

He is chairman of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and a former member of the Florida Board of Governors, Florida State University Board of Trustees and now-defunct Board of Regents, all unpaid positions.

After two consecutive hurricane seasons that delivered eight destructive storms to our state, Mr. Uhlfelder became voluntary CEO of the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund in 2004. He helped mobilize Florida communities to assist one another in hurricane recovery and worked to raise nearly $24 million in donations and pledges to the cause.

He credits his interest in public service as beginning with his years as UF student-body president, asking himself one important question: What's the right thing to do?

Clearly, over his career, he has done "right things" beyond counting.