The Association of Florida Colleges (AFC) at the AFC 2015 Annual Meeting and Conference in Orlando honored Marcia Mayer, an alumna of North Florida Community College, with the 2015 LeRoy Collins Distinguished Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award on Nov. 12. NFCC President John Grosskopf escorted Mayer to the podium to receive her award, which is named in honor of LeRoy Collins, former governor of Florida whose leadership was instrumental in establishing the state’s community college system. Other special guests attending the ceremony included Mayer’s family and friends, her former NFCC instructors Nita Fico and Jackie Humes, and NFCC Executive Director of Development and External Affairs Dr. Cheryl James. Mayer was honored with the LeRoy Collins Lifetime Achievement Award for dedicating her life to helping others. As a nurse, she has crossed borders and helped thousands of people across the world including malnourished and starving children, expecting mothers with HIV/AIDS, war zone victims and victims of hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, floods and other disasters. “Marcia is a true success story,” said Grosskopf. “She has made a profound difference in our world and touched many thousands of lives either directly or indirectly through her service and generosity.” She has served on seven emergency medical missions with Doctors Without Borders, an organization awarded the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize and well known for delivering emergency medical aid. Marcia’s compassionate heart led her to Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, Armenia, Cambodia, Sudan and Nigeria, where she traveled across vast landscapes and visited remote villages to help administer treatment and vaccines. As an outreach nurse she has served with the Flying Doctors of Mercy and Flying Samaritans in Mexico, Solid Rock Missions in the Dominican Republic, Omega Medical Missions in El Salvador, the Nicaraguan Children’s Fund, and Northwest Medical Teams in Liberia and Indonesia. She was deployed eight times with the American Red Cross to help victims of catastrophic hurricanes (including Hurricane Floyd, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Isaac and Hurricane Sandy), the South Central Texas floods, and tornadoes in Enterprise and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Countless lives in her own community have been impacted through her work in hospitals, prisons, nursing homes and juvenile psychiatric facilities. Mayer graduated from NFCC’s Practical Nursing program in 1992, completing her associates degree in nursing at the University of State of New York in 1994. Eight months later, she was in serving in the Peace Corps – “My eyes opened and I could no longer contain my empathy and compassion for those in need. It is hard for me to verbalize the things I have witnessed and the joy that I have shared with others as I have used my talents, gifts, and education throughout the years. I get choked up just thinking of any one of these missions and the lives lost and saved.” Mayer credits North Florida Community College as her starting point and former NFCC instructors Nita Fico and Jackie Humes for being the strong role models that pushed her to go further and use her talents to the fullest extent. “If it were not for my instructors, Nita Fico and Jackie Humes, pushing me; the closeness of the college to where I lived; and being accepted to the nursing program at NFCC – well, it all never would have happened.” “I sincerely thank North Florida Community College and my nursing instructors Nita Fico and Jackie Humes,” said Mayer. “Nita and Jackie, because of your encouragement and your confidence in my ability, I took a very giant leap and the windows to the world opened for me. The planet became my workplace. Serving humanity and giving hope has brought endless joy and thousands of tears in to my life. I am forever grateful for every moment.” Through the years Marcia kept in touch with NFCC, sharing service projects with nursing students so that they could take part in her national and international missions. This year she decided to help more students start their journey at NFCC, just as she did 23 years ago. In 2015, Marcia partnered with the NFCC Foundation to establish the Fico-Humes-Mayer Scholarship Fund, bequeathing her entire estate to the NFCC Foundation to benefit nursing programs and scholarships at the college and to honor her former instructors. Mayer currently lives in West Palm Beach, Fl. “Marcia has, through service to others, made a profound and lasting difference on the local, state, national and international level,” said Grosskopf. NFCC is proud to have Mayer among its alumni and congratulates her on being honored with the prestigious 2015 LeRoy Collins Distinguished Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award by the AFC Communications and Marketing Commission.