Dedication to Coconut Grove earns CocoWalk Cares honors

Friends gathered in the courtyard of CocoWalk to surprise Lilia Garcia with the award.

By Lee Stephens….

Friends gathered in the courtyard of CocoWalk to surprise Lilia Garcia with the award.

CocoWalk created an initiative to give back to outstanding individuals in the community, and after receiving many deserving nominations, CocoWalk chose Lilia Garcia as the 2011 CocoWalk Cares award recipient.

Garcia has battled many personal health issues and still finds the energy to dedicate all her free time to volunteering in Coconut Grove. CocoWalk surprised her on May 3 with a $1,000 shopping spree courtesy of CocoWalk and its merchants.

Friends gathered in the courtyard of CocoWalk to greet Garcia who was truly shocked and overwhelmed with the recognition. Thinking she was waiting for a meeting with artist and CocoWalk gallery owner George Rodez at Bice Bistro, the CocoWalk marketing manager was leading a group of 25 of Garcia’s friends to greet her.

“What a wonderful surprise to have been awarded the CocoWalk Cares Award, especially because it is the first time it has been bestowed,” Garcia said. “I can’t express how rewarding it is to be recognized for something you love to do and deeply believe in.

“I love Coconut Grove and truly believe that the arts can be a terrific vehicle to engage the South Florida community and tourists in spending time and money here.

“It is such a pleasure to work with you in creating and expanding our dynamic, thriving, and exciting Coconut Grove business district, and I hope you consider me a cheerleader for CocoWalk,” she added.

“It’s not often enough people are recognized for their volunteer efforts,” said CocoWalk marketing manager Naomi Evans. “Lilia started the Grove Gallery Walk with the help of other Grove artists and the Coconut Grove BID which has developed into a great monthly event and even through her own personal hardships, does it all with a smile on her face. She’s one of a kind!”

This has been the first installment of the CocoWalk Cares Initiative. It will be presented once a year to outstanding individuals who are helping to make a difference in the Coconut Grove community.

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