Empowering our communities, accelerating the future. 

​Polk County Award Recipients 2018


Main Street Lake Wales

Every year, downtown Lake Wales is transformed into a magical celebration of the winter holidays, and this year is no different. Main Street Lake Wales coordinates a holiday celebration called Make it Magical – an event to celebrate shopping and strolling in historic downtown Lake Wales. The streets of downtown are filled with arts and crafts vendors, unique gift ideas, holiday decorations, and live music to help put you in the holiday mood and enjoy your holiday errands and shopping. There are free craft activities, admission treats, and a chance to browse the delights of the local shops and businesses in a leisurely fashion.

Main Street Lake Wales is committed to the premise that the community’s downtown is just that – the heart of the community, and for the seventh time in as many years, the group wants to give others a chance to wander and discover the delights of downtown. There may even be a magical dusting of snow! The staff at Dyer Kia and Dyer Chevrolet love the idea of a family-oriented shopping and time spent ringing in the holiday season, and that’s why they have chosen Main Street Lake Wales as the recipient of the November Dyer Difference Award.

Cheryl & Larry Bossart, Leigh Ann Wynn, Ryan Buskirk, Tatiana & Will Dyer, Diane Armington, Karen Thompson, Kristie Reed, David Dlugokecki, Jim Maggard celebrating the Polk County November Dyer Difference Award


Heartland for Children

It’s always hard to be away from home during the holidays. Even if home isn’t perfect, and few are, it’s what we know as home. This is especially true for children of trauma - children who have been removed from what they know of as home, and while this is done for the safety of the children, it’s never easy to be away from home and family during the holiday. Christmas morning may be a little more joyful this year for children in foster homes and group homes.  The staff at Dyer Kia and Dyer Chevrolet want to help ensure that every child has a chance to open a gift or realize a wish, so they have chosen Heartland for Children as the recipient of the December Dyer Difference Award.    

Since 2005, Heartland for Children has been coordinating a toy drive for children and teenagers who resided in Heartland for Children licensed foster homes, group homes, or in approved living situations with relatives or non-relatives. While many other toy drives existed, Heartland for Children, the nonprofit agency responsible for redesigning the foster care system in Hardee, Highlands and Polk Counties, realized that children and teens in open protective service cases were often missed through the regular avenues for assistance during the holidays. Heartland for Children created the Rudolph Round-Up Holiday Toy Drive to help ensure that every one of the 1,700 children in the foster care system receives a gift on Christmas morning.

Tracy Grey, Heartland for Children Chief Community Relations Officer accepting the Dyer Difference Award from GM David Dlugokecki