Communication Builds Our Community

Bill Redmon is Pioneer of the Year

Annual Pioneer Days Festival Happens October 28 and 29.

Bill Redmon has been selected as the recipient of the prestigious 2023 Pioneer of the Year for the annual Pioneer Days festival, which will take place at Lake Wailes Park on October 29 and 29.

Redmon's extraordinary dedication to his community and his outstanding achievements make him a true pioneer in every sense and led to his selection by the board of the Lake Wales History Museum, sponsors of the long-standing and popular festival. Only 50-year residents of the Lake Wales community are eligible for the honor.

The Pioneer Days features reenactors and pioneer crafts, live animals, antique cars, games, food vendors, and a host of activities and performances. Redmon will be honored during the Saturday morning Pioneer Hour at the event.

Redmon was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1940. He attended high school in East Point, Georgia and graduated in 1958. During those high school years, he would frequently travel to Lake Wales to attend camp at Lake Aurora Christian Camp. Redmon attended Atlanta Christian College, and graduated with his bachelor's degree in 1962, and then followed by a bachelor's degree in theology also from Atlanta Christian College in 1963.

While a camper at Lake Aurora he met Margaret Dance, a Lake Wales native whose father was the pastor of the First Christian Church. Redmon married Margert in 1961. Bill and Margaret moved to Lake Wales in 1972 so he could become the first Executive Director of Lake Aurora Christian Camp. Together they have two sons, Scott and Rex, who both graduated from Lake Wales High School. Both later graduated from the University of Florida and are Landscape Architects. Bill and Margaret were married until her passing in 1999. In 2001, Bill found love again with Wendy Warman and remarried.

Redmon served as the Executive Director of Lake Aurora Christian Camp for an impressive 34 years. During his tenure, he transformed the camp from a humble 25-acre campus into a sprawling 75-acre haven and increased its budget from a modest $10,000 to over a million dollars. Redmon's dedication to those with disabilities is evident through his involvement in the Circle of Friends Ministry. He played a pivotal role in establishing the first disabilities camp, "Camp Friendship," held at Lake Aurora Christian Camp, providing students from Circle of Friends with their first-ever overnight camp experience.

Notably, Redmon spearheaded the "Barney's Dream Paddle Cruise" fundraiser, which successfully raised funds for the purchase of a Mobi chair, enhancing the lake experience for people with disabilities. He has also significantly contributed to making Lake Aurora Christian Camp more accessible for individuals with disabilities through various initiatives, including the installation of wheelchair-friendly golf carts, Hoyer lifts, and wheelchair-accessible concrete sidewalks.

Redmon's passion for community involvement extends far beyond the boundaries of Lake Aurora Christian Camp. He has been a prominent figure in various organizations and initiatives. He has also held the position of Past President at Lake Wales Breakfast Rotary and served as the Past Assistant District Governor for Rotary District 6890.

For over a decade, Redmon facilitated the opening and closing of Leadership Lake Wales retreats, showcasing his commitment to nurturing leadership qualities in others. He is thevisionary behind the highly successful Big Kahuna Paddle Challenge on Lake Wailes, which served as a vital fundraiser for the Lake Wales Breakfast Rotary to support the Boys and Girls Camp for several years.

Redmon's vision extended to the realm of community recognition as he proposed a 12-mile paddle through Lake Kissimmee State Park, ultimately leading to Lake Wales' designation as a Blue Way City. Additionally, he conceived and coordinated "Spook Hill Thunder," an event that brought several non-profit organizations together, raising substantial funds for their respective causes.

Redmon previously worked with former Museum Director Monica Pierce and her team in developing a mission and vision statement along with developing goals and objectives that acted as the foundation for the strategic plan of what would go on to become the Lake Wales History Museum.

One of his most significant accomplishments is the creation of "Stirring Waters," an intentionally and fully inclusive waterpark designed for people with disabilities. His vision for a place where individuals of all abilities can share in the joys of water recreation embodies the spirit of inclusivity and unity. "Stirring Waters" aims to create an environment where everyone can participate in water-based activities, regardless of their physical abilities.

The Pioneer of the Year award will be presented to Bill Redmon during the annual Pioneer Days Festival, during Pioneer Hour on Saturday, October 28, 2023, at 10:00 AM. The public is encouraged to join in celebrating this remarkable individual whose dedication and vision have truly made a lasting impact on the Lake Wales community and beyond.

 

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