Votes have been tallied and the envelope unsealed.
FISH executive director Maggi Feiner has been named Honorary "My Choice" Grand Marshal for the Edison Parade of Lights. Feiner was one of three finalists for the honor from a list of more than 100 nominees.
"Major disbelief," said Feiner. "It's a wonderful and very humbling experience, especially after meeting the other two finalists."
FISH of Sanibel executive director Maggi Feiner has been named Honorary Grand Marshal for the Edison Parade of Lights.
The Honorary Grand Marshal title is based on contributions made to the community. Feiner has served FISH (Friends In Service Here) on Sanibel for 11 years as a volunteer, first by delivering meals, then as a board member, as board vice-president and two terms as president and executive director.
Former FISH president Bill Fellows initiated Feiner's nomination and a Festival of Lights committee pared the list of 100 nominees to the three finalists to be voted on by the public.
"I was totally unaware of the nomination until I got the call as one of the finalists," said Feiner. "It's a wonderful recognition of this organization and what our board and volunteers do out here."
In recent months FISH program director Christine Swiersz was recognized as humanitarian of the year by the Lee County Travel and Tourism Board and Sanibel City Manager Judie Zimomra was named the News-Press 2012 People of the Year Public Official.
"I have had the privilege of serving as president of FISH of Sanibel for the last two years," says Bill Fellows. "I personally have come to appreciate the generosity of our community when it comes to care for our neighbors. Their generosity allows FISH to meet its mission of neighbors helping neighbors."
As executive director, a volunteer position, Feiner oversees the day-to-day operation of FISH programs. That includes delivering more than 74,000 pounds of food in 2012 to more than 220 families on the island. Also last year, FISH served islanders through its emergency financial assistance program to the tune of more than $211,000 to help pay rent, utility and medical bills and other expenses.
"However, we all know where we would be if it had not been for Maggi's passion and dedication over many years," said current FISH president John Morse. "What a wonderful honor for a wonderful person."
As Honorary Grand Marshal Feiner will have a role in the Edison Festival of Light Junior Parade on Feb. 10 as well as the Festival of Light Grand Parade on Feb. 16.
"I don't know exactly what my responsibilities are just yet with the parades," said Feiner.