Couple wins prestigious state award for volunteer efforts to expand Phillippi Farmhouse Market

Fred and Grace Whitehouse honored

Fred and Grace Whitehouse display their award. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Longtime Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department volunteers Fred and Grace Whitehouse have won the 2019 Florida Recreation and Park Association Voluntary Service Award, the county has announced.

“This prestigious award recognizes the Whitehouses for their exemplary volunteer service” to parks and recreation, a news release explains. Over nine years, the Whitehouses have expanded the Phillippi Farmhouse Market from 19 vendors to more than 50 and coordinated with nonprofit organizations such as the Suncoast Blood Bank and the Humane Society of Sarasota County “to have a presence at the market,” the release adds. Moreover, under their advocacy, the market has contributed more than $192,000 toward renovations of the historic Keith Farmhouse, the release points out.

“We are so proud of the volunteer service that Fred and Grace Whitehouse provide to the community,” said Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Director Nicole Rissler in the release. “Their work over the last nine years has been both humbling and inspiring. Fred and Grace are truly deserving of this service award.”

“Grace also spends time working with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County to promote park systems and provide analytic support to the foundation’s Giving Partners program, which provides funding for parks projects and other community programs,” the release notes. Additionally, Grace manages the Siesta Key Memorial Paver program and is the treasurer of the Friends of Sarasota County Parks organization.

Fred also manages the Venice North Jetty Memorial Fish program, the release says.