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Makepeace named Citizen of the Year

By Staff | Mar 20, 2015

Much of what Gregg Makepeace has done for North Fort Myers over the past 12 years has been done in silence and without much notoriety. In fact, there isn’t much about North Fort Myers that he doesn’t know about, or didn’t have a hand in creating during that time.

On Tuesday, during the Board of County Commissioners meeting, Makepace was given one of Lee County’s highest accolades for all his hard work.

The BOCC selected Makepeace as the recipient of the Paulette Burton Citizen of the Year Award for 2014, which is granted to the citizen who has provided outstanding civic contributions to Lee County government.

Makepeace said he was surprised to be honored.

“I knew I was a contender, but I didn’t think I would win. I was surprised,” Makepeace said.

Makepeace, 80, has been a civic leader and team builder in North Fort Myers and surrounding neighborhoods for more than a decade, acting as president of the North Fort Myers Civic Association since 2005.

Makepeace was a leading force behind the construction of the $9 million North Fort Myers Recreation Center completed last year and is currently working on the North Fort Myers Library Task Force, which is set to see its work come to fruition in the near future.

Makepeace said all that’s been done over the years has been made possible by the countless people who worked with him.

“It’s not me. I see a need so I do it,” Makepeace said.

Other memberships include the Navy Fleet Reserve Group 118, the North Fort Myers Community Planning Panel and the North Fort Myers Design Review Panel.

Makepeace spent 20 years in the Marine Corps and 23 more years in the business sector, working in electronic manufacturing when computers were in their infancy, and later as a consultant for General Motors.

Makepeace moved to North Fort Myers in 1997 and quickly became involved in the local community.

He’s been a Boy Scout leader, Cub Scout leader, worked with Little League, military organizations and other groups.

Makepeace has always implored people to get involved and make a difference in their community as a volunteer, as many organizations need talented people to lend a hand, no matter how small the task may be.

“I know they needed help. Sometimes I was more reluctant than willing, but I did it and got involved,” Makepeace said. “People need to join these organizations and give as much as they can. Find a spot where you fit in and help out.”

Makepeace, who has done much of his work in recent months from home because of a broken hip, was chosen from a field of seven people nominated by members of the community.

Makepeace has been a fixture at county commission meetings, committee meetings and fire district board meetings.

Mike Land, a member of the civic association and the man who nominated Makepeace, said he was worthy of the honor.

“He’s been an outstanding leader for us for a decade and devotes tremendous amounts of time to doing the good work for the people of North Fort Myers. He’s a treasure,” Land said. “He’s an inspiration to us.”

Commissioner Brian Hamman said the commission couldn’t have made a better choice.

“He has served our country and county very well over the last 10 years. I’m proud of the work he has done and proud the board recognized him,” Hamman said. “He took the lead to build the rec center that has proven to be so popular. He’ll always be remembered for that.”

The Burton Citizen of the Year award was created in 1991 in honor of Paulette Burton, who was killed in an automobile accident. Burton, a longtime Sanibel resident and government watchdog, spent many years serving as a voice of the people at BOCC meetings and played an active role in Sanibel politics.