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Cape ‘pioneer’ earns Burton award

By Staff | Mar 20, 2018

A member of one of Cape Coral’s first families – literally, Gloria Tate was honored with one of Lee County’s highest awards Tuesday.

Tate, who has lived in the Coral since the then-fledging community ended on Coronado Parkway and had fewer than 200 people called it home, was presented the 27th annual Paulette Burton Citizen of the Year Award during the Lee County Board of County Commissioners meeting.

The award was created in 1991 in honor of Burton, a longtime government watchdog and Sanibel resident who died in an automobile accident that year.

The awards recognizes a Lee County resident who has provided outstanding civic contributions to Lee County government.

Tate considered it a humbling experience just to be nominated for the award, as she has been previously.

“Some of my friends nominated me and thought I was deserving of the award. I’m privileged to think that people believe in me enough and will help with all the causes in Lee County,” Tate said. “It’s about giving back, and what’s special is that I’ve had the chance to live here and grow up here and help people who have just come here and been here as long as I have.”

Tate was a finalist in 2015 and again last year, getting the nod this go-around or her tireless work in the city in politics and philanthropy from among seven worthy nominees.

Tate was modest as she accepted her award from the BOCC.

“The gift of giving is important because you never know when you’re going to need it back,” Tate said. “The more you give, the more you get.”

Tate, who came to Cape Coral with her family in 1960, served on the Cape Coral City Council from 1996-2009 and was a member of the city’s Tourism Development Committee, working on the “Catch The Vision” event. She also brought the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life to the Cape, has done bone marrow and blood drives and supported Hope Hospice.

Currently, she is working on a fundraiser for Cindy Gallagher, who is going through a battle with cancer, and assisting those affected by Hurricane Irma.

“These are normal things people do to help each other. It’s how I grew up. Everyone came together to do what we needed to do to get things done,” Tate said.

Rita Miller, who was among those who nominated Tate, said there are people who are selfless and do it when nobody is looking so they don’t get the public accolades. Tate is one of them.

“Gloria has been doing things for the community for years very quietly and modestly. It’s great to see her being recognized for it,” Miller said.

Commissioner John Manning, who has known Tate for years, said she has dedicated herself to the community and he is very proud of her accomplishment.

“She is a very giving, thoughtful person and very involved in the community. She was nominated last year and it makes me glad she was on the winning team,” Manning said. “Gloria is part of the foundation of the community and always will be.”