Community Hospice & Palliative Care to Honor Deborah Freeman and Matt Brandon with the Servant's Heart Award

June 19, 2024 (Lake City, Fla.) - Community Hospice & Palliative Care is proud to announce the recipients of the 4th annual Servant's Heart Award: Deborah Freeman and the late Matt Brandon. The award ceremony, held on June 18, 2024, at the Lifestyle Enrichment Center, brought together community leaders, family, and friends to celebrate the extraordinary contributions of these two remarkable individuals.

The Servant's Heart Award is a prestigious honor recognizing individuals whose unwavering dedication to community service, education, and transformative initiatives embodies the true spirit of giving. Both Deborah Freeman and Matt Brandon exemplify these values through their profound impact on their communities and the countless lives they have touched.

"Community Hospice & Palliative Care acknowledges individuals who share our values and are dedicated to serving the community," said Billie Dodd, Regional Director of Alivia Care, the parent company of Community Hospice & Palliative Care. "It is a privilege and a source of pride to acknowledge these individuals publicly. Their commitment to enhancing the well-being of others in the community and advocating for the community aligns perfectly with our mission, vision, and values."

Mrs. Freeman was raised and educated in Florida, attending Florida State University before getting married and moving to Maryland, where she had her first child. After returning to Jacksonville in 1967 and having a second child in 1972, she resumed her education, earning an Associate of Arts degree from Florida Junior College at Jacksonville and graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of North Florida in 1984. Between 1976 and 1989, she volunteered and worked professionally with the Museum of Arts and Sciences, served on the Board of Directors of the Florida Endowment of the Humanities, and graduated from the Museum Management Institute at UC Berkeley.

In 1989, Mrs. Freeman remarried and moved to Lake City, where she worked for the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, teaching grant writing and co-chairing the Florida Association of Museums Annual Meeting. In 1991, she became the Executive Director of the Columbia County Council on Aging, transforming senior programs and facilities over a 28-year tenure. She also provided significant support for dementia patients and their caregivers, collaborated with the United Way, served on various committees, and contributed to community emergency plans. A long-time member of Pleasant Grove Methodist Church, she remains active in her community, cherishing her family, which includes a son, a daughter, and two granddaughters.

Matt Brandon, honored posthumously, was a beloved community leader whose life impacted thousands during his 59 years. A devoted husband to Stacy and father to Joe, Matt's sudden passing in February 2024 left a profound emptiness among family, friends, and colleagues. Raised in Lake City, he graduated from Columbia High School in 1982 and proudly served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Independence. Matt's strong faith guided his life; he was actively involved in his church, teaching Pre-K Vacation Bible School, participating in youth outreaches, and serving on the prayer team. A dedicated lifelong learner, he earned a bachelor's degree from Purdue Global, graduating Magna Cum Laude, and was a member of the Veteran's Honor Society.

Professionally, Matt made significant contributions as a Healthcare Representative for Community Hospice & Palliative Care in Lake City, where his compassion and dedication left a lasting impact. He was deeply committed to youth, serving as a Boy Scout and Cub Scout leader, and was actively involved with the youth group at City Church. Additionally, Matt was a dedicated Rotary Club member and became an ordained minister to officiate his nieces' weddings. His legacy of love, service, and commitment to family, faith, and community continues to inspire all who knew him.

These awards celebrate the extraordinary lives of Deborah Freeman and Matt Brandon, reminding us of the profound impact individuals can have on their communities through selfless dedication and service.

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About Community Hospice & Palliative Care

Established in 1979, Community Hospice & Palliative Care is an innovative national leader in palliative and hospice care, as well as providing programs and services to meet the diverse needs of the communities it serves. During its 45-year history, through the support of more than 1,000 employees and 1,000 volunteers, the organization helps approximately 1,600 patients per day to live better with advanced illness – at home, in long-term care and assisted living facilities, in hospitals and at its 10 inpatient care centers. No one is ever denied care due to an inability to pay. To learn more about the support and services of Community Hospice & Palliative Care, visit