Gov. Rick Scott presented one of the first Great Floridian awards of the year to football legend Tim Tebow on Friday in a ceremony at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse near Jacksonville.
Tebow, 25, was honored hours prior to the start of his third-annual Tim Tebow Foundation Celebrity Gala and Golf Classic. The gala is Friday night, the golf classic will be at the TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium Course on Saturday morning.
The Great Floridian designation is given in recognition of the outstanding achievements of men and women who have made significant contributions to the progress and welfare of Florida.
In presenting the award, Scott said, It is an honor to present one of our first of 2013 Great Floridian awards to football legend and Florida native Tim Tebow. Tim is a great role model for young athletes, and throughout his career, he has proven to be a true competitor, humanitarian and a winner. Not only a winner in his football career, but in life. He inspires people all across not only the United States, but across the world."
Continued Scott, "Tim is not just an athlete, he is a true example of someone who lives to serve others.It is my distinct honor to recognize football legend, proud University of Florida Gator and humanitarian Tim Tebow with the Great Floridian award.
Tebow said in response, "I am so honored to be selected by Gov. Scott ... It has always been wonderful to call Florida home. ...I dont look at myself as a great Floridian, I look at myself as a blessed Floridian. My biggest goal in leaving the University of Florida was to find a way to give back not only to my local communities, but across the country and around the world."
Tebows charitable work is primarily focused on benefiting children globally. The Florida Times-Union says hisfoundation focuses the money it raises on "the building of playrooms in childrens hospitals, support for orphans worldwide, building a childrens hospital in the Philippines, and making dreams come true for children with life-threatening illnesses."
Said Tebow, "Thats how we started this foundation ... to bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need. That is my goal. I know at the end of the day, it doesnt really matter what happens on the football field, but it really does matter what you do in life and the lives you impact off the field."
Only 66 individuals since 1981 have been given this distinct honor, and those honorees among others represent former governors, civil rights activists, military heroes and Florida Supreme Court justices.