Thursday, December 29, 2016


One of our local heroes, working for the people of West Augustine, long a victim of de facto segregation, denied equal services by the City and County (including sewers).

Posted December 29, 2016 05:56 am - Updated December 29, 2016 06:07 am
By Anne Heymen Record correspondent
10 WHO MAKE A DIFFERENCE: GREG WHITE ‘It takes all of us working together to make a change’

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West Augustine resident and community advocate Gregory “Greg” B. White should change his middle initial from “B” to “E” — E for education.

“I’m a firm believer in education,” White emphasized recently while seated in a community building at the Collier Park facility located at the corner of West King Street and Holmes Boulevard. For the person who has a good education, the jobs come, said White, a 1965 graduate of Richard J. Murray High School,

The message of a good education is one of the many causes White embraces through his numerous community outlets including as chairman of the Weed and Seed Steering Committee since its founding in 2005; as chairman of the West Augustine Steering Committee of the Community Redevelopment Agency; and as a life member of American Legion Post No. 194.

With the latter, White is proud of the Kids Safe Zone program — an after-school tutoring program, which, since its inception, has produced some fine young people who have continued their education at the college level and gone on to excel in life. “Early childhood education is the key to success,” White emphasized.

With both the Weed and Seed and the CRA, the ultimate goal is improvement for all, White continued. Concept of the Weed and Seed, a program brought to the community by former U.S. Rep. John L. Mica, is to weed out the criminal environment and feed the economic development. When federal funding for the program was stopped, White said, St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar saw the importance of the program and continued the funding. “A lot of communities didn’t,” White points out, but Shoar realized how important it was.


Goals of the CRA are similar, White said. There are six components to improve the quality of life in West Augustine, ranging from infrastructure and policing to cultural, economic development and affordable housing and the elimination of blight.

Among accomplishments of the CRA have been the opening of a Dollar General Store on West King Street, establishment of the Solomon Calhoun Center, city water for more than 90 percent of the residents, and the demolishing of hundreds of old homes that were in disrepair.

White is a “man of integrity, a man of compassion, a man of caring. He gives more than he receives. He’s phenomenal,” said Dwala Willis, Weed and Seed site coordinator.

In fact, once Willis is asked a question about White it’s hard to get another word in. White gives of “his time, his resources and his compassion,” said Willis. “He’s a good leader. He never asks for anything in return. He stands for what’s right, what’s needed and he leads by example.”

Similar words of praise come from Thomas Crawford, who has worked with White on numerous projects including American Legion Post No. 194. “Since he retired from [Florida Power & Light] his whole passion has been the community,” Crawford said of White. “This is what drives him — community service, and he has always fought for the underdog. He’s been working effectively with the county probably since about 2000, and he’s learned to be every effective with the commissioners and county staff.

“He’s literally,” Crawford concludes of White, “obtained tens of millions of dollars for West Augustine.”

Born in Edgar, Florida — a spot located between Hawthorne and Palatka and also known as Johnson — White, 69, has lived in St. Augustine since the fifth grade. He moved here with his parents, George and Martha Armstrong, when both were hired at the Florida School for The Deaf and The Blind. White retired from FPL as an energy consultant, and his wife, Lydia, retired from Flagler Hospital. After high school, White served two years in the U.S. Army, including one year in Vietnam.

He and his wife are parents of four — Greg White Jr., Joel White and Deandria Palmer, all of St. Augustine; and Monica Anderson, Palm Coast. There are grandchildren, but “too many to count,” and there are four great-grandchildren.

In addition to his leadership in CRA, Weed and Seed and American Legion, on which he serves on the executive board, White is a life member of the DAV, Vietnam Veterans of America and VFW. He also serves on the FSDB Foundation board.

He loves St. Augustine and West Augustine, he says, because, growing up, West Augustine was a “close-knit” community. Things have changed, he admits, but it’s still a great place to live.

As to being selected one of the 10 who have made a difference this past year, he terms it “an honor.”

“I really, really appreciate that.” However, he says, it takes more than one person to make a difference. “It takes all of us working together to make a change.”

1 Comment
Tom Reynolds
They don't come any better then Greg White.

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