CALLAWAY, Fla. — During the First Lady’s stop in Callaway on Wednesday, Casey DeSantis honored three local women with a medal.
The three women honored are: Tina ‘Angel’ Belcher (Washington County), Rachel Smoker (Bay County) and Shelly Summers (Bay County).
Desantis talked briefly about each woman’s contributions to their community before presenting them with their medals to honor their courage, commitment, and service to Northwest Florida residents for their selfless contributions to their communities following Hurricane Michael.
Belcher says while she is continuing to pick up the pieces of her own life, giving back to others is what keeps her going. “It’s very tearful. It makes me feel good. Anytime when I do something for someone, I don’t expect anything back but just doing it and see the smile come over their face, it makes me feel good,” said Belcher when asked what getting this medal means to her.
In a press release, DeSantis released this information about the three women and why they were chosen.
Angel Belcher is known in her community as Ms. Angel. She has lived in Chipley her whole life and is a member of Fifth United Holiness Church. Since Hurricane Michael hit Northwest Florida, she has been cooking meals, helping clean up homes and delivering care packages. To-date, she has helped more than a thousand people. While she receives donations, the assistance she provides often comes at her own expense.
Rachal Smoker is a full-time volunteer with Bay District Schools. Like many others, Rachal and her family evacuated during Hurricane Michael and when she returned, she immediately sprang into action and founded the non-profit Rachal’s Recovery Relief, Inc. Her group has donated clothes, diapers, shoes, food, toys and classroom supplies. She is also a member of Michael’s Angels, a group of moms who came up to Tallahassee to rally the Legislature to support relief efforts in Northwest Florida.
Shelly Summers and her husband Sam own a five-acre property. Post-landfall, several families lived in tents in a church parking lot. Eventually, the lot was cleared, and these families had no place to go. Shelly opened her property and her home to these families. Shelly offers a home-cooked meal each night in return for help feeding her nearly 100 pet rabbits and for good conversation and company.
The First Lady’s Medal for Courage, Commitment, and Service was established by First Lady Casey DeSantis in 2019 to honor Floridians who have made a positive impact in their communities.