Editor’s Note: The headline was changed to reflect the correct organization who gave the award. The name of the award winner has been corrected.

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida presented George Gilman with the annual Virginia Thomas ‘Big of the Year’ award.

The organization’s board gives out the award to a big who has made an exceptional difference in their little’s life.

Gilman has been a big brother to a local boy named Drionte since 2016 when the young man was 9 years old. 

Thursday afternoon’s award presentation was an absolute surprise to Gilman.

He thought he was there to speak to the agency’s advisory board about his experience as a mentor.

“He’s always been so encouraging to his little brother by reminding him he can learn from his mistakes and that his potential is limitless,” Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida Senior Match Specialist Leanne Guadet said. “ Above all, he is above all, he has shown him that consistency is so important in relationships. The little brother has said that the one thing that stands out is that George puts him first. No matter what life hands him, he shows up.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida is always looking for mentors.

There are currently 22 kids waiting for a mentor.

Visit their website for more information on how you can be a mentor.