Gold Star Mother Receives Champion of Service Award

June 15, 2017

TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida Chief Executive Officer Chester Spellman awarded Kelly Kowall with the Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Award, Florida’s official statewide volunteer recognition, during the June 14 Cabinet Meeting.

“I’d like to thank Kelly for her selfless service to help those who are mourning the loss of our brave and courageous veterans and first responders,” said Governor Scott.  “I applaud her continued efforts to honor the lives of our veterans, and provide a place for families and friends to find peace through their grieving process.”

Kowall is the Founder and President of My Warrior’s Place, a retreat located on several acres of waterfront property in Ruskin, Fla. My Warrior’s Place was founded in 2012 after her son, Army Specialist Corey Kowall, lost his life serving in Afghanistan in 2009. My Warrior’s Place is a sanctuary that provides reprieve and support services for veterans, active-duty military members, first responders, and Blue, Silver and Gold Star families grieving over losses or recovering from PTSD.  My Warrior’s Place provides accommodations and programs at little to no cost that assist individuals in their mourning and healing process.  Trained instructors and assistants teach multiple grief and bereavement coping mechanisms, including referrals to resources for continued progress outside of the retreat. More than 90 volunteers serve at My Warrior’s Place, which has provided service to more than 5,000 individuals.

“Volunteer Florida is honored to recognize Kelly for her invaluable work to provide members of the military, veterans and military families with a place to recover from traumatic events or the loss of a loved one,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Chester W. Spellman.


For 24-hour counsel, call the National Veteran Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You are NOT alone!