PHOTO: Hibiscus Photography

Islamorada, FL – The Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation honored two special individuals, Matt Hetman and Phyllis Mitchell, during a member and volunteer appreciation reception at the Keys History & Discovery Center Wednesday evening. More than 100 supporters were in attendance.

Hetman, a rescue diver in Key Largo, received the Volunteer of the Year award, the first one presented by the Foundation. Hetman volunteered more than 40, three-and-a-half hour shifts, always on Sunday mornings in 2015. More than 30 volunteers have covered 208 shifts for nearly 1,500 hours. “The Discovery Center, open Thursdays through Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., is served by volunteers who welcome guests, serve as docents and handle retail sales,” said Executive Director Jill Miranda Baker. “Sundays tend to be a tough day in which to get volunteers, yet having Matt working on Sundays provides for consistency, and certainly shows his dedication to our mission of preserving and sharing the history of the Upper Keys.” Hetman received a hardbound edition of Last Train to Paradise, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the opening of Flagler’s Over-sea Railway.

Foundation Board Secretary and Volunteer Coordinator Phyllis Mitchell of Islamorada was honored with the President’s Award, presented by President Rich Russell. “Phyllis is a stand out as a member, a friend, and a supporter of the Discovery Center who has made significant contributions in both time and money. She has given endless hours to recruiting, scheduling and training volunteers.” Mitchell received earrings in the shape of the compass rose. The compass rose is represented in the lobby of the Discovery Center.

For general or volunteer information, call 305-922-2237 or visit our website at

Keys History & Discovery Center’s general admission is $12. Admission for seniors is $10 and children 13-under are free. The Center is in Islamorada, MM 82, located at the Islander Resort. Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation, which operates Keys History & Discovery Center, is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3). All donations are tax-deductible.