CLEWISTON -- Southwest Florida Heroes Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization established to provide financial assistance to the local heroes and aspiring heroes of Southwest Florida, including military personnel, law enforcement, firefighters/EMTs, and teachers.
The foundation operates in large part to honor the legacy of Julian “Batman” Keen, Jr., who honorably served and gave his life in service of the Hendry County community as a Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer.
To honor Julian’s service to the community and sacrifice, the Foundation has established a special award that will be presented annually to one young man or woman who, like Julian Keen, exemplifies not only dedication to personal success but to the betterment of our SWFL community at large.
This annual award has been officially named the BeLikeJulian Humanitarian Award.
The SWFL Heroes Foundation is beyond proud to present the 1st Annual BeLikeJulian Humanitarian Award to Mario Lopez-Tores.
The SWFL Heroes Foundation board members, Michael Scott and Tony Barnes presented the BeLikeJulian award to Mario at this year’s Sugar Festival along with the encouraging words of our own Hendry County Sheriff, Steve Whidden.
This year’s recipient, in addition to being a dual enrollment student at Clewiston High School and studying Civil Engineering at Florida Southwestern State College, also works a part-time job, and has volunteered countless hours of his time to help those in need in our community.
Mario has served in the Florida Public Service Academy for 4 years where he was recently promoted to Sargeant and lead rifleman in the color-guard.
During his service at the Public Service Academy, Mario has also served meals to those who are hungry, cooked and cleaned for the Wish Foundation Event at Clewiston High School, volunteered for disaster relief cleanup in Fort Myers following Hurricane Ian, volunteered for local Hendry County small businesses, and has led several remembrance ceremonies as lead rifleman of the color guard in honor of our fallen men and women of the armed forces.
As part of the annual BeLikeJulian Humanitarian Award, Mario was also awarded with a scholarship in the amount of $3,500 to further his academic goals of becoming a civil engineer, and Mario’s name will be painted on the Julian Keen Memorial Wall in LaBelle Florida as the 2023 recipient of the BeLikeJulian Humanitarian Award.