Mayor Jeri Muoio presents the Hometown Hero award to Sophia Eccleston.

Courtesy of West Palm Beach Insider Newsletter

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Before the night sky was aglow with red, white and blue, patriotism was on full display at 4th on Flagler in downtown West Palm Beach. Sophia Eccleston, a U.S. Army Veteran from Wellington, was this year’s recipient of the Hometown Hero award.

Eccleston joined the Army in 1995 and was assigned to the 95th Military Police (MP) Battalion, in Heidelberg, Germany as a Logistics Specialist. She was later transferred to Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia where she was assigned to the 224th Military Intelligence (MI) Battalion.

There she served the remainder of her time until she was honorably discharged in 1998. Today, she is an external affairs manager for Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) in Palm Beach County, where she is responsible for building and managing relationships with local elected officials and key community stakeholders on behalf of FPL.

Prior to joining the external affairs department, she worked as a solar developer and advanced three large-scale solar projects located in Desoto, Manatee and Charlotte Counties.

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized by my local community – especially on a day that has so much meaning,” said Eccleston, upon learning she was selected as the 2017 Hometown Hero. “I am proud to have served in the military and am truly grateful for the acknowledgement.”

In addition to her military service, Eccleston currently serves her local community as a board member for Gulfstream Goodwill Industries, Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County, Executive Women of The Palm Beaches, Palm Beach County Homeless Advisory Board, Florida Women’s Business Center, Boynton Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce.

She is also a Trustee member with the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce and a member of Impact 100 of Palm Beach County. She is also a former board member for The National Society of Arts and Letters, Florida East Coast Chapter and the Wounded Veteran Relief Fund.

Eccleston earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Armstrong State University in Georgia and her MBA from American Intercontinental University in Illinois. She is an alumna of Leadership Palm Beach County and has a son who is a junior at George Mason University in Virginia.

The 29th annual celebration included a Military Honor Ceremony prior to the pops of sparkle that peppered the sky.

The special ceremony included a tribute to all branches of the military, acapella performances, the unfurling of a threestory American flag on the side of the Esplanade Grande building, and the presentation of the local Hometown Hero award.

“From flags, food and fireworks – even human foosball – we are most proud to say that our celebration truly has meaning,” said Mary Pinak, Community Events Manager for the City of West Palm Beach Department of Parks and Recreation. “We often hear that the Military Honor Ceremony is what draws many of our guests – and we couldn’t be prouder to continue this special component of our programming.”