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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Victor “Vic” Story To Be 46th Lake Wales Pioneer Of The Year



Come out and join the Lake Wales History Museum as we honor our Pioneer of the Year Mr. Victor B. Story Jr. for our 46th Annual Pioneer Days Festival 2022. We will be honoring Mr. Story at our Pioneer Days Festival on October 29th and 30th at Lake Wailes Park on Lake Walies Lake!

The Lake Wales History Museum will present the 46th Annual Pioneer Days Festival on October 29 & 30, 2022, which is a celebration of Lake Wales’ history and heritage. Located along the shores of Lake Wailes Park, the free community festival features a heritage village that includes dozens of historical demonstrations of pioneer camps and early American trades. The public is welcome to experience, learn, share and buy hand-crafted goods from these vendors along with more than 60 craft market vendors. Average attendance is 7,500—10,000 individuals.

The festival honors pioneers from the past and presents an annual recognition award to a notable resident of historical contributions to the community during the festival with community organizations, antique tractors and cars, live music and entertainment, festival food, beer & wine. Families can also enjoy the Pumpkin Patch with pumpkins for sale, fall craft stations, old-fashioned games, a corn crib, hay piles, photo station, and face painting.

Victor B. Story, Jr. Was born on September 19, 1945, to Frieda and Victor B. Story Sr. He grew up in Frostproof, Florida before moving to Lake Wales where he graduated from Lake Wales High School in 1963. Vic attended Polk Community College, Florida Southern College, and the University of Florida.

Vic served for over six years in the Army Reserves. After that time, he served as a civilian Post Mobilization Post Commander in the Florida National Guard during Operation Desert Storm, where he received the Award of the Distinguished Service Medal.
On August 9, 1971, Vic married Ann Hendrickson of Lake Wales. Together they raised five children Michelle Ann, Jeffery Victor, Jennifer Jean, Matthew Spencer, and Kyle Robert. Vic has thirteen grandchildren who all reside in Polk County.

Vic is a life long citrus grower. He grew up in the orange groves of Polk County with his grandfather Lyles, Father Vic Sr. and brother Lyle “Terry”. After college Vic rejoined his father in the citrus industry where after 60 plus years, he remains active daily. Vic is the President and Chairman of the Board for his family’s corporations. These companies are comprised of agricultural holdings, management, marketing, harvesting, and hauling for over 7,000 acres in Central and South Florida. The family owned a cattle and sod operation in Hardee Country until early 2015 before developing more citrus groves on this land.

In 2015, Vic was named the Florida Farmer of the Year only to be inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame and be named Citizen of the Year by the Lake Wales Chamber of Commerce in 2016.
Vic’s civic and industry involvements have spanned his entire adult life. He has served as a former member and chairman of the Polk County Farm Service Agency; former board member and President of the Lake Wales Family YMCA; former board member and Vice President of the Lake Wales Little League; former board member and President of the Hillcrest Elementary PTO; former City Commissioner and Mayor of Lake Wales; former board member of American Bank & Trust; former Co-Chairman of the Concerned Property Owners of Polk County; former member of the Polk Country Board of County Commissioner’s Task Force on Farm Labor Housing; former member of the Polk County Charter Review Committee; former Chairman of the Polk Citizens for Good Government; former board member and past President of Florida Citrus Mutual; former member and Vice Chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission; former member of the Citrus Disease Research and Development Advisory Board for the United States Department of Agriculture; former board member of Florida’s Natural Growers; board member of Citrus Research and Education Center Foundation for the University of Florida; member of the American Legion Post 71; board member and past President of Polk County Farm Bureau; board member and President of the Lake Wales Care Center; founding board member of Florida Poly Vision, the foundation for Florida Polytechnic University.

Vic was a long-time member of the First Presbyterian Church in Lake Wales; where he has served on the board of Deacons as well as Chairman. Today Vic and Ann worship at the High Point Church.

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Staff Reporter

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