Gainesville Icon Vivian Washington Filer Receives Esteemed Servant's Heart Award


Recognizing an exemplary lifetime of service and dedication, Community Hospice & Palliative Care presented Vivian Washington Filer with the 4th annual Servant’s Heart Award on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. The heartfelt ceremony took place at The Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center, graced by esteemed community leaders and supporters.

The Servant’s Heart Award stands as a beacon of honor, celebrating individuals whose unwavering commitment to community service, education, and transformative initiatives embody the essence of selfless dedication. Vivian Filer epitomizes this spirit through her decades-long contributions, profoundly impacting the fabric of Gainesville and beyond.

“Community Hospice & Palliative Care acknowledges individuals who share our values and are dedicated to serving the community,” said Billie Dodd, Regional Director of Alivia Care, the parent company of Community Hospice & Palliative Care. “It is a privilege and a source of pride to acknowledge these individuals publicly. Their commitment to enhancing the well-being of others in the community and advocating for the community aligns perfectly with our mission, vision, and values.”

Born on June 6, 1938, to Levi Joseph and Lucille Thompson Washington in Trenton, Vivian Filer’s journey of service began at an early age. Her remarkable achievements and indomitable spirit inspire all who have had the privilege of crossing paths with this remarkable Gainesville luminary.

A tapestry of service and leadership marks a beloved resident of Gainesville, Vivian Filer’s journey. Her professional path, from Shands Teaching Hospital to Santa Fe College, reflects a deep-seated passion for healing and education. Filer’s influence extends far beyond healthcare, as she has spearheaded numerous committees, chaired boards, and co-founded essential community organizations, including the Springhill Neighborhood Association and the Greater Gainesville Black Nurses Association.

At the heart of Vivian Filer’s legacy stands the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center, a testament to her vision and perseverance. As the founder and CEO, Filer has transformed this historic institution into a beacon of Black heritage and resilience, enriching the cultural landscape of Alachua County. Her commitment to preserving history and advocating for social justice echoes her experiences growing up in Gainesville during the Jim Crow Era.

Vivian Washington Filer impacted generations of inspiring countless individuals through her storytelling and musical talents as part of the renowned A’ Capella trio, the Washington Sisters, for over 60 years.

Alongside her late husband, Delano Filer Sr., she nurtured a legacy of love and service that continues to resonate with her family, including sons Delano Filer Jr. and Craig Xavier Filer Sr., as well as her cherished grandchildren.

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