Award recipients must have achieved success within their college service district and demonstrated notable community involvement.
Ire Bethea retired after a combined 30 years of service with the City of Ocala and the Boys and Girls Club of Marion County and currently represents District 2 on the Ocala City Council. He is a lifelong resident of Ocala and a graduate of Ocala High School, Central Florida Community College (now the College of Central Florida) and St. Leo University.
Bethea has volunteered with multiple organizations and committees throughout his career and retirement, and many of his volunteer efforts are focused on helping Marion County’s youth. He is a graduate of Leadership Ocala/Marion Class XVII, Past-Polemarch of the Gainesville Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., serves as a deacon at New St. John Missionary Baptist Church and is chairman of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Commission.
His many honors include the CF Distinguished Alumni Award in Spring 2021; Man of the Year Award in 2006 from the Alumni Chapter, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.; the Racial Harmony and Cultural Awareness “Unsung Hero Award” in 2011; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People “Service and Uplift to the Community Award” in 2015; and the Rotary “Service Above Self Award” in 2019. He was also was inducted into the African American Museum of Marion County in 2015.