Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida presented the Big of the Year award for Okaloosa and Walton County to Chris Parker on Thursday at Sacred Heart Hospital of the Emerald Coast. The Big of the Year award is presented to the Big Brother or Big Sister who has gone above and beyond as a positive role model.

Parker, a radiographer at Sacred Heart, was surprised with the award by Big Brothers Big Sisters staff and his coworkers. He is one of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ most dedicated school-based mentors. He has been visiting his Little Brother, 10-year-old Daevious, weekly at school since they were first matched in December of 2014. In that time, Daevious has attended three different schools, and Parker has moved with him each time.

During their weekly visits, Parker and Daevious eat lunch together, spend time outdoors, work together in the classroom and talk about making good choices. Parker communicates with Daevious’ teachers regularly and sets reward systems for Daevious to encourage him to reach his goals. Parker describes Daevious as bright, loving, sweet and talkative.

Daevious has great admiration for Parker.

“He’s like a ‘real’ big brother,” said Daevious. “My favorite things about Chris are that he’s funny and such a great friend.”

In addition to being a dedicated Big Brother, Parker is also very active in the community. He serves on the Fresh Start for Children and Families board of directors and also volunteers at their Repeat Street Thrift Store.

“Chris truly lives out our Mission both professionally and personally,” said Art Schnitzer, diagnostic imaging manager at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast. “We’re very fortunate to have him as part of our Radiology team and we’re very proud of his commitment to the youth of our community.”