The MICA Humanitarian of the Year Award is one of the most prestigious awards on Marco Island. This esteemed award was developed in 1998 to honor the unsung heroes of Marco Island, the people who do so much for so many. The wonderful, positive people you do not hear much about.

Bernardo Bezos’ wife, Eleanor, & daughter, Leonore, display the 2018 Humanitarian of the Year Award.

For 20 years, MICA has been recognizing these selfless individuals. Recent recipients have included: Maria Elena Pujol, Cheryl and Mike Mueller, Al Bismonte, Dennis and Joan Pidherny, and the Super Team of Five from “Our Daily Bread Food Pantry.”

This year’s honoree grew up in Cuba and fled communism in the early 60’s. He created a rewarding life for himself and his family in newfound freedom in the United States. He truly appreciated and loved this country until he passed away in January of this year.

MICA’s 2018 Humanitarian of the Year award was presented by Ray McChesney posthumously to Bernardo Bezos. On April 15 before a crowd of approximately 400 people, Bernardo’s wife, Eleanor, and daughter, Leonore, accepted the meaningful award.

Bernardo was active in our Marco Island community since he, his wife and daughter moved here in 1998. He loved Marco and volunteered wherever help was needed.

Bernardo was President and on the Board of Directors of the Marco Police Foundation. He participated in Neighborhood Watch.

Wherever he was needed around our island, he would go, helping to keep our residents and visitors safe.

Directing traffic for a bike race? – He’d be there.

Christmas street parade? – He’d be there.

Seafood Festival volunteer? – Bernardo would be there.

Helping to startup the Optimist Club on the island? – You bet.

Christmas tree lighting? – Yep, he’d be there.

A fundraising event at the Fire Department? – of course!

Police Foundation Cook-off, raising funds for families? – Yes indeed.

Bernado was a Beach Steward and volunteered for every Beach Cleanup. You would be amazed at what he found and removed from the beach, helping to keep even the birds and fish safe in our community!!

He was a member of the City Beach Advisory Committee for several years, and used his financial background to keep the books healthy at Marco Island Foundation for the Arts and the Cuban-American Club of Marco.

He could be seen zipping around the island on his scooter, his preferred method of transportation. He was also an avid tennis player at the YMCA, enjoying friendships everywhere he went.

Bernardo volunteered on the MICA Board of Directors and served as President, Treasurer and Residents’ Beach Committee Chair over the years. He spent over a decade volunteering with MICA and Residents’ Beach.

Bernardo was a good pal to many people on our island and supported them with his strength and friendship. It is just a shame he could not be present to accept this well-deserved Humanitarian of the Year Award.