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Denise Grimsley

Distinguished Alumni December 2008

Denise Grimsley currently serves as Florida State Representative for District 77, which covers Glades and Hendry County and parts of Collier and Highlands. She was elected to office in 2004. She is currently Chair of the House Agribusiness Committee, as well as a member of the Environment and Natural Resources Council and Health Care Council.

A fifth generation Floridian, Denise was born in Lakeland and grew up in Hardee County. She graduated from Polk State College (then known as Polk Community College) with her A.S. in Nursing in 1983. She also has a Bachelor’s degree from Warner Southern College (now Warner University) and her Master’s degree from the University of Miami.

Denise chose Polk State and the drive from Wauchula because the College’s Nursing program was known as the best in the area. After graduation, she worked at Bartow Memorial Hospital in the Operating Room, and eventually became manager of the OR at Florida Hospital. In 1996 having spent many years as a Certified Operating Nurse in Highlands, Hardee and Polk Counties Denise hung up her scrubs and took over the family convenience store business following her father’s serious illness.

In 2004 the business was sold and Denise returned to nursing profession doing what she does best, caring for people. She also enjoys helping her parents with the family citrus grove.

Denise has received numerous awards on the state and local level in appreciation of her public service, including recognition from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Nursery and Landscape Association, Federation of Manufactured Homeowners, Florida Association of Area on Aging, Florida Association of Counties, Military Order of the Purple Heart – Highlands Chapter 601 (Certificate of Appreciation and Proclamation as Purple Heart Sweetheart), Moore Haven High School Scholarship Foundation, Peace River Center, American Lung Association, and Associated Home Health Industry.