The St Augustine City Commission will take time at the beginning of its next meeting to present St Augustine’s highest and most prestigious award, the Order of la Florida, to H. L. “Herbie” Wiles in recognition of his years of service to the community.
Created in 1975 as a way for the commission to recognize those who have “contributed extraordinary services to our community,” the commission has voted to present the award on just 18 other occasions.
The meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 22 starting at 5:00pm in The Alcazar Room, City Hall, 75 King St The meeting and presentation are open to the public.
Herbie Wiles is a native of St Augustine and a graduate of Ketterlinus High School where he was a varsity cheerleader. After service in the US Navy, being stationed at Pearl Harbor in the years following World War II, Wiles entered Florida State University and graduated in 1953 with a Bachelor in Business Administration being one of the first men to enroll in the previously all-women’s college.
Wiles’ insurance career began 60 years ago this year when he became a licensed insurance agent and began working with his father, G. Randy Wiles. In 1961, he founded Herbie Wiles Insurance.
Wiles’ public service career began in 1966 when he was elected to the St Johns County Board of Commissioners serving for 12 years including three terms as chairman. During his service he helped establish the St Johns County Building Department and implement the county’s first zoning ordinance which included the county’s flood set-back line for construction along county beaches and established a county-wide 35-foot building height limit. Wiles’ was also the first chair and charter member of the Northeast Florida Regional Planning Council in 1977.
His community service career includes membership on the boards of the Flagler College President’s Council, FSU Alumni Association Emeritus, Ashlar Masonic Lodge & St Augustine Shrine Club, the St Augustine Elks Club, Wesley Manor/Westminster Wood,
Flagler Hospital, the Wachovia/First Union/Atlantic Bank Advisory Board, and as a charter member of The Navy League.
Wiles also served as President of the St Augustine Kiwanis Club and the St Augustine/St Johns County Chamber of Commerce, and through his leadership, those organizations played significant roles in the preparation and implementation of St Augustine’s 400th Anniversary in 1965.
Wiles and his wife Annette have been married for 61 years and have two children, Doug, president of Herbie Wiles Insurance, and Debbie, a grief therapist practicing in St Augustine and Palatka.
The Order of la Florida was created to recognize and honor persons who have distinguished themselves by unselfishly devoting their time and talents to the betterment and welfare of our citizens and our heritage, and who have, over a long period of time, contributed extraordinary services to our community.
The selection process begins with a nomination by a city commissioner. Wiles was nominated by former Commissioner Bill Leary while he was still on the commission.
The award is limited to nine living recipients and consists of a framed certificate inscribed with text unique to each recipient.