News and Events

SWAT Spotlight: Long-Time SWAT Leader Josh Akin Graduates from Trenton High School
June 7, 2016

As school comes to an end and graduations are held across the county, it is time for us to say goodbye to one of our hardest working SWAT members, Joshua Akin, as he finishes his high school career.  Joshua was in 7th grade when he joined the Trenton SWAT club making him one of the longest serving SWAT members in Gilchrist County.

Josh Akin (L) and Chandler Ash (R) at Daytona Speedway

Joshua has served in several leadership positions as a SWAT member, including acting as our county representative to regional SWAT meetings.  He was part of the SWAT youth delegation that helped celebrate the smoke-free stands at the Daytona Speedway and represented Gilchrist County SWAT at the event.  He was the Vice President of the Trenton SWAT club, and also served on the Tobacco Free Partnership of Gilchrist County for several years as an Advisory Council member. 

In addition to his leadership activities, Joshua spent many hours during his SWAT club membership working with local, state, and national leaders.  Locally, Joshua was proud to be an integral part of working with the cities of Trenton and Fanning Springs and the Town of Bell to pass flavored tobacco resolutions in each municipality.  Never one to back away from a public speaking opportunity, Joshua even presented to his school board about current issues with tobacco and youth, and asked them to consider strengthening their tobacco policy.  Although they didn’t change the policy that day, a few months later tobacco use and possession were added as a higher level offenses, and e-cigarettes were included as tobacco in school policy.


From L to R:  Karina Turner, Hannah Turner, Josh Akin

From L to R: Rep. Keith Perry, Tucker McDaniel, Spencer Hewitt, Chandler, Karina Turner, Joshua Akin, and Sen. Charlie Dean

Joshua took every possible opportunity to speak to his elected representatives. For many years in a row, Joshua took the lead in addressing the Gilchrist County Legislative Delegation to update Representative Keith Perry and Senator Charlie Dean on local tobacco issues as well as SWAT and Tobacco Free Partnership activities. He attended local town hall meetings and even traveled each year to Tallahassee to meet with his Legislative Delegation there. Whenever he had the opportunity, Joshua also met with Senator Bill Nelson, Senator Marco Rubio, and Representative Ted Yoho to educate them on Florida tobacco issues impacting youth and to advocate for reforms, especially regarding flavored tobacco products.  

To say that Joshua will be missed is an understatement. Along with a few other youth, he formed the first SWAT club when the Tobacco Free Florida grant returned to Gilchrist County. He has worked tirelessly to educate his peers, community members, and elected officials. All of us working with SWAT and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Gilchrist County would like to thank Joshua for his hard work over the years, and we wish him great success as he starts classes at Santa Fe College this fall!