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Jessica Whitehouse has been named the January 2015 Gem of the Hills by the South Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Whitehouse was born near Baltimore, Maryland, and moved to Florida at age 12. She started dating her high school sweetheart, Daniel Whitehouse at age 15. While attending Webster College, where she graduated in 2005, she married Whitehouse.

Both Jessica and Daniel share the same birthday and year. The two now have daughters Cadence and Claire and numerous animals.

"Our Gem has a passion for community service," announced Chamber Committee Chair Michelle Michnoff. "However she has an extreme passion for animals. She has spent countless hours volunteering for the South Lake Animal League along with many other organizations."

"She was named the 2013 Volunteer of the Year for the Lake-Sumter Grantsmanship Network and then served as the 2014 president of that organization."

Whitehouse was recognized as one of the 40 under 40 by a Leesburg newspaper in 2012. She currently serves as a board member of the South Lake Animal League, is a member of Kiwanis, is a Kiwanis Advisor for the K-Kids at Montverde Academy, is a member of the American Grant Writers Association and is their animal welfare chairperson, is a Bay Area DART member, an N-DART responder for the Humane Society of the United State and is a past member of the Florida State Animal Response Coalition.

Whitehouse becomes the first local resident to be honored with the 2015 Gem Award.

Jessica Whitehouse is named the Chamber of Commerce Gem of the Hills for January 2015
January's Gem of the Hills
Michelle Michnoff (left) presents Jessica Whitehouse with a plaque in recognition of being named the Chamber of Commerce Gem of the Hills for January. Pictured are Michnoff, Jessica Whitehouse, and huisband, Daniel Whitehouse. ( Photo by Mike Corradino)
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