Over the last few months, the Hernando Sun has been dedicated to bringing the stories of local heroes to our readers. In this edition, the Sun is highlighting the contributions of Amy Baldwin, who was nominated for her years of service with a litany of organizations that assist the community of Hernando and beyond. Through her efforts, she has served in roles that aided children, the courts, first responders, and those less fortunate than herself.
Though originally from Indiana, she moved down to Florida during her senior year of high school. She met her husband, Dr. Jason Baldwin, in college and moved with him to Georgia, where he earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree at Mercer University. The Baldwins later moved and have lived in Hernando County since 2003, where they raised their twin boys. Amy will be celebrating 30 years with her husband in 2024.
Growing up, Baldwin carried the dream of pursuing an acting career and found herself playing the role of an extra in a pair of movies in the early 1990s while in college: “Cop and a Half” and “The Break.” She had the opportunity to meet the likes of Burt Reynolds and Henry Winkler while on the set of these productions that were shot in Florida. After childbirth, she decided to stop pursuing acting as she wanted to raise their children, but she still participates in local theater “on the side.”
Baldwin, who is 51 years old, has since served in a variety of roles at the courthouse. She has been the coordinator for the drug, veterans, mental health, and youth courts and is on a human trafficking task force. “After homeschooling her twin boys through fifth grade, Amy began a new journey of investing in the community that had been so good to her and her family,” Jason Baldwin said. “Working in the court system opened many opportunities for Amy to give back.” Amy also joined the Children’s Advocacy Center, which provides free counseling to children and families that have experienced abuse. “It is why I was hoping, by getting the little ones into therapy sooner, maybe they would never turn to those destructive behaviors and end up in any of those other programs,” Amy said.
Baldwin has also been a part of several other organizations by serving on the Truancy board for the school district, the SEN (Substance Exposed Newborns) Committee, and the domestic violence task force. She is also on the board of Responders First, the board at Hernando Christian Academy, Congressman Gus Bilirakis’ advisory council, and participates in Toys for Tots. Even more doors that opened for Baldwin involved participating in the Brooksville Rotary Club, serving as the chairperson for the Interact Program (the Rotary Club for teenagers at Hernando High School), and graduating from the Hernando Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Hernando program, among others.
The local hero has chosen to live her life by the Rotary Club’s motto, “Service above self,” Baldwin said. “I think that we are obviously here for such a short amount of time that we just really need to give back while we can.”
The mother of two is passionate about all of the organizations she is a part of, but there are a few that stand out. Mid-Florida Community Services Food Distribution and any causes that involve helping children are particularly meaningful to her. Having two children who were born prematurely has drawn Baldwin to causes that aim to help the youth in the community.
“I think, honestly, probably having my children,” Baldwin said on why she strives to help the younger generations. “We had a terrible pregnancy. It was really hard. I didn’t think we were going to end up with either one of them, but then they were perfect once they were out, very healthy. So, I think just the scare of that… They really called in all the geneticists and tried to get us to abort them. We did not, and they are the most perfect, healthy children you would ever meet in your life. So, just trying to get them in the world was really hard. I love children and I just want everybody to succeed and have that chance in life.”
Amy was in the hospital for two months on bed rest during her pregnancy and her twins were born two months premature. Due to the brevity of their time in the womb, both infants were born quite small. One was 4 pounds, 13 ounces, while the other was 3 pounds, 15 ounces. After having the twins, she joined a group called Bay Area Mothers of Multiples (BAMOM), where the mothers would bring their children to play together, and the mothers still have annual Christmas gatherings after the children have grown up. With one of her twins now married and the other dating, Baldwin is looking forward to becoming a grandmother in the near future.