Comm Wiggins Feature-The Orlando Times
Family Man, Commissioner Kerry Wiggins Gives Back To His Community
BY JALESSA CASTILLO, TIMES STAFF WRITER
SANFORD - Born and raised in Sanford, Florida, Kerry Wiggins has undoubtedly become a pillar in his community. A devoted husband, father, mentor, minster, and newly elected Commissioner, he has lived his life giving back to others.
The son of Charles Gibson and Joyce L. Smith, Wiggins was raised by his mother and grandparents, Deacon Joe Wiggins and Sister Eva May Wiggins.
“As a little boy my biggest obstacle was not having my father in my life. My mom and grandparents did a great job keeping me in church and I know that’s why I’m the man I am today,” said Wiggins, who has a few brothers and sisters as well. “I vowed that I would always take care of my children and be there for them and make sure I brought them up in the church as well. Today my father and I have a great relationship we both look to live for now and I thank God for who he is today.”
A football star and graduate of Seminole High School, in 1988 while at a high school dance, he met his would-be wife Adrienne Harden (Wiggins). During his senior year they had their first child, the next year while he was in college they had their second.
Wiggins went on to attend Georgia Military Jr. College, and earn his Bachelors in Recreation and Parks Administration from Savannah State University. He played football at both schools as well.
In August of 1996 he and Adrienne married, and recently celebrated 23 years of marriage.
“He is a loving, caring, and very thoughtful husband. I admire the love he has for his family,” said Mrs. Wiggins. “He is a very outspoken person, just how he is about his family, he is like that about the community.”
The couple have been blessed with four children, Kerrena, Kerry Jr., Kaylan and Kyra and a beautiful granddaughter, Jaylan.
“I think the biggest quality I admire about my father is that he has a really big heart. He is a man who gives tough love but I know that is because he wants the best for me,” said Kerrena Brown, his oldest daughter. “My favorite thing to do with him is when we all get together and we are cracking jokes on each other and having that family time, I love that.”
Wiggins spent the next two decades working as an educator and football coach at Seminole High School.
“The number one quality that I admire about him is his concern and care for the young men- and students in general- at Seminole High School,” said Don Stark, Head Football Coach at Seminole High School. “He is a great coach, not only is he coaching the guys to be successful on the football field but also in life.”
Meanwhile, in 2003 he became a Minister at Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Sanford.
“I admire his integrity, his honesty, and his ability to speak up even in times of adversity,” said Minister Darren Jones of Mt. Sinai M.B Church. “He is a true man of God.”
It comes as no surprise that when Dr. Velma Hayes Williams, who was the Sanford Commissioner of District 2, was looking for a replacement that Wiggins was a top choice. He was honored but apprehensive and told her he had to pray on it and talk with his wife and children.
In January of 2019, he won the seat as a Democrat.
“It was a surreal feeling,” said Wiggins. “It gave me a sense that this was chosen for me, by God, to be put in a situation where I can help more people.”
Commissioner Wiggins has very ambitious goals for his district, including revamping the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative and working on giving rights back to young men and women who can’t vote.
“He is fairly new [as Commissioner] and he is going to have his growing pains,” said Britt Henderson, a close friend and the Recreation Supervisor for the West Side Community Center. “But I think he is for the community, for serving people. That’s his calling.”
Wiggins is also encouraging community involvement and business growth- and thus growing job opportunities-in his district.
“He was already helping the community but now that he has this role [of Commissioner], he has more opportunities to help people,” said Kyra Wiggins, his youngest daughter. “He is just a funny, caring, old man that I love.”
He is also working with law enforcement and citizens to help create a feeling of comfort between the two.
“As an educator and coach it has been an honor these past twenty-two years to be part of the growth of so many young men and women. It has even allowed me as a minister to perform a few of their wedding ceremonies,” said Wiggins. “As a commissioner it has given me an opportunity to help so many more of our citizens. This also gives so many of our young men from the neighborhood a chance to see another man that was born and raised in Sanford with some of the same issues they deal with but not allow them to be an excuse to fail.”
Some of the accolades he has received include the Zeta Phi Chapter Phenomenal Service Award, Fellowship of Christian Athletes Coach of the Year 2014, and Battle of the Bridge Seminole v Deland football game- inducted into the Hall of Fame 2014.
He is also known and loved for being a family man.
“Me and him watch football, talk football, and argue about what the coach should have called,” said Kerry Wiggins Jr., his oldest son. “Whenever we need him he is there.”
“He is a great grandfather,” said Josh Brown, his son-in-law. “Jaylan loves being around her grandfather all the time- she calls him her G-POP.”
“The quality that I admire about my father, is the leadership that he showed me as he took care of me and my family,” said Kaylan Wiggins, his youngest son.
Wiggins is also an educator involved with the Young Men of Excellent Program. A program that began in 2012 with goal of giving more opportunities to young Black men.
“Commissioner Wiggins has been a mentor and father figure in my life from a very young age. I believe that now he is Commissioner more people will be able to benefit from his mentorship,” said Amon McKinney, former President of the Young Men of Excellence. “I love him, what he stands for, how he treated me like his son, and most importantly what he has done for our community.”
Additionally, he co-founded the nonprofit, Unity Youth Association.
“I believe the most important [advice I can give] is to love yourself you can’t give someone something you don’t give yourself,” he said. “My inspiration is Jesus Christ, my wife, our children, G-baby, the rest of my family and the young men and women I have been blessed to work with!”