Melinda Penny Gamot began her 4-H career at age nine as a charter member of the first 4-H horse club in Florida, which was known as “the Mustangs.”
Her expertise in and out of the arena brought her many awards, including several high point exhibiter trophies from the State 4-H Horse Show. She also served as a delegate to the National 4-H Congress in Chicago, and to the National Leadership Conference in Washington D.C.
“I consider myself the 4-H poster child.” Gamot said. “I joined at the earliest possible age and stayed until they kicked me out when I was 19.”
Though Gamot participated in the Palm Beach County 4-H program during her youth, she says her “heart is in Okeechobee,” where she and her husband own a horse and cattle ranch. “I am finally back to the horses and cows I love so dearly.” Gamot said.
Gamot graduated from the University of Florida’s law school in 1978 and has maintained a private practice in family law since that time. She was admitted to the Bar in 1978. She has been Board Certified by the Florida Bar in marital and family law since 1992 and was Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Civil Trial from 1984 until recently. She was one of 70 lawyers inducted statewide as a “fellow” into the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and will soon become the president of the Florida Chapter of the academy.
Gamot is active in State Bar activities. She served on the Marital and Family Law Certification Committee for the Florida Bar for several years and is a past Chair. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar. She is a frequent lecturer at Florida Bar and AAML sponsored seminars and sits on the Board of Directors of the Palm Beach County Legal Aid Society.
“I have been blessed with wonderful accomplishments in my legal career,” Gamot said. “The sense of values and hard work that got me there came from 4-H. There is no finer program available.”
Today, Gamot continues her support for the 4-H program through support for the Florida 4-H Foundation.
Before what she considers her hometown crowd, the family lawyer and 40-year supporter of 4-H was inducted into the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame on Saturday August 28, 2004 during the Okeechobee County 4-H Awards Banquet.
She was presented with the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame medallion by charter Hall of Fame member B.J. Allen. Allen is a former state 4-H program leader, and long time friend and mentor to Gamot. Allen traveled from Gainesville to host the ceremony.
“Dr. Allen was a childhood hero then, and he still is today,” Gamot said. “It was a great thrill to see him, and to be remembered and honored by him.”
She is married to Albert Gamot and they live in Jupiter with their bird dog, Maggie “The Beast” Weimaraner, and a blue collar cat named Ernie.
Besides her passion for the law she has a passion for horses and all animals. When not practicing law she can usually be found at her ranch or showing her horses.