I am so proud and honored to work alongside the remarkable women who serve in departments across the Broward Sheriff's Office. In recognition of Women's History Month, I want to take this opportunity to highlight just a few of the extraordinary women of BSO making a difference throughout this community.
There's a good reason Deputy Vickie Kendrick was recognized as the 2019 BSO Department of Detention Employee of the Year. She is a dedicated, hardworking and selfless individual who gives her best to everyone she encounters, both on and off the job. At work, she is a leader in every sense of the word, serving as a mentor to new deputies who join the team. While off duty, Deputy Kendrick uses her time and resources to help families in Broward. From ensuring kids have clothes and supplies each school year to assisting with gifts and meals during the holiday season, her mantra is: "I am blessed, and I want the children in the community to know that someone cares." Deputy Kendrick's commitment to service is a true testament to her personal and professional success.
For nearly 18 years, Fire Rescue Public Education Manager Courtney Palmer has helped develop a public education program that is second to none. Despite COVID-19 restricting in-person instruction, Courtney and her incredible team, who also happen to be women – Life Safety Educators Melanie Brocato, Rebecca Lowe-Johnson and Leah Wilson – have evolved and adapted, developing new, creative learning opportunities in our virtual world. Collectively, they have hosted thousands of people in their virtual firehouse tours, hands-only CPR and bleeding control courses. "We are busier than ever," Courtney says. A champion of good causes, she also chairs BSO's new LGBTQ+ Liaison Committee and donates her time, energy, and even her hair, to charitable causes. "I really should get a T-shirt that reads: Stop me from volunteering," she jokes. "But I just love helping any way I can."
I know few people who have the poise, grace, determination and leadership necessary to tackle the tremendous challenges we've all faced this past year; Captain Renee Peterson is one of them. As captain of the Neighborhood Support Team, she has been a lifeline to our communities. Since March 2020, she and her team have helped put food on the table for thousands of Broward residents through Operation Helping Hands, a partnership with Feeding South Florida. During the social justice protests last summer, Captain Peterson's focus was rooted in quelling unrest, listening to our communities and creating new opportunities for understanding. Today, she leads BSO's groundbreaking Social Justice Task Force. "We all benefit when we work together to build a better understanding of each other," she says. Day or night, Captain Peterson is out in the community listening, collaborating and working together to establish positive change.
In her 26 years with BSO, Jennifer Bourgouin serves as our agency's Emergency Management Program Coordinator. Providing essential administrative and managerial support for the Emergency Management Program, Jennifer faced a new challenge this past year with the COVID-19 pandemic. Accustomed to short-term, in-person activations in the Sheriff's Emergency Operation Center (SEOC), Jennifer was able to adapt quickly, successfully implementing a remote emergency response. "I am very proud of how we came together as a response team," she says. "Every disaster is different, but I'm confident that through our training and preparedness efforts, we can handle anything." As our battle against COVID-19 persists, Jennifer's supportive efforts continue in the SEOC.
The remarkable women highlighted here are just a few of the many others who serve across BSO. Their dedication to service is unrivalled. I genuinely believe that our organization and our community are better because of their service.
Service Equals RewardSheriff Gregory Tony