Public Information Officer
If not for a large and dedicated cadre of civic-minded volunteers, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office wouldn’t have the personnel or money to perform many essential tasks -- such as added citizen patrols, fingerprinting children for parent records, assisting courtroom jurors and even routine office work. Fortunately for local citizens, a group of approximately 219 volunteers steps forward every day to fill the gap at the Sheriff’s Office between needed services and available resources. In fact, all combined, Sheriff’s Office volunteers donated 58,419 hours of labor in the past year in a variety of posts that ran the gamut from victim advocates, courthouse assistants and chaplains helping with death notifications to office jobs in areas such as training, evidence, records, fleet management, public information and civil. Put in terms of dollars and cents, last year’s volunteer services have an estimated value of $1.3 million.
On Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Office took time out to thank its devoted volunteers in an annual appreciation banquet now in its 19th year. Hosted at the County’sOcean Center in Daytona Beach, Wednesday’s banquet drew a crowd of more than 200. Sheriff Ben Johnson, Wednesday’s keynote speaker, said the volunteers always can be counted on to answer the call no matter what. “We couldn’t have done it without you,” an appreciative Sheriff Johnson told the volunteers. “I don’t care when it is or what it is. When we need you, you are there.”
Many of the volunteers were presented with awards Wednesday night, mostly based on their number of years or hours of service. The group included two volunteers who’ve exceeded 8,000 hours of service and a Chaplain who recently surpassed 10 years of volunteer service. Two other volunteers -- Andrew Gygiand James Russell -- were recognized as recipients of the President’s Call to Service Award. The award is designed to honor Americans who, through 4,000 or more hours of volunteerism, set an example that inspires others to volunteer service. Another personhonored on Wednesday was the Sheriff’s Office’s 2014 volunteer of the year, Marge Clauser. Clauser’s mainresponsibility is to advocate for victim compensation. In 2014, she helped dozens of crime victims receivechecks from the state to cover what they lost in property crimes. But she also volunteers at the front desk of the Sheriff’s Office District 2 headquarters in DeLand, helping citizens who come looking for law enforcement assistance. Lieutenant Tim Johnson, who oversees the Sheriff’s Office’s volunteer programs, noted that Clauser was selected for “her professionalism, good humor and compassion.”
The evening also included a special remembrance for three former Sheriff’s Office volunteers who passed away since last year’s banquet. Among them was Barbara Minardi, who was still actively volunteering for the Sheriff’s Office for 13 years when she was murdered in December 2014 at the age of 85. Minardi’s killer pled no contest to the charges and is serving a life sentence. The other two volunteers who passed on in the last year were Roy Camp and Richard Crittenden. Sheriff’s Chaplain Michael Carroll noted the difficulty in finding meaning in Minardi’s senseless killing. “Some will say that it was part of a greater plan or perhaps it was Barbara’s time to leave us,” Chaplain Carroll told the audience. “We can all hope that Barbara’s dedication to service and her community will impact our lives. Her sincerity and concern for family and community are her legacy.”
Administrative offices: West Volusia 386-736-5961 Daytona Beach 386-254-4689 New Smyrna Beach 386-423-3352
Non-emergency dispatch numbers: DeLand 386-943-8276 Daytona Beach 386-239-8276 New Smyrna Beach 386-409-8276 Osteen 407-323-0151