Public Information Officer
SHERIFF’S OFFICE HONORS 203 VOLUNTEERS AT ANNUAL BANQUET
They don’t do it for recognition or praise. But a large group of talented and generous volunteers got heaping doses of both Wednesday night during the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office’s 21st annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet.
The approximately 203 volunteers were thanked over and over for the invaluable work that they perform in service to the Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of Volusia County. But equally appreciated was their generosity because they give of their most valuable commodities: They give of their time and they give of themselves. And by doing that, they help the Sheriff’s Office meet the needs of residents and keep the community safe. For Sheriff Mike Chitwood, the keynote speaker, there simply weren’t enough words to adequately express his thanks and appreciation. “It’s an absolute honor and a privilege to stand here tonight before so many committed Volusia County residents who are here not only to make the Sheriff’s Department a better place to work, but also our community a better place to live,” Sheriff Chitwood told the many volunteers who were among a crowd of nearly 250 gathered at The Shores Resort & Spa. “I cannot salute you folks enough for what you do for our community.”
The volunteers work throughout the Sheriff’s Office providing a wide range of administrative, clerical, professional and technical assistance. They include everything from volunteer patrols, victim advocates, courthouse assistants and chaplains helping with death notifications to office jobs in areas such as training, records, public information, fleet services, court security, investigative services and civil. All combined, the Sheriff’s Office’s 203 volunteers donated 53,996 hours of service in 2016. Put in terms of dollars and cents, last year’s volunteer services have an estimated value of $1.19 million. “It just seems that everywhere I turn, I find more and more of you great folks embedded in our organization’” said Sheriff Chitwood. “And what that does is it makes us shine.”
As always, the annual event doubled as both a banquet and awards ceremony. On Wednesday, many of the volunteers were presented with awards based on their number of years or hours of service. The group included William Higham, who has logged 14,644 volunteer hours with the Sheriff’s Office’s Citizen Observer Program. He not only has more accumulated hours than any other active volunteer with the Sheriff’s Office, but he was also recognized Wednesday for reaching the 15-year service milestone. Three other volunteers -- Robert Neiland, Alan Ponder and Steven Powers -- were recognized as recipients of the President’s Call to Service Award, which honors Americans who’ve given more than 4,000 or more hours of service and set an example that inspires others to volunteer service. They join the 81 other Sheriff’s Office volunteers who were previous recipients of the national award.
Fifteen of the agency’s newest volunteers were thanked for joining the ranks. And also singled out for recognition Wednesday was Ted Wing, the Sheriff’s Office’s 2016 volunteer of the year. Wing volunteers in the Sheriff’s Office’s Public Information Office, but also works from home on projects for various divisions within the agency. For instance, he developed a database for modernizing and indexing the Sheriff’s Office’s newspaper article archives for future access. He created and updated spreadsheet systems for the Citizen Observer Program and Special Projects, and he rebuilt and streamlined a database for Extraditions that significantly reduced workloads and increased efficiency and productivity.
“I cannot thank you enough,” the Sheriff told all of the volunteers. “I look forward to the next four years together.”