Public Information Officer
When officers were engaged last month in an extended stand-off with a crazed gunman in Orange City, 21 volunteers from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office responded to help divert traffic around the dangerous scene and deliver drinks to parched deputies. And back in January, when a water main break caused a sinkhole to open up, Sheriff’s Office volunteers were there, too, to work traffic control. And more than 60 times last year, volunteer chaplains with the Sheriff’s Office responded in the field to tend to the emotional needs of victims in crisis.
Citizen volunteers -- in fact, 279 of them -- also help out the Sheriff’s Office in a variety of other areas, including civilian patrols, court services, training, evidence, records and civil. On Wednesday night, the Sheriff’s Office took time out to thank its volunteer corps in gala fashion during the agency’s 13th annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet. The event, which took place at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, attracted approximately 273 people, including Sheriff Ben Johnson and numerous members of his top brass along with other dignitaries, such as County Council members Joie Alexander and Pat Northey. However, the real stars were the volunteers, who brought together so that the Sheriff’s Office and County could express its appreciation to the group for its service to the community. In 2008 alone, the Sheriff’s Office’s volunteers donated 66,679 hours of labor. “I can’t tell you how much that means to us,” Sheriff Johnson told the volunteers. “I know that I can look at this group and know that no matter what the mission, you’re going to step up to the plate. …You’re always there.”
The Sheriff’s Office has been utilizing local citizens throughout the agency since 1989 in volunteer positions ranging from receptionists, clerks and mail couriers to chaplains, jury assistants and citizen observers on neighborhood patrols. As part of Wednesday’s banquet, dozens of volunteers were singled out for awards, mostly based on their number of years or hours of service. Among those honored Wednesday was the Sheriff’s Office’s top volunteer for 2008, Phillip Segalla. Segalla is part of the Sheriff’s Office’s citizen patrol, or C.O.P. program, that acts as an extra set of eyes and ears for deputies to help deter crime. Also in the audience Wednesday night were the Sheriff’s Office’s volunteers of the year for 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2007. Another longtime volunteer, Raymond Daugherty, earned his 15-year pin and has the distinction of donating more labor -- in excess of 21,000 hours -- than anyone in the history of the program. “What a great job. I just can’t say enough about the people in this organization,” added Sheriff Johnson.
Seven volunteers earned the President’s Call to Service Award, which is designed to honor Americans who set an example that inspires others to volunteer service. The recipients are Conrad MacArthur, William Neidig, Bernard Stillwell, Stanley Suess, Cathy-Ann Tarlentino, John Walsh and Andre Welter. Also included in the program was a recognition for a large group of newer volunteers in the audience who joined on with the Sheriff’s Office in the past year. “Thank you very much for your decision to give us your time and your effort as volunteers with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office,” said Bob Sullivan, the Sheriff’s Office’s Special Projects Coordinator who oversees the department’s volunteer programs. “We appreciate it.”
The evening also included a special remembrance for Kenneth Gilliland, Sheila Horne, Paul Oleksiw and Roberta Ray, all former Sheriff’s Office volunteers who passed away since last year’s banquet.
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