|Posted by Anne Siren on October 19, 2012 at 3:10 PM|
In Deerfield Beach, the list is long
Deerfield Beach – Gordon Vatch has been an advocate of this city’s Relay for Life so long his name is synonymous with the event. He was there for the premier of Relay in 2003, chaired the event for three years and remains one of its major movers. “I would never, never leave Relay. It’s part of my life,” Vatch said.
Michelle Long was concerned about the rising number of burglaries in the Cove, including two that happened at her home, so she organized a neighborhood watch that is now connected by email with 150 of her neighbors. “I thought we needed better communication. There was a void here,” Long said. Now crime watch signs and an increased police presence let the bad guys know these residents are on alert, Long said.
Vatch and Long are two of the citizens honored last week by the Broward Sheriff’s Office as “community heroes.” More than five dozen people were on the list of honorees, many of them deeply involved with improving the lives of children either through giving time or financial support.
Some of those recognized had saving a life to their credit such as the team of firefighters who brought wrestling coach Bob Burns back to life after he went into cardiac arrest at the Deerfield Beach High School gym. They were Battalion Chief Scott Holloway, Lt. David McCluskey, Lt. Bruce Young, Driver Engineer Lance Ambruster, firefighter/paramedics Jennifer Ameerally and Brian Baker. BSO Dep. Kevin Coleman was also in on the save.
Some 20 church leaders who have worked with BSO to establish a liaison with the deputies in their area and their members were also given ‘hero’ status at this inaugural meeting that was held at Embassy Suites.
Others receiving the handsome crystal plaque were the Citizens on Patrol organization, Avis Swenson for organizing the Coral Manor Neighborhood Watch, businessman Frank Congemi for his significant financial support, John DiPrato, Driver’s Alert Program; Judy Stanich, DB Cultural committee; Alex Leon, Steve Collazo and Butch Santy for their work with the Police Athletic League; BSO Sgt. Craig Brown, Sgt. Valerie Devlin, Det. Neil Munson and Det. Frank Canales for contributions to Special Olympics; Jan Moran from the Jim Moran Foundation and Kim Bentley from the JM Family Enterprises, City Commissioner Ben Preston for his work with kids in Dist. 2; Roxanne Liddiard and Joy Surrusco from the Dart Foundation, Lucio and Joan Giambattista of SAHL Group, Barry and Renee Honig and their charitable foundation, Derek Schwartz of The Schwartz Group, Dr. Jennifer O’Flannery – Anderson with the FAU Foundation, the Deerfield Kiwanis club and Deerfield Rotary Club for their donations to youth programs and BSO deputies Chad Dunham, Harold Morrison and Lamar Williams.