Palm Beach North hon­ors first re­spon­ders at cer­e­mony

Cham­ber presents in­au­gu­ral Valor and Com­mu­nity Ser­vice Awards break­fast.

The Palm Beach Post - Neighborhood Post - Southern Palm Beach County - - Front Page - By Jan Tuck­wood Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

David McGovern wakes up ev­ery morn­ing with a voice in his head that says:

“Go change some­one’s life for the bet­ter to­day.”

McGovern does that ev­ery day, as a mem­ber of Te­questa’s Fire Res­cue team, and he was one of a dozen first re­spon­ders honored last week in the in­au­gu­ral Valor and Com­mu­nity Ser­vice Awards given by Palm Beach North, the cham­ber of com­merce serv­ing com­mu­ni­ties from Riviera Beach to Jupiter.

“What drives me to give back?” McGovern said in his Ir­ish ac­cent, af­ter re­ceiv­ing his com­mu­nity ser­vice award. “My two fam­i­lies — my own fam­ily and the fam­ily of Te­questa.

“Peo­ple need to know the world has not turned its back on them, and they are not alone.”

Beth Kigel, pres­i­dent of Palm Beach North, in­tro­duced each hon­oree at the awards break­fast April 18 at the Riviera Beach Ma­rina Event Cen­ter.

Key­note speaker was Florida’s Chief Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cer and Fire Mar­shal Jimmy Pa­tro­nis.

Kigel in­tro­duced McGovern, who has co­or­di­nated sev­eral com­mu­nity events in Te­questa, by re­call­ing a con­ver­sa­tion she had with Te­questa Fire Chief Joel Me­d­ina.

Me­d­ina said serv­ing oth­ers was a “call­ing” for McGovern, one the fire­fighter said he learned from his par­ents in Ire­land.

“My par­ents taught me to find the good in ev­ery­thing,” he said, adding that help­ing oth­ers is a “feel­ing far bet­ter than any pay­check.”

Palm Beach North’s Com­mu­nity Ser­vice Award win­ners

These were awarded to first re­spon­ders who have given back to their com­mu­nity by un­selfishly vol­un­teer­ing their time to a non­profit group or project that ben­e­fits the com­mu­nity within the bound­aries of Palm Beach North.

J u p i t e r Po l i c e O f f i c e r O’Neil An­der­son

As a mem­ber of the Jupiter Po­lice Depart­ment’s Neigh­bor­hood En­hance­ment Team, An­der­son’s role is to de­velop trust­ing re­la­tion­ships within the com­mu­nity. He does that — and more.

Here’s an ex­am­ple: An­der­son worked with an el­derly wid­owed man on a code vi­o­la­tion is­sue, and he re­al­ized the man was es­tranged from his daugh­ter. An­der­son reached out to the daugh­ter, and now she has a re­la­tion­ship with her dad. An­der­son also or­ga­nized a drive to pro­vide 25 Thanks­giv­ing din­ners for needy fam­i­lies.

“As much as I en­joy putting bad guys be­hind bars,” An­der­son said, “it doesn’t match see­ing a smile on a child’s face at the hol­i­days.”

Palm Beach Sher­iff ’s Of­fice Deputy Sherry Baker

Baker vol­un­teers her time — be­yond her road pa­trol re­spon­si­bil­i­ties — to help the youth of Lake Park.

She started the Cit­i­zens Acad­emy in Lake Park, an ef­fort that re­quired in­tense plan­ning and co­op­er­a­tion from the en­tire Sher­iff ’s of­fice. She also part­nered with the Bridges of Lake Park to pro­vide 275 sup­ply-filled back­packs for needy stu­dents.

“Lake Park is the hid­den jewel of Palm Beach County,” Baker said in ac­cept­ing the award. “I love serv­ing peo­ple.”

Vil­lage of Te­questa Lt . James Pike

He’s been serv­ing the vil­lage for 24 years, and started as a bi­cy­cle pa­trol of­fi­cer. This earned him the nick­name “Pike on a Bike.”

Pike started the Bi­cy­cle Rodeo, pro­mot­ing bike safety, and he also founded the Te­questa Po­lice Nau­ti­cal Club in 2009. That’s a free sum­mer pro­gram for kids.

Jen­nifer Bras­hear, An­drea Santa, Judy Brandt and Ellen Love­joy of Palm Beach Gar­dens’ Joy Drive

More than 15 years ago, these women founded the city’s an­nual Joy Drive to bring gifts to needy fam­i­lies each year. Jen­nifer Bras­hear (from left), An­drea Santa, Judy Brandt and Ellen Love­joy

“These in­di­vid­u­als sac­ri­fice and take the time and ef­fort to make sure that oth­ers who are less for­tu­nate have some­thing to cel­e­brate,” says Deputy City Man­ager Stephen Stepp. “Be­cause of their self­less ef­forts, 1,600 needy chil­dren re­ceived mul­ti­ple wrapped toys this past hol­i­day sea­son.”

They keep Palm Beach Gar­dens run­ning in their day jobs, too.

Bras­hear is a de­tec­tive with the Palm Beach Gar­dens Po­lice Depart­ment, Santa is fire in­spec­tor of the Palm Beach Gar­dens Fire Depart­ment, Brandt is emer­gency com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager of the po­lice depart­ment, and Love­joy is back­ground in­ves­ti­ga­tor in the po­lice depart­ment.

North Palm Beach Fire­fighter Amanda Apfel

When her 3-year-old daugh­ter was di­ag­nosed with leukemia, fire­fighter Apfel found sup­port from The Kids Can­cer Foun­da­tion, a non­profit that pro­vides hope and help to lo­cal chil­dren bat­tling can­cer or blood dis­or­ders.

Apfel then be­came a men­tor to other par­ents be­ing treated for can­cer. (Her daugh­ter is now in re­mis­sion.)

“The best way to find your­self is to lose your­self in the ser­vice of oth­ers,” Apfel said.

con­tin­ued on 5

PHO­TOS BY TIM STEPIEN

O’Neil An­der­son

Amanda Apfel

Sherry Baker

James Pike

Jimmy Pa­tro­nis

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