Parker Dedicates Life To Protecting, Caring For Fellow Man
By Maria Sonnenberg, Space Coast Medicine // November 12, 2012
2012 CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN
‘Get Involved and Make Life Better, Safer and Easier For Someone’
“We are on this earth for a very short time and we need to take advantage of every minute we have to make things better and safer for our children,” says Brevard Sheriff Jack Parker.
Parker has been walking this walk for a quarter of a century, since he started by delivering Christmas presents to the children at the then small Crosswinds shelter in Merritt Island. Invited to join the board, he took up the challenge of helping the shelter become a major and vital agency for young people.
“I was impressed with what a small group of people could do for children when they worked together,” said Parker.
As Parker was promoted through the ranks, he felt compelled to do more, pitching in to help organizations and initiatives such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida, Making Strides against Breast Cancer walks, Brevard Community College Foundation, American Cancer Society, the Juvenile Assessment Center, AMIKids, Brevard Police Athletic League, the Children’s Advocacy County, the Space Coast Early Intervention Center, Take Stock in Children, March of Dimes and Cystic Fibrosis.
When Parker was a major in the Sheriff’s Office, United Way of Brevard president Rob Rains approached him for guidance.
“He told me the Sheriff’s United Way campaign was dead last in the state and he hoped I could encourage some participating among my peers,” said Parker.
“I did not know much about the United Way so I started to learn. The more I learned, the more important I knew our local United Way was.”
Under Parker’s leadership, the campaign jumped from $30,000 in pledges in 2004 to more than $170,000, making it the leading Sheriff’s Office campaign in the state. As overall county campaign chair in 2009, Parker helped the United Way break previous records with a new total of $6.4 million dollars.
Parker’s energies have been recently focused in helping the Boys and Girls Clubs raise the $1.8 million needed to establish a new Cocoa club. “We have collected $1.5 million and the club should open its doors in the very near future,” he said.
Parker’s Paws & Stripes program trained prison inmates to care for and train shelter dogs previously considered unadoptable, so both the humans and the animals receive a new lease on life.
Jack Parker is no stranger to awards, having been recognized as Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by his peers and Man of the Year by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida. The American Red Cross named him a Star of the Space Coast and Junior Achievement presented him with its Spirit of Achievement Award. Senator Bill Posey honored Parker with the Quality Floridian Award in 2007 and Parker’s alma mater, the University of Central Florida, commended him with the Notable Knight Award.
He has saved the taxpayers millions of dollars by thoughtful administration of county jail facilities. He put inmates to work growing food to supplement the jail’s food budget, rebuilding bikes for needy children and homeless veterans and cleaning more than two million pounds of trash from the roadways.
He is no stranger to awards, having been recognized as Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by his peers and Man of the Year by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida. The American Red Cross named him a Star of the Space Coast and Junior Achievement presented him with its Spirit of Achievement Award. Senator Bill Posey honored Parker with the Quality Floridian Award in 2007 and Parker’s alma mater, the University of Central Florida, commended him with the Notable Knight Award. That’s just a few of the many kudos given to the sheriff.
He has spent his life protecting and caring for the people of his beloved Brevard County, but Parker says he has gained at least as much as he has given.
“I think the happiest and most fulfilled people in the world are the ones that take the time to serve and help others in some way,” he said.
“If you want to be a happier person, get involved and make life better, safer and easier for someone.”
CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE 2012 CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIANS
The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards were created to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that dedicate their Time, Talent or Treasure to help people in need locally – and around the world.
This year, more than 40 deserving humanitarians will be honored during the Gala, which will be held Thursday, Nov. 8 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, with the festivities beginning at 6 p.m.
“Over the years, our editorial team has had the distinct honor and pleasure of identifying and featuring the many members of our community who give back so much and are dedicated to reaching out and helping others, here and throughout the world, in a multitude of ways,” said Maverick Multimedia Editor-In-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo.
“We remain firmly committed to identifying and telling those stories and providing a timely media platform to recognize Space Coast and Central Florida residents’ altruistic contributions on a regular basis in our magazines, as well as SpaceCoastDaily.com,” said Dr. Palermo.
This inspiring and compelling event is sponsored by Brighthouse Networks, Health First, Brevard Physicians Network, MPAC ACO, Community Credit Union, Kindred Hospital, Knudson Brain & Spine Law Injury Office, Florida Pain, Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine, CentralFloridaMedicine.com and SpaceCoastDaily.com.
FOR MORE INFORMATION or to make a reservation to attend the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala call 321-615-8111 or e-mail SpaceCoastMedicine@gmail.com.