Space Coast Public Service Awards Recognizes Norman Wolfinger With Lifetime Achievement Award
By BCSO Chief Deputy Doug Waller // August 28, 2016
SPACE COAST PSA HALL OF FAME NOMINEE
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In every community there are great men and women who have, by their strength of will and character, become ingrained in the consciousness of our society. They are doers and risk takers who have made a stand and a commitment for the common-good. They are labeled as public servants, but they are truly our natural leaders whose legacies are the milestones of our progress.
The Public Service Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes public service professionals who have dedicated years of service during a distinguished career where they significantly advanced the public safety or service profession, and by substantial service, has furthered the cause of justice and the mission of community service.
The award is presented to a deserving individual (living or deceased) who has taken a long-term leadership role in a public or community service profession. Recipients of this award are recognized for making extraordinary contributions and sacrifices through a body of work that positively impacted their organization and community over their lifetime.
Norm Wolfinger Driving Force Behind Constitutional Protection of the Rights of Victims
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Former State Attorney Norman R. Wolfinger served as the elected State Attorney for 28 years in Brevard and Seminole Counties and additional time as an Assistant State Attorney and the Chief Assistant Public Defender.
Wolfinger served our country, our state and our community in so many ways. He sacrificed for his country by service in Vietnam where he received the Vietnam Combat Medal as well as a Purple Heart for the severe injuries he received.
His support of veterans was a key component throughout his career as State Attorney.
Wolfinger was a key player in the establishment of our Veterans Court, the second in the state. He worked closely on the first Brevard Stand Down and enabled the office to provide legal services for veterans.
His work on behalf of veterans led to his receiving the 2007 Disabled American Veterans National Commanders Award as that year’s outstanding disabled American veteran.
Wolfinger had a profound effect on our state as well. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, crime was epidemic and a major reason was that prisoners were routinely serving less than 50 percent of their prison sentences.
He became a vocal and active member of the S.T.O.P (Stop Letting Out our Prisoners) movement. He led the effort in 1995 to get a law passed that required all prisoners serve at least 85 percent of their sentence. That has led to a drastic reduction in crime that many attribute to this important sentence reform.
Norm also was the driving force behind the constitutional protection of the rights of victims that we all now take for granted. In fact, he created the first Victim Services program in the State of Florida and received numerous state and national awards for having the best state victim services in the country.
He will forever be known as the man who brought victim services and rights to the forefront of this state.
Wolfinger was well known for his innovative programs that served our community well, especially our youth.
He was a founding member of the Children’s Advocacy Center and served 13 years as Chairman of the Take Stock in Children Leadership Council. Children – and protecting those children – were extremely important to him.
Wolfinger received three Sterling Awards and numerous national and state recognition for his Teen Court and Project Pay-back programs aimed at our youth.
He also created the nationally recognized Rap Against Violence Program which was given a Best Practices designation by the Department of Justice and led to a prestigious Beacon Award with our partner Brighthouse Networks.
Wolfinger built partnerships between federal, state and local law enforcement to target violent offenders in our community which led to significant drops in firearm related crime.
As a result of the successes of the programs, Norm received the 2006 U.S. Attorney General Outstanding Local Prosecutor Award which was personally given to Wolfinger in a ceremony by Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez in Denver, Colorado.
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PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Space Coast Daily is very proud to sponsor and produce the first annual Space Coast Public Service Awards and Hall of Fame Induction, which will be held Saturday, September 24 at the King Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne. With all the seemingly endless politically-charged negative rhetoric in the media aimed at our first responders, we felt it was time as a media entity to make a statement and give these men and women the respect and support they deserve. The public is invited and encouraged to attend this compelling event where all proceeds will benefit the Brevard County Public Safety Charity.
Seating for this celebration of these outstanding public servants is now available, so don’t delay in making your reservation. The festivities will include a meet-and-greet with our outstanding public servants, food and drink, and the induction proceeding – which will feature compelling video tributes.
All proceeds of this event will go to the Brevard County Public Safety Charity which benefits our law enforcement officers and firefighters in their time of need. These funds will help our public safety members when they face critical challenges such as medical emergencies, long term illness or even the tragedy of a line of duty death. This charity organization is designed to help protect those that protect us.
For additional information about the Brevard County Public Safety Charity, please contact Sue Parker at Sue.Parker@BCSO.us.
– Tom Palermo, Space Coast Daily President & Publisher
FOR MORE INFORMATION about the Space Coast Public Service Awards and Hall of Fame Induction, call 321-615-8111 or 321-323-4460.