Space Coast Public Service Awards To Honor Outstanding Public Servants With Lifetime Achievement Recognition
By Doug Waller, BCSO Chief Deputy // September 16, 2018
Ceremony set Sept. 29 at Maxwell C. King Center
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – 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 third annual Space Coast Public Service Awards & Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held Saturday, September 29, inside the spectacular Maxwell C. King Center For the Performing Arts.
The purpose of the Space Coast Public Service Hall of Fame is to celebrate the value and virtue of the highest standards of public service to our community; highlight the contributions and devotion of public service, recognize the work of public servants and encourage young people to pursue careers in the public sector.
The highly prestigious awards will recognize and honor our dedicated public servants who have served with distinction, selflessly serving our community and whose work can be viewed as models of public service within and outside the work environment.
They have poured their talents, time and resources into helping and improving the lives and future of others.
The festivities include a Meet-and-Greet with the outstanding award recipients, food and beverages and the induction proceeding – which will feature compelling video tributes of each inductee and each honoree.
All proceeds from the event will benefit the Brevard County Public Safety Charity, a 501(c)(3) that supports Brevard County Public Safety members in their time of need.
Public Service Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony tickets are now available so don’t delay in making your reservations.
CLICK HERE TO OBTAIN TICKETS
2018 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT HONOREES
Following are the Lifetime Achievement honorees, of which, three will be selected for induction into the Space Coast Public Service Hall of Fame and will be announced at the King Center on September 29.
This award recognizes public service professionals who have dedicated years of service during a distinguished career where they significantly advanced the public safety profession, and by substantial service, have furthered the cause of justice and the mission of public service.
The award is presented to a deserving individual, living or deceased, who has taken a long-term leadership role in a public 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.
ROBERT E. BRUTON
Robert Bruton was a devoted family man, military hero and educational pioneer in Brevard County. He served in World War II as a platoon leader of the 313th Regiment, 79th Infantry on the battlefield of Europe and trained infantry troops as a Company Commander during the Korean War. Robert was a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and was honored with four military awards, including two Purple Hearts for battlefield wounds, the Silver Star and French Croix de Guerre.
Following his career in the Army, the then Lieutenant Colonel received a master’s degree in education before moving his family to Brevard County in 1953. Robert became involved in community service and educating children. He remained in service to his country in the U.S. Army Reserves until 1960.
As an educator, he began his career teaching the 5th grade at Melbourne Elementary School, switching to the 8th grade after two years. He became Assistant Principal at Eau Gallie Junior High School in 1957, opened Sea Park Elementary as its first principal, and then was principal of Central Junior High School for six years. In September 1965, Robert came to Merritt Island to become the first principal of Merritt Island High School.
He was a Bible teacher and deacon at the First Baptist Church of Melbourne, the First Baptist Church of Indialantic, the Harbor City Baptist Church, and lastly, the First Baptist Church of Merritt Island. Robert passed away on September 17, 2006, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Kathryn Eward has honorably served the Brevard Public Schools in leadership for 50 years. Kathy began her career in education in 1964 as a teacher at Audubon Elementary. She swiftly rose to the ranks of leadership and became the first principal of Dr. W. J Creel Elementary in 1971.
As a young woman leader for Brevard Public Schools, she opened the doors of Dr. W. J. Creel and served as principal, friend and advocate for 45 years. From the onset of her career as a principal, she was a pioneer with an open concept school, which is basically a school without walls. This innovative environment of teaching and learning became a model within the district.
Kathy and a team of teachers, students and community members worked to have an official Presidential Dedication of Dr. W. J. Creel Elementary, and in February 1976 First Lady Betty Ford spoke to the students, families and community of Creel Elementary with the following remarks, “So today I dedicate Creel School to all of you and to what you’ve learned and to what you will learn here. And thank you for asking me to share this special day.”
Her leadership and knowledge of best instructional practices did not only impact the teachers and students at her school, but her knowledge and expertise has been shared with leaders throughout the Brevard Public School district. In 1986, Dr. W. J. Creel Elementary, under the watchful leadership of Kathy, was selected by the U.S. Department of Education as among the nation’s best places where children succeed.
George Grogan has served as a Criminal Justice professional for 42 years. He is a graduate of Rollins College and holds a degree in Criminal Justice and has certifications in both Corrections and Law Enforcement, which he obtained at the Criminal Justice Institute at Brevard Community College.
He began his career working at Brevard Correctional Institute in November of 1976 and will retire on November 15, 2018. After spending two years as a correctional officer at the Brevard Correctional Institution he transferred to the work release center. In 1980, he moved to the Community Corrections side of the agency as a Probation Officer where he served as a field officer monitoring and supervising felony offenders on Probation and Community Control.
Grogan was one of the first officers in Brevard and the State of Florida to assist in the implementation of Electronic Monitoring of felony offenders in the community and he was the first firearms instructor and range master for Community Corrections.
He was instrumental in the development of departmental policy regarding firearms for Community Corrections. He also served as an instructor at the Florida Safety Institute at Brevard Community College. In 1991 he became a Supervisor and has served in that capacity providing guidance to a multitude of probation officers throughout his career.
JUDGE CHARLES M. HARRIS
The Honorable Charles M. Harris received his undergraduate degree from the College of the Ozarks and attained his law degree from the University of Florida.
After law school, Judge Harris practiced law for 20 years in Titusville as a partner in the law firm, Crofton, Holland, Starling, Harris and Severs. Judge Harris served as a judge in the 18th Circuit Court from 1984 —1989, which include a two -year term as Chief Judge. He presided over everything from civil, criminal, to probate courts during this time. In 1989, Judge Harris was selected as a State of Florida, Fifth District Court of Appeals Judge, where he served through his retirement in 2003.
From 1993 through 1995 he served as the Chief Judge. Following his retirement, Judge Harris continued to serve as a senior judge in the 18th Judicial Circuit until his retirement in 2017. In addition to serving as an officer in the Brevard County Bar Association, Judge Harris also served as a prosecutor for the State of Florida in grievance cases brought before the Bar.
Judge Harris has also been an outstanding supporter of community programs such as coaching Pop Warner Football, serving as Director and President of the North Brevard YMCA, a member of the Florida Theatre Restoration Committee and serving as an officer in a Presbyterian men’s organization. Judge Harris is remembered for his contributions to trial advocacy and the legal profession as well as the public good and welfare of the community.
Current Federal Defense Attorney and Former Managing Assistant United States Attorney Rick L. Jancha graduated from the Notre Dame Law School in 1977. He started his legal career as a criminal defense attorney and in 1986 joined the Department of Justice to head up its Organized Crime Drug Task Force in South Bend, Indiana. In 1988, he transferred to Orlando and continued his role as an Organized Crime and Federal Narcotics Task Force Attorney.
Rick served as a Manager in the United States Attorney’s Office in Orlando for five years, where he was responsible for approving and supervising all criminal prosecutions. For two years, he served as Chief of the Narcotics Unit for the Middle District of Florida where he was responsible for supervising every federal drug prosecution in 35 Florida counties. Rick also worked with the White House and Congress in obtaining Central Florida’s designation as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
Many of his cases were done in collaboration with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, including a prosecution of over 50 individuals that still stands as the biggest roundup of suspected drug dealers in the history of Brevard County. The web of dealers were responsible for selling and distributing over 12 thousand kilograms of cocaine and over 30 tons of marijuana and included some of the world’s most notorious smugglers and infamous cartel leaders.
Rick joined NeJame Law as a Partner in 2007 and manages the Firm’s Federal Criminal Division. He has personally handled more than 100 federal wiretap applications. His knowledge and experience in the proper procedures that must be followed by law enforcement to obtain and use “wiretaps” in court proceedings is an invaluable resource.
Robert S. “Bob” Lay served his country honorably in the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army, including three tours in Vietnam, and retired as an Army Colonel after 30 years of service. During his military career, Colonel Lay was assigned as the Defense Coordinating Officer for the Department of Defense disaster response and recovery missions for Hurricane Andrew and for the Georgia Wildfires, both in 1992. After his military retirement, he was employed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and was the Manager of the Disaster Field Office in Albany, Georgia.
Bob served as the Director of Brevard County Emergency Management from 1997 to 2012. He expanded the practices of public alerting and warning to include mass notification tools, public information officer media relations, social media, NOAA weather radios, intelligent transportation systems and digital billboards. He ensured that all facilities used as public shelters were reviewed for safety. From 1997 to 2004, over 25 facilities in Brevard were hardened with shutters and had generators installed for backup power.
Bob organized the Brevard County Health Department, Brevard County Housing & Human Services, hospitals, durable medical equipment providers, Space Coast Area Transit, and Florida Power & Light to support a Special Needs Program. This provides transportation for clients, caregivers, and pets, and ensures that Special Needs Shelters have both healthcare workers for medical care and county employees to assist with non-medical care needs.
Bob’s status as an emergency management icon is cemented through a significant statewide award that has been created in his name: the Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference’s Bob Lay Emergency Management Award. His legacy lives on through the emergency managers he has trained and mentored.
In January 2016, Jack Masson retired after 47 years with the Brevard County Parks and Recreation Department. Jack began his career with Parks and Recreation in 1970 as an intern from his alma mater, the University of Florida. After graduation in 1972, he returned to Brevard and was hired as a Recreation Supervisor, beginning his long assent to the top of the department. He continued his climb and in 2004 was named Deputy Department Director.
Over the course of his 47 years, he was involved with the construction and management of 108 parks, three campgrounds, three golf courses, six nature centers, 42 beach accesses, 13 school athletic sites and more than 17,000 acres of Environmentally Endangered Lands, sanctuaries and conservation areas.
He also served the community through his off -time participation with the Cocoa Rotary Club, Keep Brevard Beautiful, umpiring youth league games and mentoring their leadership. Jack has received numerous recognitions for his efforts including Brevard County’s Excellence in Public Service Award, induction into the University of Florida’s College of Health and Human Performance Alumni Hall of Fame, induction into the Brevard County Sports Hall of Fame and the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Award.
COMMANDER BOBBY MUTTER
Commander Bobby Mutter had a successful career in law enforcement that spanned more than 25 years. Although Bobby held just about every position at the Titusville Police Department, his public acclaim was for both Criminal Investigations as well as instituting a Police K -9 program.
As a detective, Bobby Mutter worked hundreds of cases but perhaps the most high profile was a kidnapped female from Titusville where her abductors raped, battered, and shot her multiple times, leaving her on the side of the road in Indian River County. Bobby, (with no leads), drove down to Indian River County, developed leads, and within just 24 hours had the two offenders in custody along with enough evidence to put them away for life.
Bobby also instituted a K -9 program at the Titusville Police Department by bringing in his own dog to work at his own expense. He tracked literally hundreds of felons and was instrumental in writing guidelines for Police Dogs throughout the Nation when he was the National President of the North American Police Work Dog Association. Bobby was sent to the nation of St. Kitts to assist in an investigation of a possible kidnapping of a Prime Minister. Bobby and his K -9 partner tracked to the remains of this person and was recognized for their expertise by the country.
Following retirement, Bobby always remained close to law enforcement due to the network of officers he had mentored. Bobby had recently agreed to serve on a “Cold Case” volunteer squad to review investigations that have not been closed by arrest and conviction. Sadly, Bobby passed away in June before this team was able to review their first case. But his legacy of service and passion live on in the hundreds of law enforcement officers who were blessed to work with him.
DEPUTY CHIEF DENNIS NETERER
Dennis Neterer began his public service career as a firefighter with the District 3 Fire Control District in 1979 after being honorably discharged from the United States Air Force. After the merging of the five fire control districts in 1984 into what we now know as Brevard County Fire Rescue, he continued to serve the citizens of the county. During his tenure, he served as a firefighter, company level officer, district chief, operations chief, deputy fire chief, and interim fire chief.
Over the years, Deputy Chief Neterer has been involved in every major capital project and purchase in Fire Rescue. In addition, his oversight of the many initiatives and programs within Fire Rescue directly impacts Fire and Emergency Medical Service delivery to over a half-million residents in our county.
Dennis retired from the United States Air Force Reserve as a Technical Sergeant in 2002 with over 20 years of service. In 2014 he retired from Brevard County Fire Rescue as Deputy Chief with 35 years of service. He then came back to BCFR after six months of retirement to assist the department after a change in leadership.
JUDGE EDWARD RICHARDSON
The Honorable Edward J. Richardson is regarded as a jurist known for integrity, fairness to all who stepped into his courtroom and a legal expert who holds the utmost respect for basic constitutional rights. A homegrown public servant in Brevard County; Judge Richardson attended Brevard Community College, moving on to the University of Florida where he obtained a degree in Economics, before earning his law degree with Honors at Florida State University.
He began his career as a civil trial attorney in 1971. In 1989, he was appointed to the 18th Judicial Circuit by then-Governor Bob Martinez, as a Circuit Court Judge, where he remained until his retirement in 2000. In 1991, Judge Richardson presided over the Mark Dean Schwab case, sentencing Schwab to death. That same year he presided over one of the first sexual exploitation cases in Brevard involving two defendants that had sexually abused multiple teenagers, filming the activity and attempting to distribute their crimes via videotape.
This case was groundbreaking in the application of legal standards to this new developing technology. One defendant were sentenced to 144 years in prison. Due to his experience and qualifications, Judge Richardson was chosen to preside over the hearings involving the “Vampire Rapist,” John Crutchley.
He finished his career in Juvenile Delinquency and Dependency Court, which was especially rewarding as he fought hard to protect children. He also was a member of the Juvenile Justice Council, the Juvenile Assessment Advisory Board, the Comprehensive Strategy Committee and the Public Safety Coordination Council. Judge Richardson taught Constitutional Law at both the Citizen’s Academy and the Police Academy. He continued to teach after retirement, now instructing as an adjunct professor at both the University of Colorado and University of Denver law schools. Due to his experience in criminal court, he is often asked to return to the bench in Brevard to preside over trials as a senior judge.
COMMANDER MIKE ROBINSON
Commander Mike Robinson has always answered the call to serve our country and the citizens of Brevard County. His service began in 1965, when he was drafted into the U.S Army and served during the Vietnam War, attaining the rank of Sergeant and distinguishing himself by earning both the Vietnam Combat Medal and the Bronze Star.
Upon returning home, Commander Robinson was hired as a patrol officer by the Rockledge Police Department. After 10 months, Mike was hired by then Sheriff Leigh Wilson and embarked on a career with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office until his retirement in 1996. During his 27 year career with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, he worked under four different Sheriffs.
Mike moved from patrol to become an agent and later a Sergeant in Vice and Narcotics. It was during this time he became involved in an investigation that would lead to the seizure of 25 tons of marijuana from a shrimp boat that entered the county through Port Canaveral.
He returned to patrol as a Lieutenant and was then asked by Sheriff Miller to transition into corrections where he was assigned to the Brevard County Jail as a Deputy Inspector with later promotions to Inspector and Major. During his tenure in corrections, Mike was instrumental in the development of the jail expansion. His efforts have no doubt helped countless individuals and improved the quality of life for countless more.
CHIEF DAVID SARGEANT
Chief Sargeant has a long and distinguished career as the Fire Chief and Chief Executive Officer of the Cape Canaveral Volunteer Fire Department, also known as Canaveral Fire Rescue. Chief Sargeant began his career with CFR in 1983 and rose through the ranks of the department to ultimately be named Chief. As an independent, not for profit organization, CFR provides fire protection and Advanced Life Support services for Port Canaveral and the City of Cape Canaveral.
Throughout this period, Port Canaveral and the City of Cape Canaveral experienced a dramatic increase in calls for service and now average over 2,000 calls per year. Chief Sargeant leads all strategic and operational aspects of the department, managing the activities of over 30 firefighters and three stations. Chief Sargeant was instrumental in the acquisition of a fire boat, construction of a new station, and purchase of a new engine with federal funding from the Port Security Grant Program.
Chief Sargeant is the epitome of a trusted partner in providing fire protection, emergency response, and emergency medical treatment for all users of Port Canaveral, from the largest cruise and cargo vessels to citizens enjoying the beach at Jetty Park.
He ensured that these teams were well trained, well equipped, and always ready to respond to daily calls for service for the widest range of medical, trauma, fire protection, and firefighting. Prior to and following the landfall of Hurricane Irma, Chief Sargeant served as a Commander in the Port’s Unified Command, which coordinated and organized all preparedness, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery actions.
He led all actions in providing fire protection services and these actions proved especially critical to restore operating capability at the Port’s two fuel terminals and six cruise terminals so that Central Florida could be supplied with fuel after the devastating hurricane.
CHIEF ROBERT SULLIVAN
Bobby Sullivan started his career in law enforcement in 1973 as a Police Cadet with the Mount Vernon New York Police Department. In 1974, he became a Police Officer and attended the New York State Municipal Police Training Academy. During his eight years of service with the Mount Vernon PD, he worked as a uniformed patrol officer, detective and motorcycle officer. He also became a Certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
In 1982, Bobby was appointed to the NYPD and attended the NYPD Police Academy. In 1985, Bobby was promoted to Sergeant and in 1988, he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard Reserves and later he enlisted in the New York State Army National Guard and United States Army Reserves.
In 1991 Bobby volunteered for active duty in the support of Operation Desert Storm where he was assigned to the 438th Military Police Company in Saudi Arabia. In 1995, Bobby retired from the New York Police Department and moved to Florida where he attended the Law Enforcement Academy at Brevard Community College and transferred to the Florida Army National Guard.
In 1996 Bobby served with the Melbourne Police Department before taking a position with the Indian Harbour Beach Police department as a patrol officer. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2000, Deputy Chief in 2003 and was appointed Chief of Police in 2004. He proudly served the citizens of Indian Harbour Beach until retiring in 2015. In August of 2015, Bobby became a member of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Unit.
Bobby, a 45-year public servant, is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, member of the American Legion, Board member of the Brevard County 10-13 Club, and Honor Guard Coordinator.
COMMANDER KENNETH WILLIS
Commander Kenneth Willis started his law enforcement career in 1981 as an Auxiliary Deputy with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office. In 1983, Ken became a Reserve Deputy after completing the Field Training Program. In 1987, Ken was assigned to the Ag/Marine Unit where he volunteered hundreds of hours each year.
In 2006, now Lieutenant Willis was recognized as Reserve Deputy of the Year. This commendation recognized him for his unselfish dedication and service to the Sheriff’s Office and Brevard County. In 2014 he was promoted to Major and given Command of the rapidly growing Reserve Program. He was also tasked to start the BCSO Mounted Posse Unit.
In 2016, Major Willis was promoted to Commander where he diligently directs the efforts of the Unit. During Ken’s 37 years, the Reserve Unit grew from 18 deputies to 70 plus and the Mounted Posse Unit has more than 35 active members. Over 37 years, Ken has donated over 28,000 hours and dedicated his life to the Reserve Unit and to serving the citizens of Brevard.
As a resident for more than 40 years, Alberta Wilson has impacted Brevard through her involvement and leadership of numerous organizations. Alberta moved to Brevard in 1977 with her husband and two sons. She began working at Rockwell in human resources and then the Boeing Company. Alberta enjoyed an exceptional career but is known most for her contributions in the areas of equality and civic involvement.
For more than 10 years she served as President of the Cocoa Rockledge Civic League. Through her work in the Civic League she established a scholarship fund to help promising young students to attend college and worked closely with local leaders in improving opportunities for the disenfranchised. Alberta also served as the President of the Central Brevard NAACP for nine years.
She is also active in the League of Women Voters where she has worked tirelessly on voter registration. Alberta was nominated by Dr. Maxwell C. King to serve on the State Board of Community Colleges and was appointed by Governors Lawton Chiles and Jeb Bush and then continued to serve on the Brevard Community College Board of Trustees for four terms. She is also deeply involved in transformative work with the National Congress of Black Women and has engaged with students as a Rolling Reader volunteer.
Alberta is the recipient of numerous community awards to include a Civil Rights Award from the State of Florida Human Rights Commission, the League of Women Voters “Woman of Action” award in 2014, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Award from PAFB in 2015. In 2017, she was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Central Brevard NAACP Branch.
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