Space Coast Public Service Awards Recognizes Mike Lawrence With Lifetime Achievement Award
By BCSO Chief Deputy Doug Waller // August 24, 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.
MIKE LAWRENCE: ‘A FIGHERFIGHTER’S FIREFIGHTER’
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Mike Lawrence was born in Wilmington, Delaware in January 1955. After graduating high school in 1972, he joined the United States Air Force and served in Vietnam.
After he was honorably discharged as a combat veteran in 1979, he attended Brevard Community College and received an AS degree in Fire Science.
In 1983, Lawrence was hired as a firefighter for Brevard County Fire Rescue, and just short of two years later he was promoted to Lieutenant. In 2003, he was promoted to District Chief and became a certified State of Florida Paramedic soon after.
Affectionately known to his coworkers as “Iron Mike,” he started and ended his career in Merritt Island, retiring from Brevard County Fire Rescue on January 17, 2013.
Lawrence faithfully and diligently served the citizens of Brevard County for 30 years and was a mentor and a role model to many firefighters and fire officers in the department.
Among his many service awards and accolades during his tenure with the agency, including Meritorious Service Ribbon (2005), Outstanding Professionalism by the Board of Commissioners (2008), Chief Officer of the Year (2009), and a Unit Citation award for his efforts to save Deputy Ray Warner in a shooting incident at Merritt Island High School in 1996.
Lawrence was an avid instructor and was very active in departmental fire training, new hire training and incident command training. His broad scope of knowledge and experience made him an asset on the training ground and the fire-ground.
In the early 2000s, he volunteered to deploy to both Utah and Colorado to fight the devastating wild fires impacting those states. Lawrence was also recognized for his bravery in action during the 1998 wildfires that severely impacted Brevard County.
Brevard County Fire Rescue Chief Mark Schollmeyer described Lawrence as a, “firefighter’s firefighter, and assumed control of every situation or incident, such as the four hurricanes that turned the Space Coast upside down in 2004.”
Lawrence refused to send his crews where he would not go himself, and they stood ground, refusing to pull back from the barrier islands in protection of the many citizens who failed to evacuate before the escape routes were no longer accessible.
Decades of young firefighters, police officers and deputies have been mentored by Lawrence while he and his crews saved countless lives.
PUBLIC SERVICE ALL IN THE FAMILY
Lawrence’s grandfather Carl Lawrence is a is a retired Delaware State Trooper, his father Norman Lawrence is a retired Delaware State Trooper and his brother Steven Lawrence is a retired Delaware State Trooper.
Lawrence’s wife Mary is a retired Brevard County Fire Rescue dispatcher, son John is a firefighter with Brevard County Fire Rescue, son Nickolas is a police pfficer with the Maitland Police Department and daughter Tiffany is a phlebotomist and currently attending EMT school.
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.