At the end of the year, South Miami Police Department Detective and Explorer Post Advisor Director Joe Mendez submits the total volunteer service hours for each member of the high school and college age students who participate in the program to learn about law enforcement service. Thanks to hundreds of dedicated service hours by the team working at community sponsored events and participating in related activities of the program, Detective Mendez was pleased to announce that 20 President’s Volunteer Service Awards will go to the South Miami Police Explorers.
“America’s volunteers work to make our communities stronger and safer. As a Certifying Organization for the Award program, the South Miami Police Explorers is proud to be aligned with this prestigious volunteer award, and we are especially proud of our Police Explorers who have made volunteer service a central part of their lives,” said Detective Mendez.
The Explorers were recently recognized by the city for their award achievements. The students filled the auditorium in their uniform blues with big happy faces while camera snapping family members hovered around them. Sponsor Hector Chavez of Latin American Restaurant and Cafeteria was in the audience and surprised to receive a plaque himself for his work in support of the organization.
“They were looking for sponsors and so I got involved. It has been an absolute pleasure and I was pleasantly surprised to receive a plaque myself that evening. They do incredible work and it is important to invest in the kids. You’ve got to support the kids and it is really a great program,” said Chavez.
Chavez was not the only one surprised to receive recognition that evening. It seems the Explorer team also caught Post Advisor Detective Mendez unawares as he was gifted with his own plaque in gratitude for his leadership and dedication to the Explorers.
“I did everything I could to hold back the tears. For the first time in a long time I found myself speechless. I do what I do because it is important to me to give these kids an opportunity to be a part of a great career. Law Enforcement has been good to me and my family and I know that it will be good to them as well. The funny thing is, that I learn as much from these kids as I teach them,” said Mendez.
The 2012 South Miami Police Explorers President’s Volunteer Service Award recipients are: Jenesis Aguiar, Tania Barberena, Jerome Blain, David Celis, Joseph Lopez, Roxana Maldonado, Yessica Martin, Dayan Martinez, Crystal Morales, Kassandra Morales, Sasha Navarro, Keilin Perez, Richard Perez, Dailin Roman, Christian Rosado, Alyssa Trujillo, Angela Trujillo, Melanie Viera, Cristopher Zambrana, and Josue Zambrana.