Empowering our communities, accelerating the future.
Saint Lucie County Award Recipients 2020
The Treasure Coast Manatee Foundation
They’re peaceful, slow-moving, and gentle, and they never turn down a good meal or a warm bath, and luckily for all of us, manatees live right in our neighborhood. Because the gentle giants we’ve come to know as “sea cows” are big and eat a lot – up to 150 pounds of food per day, nearly all of it plant matter, they help maintain our fragile marine ecosystem naturally. But the manatee population is endangered, so to help educate us about the importance of this good and gentle neighbor, the Dyer Difference Award for February in St. Lucie County was presented to the Treasure Coast Manatee Foundation. A small, but vital and enthusiastic group of volunteers, the Treasure Coast Manatee Foundation members help provide environmental education programs, exhibits, and transportation to thousands of visitors of all ages and encourage learning about, respecting, and preserving sea cows.
Family Meals Inc.
On Saturday, May 2nd, however, the whole team took operations outside, as Dyer Chevrolet Fort Pierce partnered with Family Meals, the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, Louden Pools, and CareBag for an emergency food Drive Through Giveaway. Beginning at 8:00 a.m., a lane of traffic on US1 was closed to accommodate the myriad of vehicles that pulled in through one entrance, received a bag of fresh vegetables, pantry foods, and toiletries loaded into their car by a masked, but smiling volunteer, and headed back onto the road with some delicious, nutritious vegetables and a glimmer of hope courtesy of Family Meals, St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, Louden Pools, and CareBag, and the Dyer Difference Award. It was no surprise that the Dyer Difference Award committee chose to recognize the organizations who are coming to the aid of families during such a difficult time.
Left to Right: Brandon Reynolds, Jim Carr, Rocky Stone, Shannon Kinnett, Will Peck, Jonathan Holmes, Treasure Coast Manatee Foundation members Erik Winterstein, John Mead, Rachel Tennant and Bob Lynch, Tatiana & Will Dyer
St. Lucie County Photos Courtesy of Ross Rowlinson: Members of the Dyer Chevrolet family
in Fort Pierce gather with representatives from Do You Give a Ruck, Inc. – recipients of the
November Dyer Difference Award
Left to Right - Cathy Wilson, Ilena Luts, Whole Family Health Center CEO Marie Andress, Sophia North, Will Peck, Dyer General Manager Jonathan Holmes, Dallas Steiger
Left to right: Liam, Isla, and Tatiana Dyer, Ginger (dog), Tonya Wismer, Rebekah Sposato, Jay Wismer.
Angela and Jonathan Holmes
Dyer Difference Award Helps Provide Testing
It’s no secret that life, as we know it, has changed dramatically during the past several months because of the global COVID-19 outbreak. In addition to the changes to our daily lives and work habits, millions of individuals throughout the country lost their jobs, and many times, that job loss also leaves whole families without health insurance and adequate health care.
Since 1995, Whole Family Health Center, a nonprofit organization which was initially created as an AIDS Research and Treatment Center for the Treasure Coast, has been serving uninsured and under-insured individuals. In 2013, Whole Family Health Center expanded its services to include wellness visits, well-child services, immunizations, diabetes care, hypertension, diagnostic lab, screenings, emergency coverage, psychiatry and counseling services, case management, and many other offerings. Families and individuals of all ages maintains an on-site pharmacy for affordable access to prescription medication and offers services at a sliding-fee scale to ensure affordability for every patient.
Most recently, Whole Family Health Center has begun offering COVID-19 testing for individuals who have had primary exposure or are experiencing symptoms of the deadly virus. They are also offering rapid antibody testing to the community at-large and are working hard to connect with patients in an effort to ensure affordable and quality health care for every member of the community. Since the health and well-being of the community are vitally important to the members of the Dyer staff family, the Dyer Difference Award Selection Committee chose to recognize Whole Family Health Center with the July Dyer Difference Award and $3000 check.
Dyer Difference Award Honors Heroes
Honoring heroes and first responders in a similar fashion was on the mind of the Dyer Difference Award Selection Committee in St. Lucie County, too. The Hundred Club of St. Lucie County was created expressly to quietly and humbly serve St. Lucie County’s public safety first responders and their families by providing direct financial help for spouses and dependents of law enforcement officers and firefighters who have lost their lives or become disabled in the line of duty. Created in 1987 by a group of concerned citizens who wanted to support first responders, the organization has been a source of support and comfort for families of first responder from all St. Lucie County agencies, including the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, the Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce Police Departments, St. Lucie County Fire District, Florida Highway Patrol of St. Lucie County and others. The premise of the Hundred Club is to honor first responders and let them know they are not alone. The Dyer staff family one hundred percent supports the mission and recognizes the organization with its October award.
The Inner Truth Project
The May award recognizes The Inner Truth Project, a St. Lucie County nonprofit organization which works with survivors of sexual assault and abuse and provides support, healing, hope, and strength. Whether it’s counseling, support opportunities, yoga, community resource assistance, writing groups, or social gatherings, The Inner Truth Project works tirelessly to help survivors speak their own inner truths and rise above the trauma and shame of sexual assault to move forward to a better and brighter future.
Left to Right: The Inner Truth Project Founder Mindi Fetterman, Jonathan Holmes, Angela Moabed, Back: Dallas Steiger, Jim Carr, Cathy Wilson
L to R: Major Brian Hester, Fort Pierce Police Chief Diane Hobley Burney, Chief Deputy Garry Wilson, St. Lucie County Fire Chief Nate Spera, Port St. Lucie Police Chief John Bolduc, St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara, Tatiana & Will Dyer, Jonathan Holmes
Left to Right: Kneeling: Cindy Riesgo, Cole, Sandee Allen
Standing: Angela Moabed, Melissa McInTurff, Brian Lloyd, Dr. Leonard Fox, Dan Wire, Jane Rowley, Jonathan Holmes
Left to Right Major Chris Cicio, Tatiana Dyer , Major Brian Hester, Will Dyer, Chief Deputy Garry Wilson, Jonathan Holmes, Lt Sue Woodward, & Deputy Matt Dietrich.
The local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Foundation
The Dyer Difference Award for March was presented to the local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Foundation, which works, not only to save the wild turkey population, but also to fund conservation efforts locally and throughout Florida to ensure that the natural beauty of Florida will be around for generations of humans and wildlife to come. To help raise funds for the organization, Florida Wild Turkey Foundation recently hosted a steak dinner, live auction, and game event at the famed Adams Ranch just west of Fort Pierce.
Dyer Difference Award Honors Service
Do you Give A Ruck, Inc
In the dictionary, a ruck is defined as a mass of ordinary people or things, while in the sport of rugby, it is a way of clearing obstacles (opponents) from the field in order to get the ball safely off the ground and into play. On the Treasure Coast, both definitions come together in one strong, community-oriented nonprofit organization which asks the question, “Do you give a ruck?” The answer when it comes to serving veterans in the community is a resounding, “Yes!” In 2019, Jimmy Lee and his brother, Charles Jackson, recognized the need to help area veterans and set out on a mission asking others to make a difference, too. Since then, the nonprofit Do You Give a Ruck, Inc., has helped thousands of local veterans by encouraging local business support, donating to nonprofits which support veteran families, and helping to feed over 250 local veterans and their families. The organization’s first annual “Merry Ruckmas” drive helped collect funds and toys for Toys for Tots, and its support of other organizations, including United Against Poverty and the Treasure Coast Homeless Service Council among others have helped raise awareness and assistance for the struggles faced by local veterans and their families. The group and its dedication to serving those who have served our country received recognition and support with the November Dyer Difference Award in St. Lucie County.
Left to Right: Johnny Sullivan, Sr., Jonathan Holmes, Denise Helms, Ilena Luts and Rocky Stone
The Humane Society of Saint Lucie County
The June Dyer Difference Award also focuses on survival and moving ahead in a positive direction as the Humane Society of St. Lucie County was recognized for its persistence in the mission of wanting to find a better, healthier life and forever family for abused and neglected animals throughout St. Lucie County. The Humane Society of St. Lucie County has spent much of the past year revamping, reorganizing, and recommitting to its purpose, and with management, a new board, and leadership to help promote the organization’s mission of providing compassionate care and safe shelter for homeless animals while educating the community on responsible pet ownership.
The Lindsay School of the Arts
The Lindsay School of the Arts, a completely free, after school performing, fine, and visual arts center for children aged eight to 18. Organized in 2018, the purpose of the Lindsay School of the Arts is to ensure that every student with a passion for the performing arts, receives the best performing arts experience possible despite his or her life experiences and background. Nearly 300 children from the community are taught, encouraged, mentored, molded, and motivated through all aspects of creativity at The Lindsay School, helping to supply students with tools and skills that can never be taken away. With the assistance of the Dyer Difference Award, thirty additional students will be able to be accepted into programs at The Lindsay School.
Shop with a Copy Receives Dyer Difference Award
If you ask nearly every law enforcement officer in St. Lucie and Indian River County what one of the favorite parts of their job is, you’re likely to get the same answer – Shop with a Cop. Every December, School Resource Officers and deputies from the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office accompany area children on the shopping trip of a lifetime as part of the Shop with a Cop program.
Though all of the children selected to participate come from families who are struggling and who might not be able to provide them with a gift to open on Christmas morning, one of the things the deputies involved in the Shop with a Cop program mention every year is that, instead of rushing to grab their favorite toys or video games with the gift cards they’re given to use for their purchases, nearly every child first looks for a gift for a sibling or parent. Because of this, deputies walk away from the Shop with a Cop holiday gifting experience with misty eyes and a renewed sense of motivation to protect the community and help positively impact and guide its youngest members. The memorable and special experience shared by the children and the deputies is something neither soon forgets, and it has helped forge stronger bonds of trust between the youth and law enforcement. Recognizing the importance of this kind of interaction, the Dyer Difference Award Committee selected the Shop with a Cop program in both St. Lucie and Indian River Counties.
Left to Right: Children’s Services Council Executive Director Sean Boyle, Jonathan Holmes, Will and Tatiana Dyer, Cindy Bridges, Heather “sHERO” Wells, Dorrian Bridges.
Dyer Difference Award Supports Seniors
Fort Pierce’s Pilot Club is a small, but mighty organization which has long focused its fundraising efforts on brain-related diseases and disorders. Part of an international group of powerful and caring women, the Fort Pierce Pilot Club helps sponsor John Carroll High School’s Anchor Club, provides scholarships to high school seniors and other students continuing their education, and also hosts an annual golf tournament each fall to help raise funds for GPS Tracking Bracelets. These lifesaving bracelets are fitted with tiny tracking devices and are distributed among seniors with memory issues including Alzheimer’s Disease or Autism, two populations who might wander away from their safe places and become endangered.
Though the Fort Pierce Pilot Club is small, with fewer than ten active members, they are a powerhouse of teamwork and passion, and this year’s 16th Annual Birdies for Bracelets Golf Tournament at Gator Trace Golf and Country Club is already sold out. This is great news for St. Lucie County because the need for the tracking bracelets is high. Fort Pierce Pilot Club partners with Alzheimer’s Community Care, which facilitates the GPS Tracking Bracelets, and the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office. Because the cause, the effort, and the individuals assisted because of this tournament are important to our community, selecting this month’s Dyer Difference Award recipient in St. Lucie County was as easy as following a GPS.
Ginger's Pet Food Pantry
The pandemic has also had a monumental impact on every aspect of life in St. Lucie County. In addition to the people and the economy being negatively affected by the coronavirus, many of the area’s four-legged friends have found themselves in dire straits, too. When pet owners lose their jobs or homes and are struggling to shelter and feed their own families, it is often the pets who become victims of scarcity. Ginger’s Pet Food Pantry, the only nonprofit pet food pantry in St. Lucie County, provides dog and cat food to the Salvation Army program in both Fort Pierce and Okeechobee.
This labor of love nonprofit organization has also assisted families whose homes have been lost to fire and works tirelessly to allow families to keep their beloved pets rather than turn them over to overcrowded shelters in an act of desperation and despair. Recognizing the important role pets play in our lives and in each of our families, the Dyer Difference Committee chose to recognize the mission of Ginger’s Pet Food Pantry with a Dyer Difference Award.
SLC SHERIFF'S OFFICE