Our Back the Blue Campaign continues to highlight individuals that take extraordinary steps to further build positive relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
This week, I traveled to Fort Myers to present a Back the Blue Award to School Resource Officer Donna Aiossa-McNally who serves at Buckingham Exceptional Student Center. Deputy Aiossa-McNally gave up her office and turned it into a food pantry so that special needs students could learn the shopping experience. By creating the food pantry, students are able to develop important vocational skills, build confidence when making decisions, and bring food home so they do not go hungry at night. This is especially significant at Buckingham because 78 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunches.
Deputy Aiossa-McNally is also working towards making the school’s home economics kitchen ADA and wheelchair accessible. This would give students the opportunity to learn how to cook and make meals themselves from the items they picked at the food pantry.
School resource officers are important to the schools they serve in many ways. After visiting Buckingham, it was clear how valued Deputy Aiossa-McNally is by these students and the impact she has made at the school. She started this project by personally stocking shelves herself and is now partnered with Harry Chapin Food Bank. The food bank delivers 400 to 500 pounds of food to the school every Friday.
Thank you, Deputy Aiossa-McNally for going above and beyond your duties, for building a strong relationship between local law enforcement and your community, and for simply being the good person you are.
For more information about our Back the Blue Campaign and to nominate a law enforcement officer, citizen or organization for an award, click here.
In closing, I would like to take a moment to recognize American’s fallen heroes. Monday is Memorial Day, and as Floridians prepare to enjoy a long holiday weekend, let us not forget the courage and sacrifice of our military heroes who gave their lives, so we could live free.