Florida remembers missing children with 12th annual Florida’s Missing Children’s Day (videos)
Florida remembered 25 missing children on the 12th annual Florida’s Missing Children’s Day ceremony held in Tallahassee. Governor Charlie Crist spoke at the ceremony that focuses on missing children cases and also provides awards for those who have a great impact on missing children cases.
Governor Crist said, “Today’s ceremony is an important time to send prayers and support to the families of Florida’s missing children. We must remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure the safety of our young people, and work together to provide law enforcement and volunteers the necessary resources and tools needed to bring our children home safely.”
The following recipients received the 2010 Missing Children’s awards. The information comes from a Governor’s press release.
John and Revé Walsh Award: Representative Sandy Adams, Senator J. Alex Villalobos, Senator Charles Dean, Senator Victor Crist, Former Senator Nancy Argenziano, Former Senator Locke Burt, and Clerk of Court (Former Senator) Howard Forman, for their work in helping Florida to become the third state to have substantially implemented the Adam Walsh Act.
Commissioner’s Award: Brad Dennis, Director of Search Operations for KlaasKIDS Foundation’s National Search Center for Missing Children who coordinated a multi-agency effort to combat child sex trafficking which led to the discovery of six missing children.
Evelyn Williams Memorial Award: Vero Beach City Manager Jim Gabbard, the former Vero Beach Police Chief was recognized for his many contributions to local and state child safety initiatives and for his service as a long-time member of FDLE’s Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse Advisory Board.
Essay Contest Winner: Nick Hamilton of Saint Michael Lutheran School in Fort Myers. Nick’s essay focused on safety tips young people can use and share when they are away from their parents.
Department of Justice Poster Contest Recognition: Thomas DeLeon of Old Kings Elementary School in Flagler Beach. Thomas’ drawing artfully shows the use of a variety of investigative tools in the effort to bring missing children home safely.
Local Law Enforcement Officer of the Year: Sgt. Larry Folsom of the Leon County Sherriff’s Office was recognized for his efforts in the arrest of Texas man who kidnapped his son in the middle of the night. An Amber Alert was issued and Sgt. Folsom located the suspect on I-10 and arrested him without incident.
Law Enforcement Task Force/Team of the Year: 14th Judicial Circuit Child Abduction Response Team (CART). This multi-agency team was instrumental in the safe recovery of kidnapped 7-month-old child from Washington County.
State/Federal Law Enforcement Officer of the Year: Special Agent Gregory Christopher, FBI Tampa. Special Agent Christopher was honored for his work in the rescue of 22 children from commercial sexual exploitation and his dedication to their well being after being found.
The Jimmy Ryce Trailing Team of the Year: Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy. The Academy was recognized for their work and dedication in the training bloodhounds for law enforcement agencies to be used in the search and rescue of missing persons.
Citizen of the Year: Mr. Miguel Flores of Homestead, Fla. was honored for his quick and decisive actions in stopping an in-progress kidnapping of a child from his mother.
School Bus Operator of the Year: Kathleen Picard of Citrus County School District. Picard’s alertness while at work led to the arrest of a man who had been inappropriate with two children.
You may see a video tribute of many of Florida’s missing children in the video below.