BY LOIS THOMPSON
I have proudly served with the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office for more than 18 years. Throughout my tenure, being part of the community has always been a top priority for me. I try to instill in the next generation of deputies that there are many sides to law enforcement, and the most important is our involvement with the community.
I have seen how citizens can be influenced by the media’s portrayal of deputies and our law enforcement duties. Because of that, they may have a predetermined negative perspective of law enforcement. I believe the best way to change that negative perspective to a positive perspective is through involvement. I believe we should be part of the solution and, instead of feeding the negativity, give our time and knowledge to help others in the community.
I am proud to call Virginia Beach my home for the last 19 years, and I am honored to have spearheaded many great causes and volunteered countless hours in the community I serve. My volunteer activities have become my adopted families, I have learned as much from them as I hope I have taught them. The different organizations that I volunteer with through their diversity, commitment, passion, drive, honesty and dedication to good have shown me that you can do more through actions than with words by helping your fellow neighbor. Some of my favorite organizations that I have been a part of are:
► J&A Racing: I have been a committee member for J&A Racing for almost 15 years, and the organization has been the highlight of my physical fitness family. Through the numerous races it puts on throughout Hampton Roads, J&A has maintained a commitment to healthy lifestyles and supporting the law enforcement community.
► Pungo Strawberry Festival: Another favorite event I help to coordinate every year with Sheriff’s Office Sgts. Stan Allbritton and Frank Davis is the Pungo Strawberry Festival. Turning onto Princess Anne Road from Seaboard Road, I am greeted by a big white sign that reads “Pungo Strawberry Festival,” and I know that I am home. The festival has given back in so many ways that it has taught me to do the same through community service. One of our biggest volunteer tasks during the festival is parking cars to raise money for different charities and for scholarships. My son was a recipient of such a scholarship that helped him graduate from Old Dominion University with a degree in biology, and he is now a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. He will tell you himself that he cannot remember a Memorial Day weekend growing up when we were not at the festival having fun spending time with our friends and coworkers in the air field parking cars.
► Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission: Virginia Beach is a small community of caring individuals who want to give back. I have served on the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission board as the sheriff’s office liaison for four years. I have seen first-hand what volunteering and caring means by listening to their concerns.
I volunteer because I like being part of the bigger picture. Take out the issues in politics, religion and government that may divide us and you are left with great people. I live in a great community that has taught me to be proud of who I am, and I have learned that life can be an awesome adventure through hard work. I am proud to be part of a great community that has that homegrown feel.
© 2018 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC