“PGPD Honors Five Students for Doing the Right Thing”

On Thursday, October 4, 2012 the Punta Gorda Police Department’s “Do the Right Thing” program will honor five children for their good deeds. Awards will be presented to the following students at a ceremony in the City of Punta Gorda Council Chambers at 3:00 p.m.:

 Our first winner for the month of October is Dade Austin. Dale is a 12th grade student at Charlotte Harbor School and is the grandson of Patricia and Daniel Wilbur.

 Dade was home alone with his great-grandmother recently when she became injured. His great-grandmother fell and was not able to get up on her own. Dade used his quick thinking skills and went to the neighbor’s home for help. His great-grandmother remained in the hospital for several days as a result of her injury. Not panicking and knowing what to do is a big accomplishment for students in my class, Dade’s teacher wrote.

 We are proud to hear that Dade’s ability to handle stressful situations worked so well. Congratulations Dade, we are proud of the way you handled yourself.

 Dade is involved in Special Olympics and participates in a variety of their activities including swimming, golf, softball, basketball and power lifting. He also loves computer activities and games as well as riding his bike.

  We are pleased to recognize Richie Tucker as out next DTRT recipient. Richie is a 6th grade student at Murdock Middle School and is the son of Veronica and Richard Tucker.

 Richie was walking to school not too long ago and he found a men’s wallet lying on the ground. As soon as he got to school, Richie turned the wallet in to the office. Inside of the wallet was a driver’s license, social security card and other forms of identification. The owner was obviously excited to have his personal items returned. As the school said, Richie followed good GATOR expectations by acting responsibly.

  Richie we are very happy to hear about your honest approach to life and we congratulate you on your actions.

 When not in school, Richie enjoys Boy Scouts, he plays little league and lots of video games. Richie gets very good grades in school and plays the trumpet in the school band. He is also active in his church.

  Our next recipient for the month of October is Sierra Colaluca, a 6th grade student at Punta Gorda Middle School and the daughter of Denise Colaluca.

 Sierra has been saving her allowance for some time, but did not know what she was saving for. Her school’s Relay for Life Team held a Silly Seuss Hair Day. In order to participate, one only needed to pay one dollar. Sierra approached her teacher to ask if she was allowed to donate more than one dollar. Needless to say the teacher was taken aback by her question. Further probing revealed that she had been saving her hard earned money. When she told her family what she wanted to do with her money, her two younger sisters contributed to the amount that she had saved already. On the Silly Seuss Hair day Sierra, proudly contributed $24 and some change to her class’ jar of money. Sierra is a selfless, loving young girl who just wanted to help cure cancer with her little donation. She said her granny had died of cancer so she knew how awful the disease was. Sierra’s act of giving did not go unnoticed by her peers. She has since motivated others to think of the needs of others before themselves. Her teacher said that she is so happy and proud to nominate Sierra for the “Do The Right Thing” award. She makes me proud to be her teacher!

 Congratulations Sierra. We love to hear about young people helping others.

 Outside of school, Sierra gets involved in just about anything according to her mother. She loves helping others whenever she can. She is also involved in gymnastics and loves arts and crafts. She gets great grades in School.

  Let me introduce you to Olivia Hernandez a 5th grade student at Liberty Elementary School and the daughter of Linda Carwhile.

 Olivia is always helping others. She takes out the garbage for the elderly in her neighborhood. She also takes time to keep the neighborhood clean by picking up trash around the area. She participates in the Toys for Tots Program by collecting money for the organization. In her free time, Olivia plays softball. She exemplified good sportsmanship and helping others. During a recent game, Olivia was running to second base. A girl from the other team was about to catch the ball to get her out. The two collided and the opposing team member fell. Olivia was safe on the base. She then proceeded to help the girl who fell get up. The umpire called her out because she stepped off the base to help her and the opposing team member was holding the ball. The umpire said that he realized it was an act of kindness but she was out none the less. The team may have lost that game but Olivia made everyone feel like winners. Simply because she did the right thing and helped someone in need.

 Olivia, our thanks for showing others what true sportsmanship is really like. We are proud of the decision you made.

 When not playing softball, Charlotte fast Pitch league, Olivia is doing others things like the 5K Girls on the Run for lung cancer. She is on the principal’s list at school and loves art. Many of her art pieces have won awards in the past including a 1st place award in the MLK Poster Contest. She is active in her church, and their youth fellowship program. She donates money to church and was recognized for befriending a child who was bullied in her neighborhood.

 We would now like to introduce you to our overall winner for the month of October. Her name is Tyresia Johnson. Tyresia is a 7th grader at the Punta Gorda Middle School and the daughter of Debbie and Herbert Johnson.

 On May 20th 2012, at approximately 12:32 pm, Tyresia was walking on Mary Street towards St. Mary’s Primitive Baptist Church when a man in a red truck approached her. The 55 year old male commented on the weather, asked her where she was going, and then asked if she wanted a ride. She said no. She did observe what she believed was a dog in the passenger side of the truck and she commented on it. The male then asked her “Do you want to pet it?” She didn’t take him up on the offer and went home and told an adult about the encounter. She was able to remember what type of vehicle the man was driving, what he was wearing, and that he had a beard. Punta Gorda Police Officers responded to the area and armed with a description of the male and his vehicle, an officer quickly located the individual and conducted a traffic stop. At first, the male lied to officers and stated that he did not speak to anyone in the area and then changed his story. He stated that he spoke a female and claimed he thought she was twenty (20) years old. An investigation revealed much more. Other details were obtained that solidified officers beliefs that he planned to hurt this girl and he was immediately arrested. As parents, we try to teach our kids what to do, while the school and the police department teach about Stranger Danger. We never think it could happen here and we never know if those skills, when put to the test under pressure, will work or not. Under pressure, Tyresia did the right thing and stayed away. Under pressure, she was able to remember details about the vehicle and the males clothes and facial hair. Under pressure, she did the right thing and told an adult. Because she did the right thing, this man was arrested and his ability to hurt someone else was taken away.

 Tyresia, we are so proud of the way you were able to implement what your family and others have taught you. Congratulations on doing the right thing.

 Tyresia is described as a very friendly person who loves photography, reading and drawing. She gets good grades in school and is very active in her church.