DTRTlogoThe Punta Gorda Police Department is pleased to announce the January 2014 Do The Right Thing award recipients. The list of attached students will be recognized at a ceremony to be held at the City of Punta Gorda City Council Chambers at 3:00 pm Thursday, January 9, 2014.

Our first winner for the 2014 year comes to us from the Vineland Elementary school where he is in the 4th grade. Please welcome Robert Doxen, son of Danette Downing.

On Tuesday October 22 at about 6:30 pm, Sheriff’s deputies contacted three people at Tringali Park concerning possible drug activity. One of the men fled, and, as he was running, he threw something into a densely wooded area. The deputies caught the man and brought him back to the original area. When the deputies tried to find whatever he threw into the woods, they were unable to initially do so. According to the booking report, while they were looking for the item, a witness told them that “what you are looking for is over here” and pointed to an entirely different area of the park. The witness said that while the deputies were chasing the man, a young boy had brought a small zip lock baggie with a green leafy substance to him. The witness told the boy to put it down. The deputies located the boy, Robert Doxen, who said he rode his bike onto the trail after he saw what happened. He said he located the baggie and brought it to the nearest adult. The substance tested positive for marijuana and the man was arrested on a variety of charges, including contributing to the delinquency of minors. As the Public Information Officer for the Sheriff’s Office, I read many arrest reports, but I was taken by the fact that this young man would take what he found to the ‘nearest adult.’ I think this certainly qualifies as the right thing to do and Robert Anthony Doxen should be recognized for this action on his part.

Robert, as adults we appreciate the effort you went through to make certain that drugs were not available to young students. What you did was certainly “Doing the Right Thing”. Congratulations.

Robert is very interested in recycling and is a member of Vineland’s Green team. He is also very much into baseball. He maintains good grades in school.

Our next 2014 recipient is a young lady by the name of Emily Cox. Emily is a ninth grade student at Port Charlotte High School. She is the daughter of Cory and David Cox.

Despite her personal obstacles, Emily continues to think about those in need. Last year at 14 years old, on her own initiative, Emily collected enough toys to donate to the Toys for Tots. This year, Emily decided to start collecting in the spring so that she could surpass her donation from last year and has set a goal to collect a minimum of two boxes of toys. Emily has even begun to use her own money to purchase toys. When asked this holiday season what she wants for Christmas, her response is that she would like toys purchased for the Toys for Tot’s box. Emily is so considerate and unselfish that she took her own gift cards that she received for her birthday to buy gifts for her entire family for Christmas.

Emily it makes us feel real proud to be able to recognize someone who is so determined to make life better for others. Thank you for your efforts and your concern.

When not involved in doing things for others, Emily is very involved in the Young Life program. She volunteers at her church on a regular basis and also volunteers at the Liberty Elementary School and the Charlotte Cultural Center. We hear that she is soon to become a member of the Sheriff’s Department Explorer’s  program as well. She likes soccer, swimming and all kinds of artistic activities. In school, she is on the A/B honor roll.

Please give a hearty welcome to Austin Turner, Austin is in the third grade at Meadow Park Elementary School and is the son of Eddisse and Brian Turner.

There was a student in Austin’s class who was having a very difficult time entering the classroom. Austin befriended him. The next day, when the child still had a hard time, Austin went out of the room and into the hallway with the other student. Austin patted his new classmate on the back and said to the him, “Hey, man! It’s going to be okay. I’ll go in with you. I’ll bet Mrs. Hevia will even let us sit together. Let’s ask her.” Austin’s actions and comments put the other child at ease, right away. He took on a leadership role without being asked, and made his classmate feel welcomed and appreciated.

What a fine example of a great school citizen. Someone who welcomes others and goes out of his way to make them comfortable. Great job Austin, we are proud of you.

When not making others feel comfortable about life, Austin loves to play baseball and fish. He is on the school honor roll and has had perfect attendance. In addition, he has received two Franklin Covey awards for his school performance. He has participated in the Relay for Life program  and raised money to try to find a cure for cancer.

Lets travel to Charlotte High School to meet our next recipient. Please welcome David DeYoung, a twelfth grade student and the son of Debbie and Timothy DeYoung.

The person nominating David had this to say. On a Saturday afternoon, a few weeks ago, I found myself stranded in the Wal-Mart parking lot with a car that would not start, after just purchasing two weeks’ worth of groceries. However, I was quickly approached by the young man who had just come out of the store and was parked next to me. He appeared to be a very nice young man. As soon as the young man realized my car was broken down, he did not hesitate to ask what was wrong, and what he could do to help me. After I explained how my car was acting, he quickly reacted, and got a pair of jumper cables to jump my car. As he was preparing to do this, he mentioned that he had just come to Wal-Mart to purchase a tie and that he was going home to get ready, as that evening was the homecoming dance. I feel that in our society today, not many young people would help a person in my situation out, especially when they had something so important and exciting about to occur. And David never once hesitated, and was extremely polite and respectful as we spoke. I was truly impressed with his actions; I certainly think he deserves credit for acting like a wonderful, friendly, and helpful person. Our community needs more people, young and old, like David DeYoung!

David thank you for going out of your way to assist someone in need. If only all members of our society would do this, how much better off we would be. Congratulations on having great character.

When not helping others, David loves to play football. He is an outdoor person and loves to camp and fish. He has participated in the Toys for Tots program and charity races at the YMCA.

It is now my pleasure to introduce you to our overall winner for January 2014. Please welcome Mateo Diego Lugo, a fourth grade student at Peace River Elementary school. Mateo is the son of Gina Santiago and Marcus Lugo.

Mateo was nominated by Charlene Geib, a 70 year old resident who lives alone and has multiple sclerosis. One afternoon several weeks ago, Mrs. Gieb writes that she rode her electric scooter outside of the front door. On the way back into the house, one (1) of the wheels went off the sidewalk tipping the scooter over on it’s side and throwing the batteries out. When this happened, it pinned me to the sidewalk. Mateo was walking home from the school bus stop, called out immediately and came over to help. He was very wise as to listen to what I said I needed and did all he could to make sure I was OK and back on my scooter before he continued his walk home. I’ll never forget the caring actions of this special young man. He’s quite an asset to our community. I’m sure his parents are very proud of him. His actions came so naturally or matter-of-factly that when a couple of days later I saw him & his father walking home from the bus stop I mentioned what happened, his father knew nothing of the incident.

Mateo, thank you so much for showing concern for others.  If all of our citizens would only learn from your actions, how much better a place this would be. Congratulations.

Mateo loves playing the recorder as well as reading and writing. He likes basketball, soccer and video games. He is very active in his church and is an honor roll student at his school.