Well, 2017 is over, and what a year it was. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, and enjoyed a spectacular firework show to bring in the New Year.
I am very humbled and thankful for the overwhelming support I received from the membership and for giving me the opportunity to lead this great organization for the next four years. As we enter this new year we will face many challenges, but we here at the PBA are up to the challenge and look forward to a very productive 2018.
Although, I don't formally take office as the new PBA President until January 29th, some changes have already started, and as I said back in November, the landscaping at the PBA was going to change, and change it has. We had a record number of members vote, and the membership spoke loud and clear that change was not only wanted, but demanded. As we enter our 55th year here at the PBA, I am humbled to know that I will be only the seventh President this organization has had.
When the Dade County PBA started, the first President was Sergeant Charlie Maddox. In 1963, Charlie started the PBA by driving around the County signing up members with a shoebox and a pack of index cards. Sgt. Maddox served until 1975, at which time Jimmy Duckworth became the President and presided until 1978. Nelson Perry then took over in 1978, and served until 1984, at which time Hugh P. Peebles was elected, and he served from 1984 to1987. Nelson Perry then returned to office from 1987 until he retired in 1990. Nelson Perry should also be commended for having the foresight to move PBA headquarters from a small storefront union hall to the building we have today. In 1990 Mike Clifton became the fifth PBA President, and in 1993 John Rivera was elected as the sixth PBA President. Each of these Presidents have had an Executive Committee and Board of Directors who were committed to the needs of our members. Our new Board will continue fighting and when we get knocked down, we will stand up, dust ourselves off and keep fighting. Make no mistakes, we will never stop fighting for your rights.
Last month I had the privilege of volunteering at the 12th annual toy giveaway which was held at the Nicklaus Children's Hospital, and hosted by the Michael Fux Foundation. Mr. Fux, who uses his wealth to help others who are less fortunate, does a toy giveaway to benefit families with sick children, and the goal of the Foundation is to grant the wish of the ailing child. On this day, he granted the wishes of 180 families whose children are battling various medical conditions. It was humbling and rewarding to see the faces of the children and their family members while receiving the gifts from Mr. Fux, Santa Claus and his helpers. We here at the PBA would like to thank Michael Fux, the police officers, and all the volunteers who assisted. We see you and we say thank you.
Also, please keep Officer Manuel Gonzalez in your thoughts and prayers. Last month he was shot five times while working an off-duty job at Walmart. Ofc. Gonzalez, by the grace of God not only survived, but was able to return fire, killing the scumbag. A job well done my friend!! We here at the PBA wish you a speedy recovery.