Friday, July 8, 2011

Local 685 Probation Officers Awards Banquet

It's time for the annual Awards Banquet for Los Angeles County's Deputy Probation Officers Union local 685.  Every year awards and scholarships are given to a honor a few special individuals as we celebrate our professions to protect and serve.  Los Angeles county's first probation officer ever was appointed back in 1903, more than 100 years later the county now has over 5000 officers hard at work every day serving our communities. So what better way than to honor them with this celebration for commitment and achievement.

Each year there are several different categories such as retiree of the year (my grandmother won this in 2009), rookie of the year, activist award, lifetime achievement, as well as categories for individuals outside the department including responsible journalist, business foundation award, teacher of the year, legislator of the year and more.  One of the highlights of this evenings events are the scholarship awards which are given to local high seniors and college students.  One particular scholarship recipient this year that impressed me was Keyon Lee.  Keyon is a college freshman who is very passionate about helping others.  At a recent food drive he donated over 100 cans of food in addition to other food products such as beans, rice, and milk.  Keyon decided years ago on his own to take a trip to skid row at the age of ten for thanksgiving to feed the homeless.  This all started as a way to show his appreciation for being blessed and many years later he still  is going strong in his efforts to make a difference.  Another accomplishment to Kenyons credit is starting his own business called 2 Tone Cleat Covers.  His business sprouted from an idea he and his brother had at the age of nine while playing pop warner football.  They designed these cloth cleat covers as a unique alternative to spatting your cleats, which prevents shoe laces from becoming untied while giving extra added ankle support.  These cleat covers come in many different colors and designs and there is even a cover designed especially to support breast cancer awareness month. With sales of more 100,000 Keyon has made sure that some of his profits are donated right back to the organizations and purchasing teams as just one more way to give back.  You can check out the Cleat Covers at or on facebook

Kenyon Lee Scholarship Recipient

Always in attendance at the banquet are various media outlets, legislators, high ranking officials and administrators.  One in particular who was in attendance this year was Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas who actually went to elementary school with my mom.  Also in attendance was the president of the probation officers union for the state of Wisconsin.  He gave us an update on all of their legal battles that have been all over the news and how state legislators are trying to do away with collective bargaining which would put an end to all the good that unions do for their members.  I tell you I am happy that I work here and not in Wisconsin right about now. I am now entering my 16th year of public service to Los Angeles County, and my 13 year as a probation officer.  Not only am I a member of Local 685 but every year I am also the featured singer for the awards festivities. Each year I start off the ceremony with the Star Spangled Banner and this year I was on program to sing another inspirational song however time ran short so I will have to save it for next year!

Supervisor Mark-Ridely Thomas

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