JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office honored the man who founded the Compassionate Families organization Thursday by naming him its 2017 Citizen of the Year.
The Sheriff’s Office posthumously named Glen Mitchell JSO’s Citizen of the Year for his decades of advocacy for victims of violent crimes at the office's 2017 Meritorious Awards ceremony.
Mitchell started the victim’s advocacy group after his 14-year old son, Jeff, was shot and killed in front of Terry Parker High School in 1993.
Through Compassionate Families, Mitchell offered support, counseling and other help to families affected by tragedy.
Names of children lost to homicide are placed on bricks at Terry Parker High School through Mitchell's group, Compassionate Families.
The group also spearheads Camp Maddie, where children who have lost loved ones to violence can work through grief together.
"Any time a family faces that kind of tragedy, they need that support, that help, and Glen was able to provide that,” Sheriff Mike Williams said. “So again, a great compliment to us."
Mitchell also advocated alongside Ellis Curry, one of the four teenagers who were there the night Mitchell's son was killed, showing the power of forgiveness.
"That is something that I think everybody could learn from,” his daughter, Melissa Mitchell, said. “You have to forgive in order to move on, and everybody deserves a second chance."
Mitchell died last month at the age of 76. His family members attended Thursday's ceremony to accept the award in his honor.
Mitchell's family said they take comfort in knowing that their father's work will never be forgotten.
"It's just a blessing to know that his memory lives on,” Melissa Mitchell, said. “His legacy will live on, and how he was valued, not just by our family, but the community and the citizens of Jacksonville."
PHOTOS: 2017 Meritorious Award winners
Here's a list of awards given at the 2017 Meritorious Awards ceremony:
Police Officer of the Year: Police Sgt. Jason B. Bailey
Bailey was recognized for his accomplishments as a police officer in 2015 and early 2016 that led to numerous arrests in the Southside area of the city.
Corrections Officer of the Year: Corrections Officer David L. Lucas
Lucas was honored for his commitment to his job and for his work on a project that led to cost savings for the agency.
Civilian Employee of the Year: executive assistant Brandi M. Goff
Goff was recognized for her dedication to her job as well as her voluntary assistance with several events and initiatives, including JSO’s annual Police Memorial Day service, mental health first aid training, Sheriff’s Strategic Initiative and the Florida Sheriffs Association’s winter 2017 Conference.
Reserve Officer of the Year: Reserve Sgt. Louis M. Livatino
Livatino was honored for not only volunteering his time to assist the men and women of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office but for helping launch a pilot program in the Investigations Division.
Police Supervisor of the Year: Police Lt. Travis J. Cox
Cox was recognized for his work ethic and for his managerial skills as a sergeant assigned to the Emergency Preparedness Unit, where he worked several large-scale events.
Corrections Supervisor of the Year: Corrections Lt. Jason A. Rogers
Rogers received the “Of the Year” honor in this category for his leadership role in the Services Unit at the prison. Rogers was part of the team that brought the “A New Leash on Life” program and the “In-2-Work” program to the Montgomery Correctional Center.