The community of Fort Pierce, Florida didn’t let the pandemic take away the opportunity to recognize a very special resident of Fort Pierce Health Care as he turned 100 years old. Staff at the care center knew that Mr. Patrick Duval was a policeman, and subsequently found out that he was St. Lucie’s first African American deputy and the first person of color to hold rank within the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office. Mr Duval retired in 1985, after 31 years of service. In addition to his work on the police force, Mr. Duvall made significant and lasting contributions to the care center’s surrounding area.
In a discussion with his daughter, the staff learned that Mr. Duval did a lot of community work during the civil rights era. One of his accomplishments included getting a Fort Pierce park named in memory of Frederick Douglass, the famous African American abolitionist, editor and author. Mr. Duval was also instrumental in developing Jensen Beach and the 13th Street Community Center in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Even after his retirement, he continued with his passion for community service.
The staff at Fort Pierce Health Care thought Mr. Duval’s 100th birthday provided an excellent opportunity to recognize his decorated history, so they contacted the police department to see if they would do a parade. The department responded enthusiastically. In fact, when the current deputy sheriff was a rookie, it was Mr. Duval who gave him his first “ride-along.”
The day of the parade, Mr. Duval was completely surprised and elated to see his past co-workers. He was presented with a plaque which he proudly displays by his bedside. The parade was a beautiful demonstration of the love and respect Mr. Duval has garnered from his contributions over the years.
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