Victim Advocates Recognized During ´Random Acts of BBQ' Luncheon

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, in partnership with Sonny's BBQ Sarasota, surprised the Victim Assistance Unit on Thursday afternoon with a 'Random Acts of BBQ' luncheon to commend their efforts towards positively impacting the citizens of Sarasota County.

Started by the Sonny's BBQ franchise, the campaign was created to honor individuals and organizations that actively affect good deeds in their respective communities. Recipients of the luncheon are either nominated or approached by their local Sonny's based on their positive actions in the community.

The Victim Assistance Unit was nominated by the agency's Community Affairs Office for their work towards providing support, information and resources to victims of crime and individuals who experience trauma. The Unit is comprised of four members; two of whom were recently deployed to Orlando to assist victims and their families after the Pulse nightclub shooting.

"When we were approached by Sonny's with this opportunity, we knew we had get involved," said Colonel Kurt A. Hoffman. "After much deliberation, we selected the Victim Assistance Unit for this surprise recognition as a way to thank them for their tireless dedication. Our victim advocates service the entire county regardless of jurisdictional boundaries, and often respond afterhours to help victims and their families during the most trying times."

Victim Advocate Coordinator Autumn Roppolo and three advocates including John Walker, Jennifer Hardwich and Sarah Kruysman were recognized Thursday by more than 50 colleagues, friends and family, with lunch catered by Sonny's BBQ Sarasota.