May 3, 2021 – In a small, outdoor ceremony, amid a steady stream of drive-thru graduation festivities, Dr. Bea Awoniyi, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Santa Fe College, was formally honored for her role in supporting the Florida National Guard throughout the pandemic.
First Lieutenant Javan Brown, Engineer Officer for the Florida Army National Guard appeared in full dress to present “Dr. Bea,” as she is affectionately known across the college, with the Patriot Award. When he is not actively deployed and supervising COVID-19 testing sites across 13 counties in the state, Brown serves as the full-time coordinator of My Brother’s Keeper, a presidential initiative at the college that helps improve retention rates for black males through traditional and peer mentorship programs. Dr. Bea is his direct supervisor.
The Patriot Award is designated by a Department of Defense program, the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). It was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between service members and their civilian employers. The award honors employers who go above and beyond in their support for deployed employees. Brown nominated Dr. Bea, who not only helped keep his program running throughout his lengthy deployment over the past year, but also routinely checked on Brown’s family. She even helped to plan a birthday party for his daughter.
“Dr. Bea truly leads from the heart. She puts the needs of others first,” said SF President Paul Broadie II Ph.D. “She made sure that not only was My Brother’s Keeper running efficiently while Javan served our country, she also made sure that his family at home were taken care of so Javan could focus on his duties. Dr. Bea is exactly what makes us Santa Fe Strong and she is the embodiment of a servant-leader. We are honored to have her as a part of the Santa Fe family.”
Although the award was conferred several months before, its presentation was delayed due to repeated deployments related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Bea was kept unaware of the honor until the surprise presentation April 30, 2021.
Congratulations, Dr. Bea, and thank you for your service!