Aventura Hospital and Medical Center hosts ‘Salute to Law Enforcement’

By Bari Auerbach

Heroic law enforcement officers who risk their lives serving and protecting the community were recently honored during the annual “Salute to Law Enforcement” Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting hosted by Aventura Hospital and Medical Center at Gulfstream Park’s opulent Sport of Kings venue.

(L to R) AMC Chairman Gary Pyott, Association 1st; Capt. Karyn Brinson and Ofc. Michael Mellides, Aventura Police Dept.; Vianca Larice and Luanne Ansaldo, Aventura Hospital and Medical Center; Maj. Mike Bentolila, Aventura Police Dept.; Aventura Comm. Gladys Mezrahi and Police Chief Bryan Pegues; Alisa Bert, Aventura Hospital and Medical Center; Aventura Mayor Enid Weisman, Maj. William “Skip” Washa, City Manager Eric Soroka; Capt. Madison Freeman, Ofc. Elricco Barnes, Ofc. Carolyn Gray, Capt. Thomas Labombarda and Exec. Asst. Rita Noa, Aventura Police Dept. (Front Center) Ofc. Luis Chaidez with K9 Franklin and Ofc. Brandon Worthington with K9 Chulligan, Aventura Police Dept.

(L to R) AMC Chairman Gary Pyott, Association 1st; Capt. Karyn Brinson and Ofc. Michael Mellides, Aventura Police Dept.; Vianca Larice and Luanne Ansaldo, Aventura Hospital and Medical Center; Maj. Mike Bentolila, Aventura Police Dept.; Aventura Comm. Gladys Mezrahi and Police Chief Bryan Pegues; Alisa Bert, Aventura Hospital and Medical Center; Aventura Mayor Enid Weisman, Maj. William “Skip” Washa, City Manager Eric Soroka; Capt. Madison Freeman, Ofc. Elricco Barnes, Ofc. Carolyn Gray, Capt. Thomas Labombarda and Exec. Asst. Rita Noa, Aventura Police Dept. (Front Center) Ofc. Luis Chaidez with K9 Franklin and Ofc. Brandon Worthington with K9 Chulligan, Aventura Police Dept.

Hundreds of business and community leaders including elected officials, police chiefs and law enforcement officers were welcomed by AMC Chair Gary Pyott of Association 1st, Aventura Hospital acting CEO/Chief Financial Officer Alisa Bert and Chief Operating Officer Luanne Ansaldo.  They shared the heartfelt message, “Whether it’s saving a family from rising flood waters, running towards an explosion to save lives or chasing down the bad guys, law enforcement officers truly put their lives on the line for us day in and day out. For those reasons, and so many more, we thank you.”

On behalf of Aventura Hospital’s entire team, Bert said, “Thank you for having our backs every day”.   Set against the backdrop of  a huge “We Back the Blue” banner, law enforcement officers and their K-9s were honored from municipalities, agencies and institutions including: Aventura, Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands,  Coral Gables,  El Portal, Florida International University Police Department,  Golden Beach, Hallandale Beach,  Miami-Dade-Village of Palmetto Bay, Miami-Dade Corrections & Rehabilitation,  Miami-Dade Intracoastal District,  Miami-Dade Schools Police Department, Miami Gardens, Miami Shores, Miami Springs, North Miami, North Miami Beach,  Sunny Isles Beach and Surfside.

Every month, the AMC continues saluting law enforcement with “Officer of the Month” award presentations supported by Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman. Her office annually donates $10,000 to the Police Officers Assistance Trust to celebrate and honor exceptional officers.  Praising law enforcement teams for keeping residents safe during Hurricane Irma, Heyman said, “Damages were really minimized because of diligent officers protecting our communities, people and property. I’m proud to join the AMC in recognizing officers who go above and beyond.”

Sunny Isles Beach Police Chief Police Maas, who assisted with expertly coordinating the Salute to  Law Enforcement event, emphasized, “Thank you for standing, not just behind  us, but standing with us so that together we can change the culture, improve our relationships and make a difference in our communities.  Too often, the negative is highlighted, but the heroic or the compassionate is buried on the back page. Thank you to everyone who believes in and supports their police.”

Aventura Police Chief Brian Pegues saluted the courage of law enforcement professionals noting, “We have taken an oath to place other’s lives above our own. Our courage is inspired by the bravery of our peers and reinforced by teamwork. When officers are faced with daunting challenges like we are today, it is courage that sustains us.”

Sharing an Aventura Hospital update, Bert said, “During Hurricane Irma, the hospital worked closely with the City of Aventura and first responders to ensure we were able to serve the community’s healthcare needs. For the safety of patients and everyone in our building, we rely on our law enforcement departments to help in that partnership. After becoming a level two trauma center, we see the dangers they face. We have a great appreciation for what they do and their help protecting our community.

“Aventura Hospital’s ongoing expansion includes a $15.6 million investment to double the size of our Emergency Room and create a safe environment specifically designated for folks with behavioral health issues. We’re also about to break ground on a new patient tower with 60 beds as well as a new parking garage, adding 513 spaces.

“The hospital’s latest technological advances include installation of 3D tomography, heightening breast cancer awareness, and state-of-the MRI equipment. We’ve also established a Graduate Medical Education Program welcoming healthcare’s future problem solvers focusing on Internal Medicine, Surgery, Anesthesia, Emergency Medicine and a GI fellowship, plus a Psychology residency program is now in the approval process.”

For more information about Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, visit aventurahospital.com