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A surprise party for a retiring community icon

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image Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee with HCSO Community Service Officer Donna Budd during a surprise party on Saturday for her upcoming retirement. Photo Mitch Traphagen

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Community Service Officer Donna Budd has literally defined the term “community service” in her 34 years with the HCSO.

By MITCH TRAPHAGEN

In the months and years to come, a person or a local organization will need help and someone will ask, “well, who used to take care of that?” The answer will be Donna Budd. 

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Community Service Officer Donna Budd has literally defined the term “community service” in her 34 years with the HCSO.  Over those years Budd has helped struggling families keep their electricity on; she has helped children who would otherwise have no gifts under the Christmas tree believe, legitimately, that Santa Claus does indeed exist. She has helped churches and people with nowhere else to turn put a few dollars of gas in the tank.  There are undoubtably many more examples but she doesn’t talk about such things, she just does them.

Budd, currently working in the HCSO Sun City Center community office, will retire on April 26. On Saturday, family members, co-workers, hundreds of friends, and Sheriff David Gee all turned out for a surprise retirement party in her honor.

“Thirty-four years is a long time to put your heart into a job and to have respect from your community and coworkers,” said her daughter, Tracy Howard. “Our mother has spent her life helping others and we are proud of the terrific woman she is! I hope to be half of the influence on others that she has been. Thank you to everyone who shared these years with her, each one of you have made a memorable impact on her life.”

Donna Budd has left a memorable impact on thousands of lives in South Hillsborough. Her work, her heart and her generosity shined favorably on the sheriff’s office and, indeed, made the entire community look good. She offered the helping hand that so many have needed and provided an example of heart, compassion and service to the community. Her retirement is well-deserved; her absence will be long felt.  Who used to take care of that?

Donna Budd did.

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