Valerie St. Bernard, a resident of Deer Park that has generously volunteered and given back to the community, has been selected by Suffolk County Legislator Tom Donnelly as the District 17 Woman of Distinction for 2022. Legislator Donnelly had the opportunity to honor Ms. St. Bernard by presenting her with a special proclamation at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge on March 29.
Ms. St. Bernard has served as Correction Officer for more than 20 years where she has seen the impact of addiction and the devastation to families, especially children placed in foster care. Her personal experiences compelled her to become the founder and president of the Deer Park Drug Prevention Coalition (DPDPC), an organization with the objective to educate, empower and advocate for families in Deer Park and the surrounding communities affected by drug and alcohol dependency.
An Executive Board Member of the Concerned Citizens of Deer Park, Vice President of the Deer Park Community Association, Vice President of the Lions Club of Wyandanch/Wheatley Heights, Board Member of the Mother’s Club of Wheatley Heights, Ms. St. Bernard is also an usher and President of the Missionary Auxiliary at the First Baptist Church of Deer Park.
Ms. St. Bernard is currently a credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor Trainee (CASCA-T) and also interns at the Suﬀolk County Drug and Family Treatment Court. A graduate of Suﬀolk County Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Chemical Dependence Counseling, she is expected to graduate from Long Island University’s Social Work program with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work in May.
The Suffolk County Woman of Distinction Recognition Program was established in 2002 to give each County Legislator the opportunity to honor an outstanding woman who resides in his or her legislative district and has demonstrated leadership, involvement and commitment to community. In conjunction with Women’s History Month, Ms. St. Bernard and the names of the other legislative district honorees were read into the record at the March 29 Legislature General Meeting and honored at the annual Suffolk County Woman of Distinction Luncheon later that day. Joining her to see her honored were her husband Eddie, daughter Joyreiss and First Baptist Church of Deer Park Pastor Da’Shun Burrell.
“Ms. St. Bernard has demonstrated a fierce and inspiring commitment to ensuring that the most vulnerable families in our community are given the help they so desperately need,” said Legislator Donnelly. “It is a privilege to honor her as my Woman of Distinction for 2022. On behalf of the entire community, I thank her for all that she has done.”