Jarret Romanello, The St. Lucie Post
April 13, 2021
(FORT PIERCE) Fort Pierce has a rising star – Chad Dawson, a code enforcement officer from the deep south with a big heart, delivers excellent service to the city on and off duty.
Dawson, 24, was born and raised in the small town of Emelle, Alabama – population 50.
Raised in Bishop Luke Edwards’ commune, the child of sharecroppers, he spent his schooldays picking okra and hardly ever picked up a book.
With limited opportunities in Alabama, he moved to Port St. Lucie at age 17, leaving the small town southwest of Tuscaloosa to attend Treasure Coast High School in Florida’s seventh-largest city.
The disadvantages he faced in the big city consumed him. His environment changed, and his confidence worsened. He was not like the other students. He was a simple kid from a poor town with little education. He felt out of place, alone, and misunderstood. His peers were raised in a classroom while he was in a field. His friends grew up playing video games. He listened to the word of God. The gap he faced socially paled compared to the disadvantage he faced because of the lack of educational opportunities he met growing up in rural Alabama.
He leaned on the only thing he knew – Kindness. His southern hospitality, charm, and interpersonal skills propelled him to Acceleration Academy in Fort Pierce.
Finally, the advantages of being raised on a farm and not in front of a screen paid off. Chad graduated at the top of his class, and Acceleration Academy flew him to Chicago – to meet their owner, who offered him a job.
Chad ultimately landed a job with the City of Fort Pierce as a Code Enforcement Officer and studies at Indian River State College, close to finishing his associate degree.
Channeling his interpersonal skills, Chad excels at his job in Fort Pierce.
On March 18, 2019, a resident dropped a note off at Fort Pierce City Hall thanking Chad for his service and meeting him. Chad helped the citizen resolve a matter concerning unsightly trash in her neighborhood.
On February 18, 2021, Gary Clinton, a Fort Pierce resident since 1969, had an interaction with Chad during an investigation into a code violation. Mr. Clinton later contacted the City of Fort Pierce and complimented Chad saying he was one of the nicest people he ever met. The Fort Pierce City Commission acknowledged the compliment and recognized Chad’s efforts in a Board Meeting in March 2021.
Fort Pierce Mayor Linda Hudson weighs in, saying, “When a citizen takes the time to compliment, rather than complain, it’s so very much appreciated. Our City of Fort Pierce Commission has made excellent customer service to our residents and visitors a high priority. We are proud of all employees who are dedicated to making Fort Pierce the best it can be. We have a culture of customer service excellence, emphasized by the Commission and executed by management. Complaints about any aspect of service to the public are important as well. We use the complaints to improve, but we welcome the compliments to inspire. Thanks to Chad Dawson for his hard work and excellent attitude. He makes us all look good.”
His excellent work does not stop on duty. When he is off duty, he spends two days a week volunteering to clean the South Causeway Beach and Jaycee Park.
Chad loves engaging others to help them. He is majoring in Criminal Justice and plans on becoming a police officer. “I love helping people and educating the community on services available to them.”
From humble beginnings to now, Chad credits one act with his current success. Chad says, “Kindness always prevails.”