Paws and PALs honored with Dyer Difference Award

Diana Ciemko, Mary Wood, Snow (dog), John Dyer, Tatiana Dyer, Cookie Pankiewicz. Ted Pankiewicz, Sr.,Ted Pankiewicz, Jr., Handsome (dog), Helena Voss, Cheryl Diedolf, Cheryl and Jim Wilson

Jessica Pankiewicz was just 32 when she succumbed to complications of Devic’s, an autoimmune disease. An animal lover who had a heart for helping others, Pankiewicz’s legacy lives on through For the Love of Paws, an organization formed in 2014 in honor of her. For the Love of Paws helps provide senior citizens peace of mind when they are no longer able to care for their beloved pet companions. The organization works hard to foster, adopt, or provide sanctuary for pets on its five-acre farm in Fellsmere. Additionally, For the Love of Paws also distributes more than 14,000 pounds of pet food each month to food pantries to ensure that pets don’t go hungry when times for their two-legged family members are ‘ruff.’ Best of all, For the Love of Paws also provides veterinary care for senior citizens on low or fixed incomes and free spay and neutering of seniors’ and veterans’ pets. The organization’s Fur Real Pet Companion program has given patients in 32 memory care facilities a chance to share the unconditional love provided by a pet, too. The January Dyer Difference Award recognizes the love and dedication of For the Love of Paws with its own equivalent to a tail wag and scratch behind the ear.

Sgt. D. Soesbe, General Manager Jonathan Holmes, President Lisa Johns-Grose, Tatiana Dyer, John Dyer, Sgt. M Woods

Building relationships and mentoring is what it’s all about at St. Lucie Sheriff’s PAL program, too. Every year, more than 300 youth are able to enjoy year-round activities including boxing, wrestling, and karate as well as leadership programs and mentoring to help connect youth in the community with law enforcement officers in a positive, respectful atmosphere. To encourage kids to put down video games and engage with one another and with deputies, the St. Lucie Sheriff’s PAL program is installing a basketball court at its new PAL Center in Fort Pierce. The January Dyer Difference Award in St. Lucie County will help make that happen and will help promote fun, respect, and positive role-modeling for youth in our community while building strong, positive, lasting relationships between law enforcement officers and the youth in the communities they serve.

The Dyer Difference Award is all about celebrating the beauty and kindness in our midst. For the Dyer family and the members of the Dyer staff, the award and the $6,000 in donations made monthly between the St. Lucie and Indian River Counties are all about helping to make a positive difference in the community. For the recipients, it’s an acknowledgement of their tireless efforts to do the same and a much-needed financial boost to help further their missions. If you’d like to nominate a non-profit organization for the Dyer Difference Award, please visit or find Dyer Difference on Facebook.


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