Mario Valle, Relationship manager, PBS Contractors
IN 2004, MARIO VALLE went on a Collier County Sheriff’s ridealong as part of his Leadership Collier classes (a program of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce). He subsequently learned about the Sheriff’s auxiliary deputy program and decided to apply for a spot. “I caught the bug,” says Valle, 49, relationship manager at PBS Contractors.
To qualify for the position, Valle underwent rigorous training— beginning in late 2012—that included testing for dexterity, strength and knowledge of the law. “Only seven out of 100 candidates meet all of the standards,” he says. “It’s hard to get into.”
The volunteer role places him in Immokalee, where every other weekend he rides two, 12-hour patrols with a full-time deputy, helping keep the unincorporated area and its residents safe. He carries a gun and shield and has limited arrest authority. He also uses his Spanish language skills to communicate with Spanish speakers in Immokalee.
Valle arrived in the United States in 1979 (he’s a native of Bolivia) and became a citizen in 1992. He graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in economics and social sciences and is actively involved in the community, including Grace Place for Children and Families and Community Foundation of Collier County.
His volunteerism, particularly with the Sheriff’s Office, he says, “Is a way for me to give back.”