blue water woman--summer 2014

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summer 2014

Women in Uniform

danielle quain



from the editor

So, I’m sitting at a table in a small meeting room, armed with just my notebook and

pen. However, I’m surrounded by three tall, strapping and good-looking he-men in

uniform, guns holstered at their hips.

It was my Jessica Rabbit moment. “I’m not bad,” I wanted to say. “I’m only drawn

that way.”

I’m telling you people, I can’t make this stuff up. This was just another day-at-theoffice

for the Blue Water Woman editor.

It turns out that when you ask to interview a federal officer, the federal government

wants to know what you are going to ask her. So, three male public affairs officers sat

in -- or rather I should say stood in -- on my interview with the very gracious and coolas-a-cucumber

(in a good way) Denise Dupuie, a supervisor with U.S. Customs and

Border Protection, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. I noted

how quickly the boys fled the room when the conversation turned to spa visits and nail


This issue is dedicated to “women in uniform”…and I mean all uniforms: Police

officers, firefighters, federal officers, paramedics, and members of all branches of the U.S.

military. Most of them work in an environment that remains predominantly male. I

interviewed three women in uniform for this issue and all

of them have thrived in their work environment and all of

them oozed of care and compassion for the citizens they

encounter in their work life every day.

The truth of the matter is this: I could never in a

million years do what all of them do. The very thought

of getting up for work every morning and understanding

that I was going to work in a potentially very dangerous

environment possibly surrounded by bad guys just scares

the bejeebers out of me.

When I shared that thought with Detective Karen

Brisby of the Port Huron Police Department, she noted

that she isn’t scared of going to work because members

of law enforcement go through a tremendous amount

of training that prepares them for virtually any situation

so that when they encounter a dangerous situation, their

training kicks in and enables them to handle it.

I’m really super-duper glad that makes her (and I’m

editor patti samar with her third place sure all of the officers I talked to) feel better about getting

medal at the end of her first 5K up and going to work in the morning because people

like me -- who are scaredy cats -- need people like them

(Wonder Women, all!) to protect me. Really, I do. I’m not at all ashamed to admit that.

And that is why I have the utmost respect for anyone -- both men and women

-- who gets up every day and puts on a uniform and keeps the world safe from bad

guys (and gals), whether that is on the streets of Port Huron, or in the rugged terrain

of Afghanistan or some other far away land where I just cannot even comprehend the

many dangers encountered on a daily basis.

I am ever so thankful for their service and for the heart and compassion that women

bring to the uniform because, though not all of the women I interviewed said it directly

-- but some did -- women bring a little something more to this kind of public service. In

a good way. And all of us should be grateful for that.

And on an unrelated note: At 50 years of age, I recently ran my very first 5K race. I

offer this not looking for praise, but to help inspire anyone who thinks they cannot do

something based on age, or a perceived lack of physical fitness. I am no cardio queen,

but I managed to trot out the three miles. Shock of all shocks, I won a third place medal

in my age category. I also came in last place in my age category, as only three women

aged 50 to 54 ran. So please, put your fears aside and come give me a run for my money

in an upcoming race. Medal or no medal, the satisfaction of completing it brought tears

to my eyes. Whether it is running or something else, here’s the deal: Face your fears and

just do it. You will be glad you did.


Danielle Quain 5

Denise Dupuie 6

Karen Brisby 8


in Blue Water Woman!

it works! just ask our advertisers!

The ad deadline for the next issue of Blue Water Woman

is July 1, 2014.

Prices start at just $125 for a business card sized ad!

Our most popular ad size is a quarter page at just $250;

sign a one-year contract and it becomes just $225 a quarter!

What a deal!

For more information, contact Patti Samar at 810-987-1256

or email her at pjsamar@aol.com

volume 4, number 2 summer 2014

Blue Water Woman is published quarterly by The Write Company,

3155 Armour Street, Port Huron, MI 48060. Circulation 7,500.

Editor & Publisher: Patti Samar, owner, The Write Company

Advertising: Patti Samar at 810-987-1256 or pjsamar@aol.com

Subscriptions: To receive Blue Water Woman at home, mail $25 to:

Blue Water Woman, 3155 Armour Street, Port Huron, MI 48060

News releases can be emailed to pjsamar@aol.com

Questions or comments?

Call Blue Water Woman at 810-987-1256

Mission: Blue Water Woman is the premiere publication

for women living, working and playing

in the Blue Water Area of Michigan.

Its stories and features are written and designed

to be inspriational, motivational and encouraging.


© Blue Water Woman is the property

of Patti Samar of The Write Company

The Write Company is a writing, graphic design and marketing

consultation firm. View our online portfolio at:


Patti Samar

Editor & Publisher

Blue Water Woman

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summer 2014 BlueWaterWoman.com 3


danielle quain, marysville

Danielle Quain is passionate about helping people.

A police officer for the past 18 years and a road patrol officer for the

Marysville Police Department for the past 12 years, Quain first became

interested in a career in law enforcement while in high school. She

graduated from St. Clair County Community College with a degree

in criminal justice and then attended the police academy prior to

beginning her career.

While in college, she began working at the St. Clair County juvenile

detention center and that began a career-long interest in working

with youth. The first 10 years of her tenure at the Marysville Police

Department were spent working as a juvenile officer.

“I have a big heart for children,” she said. And that is evidenced in

the stories she shares about a wide variety of cases that have touched

her. If she knows of a missing child, she cannot eat and stresses until she

knows a child is home and safe.

“I have always liked kids,” said the wife and mother of two. “Most of

them are fairly innocent. You see kids that don’t have the guidance they

need and they don’t have someone they can go to.” During the time

spent dedicated to youth, Quain knew she was making an impact when

young people approached her to share concerns.

A Big heart

by Patti Samar

Quain started her career in a small town and though she knew there

were opportunities to work in larger cities, she has opted to remain

in a small town where “everybody waves at you. We wave a lot in

Marysville.” She said she likes having the opportunity to stop in and

chat with local business people and see how they are doing and listen to

their concerns about the community.

“I like the small town stuff,” she said. “In a bigger city, it’s just

call after call. Here, it’s nice to be able to do that follow up and see if

everyone is okay. Being in a small community, you know everybody

and you’re involved in a lot of the community events.”

Additionally, as a road patrol officer in a small department, she has

the opportunity to follow through on most of her own cases, whereas in

a larger city, road patrol officers often pass along cases to detectives.

“When we do an investigation, we do it from start to finish,” she

said. “That’s nice because it is interesting and you have some control.”

Quain also noted that in a smaller community, officers are able to

build positive relationships with local municipal leaders. “We know

who our mayor is and our city council and our city manager,” she said.

“They are approachable and it’s nice to see them and be able to talk to

them. They are supportive.”

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denise dupuie, port huron

the missing


by Patti Samar

When she was 30 years old, Denise Dupuie, a native of Marysville,

had it all. She had graduated from college following high school

and had earned a degree in criminal justice. She had a supportive

husband, two children and a cahllenging job working for a nonprofit

organization. But she knew, in the back of her mind, that something

was missing.

She wanted to help people. No, she needed to help people. That

was when she decided it was time to dust off her degree in justice

studies and pursue her lifelong dream. Today, just seven short years

after beginning her career as a federal officer, Dupuie is a supervisor

with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a division of the U.S.

Department of Homeland Security. She is also the commander of the

Detroit Field Office Honor Guard, which presents the U.S. flag at

official and public events and also at the funerals of officers.

“It was a late development in life,” she said, noting that many begin

their careers right out of high school. “I had everything but I was

missing that one thing. I want to help people. I want to protect people.

I have wanted to do that since I was 16. And when I was 30, I said, ‘this

is what I want to do.’”

And by all accounts, Dupuie has done it all exceptionally well. In just

seven years on the job, she has been promoted to supervisor and at any

given time has no less than 30 officers reporting to her.

A key to her success, she noted , is also a part of her life philosophy:

just take every day and every situation as it comes.

“I take everything in perspective,” said Dupuie, who projects an

attentive, thoughtful and calming demeanor. “Are there days that have

a higher stress level? Yes. Are there days that are busier? Yes. But a bad

day? Well, that’s all relative.”

As anyone who lives in the Blue Water Area knows, border protection

is very serious business. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection

agency is charged with evaluating and monitoring the movement

of people and goods across the border. An encounter with any of

the officers at the border will determine whether or not someone

or something is admitted entry into the United States. Officers like

Dupuie are trained to determine whether or not people are deemed

admissible into the country.

While she notes that it is a satisfying experience to identify someone

of interest who may or may not be allowed to proceed into the country,

Dupuie noted: “You don’t know what got them to where they are now.

You treat them with the dignity and respect that they deserve.”

And wearing a uniform and carrying a weapon to work each day is

not lost on Dupuie, as is the importance of building strong relationships

with her fellow officers. “When you show up for work each day, you

never know if you are going to need them to save your life that day,”

she said.

It is also not lost on Dupuie that, as a female, she is working in a

male-dominated environment, but that doesn’t bother her in the least.

“I think females shouldn’t be intimidated by a predominantly male

occupation,” she said. She noted that the U.S. Customs and Border

Protection is actively recruiting female officers due to a recent decline in

female applicants and there are many career opportunities for women in

federal service.

Dupuie clearly enjoys what she does for a living and she encourages

other women to find their passion and pursue their goals and dreams

just as she did at 30 years of age. “A lot of people are not content,” she

noted. “There’s always that fear that people have…that they might fail.

Just go for it,“ she said. “It can be that final link in your happiness.”

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karen brisby, port huron

a calming


by Patti Samar

If Karen Brisby is anything, she is calm. And on many a work

day, she becomes the calm in the middle of a storm.

As a detective in the Port Huron Police Department, Brisby is

on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week in her role as a member

of the sexual assault response team and as a member of the crisis

negotiation team.

But no one should mistake her calm, patient and quiet

demeanor as meaning she is too “soft” for a career in law

enforcement. In fact, she is whip sharp and has a mind for

detail and organization. Those skills are essential in her role as a

detective, where she takes on a caseload that requires her to cross

all of her “t”s and dot all of her “i”s to ensure a solid case that will

eventually lead to the prosecution of a perpetrator.

“It is my job to put the case together for the prosecutor,” said

Brisby. “It’s almost like a story, or a puzzle for the jury so they

can ‘see’ it. You have to help paint a picture for them.”

Brisby, a wife and mother of four, is a graduate of Port Huron

High School and St. Clair County Community College, where

she earned her associates degree in criminal justice. It was while

she was in high school that she knew she wanted a career helping


“I always said I wanted to advocate for kids,” she said. “I got to

do the ride along program with the police department and I got

to see things I had no clue were going on in the city.” She knew

then that law enforcement would hold her interest and so she

pursued that as a career.

She initially served as a road patrol officer and eventually as a

DARE officer. As a detective, she handles cases involving child

abuse, elder abuse and domestic situations.

Through her experience on road patrol, Brisby quickly learned

that her work is as much about building relationships with

people as it is about law enforcement.

“You’re often meeting people in their crisis and you can’t

take anything personally,” she said. “It’s not you, it’s the

uniform. You’ve just got to be a good listener, empathic and

compassionate. People can tell if you’re really concerned.”

Brisby’s ability to desire to help young people eventually helped

her add to her family. While the DARE officer, she connected

with a little girl she met at a presentation and continued building

a relationship with her. Eventually, Brisby brought that child into

her home as a foster child. That foster daughter is now in her

third year of college.

And what helps Brisby get through difficult days and crisis

situations? “My faith has a lot to do with that,” she said. “You

don’t have to pray out loud. I can be looking at someone and be

praying for them in a situation. I wouldn’t be able to do this job

without my faith.”

Brisby noted that every day when she gets ready for work in the

morning, she looks in the mirror and prays, “Lord, let somebody

see you in me today. Because that’s what I like to do.”

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