blue water woman--summer 2014

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<strong>summer</strong> <strong>2014</strong><br />

Women in Uniform<br />

danielle quain<br />


S<br />

from the editor<br />

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

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

uniform, guns holstered at their hips.<br />

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

that way.”<br />

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

for the Blue Water Woman editor.<br />

It turns out that when you ask to interview a federal officer, the federal government<br />

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

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

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

Border Protection, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. I noted<br />

how quickly the boys fled the room when the conversation turned to spa visits and nail<br />

polish.<br />

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

officers, firefighters, federal officers, paramedics, and members of all branches of the U.S.<br />

military. Most of them work in an environment that remains predominantly male. I<br />

interviewed three women in uniform for this issue and all<br />

of them have thrived in their work environment and all of<br />

them oozed of care and compassion for the citizens they<br />

encounter in their work life every day.<br />

The truth of the matter is this: I could never in a<br />

million years do what all of them do. The very thought<br />

of getting up for work every morning and understanding<br />

that I was going to work in a potentially very dangerous<br />

environment possibly surrounded by bad guys just scares<br />

the bejeebers out of me.<br />

When I shared that thought with Detective Karen<br />

Brisby of the Port Huron Police Department, she noted<br />

that she isn’t scared of going to work because members<br />

of law enforcement go through a tremendous amount<br />

of training that prepares them for virtually any situation<br />

so that when they encounter a dangerous situation, their<br />

training kicks in and enables them to handle it.<br />

I’m really super-duper glad that makes her (and I’m<br />

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

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

like me -- who are scaredy cats -- need people like them<br />

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

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

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

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

of Afghanistan or some other far away land where I just cannot even comprehend the<br />

many dangers encountered on a daily basis.<br />

I am ever so thankful for their service and for the heart and compassion that women<br />

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

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

a good way. And all of us should be grateful for that.<br />

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

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

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

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

in my age category. I also came in last place in my age category, as only three women<br />

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

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

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

just do it. You will be glad you did.<br />

content<br />

Danielle Quain 5<br />

Denise Dupuie 6<br />

Karen Brisby 8<br />

advertise<br />

in Blue Water Woman!<br />

it works! just ask our advertisers!<br />

The ad deadline for the next issue of Blue Water Woman<br />

is July 1, <strong>2014</strong>.<br />

Prices start at just $125 for a business card sized ad!<br />

Our most popular ad size is a quarter page at just $250;<br />

sign a one-year contract and it becomes just $225 a quarter!<br />

What a deal!<br />

For more information, contact Patti Samar at 810-987-1256<br />

or email her at pjsamar@aol.com<br />

volume 4, number 2 <strong>summer</strong> <strong>2014</strong><br />

Blue Water Woman is published quarterly by The Write Company,<br />

3155 Armour Street, Port Huron, MI 48060. Circulation 7,500.<br />

Editor & Publisher: Patti Samar, owner, The Write Company<br />

Advertising: Patti Samar at 810-987-1256 or pjsamar@aol.com<br />

Subscriptions: To receive Blue Water Woman at home, mail $25 to:<br />

Blue Water Woman, 3155 Armour Street, Port Huron, MI 48060<br />

News releases can be emailed to pjsamar@aol.com<br />

Questions or comments?<br />

Call Blue Water Woman at 810-987-1256<br />

Mission: Blue Water Woman is the premiere publication<br />

for women living, working and playing<br />

in the Blue Water Area of Michigan.<br />

Its stories and features are written and designed<br />

to be inspriational, motivational and encouraging.<br />

www.BlueWaterWoman.com<br />

© Blue Water Woman is the property<br />

of Patti Samar of The Write Company<br />

The Write Company is a writing, graphic design and marketing<br />

consultation firm. View our online portfolio at:<br />

www.TheWriteCompany.net<br />

Patti Samar<br />

Editor & Publisher<br />

Blue Water Woman<br />

2 <strong>summer</strong> <strong>2014</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com

<strong>summer</strong> <strong>2014</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 3

professions<br />

danielle quain, marysville<br />

Danielle Quain is passionate about helping people.<br />

A police officer for the past 18 years and a road patrol officer for the<br />

Marysville Police Department for the past 12 years, Quain first became<br />

interested in a career in law enforcement while in high school. She<br />

graduated from St. Clair County Community College with a degree<br />

in criminal justice and then attended the police academy prior to<br />

beginning her career.<br />

While in college, she began working at the St. Clair County juvenile<br />

detention center and that began a career-long interest in working<br />

with youth. The first 10 years of her tenure at the Marysville Police<br />

Department were spent working as a juvenile officer.<br />

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

the stories she shares about a wide variety of cases that have touched<br />

her. If she knows of a missing child, she cannot eat and stresses until she<br />

knows a child is home and safe.<br />

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

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

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

spent dedicated to youth, Quain knew she was making an impact when<br />

young people approached her to share concerns.<br />

A Big heart<br />

by Patti Samar<br />

Quain started her career in a small town and though she knew there<br />

were opportunities to work in larger cities, she has opted to remain<br />

in a small town where “everybody waves at you. We wave a lot in<br />

Marysville.” She said she likes having the opportunity to stop in and<br />

chat with local business people and see how they are doing and listen to<br />

their concerns about the community.<br />

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

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

everyone is okay. Being in a small community, you know everybody<br />

and you’re involved in a lot of the community events.”<br />

Additionally, as a road patrol officer in a small department, she has<br />

the opportunity to follow through on most of her own cases, whereas in<br />

a larger city, road patrol officers often pass along cases to detectives.<br />

“When we do an investigation, we do it from start to finish,” she<br />

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

Quain also noted that in a smaller community, officers are able to<br />

build positive relationships with local municipal leaders. “We know<br />

who our mayor is and our city council and our city manager,” she said.<br />

“They are approachable and it’s nice to see them and be able to talk to<br />

them. They are supportive.”<br />

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<strong>summer</strong> <strong>2014</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 5

professions<br />

denise dupuie, port huron<br />

the missing<br />

link<br />

by Patti Samar<br />

When she was 30 years old, Denise Dupuie, a native of Marysville,<br />

had it all. She had graduated from college following high school<br />

and had earned a degree in criminal justice. She had a supportive<br />

husband, two children and a cahllenging job working for a nonprofit<br />

organization. But she knew, in the back of her mind, that something<br />

was missing.<br />

She wanted to help people. No, she needed to help people. That<br />

was when she decided it was time to dust off her degree in justice<br />

studies and pursue her lifelong dream. Today, just seven short years<br />

after beginning her career as a federal officer, Dupuie is a supervisor<br />

with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a division of the U.S.<br />

Department of Homeland Security. She is also the commander of the<br />

Detroit Field Office Honor Guard, which presents the U.S. flag at<br />

official and public events and also at the funerals of officers.<br />

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

their careers right out of high school. “I had everything but I was<br />

missing that one thing. I want to help people. I want to protect people.<br />

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

is what I want to do.’”<br />

And by all accounts, Dupuie has done it all exceptionally well. In just<br />

seven years on the job, she has been promoted to supervisor and at any<br />

given time has no less than 30 officers reporting to her.<br />

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

just take every day and every situation as it comes.<br />

“I take everything in perspective,” said Dupuie, who projects an<br />

attentive, thoughtful and calming demeanor. “Are there days that have<br />

a higher stress level? Yes. Are there days that are busier? Yes. But a bad<br />

day? Well, that’s all relative.”<br />

As anyone who lives in the Blue Water Area knows, border protection<br />

is very serious business. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection<br />

agency is charged with evaluating and monitoring the movement<br />

of people and goods across the border. An encounter with any of<br />

the officers at the border will determine whether or not someone<br />

or something is admitted entry into the United States. Officers like<br />

Dupuie are trained to determine whether or not people are deemed<br />

admissible into the country.<br />

While she notes that it is a satisfying experience to identify someone<br />

of interest who may or may not be allowed to proceed into the country,<br />

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

You treat them with the dignity and respect that they deserve.”<br />

And wearing a uniform and carrying a weapon to work each day is<br />

not lost on Dupuie, as is the importance of building strong relationships<br />

with her fellow officers. “When you show up for work each day, you<br />

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

she said.<br />

It is also not lost on Dupuie that, as a female, she is working in a<br />

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

“I think females shouldn’t be intimidated by a predominantly male<br />

occupation,” she said. She noted that the U.S. Customs and Border<br />

Protection is actively recruiting female officers due to a recent decline in<br />

female applicants and there are many career opportunities for women in<br />

federal service.<br />

Dupuie clearly enjoys what she does for a living and she encourages<br />

other women to find their passion and pursue their goals and dreams<br />

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

noted. “There’s always that fear that people have…that they might fail.<br />

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

6 <strong>summer</strong> <strong>2014</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com

<strong>summer</strong> <strong>2014</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 7

professions<br />

karen brisby, port huron<br />

a calming<br />

influence<br />

by Patti Samar<br />

If Karen Brisby is anything, she is calm. And on many a work<br />

day, she becomes the calm in the middle of a storm.<br />

As a detective in the Port Huron Police Department, Brisby is<br />

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

of the sexual assault response team and as a member of the crisis<br />

negotiation team.<br />

But no one should mistake her calm, patient and quiet<br />

demeanor as meaning she is too “soft” for a career in law<br />

enforcement. In fact, she is whip sharp and has a mind for<br />

detail and organization. Those skills are essential in her role as a<br />

detective, where she takes on a caseload that requires her to cross<br />

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

eventually lead to the prosecution of a perpetrator.<br />

“It is my job to put the case together for the prosecutor,” said<br />

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

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

Brisby, a wife and mother of four, is a graduate of Port Huron<br />

High School and St. Clair County Community College, where<br />

she earned her associates degree in criminal justice. It was while<br />

she was in high school that she knew she wanted a career helping<br />

people.<br />

“I always said I wanted to advocate for kids,” she said. “I got to<br />

do the ride along program with the police department and I got<br />

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

then that law enforcement would hold her interest and so she<br />

pursued that as a career.<br />

She initially served as a road patrol officer and eventually as a<br />

DARE officer. As a detective, she handles cases involving child<br />

abuse, elder abuse and domestic situations.<br />

Through her experience on road patrol, Brisby quickly learned<br />

that her work is as much about building relationships with<br />

people as it is about law enforcement.<br />

“You’re often meeting people in their crisis and you can’t<br />

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

uniform. You’ve just got to be a good listener, empathic and<br />

compassionate. People can tell if you’re really concerned.”<br />

Brisby’s ability to desire to help young people eventually helped<br />

her add to her family. While the DARE officer, she connected<br />

with a little girl she met at a presentation and continued building<br />

a relationship with her. Eventually, Brisby brought that child into<br />

her home as a foster child. That foster daughter is now in her<br />

third year of college.<br />

And what helps Brisby get through difficult days and crisis<br />

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

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

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

without my faith.”<br />

Brisby noted that every day when she gets ready for work in the<br />

morning, she looks in the mirror and prays, “Lord, let somebody<br />

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

8 <strong>summer</strong> <strong>2014</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com

<strong>summer</strong> <strong>2014</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 9

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