PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City Beach Patrol Officer Tiffany McCullough was honored Thursday with Northwest Florida’s award as the best “Big” in the Big Brother Big Sister program. McCullough has been a mentor for seven years to a 14 year old.
McCullough thought she was attending an information session for the Big Brother Big Sister Program, intended to encourage more officers to become mentors. Instead, her coworkers, as well as the local Big Brother Big Sister branch, surprised her with the award.
While McCullough is now married with children, she was not married when she first became a mentor. That has led her to think of her little as part of her family, McCullough said.
“I’ve been lucky like I said with the family I’ve gotten,” McCullough said. “We’re just family now. She’s part of my family, I’m part of her family. You know, she celebrates with us. My daughter loves her like a sister. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them.”
Besides working with her “little” on homework and other schoolwork, McCullough welcomes her “little” into her home for holidays throughout the year. The two also visit the beach, McCullough said, to balance out work and fun.
McCullough mentioned that many people see the effects of children growing up with lesser resources, but fail to step in and make a difference. Working as a police officer, she sees these detrimental impacts regularly, McCullough said.
“We see the effects of having a poor family life,” McCullough said. “Or poor resources, or poor education, those things have on the community as a whole.”
Prior to being mentored by McCullough, her little was failing classes. Now, she is an A student, McCullough said.
“She’s been doing really good, with like the schooling,” McCullough said. “She didn’t really care about it before but she’s really taking pride in herself now. She’s doing a great job.”