2013 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
The Buffalo Division honors Gary Mervis, a community leader who has chaired the Project Exile Advisory Board in Rochester, New York since its implementation in 1998. Project Exile is a joint law enforcement and community initiative to remove illegal guns from the streets of Rochester and Monroe Counties. The initiative in Rochester was modeled after the original Project Exile in Richmond, Virginia, which was developed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Since 1998, Mr. Mervis has led Project Exile in the prevention of crime, gangs, and violence through community awareness and law enforcement coordination. Each month, under Mr. Mervis’ direction, representatives from more than a dozen law enforcement agencies and community groups gather for Project Exile Advisory Board meetings. Through their work, the team at Project Exile has helped to remove more than 14,000 illegal guns from the streets of Rochester and Monroe Counties.
Project Exile was the impetus for Project T.I.P.S. (Trust, Information, Programs, and Services) outreach events, which Mr. Mervis also leads. Project T.I.P.S. works to mediate trust issues between citizens and law enforcement. Mr. Mervis is the chairman and founder of Camp Good Days & Special Times, Inc., which offers children diagnosed with cancer a residential camping experience that allows them to enjoy being children while undergoing therapies to treat their cancer. Through this organization, he has also launched Cancer Mission 2020, a campaign to support and create legislation related to the advancement of cancer research.