August 4, 2021

FBI Boston Presents 2020 Director’s Community Leadership Award to Sheila Duncan

Special Agent in Charge Joseph R. Bonavolonta is pleased to announce the selection of Ms. Sheila Duncan as the Boston Division’s recipient of the 2020 Director’s Community Leadership Award.

The award was established in 1990 to honor individuals and organizations for their efforts in engaging the community in the areas of education and crime prevention. Every year, the Boston Division of the FBI can select an individual or organization that has gone above and beyond the call to service by making extraordinary contributions to their communities, and a significant difference in the lives of others.

As the founder of the Kennek Foundation, co-creator of Trouble the Dog, and the author of three children’s books, Sheila Duncan has worked tirelessly to bring comfort and hope to children in need. She and her nonprofit have delivered thousands of plush toys and books to Boston-area hospitals, and police and fire departments all over the United States. Most recently, through her partnership with the FBI Boston Division’s Citizens Academy Alumni Association and the Stone Family Foundation, she has donated dozens of Trouble the Dog toys and books to the Division’s victim specialists to help soothe kids in crisis in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

“The commitment, kindness, and compassion Sheila Duncan has demonstrated to law enforcement and the communities we serve in raising awareness of victim services is an example for others to follow,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “Sometimes, our agents, task force officers, and victim specialists encounter children on the worst day of their lives. They’re sad, scared, and searching for answers but when we give them Trouble the Dog, it immediately brings a smile to their faces, and is a temporary source of solace. The FBI is grateful for Ms. Duncan’s work and her continued partnership.”

“I am truly humbled to receive the FBI Director’s Community Leadership award. When I see what is happening in today’s world, especially for children, it makes me more determined to provide Trouble comfort Dogs wherever there is a need. First responders and Victim Witness Specialists have shared real-life experiences about how they are utilizing Trouble the Dog to comfort children. This inspires me to do more. I am grateful to the corporations, businesses, and individual donors that have stepped up to make a significant difference to those in need and bring comfort and hope to children around the world,” added Sheila Duncan.

Ms. Duncan is one of 41 individuals and organizations to receive the Director’s Community Leadership Award this year. In light of health and travel concerns related to COVID-19, the annual ceremony honoring this year’s recipients was canceled. Instead, SAC Bonavolonta presented Ms. Duncan with the award during a ceremony held at FBI Boston’s headquarters in Chelsea, MA.

FBI Boston Director's Community Leadership Award recipient Sheila Duncan poses with Boston Special Agent in Charge Joseph Bonavolonta.