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Greeting Judy ‘The General’ Petrulavage

By Irene “Susie” Smith - Backin’ Up the Brotherhood | Feb 25, 2021

The Brotherhood of Heroes is relativity new to Cape Coral, but the people who have helped put this organization on the map have been around for a while.

“A lot of people don’t know that we exist,” Judy “The General” Petrulavage says with a wink. “Yet!”

That will change as Judy’s Calendar of Events starts to fill up.

For the short time the Brotherhood has existed, many things have happened due to the cheerful, capable, confident and seemingly tireless Petrulavage.

“I never accept defeat. If I hit a roadblock or dead-end, I find a detour to get where I need to go,” she said.

And go she does, from one challenge to the next. From her staging area (desk), Judy commands a troop of active duty warriors and recruits (volunteers.) She engages assistants and sets the agenda for that day and the days ahead.

One top campaign is to find a donor for a large screen TV to be installed in the airy meeting room. Zoom meetings are probably here to stay, due to the ability to access a meeting from almost anywhere. The TV is vital to renting the room for groups needing an affordable and private place to hold small assemblies. But with so many organizations fighting “The Battle for the Buck,” the Brotherhood lacks sufficient funds to purchase this equipment, which they estimate at about $3,000. The big-box stores are corporately run and have so far turned them down. Judy is optimistic that this will get resolved soon. Donations can be earmarked for this fund.

Before staring any campaigns, Judy asks herself, “What do we want to do? Who can we get to sponsor this event?”

Day-to-day activities provide assistance for the veterans, police and firefighters and first time responders.

“It isn’t just the medical and obvious things,” notes Judy. For instance, we may find an apartment for a vet, but it is unfurnished. We get on the phone and find beds, linens, appliances, cleaning supplies; the basic needs.

“Or a police officer may need assistance with rent, a cell phone, car payments. An abused woman needs shelter. A newcomer to the area wants a good day-care center for a child.”

HUGS: Help Us Get Started, a pet project, is dedicated to fundraising for special causes. They are seeking volunteers to assist in this area.

“The General” has a lengthy history of successes with whatever she tackles. She started as a candle maker in high school, then spent 18 years under contract with the U.S. Army’s infra-red missile systems in Raytheon, Massachusetts.

Judy and her husband then took over an ailing day-care center for children at risk and ADHD; in six years they turned it around. She later owned a successful travel agency until 9-11.

After moving to Cape Coral, Judy volunteered as a “go-fer” for the surgical teams at Cape Coral Hospital for 13 years. In 2009 she became one of the co-founders of the SW Florida Military Museum, until it relocated.

Future campaigns include working with AARP and independent care facilities.

“We plan to offer updated computer classes for seniors, or whatever they need. We make sure it is a win-win situation for everyone.”

The Brotherhood is inviting groups to sponsor fund-raising events (currently held outdoors on their vacant land behind the building). Plenty of parking is available nearby.

On Saturday, March 8, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., the organization is conducting a gigantic backyard sale. Vendor space is only $15, and vendors sell and keep the profits! Food and beverages will be available.

A high-end raffle will be conducted. Eleven basket ranging in value from $65 to $140 and tickets are only $2 for one, $3 for five or $7 for 10.

Putting on one of these events is labor intensive.

“The devil is in the details,” declares Judy. “We are blessed with so many loyal volunteers who take on much of the grunt work.”

Check their website: thebrotherhoodofheroes.com for further information on this and other current activities. Consider volunteering in some capacity. This is a great opportunity to meet and make new friends and help someone in need.

Judy “The General” is on duty at the Resource Center & Museum from Tuesday thru Saturdays. Tip your hat to her as you enter.

The Brotherhood Of Heroes Resource Center and Museum is at 4522 Del Prado Blvd., South, Cape Coral. For additional information about the facility, call 239-360-8913.