Toms River Regional Schools Hall of Fame

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Bonnie L. Nycz Blume

Being first to travel an uncharted course is something that most people either shy away from or fear. Such is not the case for Bonnie L. Nycz Blume. Throughout her career, Bonnie has been first at many things, starting with her earliest position in the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office as one of the first female undercover narcotics officers. Having distinguished herself in that role, Bonnie moved to the Grand Jury Unit and then to the Major Crimes Unit where she was the first female in the history of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office to earn the rank of lieutenant. In 1986 Bonnie was the first female selected from the state of New Jersey to attend the FBI National Academy. Currently the highest-ranking woman in law enforcement in Ocean County, Bonnie serves as a Captain, again having broken new ground as the first woman to attain that position.

Although Bonnie did not set out to be a pioneer for women, her courage and perseverance inevitably led her to that role. Bonnie praises her parents for providing her with outstanding examples to follow and for giving her all the encouragement and support necessary to nurture such strength of character. As a child, Bonnie was a typical tomboy, playing outdoors with her brother in their Shelter Cove neighborhood.

Many of her fondest memories are of summers growing up near the lagoon and of days spent swimming, crabbing, and fishing with her brother. At night she read and learned how to knit and crochet from her mother. Bonnie affectionately refers to her family life as resembling the Ozzie and Harriet Show. She learned the difference between right and wrong from her parents, and Bonnie never wanted to disappoint them. These fundamental values would continue to guide Bonnie in the shaping of her personal and professional life.

Reflecting on her education and its role in preparing her for future career challenges, Bonnie remembers her high school business teacher, Mr. King, who ran a strict classroom and held his students to high standards. Ahead of his time in many ways, Mr. King recognized the role that computers would play in the business world and therefore encouraged his students to become comfortable with this tool of the future. Although computers have changed dramatically since then, Bonnie credits Mr. King for inspiring her to realize the importance of computers in the work place, and, consequently, to be open-minded about change. Today, Bonnie continually finds new ways to use technology to make her office run more efficiently. In addition to covering the business curriculum, Mr. King also taught about respect and taking pride in one's own work. These principles made a lasting impression on Bonnie and have continued to influence her throughout her career.

With her high school years behind her, Bonnie was anxious to enter the work force. So naturally, when Bonnie's father came home from a construction job at Two Guys and told her of an opening in the offices there, she jumped at the opportunity. Bonnie was offered the job and worked in the teletype department for two years.

Although she enjoyed her work in the office, Bonnie was intrigued with the operations of the security officers. She often witnessed shoplifters being apprehended and imagined herself working in such a capacity. Few women, however, were involved in law enforcement at that time, so Bonnie knew the odds were against her. When she sought work in the security department, Bonnie was turned down because of her lack of experience, but as luck would have it, she found a security job with Shop Rite where she was able to gain some training and experience.

It was during her time at Shop Rite that Bonnie first courageously battled and overcame cancer. Since then she has successfully combated the disease on two other occasions. Despite these enormous challenges, colleagues note that Bonnie has never allowed herself to be slowed down or defeated by them. Instead, she derived new strength and determination from the experiences and developed a profound appreciation for each day of her cancer free life.

Following her first bout with cancer, Bonnie returned to Two Guys Department Store, this time as a security officer. Always fascinated with "catching the bad guy," Bonnie took her position seriously, often going above and beyond the parameters of the job description, an attribute that others noticed. In fact, it was during her testimony on a shoplifting case that she caught the attention of the Prosecutor's Office. Just after the trial, Bonnie received a call offering her a job as an undercover investigator with the Ocean County Narcotics Bureau, the first step on the road to a very successful career. As an undercover investigator, the roles that Bonnie played were quite contrary to her own personality. Yet out on the streets, she was a natural actress and easily assumed whatever role the case entailed. Although this was an exciting time in Bonnie's life, it was not an easy one, since the job imposed significant demands on her personal life. From those early days right to the present, though, Bonnie has never wavered from an abiding sense of duty and responsibility.

Those who work with Bonnie see her as a true asset to the organization. She is often the first to arrive at work, the last to go home, and someone who does more than she is asked. "Bonnie never asks anyone to do anything that she wouldn't be willing to do herself," is how one co-worker describes her. Even in her high-ranking position, Bonnie is genuinely interested in the ideas and needs of others. Such honorable commitment has earned her the respect of all her colleagues.

Despite her busy career, Bonnie still somehow finds time to volunteer her energy and skills to help others through her involvement in various civic and service organizations. Her selflessness and generous spirit are inspiring and deserving of acclaim.

Today, the Toms River Schools Hall of Fame is proud to honor Bonnie L. Nycz Blume. Throughout her extraordinary career, whether on the streets working undercover, in the office coordinating programs, or working as a victim's advocate, Bonnie has dedicated herself to making a difference in the lives of the people in her community.

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