WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Tenecia Waddell has been named a Woman of Innovation by the YWCA Greater Lafayette and, after hearing about all she is involved in, it’s easy to see why. Service is a big part of her life.
Waddell, a Purdue police officer since 2008, will be honored on March 4 at the Salute to Women event, along with seven other women.
“It came as a huge surprise. I mean huge,” said Waddell. “[I'm] very much so honored. I really still can’t put it into words – that’s how I feel about it.”
Outside of her job in public service, Waddell teaches Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) classes for kids and adults, participates in “Read with a Hero” days at Glen Acres Elementary School, partners with Purdue fraternities and sororities in the “Adopt a Cop” program, and runs a non-profit called Delivering Smiles Tippecanoe to help public service personnel in times of need.
“I’m a very community oriented, service-type person so even being involved in the YWCA and being involved in law enforcement, it ties in very well,” said Waddell, a mother of three.
The non-profit first grew out of helping a co-worker when Waddell worked at the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office. Now she says the organization is there to give a boost to public service officers who have fallen on hard times or may be battling an illness.
Her passion for service started long before she worked in public safety or even moved to Indiana.
Growing up in Detroit, she volunteered at various homeless shelters. When she moved to Lafayette with her family, she continued that service by getting involved with the YWCA, local community groups and other volunteering opportunities through Purdue.
“To me, it just comes from your core,” Waddell said. “It’s always been with me.”