Meet the Brevard Zoo volunteers making a difference in unique ways

Norm Desrosiers and Michael Musick donated thousands of hours to the community zoo

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The Brevard Zoo has always been about community—30 years ago, 16,000 volunteers gathered to build the park.

Today, volunteers are still a huge part of the zoo’s success.

This week’s Getting Results Award features two volunteers who stand out. Michael Musick and Norman Desrosiers help in their own unique ways. Both were also recognized as Brevard Zoo 2022 Volunteers of the Year.

Musick has volunteered for four years and now works as a day captain overseeing other volunteers on duty.

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“It was the best thing I ever did,” said Musick when asked about his volunteering. “I worked jobs for 60 years, and quite honestly, they were never fulfilling. It was just about doing the job. Here I put in the hours of a full-time job, but it’s so rewarding.”

Desrosiers helps out in the maintenance department. He arrives at 6:30 a.m. twice a week and has donated more than 3,200 hours to the zoo.

“I love tinkering, putting things together,” said Desrosiers, as he helped add weather stripping to the door frames of a recently renovated room. “Not everything we do in the maintenance world is exciting.”

Desrosiers splits his time between the zoo and St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church in Sebastian, where he’s an ordained priest.

“The guy I work for in my other job, (my) responsibilities (are) also (as) a carpenter,” Desrosiers said with a smile. “I like to work with my hands because at my other job, I work with my head. But in both worlds it’s all about fixing things and making them better.”

The two were honored by the zoo at its annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. The award was based on recommendations from zoo staff and other volunteers.

Michael Farley works along side Desrosiers in the maintenance department.

“For me, it’s kind of like a Batman and Robin type thing,” Farley said. “It’s hard to find somebody that’s willing to be Robin. Everybody wants to be Batman but that’s our job, we get paid to do that.”

Farley said Desrosiers is always willing to do whatever it takes to help. But one of his most valuable skills it talking to guests that have questions about the work going on in the park.

“They call me the ambassador,” Desrosiers laughed. “They say I’m taking care of the people while they’re taking care of the work. It’s my skills as a preacher. I can certainly work with people. That’s what I’m trained to do.”

Musick spends his Friday mornings high above the giraffes on the Expedition Africa platform.

Brevard Zoo volunteer, Michael Musick, talks with a zoo visitor. (WKMG-TV)

“I talk to the guests, give them information about the animals, assist them in doing their feedings and just have good conversation,” he said.

Musick said that conversation is one of his favorite things about volunteering.

“A lot of us (volunteers) call this our happy place. You can come here and if you’re having a bad day you come here and you’re able to relax,” Musick said.

Kathleen Nichols is Director of Volunteer Programs.

“We feel like we have one of the best volunteer programs in Brevard County, maybe the state,” Nichols said. “Between the two of them (Musick and Desrosiers), they’re a nice representation of what our volunteers do to make a difference.”

The volunteer program at Brevard Zoo is so popular there is a waiting list for those who wish to donate their time. Learn more about it by clicking here.

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About the Author:

Paul is a Florida native who graduated from the University of Central Florida. As a multimedia journalist, Paul enjoys profiling the people and places that make Central Florida unique.