Bonnie Barlow was born at Eglin Air Force Base and has lived in Florida her entire life. She grew up in the rural, agricultural area of Polk County. Bonnie moved to Northwest Florida right after graduation. Her family was hard-working that struggled to make ends meet which required Bonnie to start work at the age of 14. Bonnie’s mother, Arlene, has always been her source of strength and support. Bonnie has worked consistently ever since then- only taking extended time off when her two sons were born.
Hard work and dedication is not only an economic necessity for Bonnie, it is also engrained in her DNA. She has been with Bridgeway Center, Inc. (BCI) for a total of 33 years. She started at BCI in 1982 at the age of 18 when it was still known as the Okaloosa Guidance Clinic. She was a Part-Time Alcohol Center Secretary on Shell Avenue working in Detox and the DUI School. Bonnie rode her 10-speed bicycle to work until enough money was saved for a car.
In 1984 with Judges Keith Brace and Michael Jones, she implemented BCI’s Misdemeanor Probation Program that eventually included the Worthless Check Diversion Program. BCI provided these services to the court for 25 years.
Over the years, Bonnie has worked in many different positions at BCI. She was a misdemeanor probation officer and supervisor for ten years, managed the DUI School program, and has taught Driver Improvement classes. Bonnie also taught teenagers and adults how to drive in both Crestview and Ft. Walton Beach. This is one job, along with UA testing, that she hopes never to have to perform again.
After the birth of her first son, Jacob, Bonnie worked as the Quality Management Coordinator and CEO Executive Assistant/EAP Coordinator. She worked in this position up until the day her second son, Aaron, was born in 1999. Aaron arrived about 8 hours after getting off work from BCI. Over the last few years, Bonnie has been promoted to the SRQ Program Manager, the Human Resources Officer (HRO), the Chief Administrative Officer, and the Chief Operating Officer. Her greatest personal accomplishment is being a single parent and raising two sons as well as marrying her husband, Brett, in 2016.
One of Bonnie’s greatest professional accomplishments is earning her certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources and as a SHRM Senior Certified Professional. Bonnie is also a recipient of Bridgeway Center’s Distinguished Service Award. Because of her many life challenges that Bonnie has overcome, she is compassionately understands the circumstances that so many of BCI’s clients and patients are in when they come to us for help. Bonnie is living proof that, no matter how meager you start out life, the American dream is still a reality with resolve, faith, and an enormous amount of hard work.