Eileen Roemer discusses her life serving our country and serving our community.
Eileen Roemer — a former FBI agent, Navy captain at the Pentagon, senior FBI liaison for the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Central Command consultant — has spent her last five years on the board of directors for the Women’s Resource Center. She discusses her time serving our country and how that has led her to dedicate her time to a local organization.
My father was an FBI agent, and I basically followed in his footsteps. After finishing college, I went into the Navy. I was one of the first women on sea duty in the Navy. It took me a couple of years after that, but I made it into the FBI.
My first assignment was in Louisville, Ky., and then I went on to New York City, where I worked in the organized crime unit and on the Iran-Contra investigation. I was promoted and transferred to Quantico, Va.
My focus there was missing children cases — which is how I got into dogs. After a period of time, it becomes apparent that you won’t find these children alive. So I wanted to build an expertise with this golden retriever puppy I had and start a search and recover team. I ended up with two search and recover dogs, both who worked at the Pentagon searching for bodies after 9/11. We worked 12 days, 12 hour shifts to recover the remains of those missing.
Since dogs are a huge part of my life, I became involved with the Racing Dog Retirement Project when I moved to Florida. I adopted two greyhounds.
My mother’s best friend was Helen Kelly, the co-chairwoman of the Women’s Scholarship Program at the Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County. She told me about the program and the scholarships well before I even moved here. That was how I got initially involved — I wanted to do a scholarship in my mother’s name. She grew up in a time where women were wives. She was such a motivation behind me finishing college, so I thought it would be neat to set up a scholarship in her name, as a way to help other women.
I would just like to be a positive motivating factor to people who need it. My life has directed me into Women’s Resource Center, and I think that’s where I can have my biggest impact, for women who need encouragement. People have encouraged me all along the way.
The amount of energy they put into helping women achieve goals inspires me. It’s not just a place where they come for relief — it’s a place they come to rebuild, to learn new skills, to learn how to make themselves more marketable in the work environment.
I was married very young, divorced early, finished college and then the military and the FBI — being successful in my careers, I want to be able to motivate others and tell them, “Listen, if I can do this, anybody can do this.”
Every award ceremony is a favorite memory for me. The faces change, the stories change, but the women are so grateful. They are so grateful that somebody cares enough about them to offer them a chance to change their lives, to better their lives.
Giving back makes me feel humbled. I’m humbled by what people have experienced in their lives that I know nothing about, that I haven’t had to experience.
"Nothing feels better than giving to someone and seeing how that can change their life."