Advocate who helped Surfside victims hand-picked to bring same skills to Uvalde

A Miami Beach police employee who served as an advocate for victims of the 2021 Surfside condominium collapse now has a new mission: to aid the families affected by last month’s school shooting in Texas.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A Miami Beach police employee who served as an advocate for victims of the 2021 Surfside condominium collapse now has a new mission: to aid the families affected by last month’s school shooting in Texas.

Abigail Yablonsky, 29, a victim specialist and certified crisis responder with the Miami Beach Police Department, was one of just five people hand-picked from a national pool to go to Uvalde, Texas, and assist with services for victims and their loved ones.

“I’ll end up doing crisis response on scene if anyone is emotionally still struggling,” Yablonsky said. “I’ll be working with family and community members, basically working with them through the resiliency center, getting connected with social services, mental health counseling, and any other needs they might have during that assessment.”

Yablonsky described what she does as a calling.

“What drives me is being able to see a difference that I make in somebody’s life,” she said. “These family members, community members, first responders, anybody I come in contact with on a crisis scene, they have gone through something that is probably one of the most traumatic experiences of their life . . . For me to be able to take a picture that’s so big, that their world just got shattered, and help them find their own sense of strength and resiliency to put those pieces back together is exactly why I do what I do.”

Yablonsky was chosen for the assignment because of her experience responding to major traumatic incidents. She was one of the first victim advocates on the scene at the Surfside condo collapse and spent countless hours helping those affected.

On Friday, the one-year anniversary of the collapse, she’ll head to Uvalde. She said she’s ready to do whatever she can to help those in need.

“It just shows that there’s a higher purpose and a higher calling for me and if that’s what it’s meant for that’s exactly what I’ll do,” Yablonsky said.


About the Authors:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.