Sometimes in life, we get to meet extraordinary people. We often look up to our military and federal officers for protecting us and keeping us safe.
Today, I have the pleasure of describing and introducing you to a true hero, Corinne Cipoletti. Corinne started her career at 21 years old as a Customs and Border Protection Officer. She did not hesitate to make arrests, stop criminals and contraband from entering the United States. She worked endlessly all while battling an invisible disease, Multiple Sclerosis.
In less than 3 years, she would be chosen for the canine team where she had to train 3 separate dogs in Virginia at the academy. Every weekend she’d have to administer her Multiple Sclerosis injection which made her weak.
This never stopped her, she was fulfilling her dream job! She not only graduated, but certified all 3 canines which left one difficult decision- what partner would be the “one”? She chose Mix, the Belgian Malinois and their record at JFK Airport speaks for itself.
Three months back from the academy, Corinne and Mix got their first seizure together and it just continued from there. Corinne loved going to work, just to see her partner and work all day with her. Mix actually was therapy for Corinne, which no one realized but her.
Mix kept her moving and active, pulled her when she started feeling weak. She was not just a Narcotics dog, but her secret service dog! They were a fantastic duo to watch. A poster size photo was taken of them working the baggage belt and hung in the conference room at JFK for all different teams and agencies to see. This made her proud.
Corinne was featured in the NY Daily News with Mix, and she appeared on television shows on National Geographic “To Catch a Smuggler” as well as ABC “Homeland Security USA”. She would later be promoted to Supervisor, the youngest female at JFK with the least amount of years on the job.
Why? The commendations and awards of her hard work, the 24-48 hour shifts, all while juggling and managing her Multiple Sclerosis that no one was aware of.
Unfortunately, after 14 years the disease became too much for a high security career and Corinne lost the use of her left leg. She retired on disability along with her K9 Mix who passed away in 2019.
Through perseverance and working with her medical team, Corinne can walk with both legs again utilizing a lot of energy. There is hope and promise in the world of Multiple Sclerosis for a cure, so she remains positive.
In retired life, Corinne loves photography, she’s an advocate of disability and suicide, nature hobbyist and imagery artist.
To learn more about Corinne’s history at JFK, she has a website page dedicated to her work (with photos: please see https://corinnecipoletti.com and visit K9 Cop).
When you find your road has obstacles, just remember the victories are worth fighting for.