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Jax Daily Record Friday, May 20, 202205:00 AM EST

From Emmy-winning news broadcaster to the bench

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Judge Kimberly Sadler helped launch Buddy Check 12 in 1982.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Thirty years ago, Duval County Judge Kimberly Sadler had no idea she would be an attorney, much less a judge.

Sadler also had no idea that Buddy Check 12, a story she worked on in 1982 when she was a videographer at First Coast News, would still be a story in 2022.

In a ceremony broadcast live at 5 p.m. May 12, the station unveiled the Buddy Check 12 “Buddy Bus,” a $1 million mobile 3D mammography vehicle that is operated in partnership with Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“We knew it would be something when we started it, but I had no idea it would grow for 30 years and lead to state-of-the-art mobile mammography,” Sadler said.

Sadler was a videographer who worked with news anchor Jeannie Blaylock when the idea to sponsor an initiative to encourage women to perform monthly self-examinations for breast cancer was pitched to the station’s management.

Duval County Judge Kimberly Sadler, right, with First Coast News anchor Jeannie Blaylock and the Buddy Bus 3D mobile mammography vehicle.

Sadler won two of the five Emmy awards she has in her chambers at the Duval County Courthouse for her work on Buddy Check 12.

For one of the first segments, Sadler said she took a camera into the shower with a volunteer from Baptist Hospital to tastefully record a self-examination that would be broadcast on the news.

“It was groundbreaking. We had to go all the way to corporate to get permission to put it on the air,” Sadler said.

The campaign received a Peabody Award in 1994, one of 30 in the nation, for its excellence in storytelling and public service.

“Corporate went with us to the awards ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City when we accepted the award,” Sadler said.

While at First Coast News, Sadler became interested in the law. That led her to enroll at Florida Coastal School of Law, where she graduated in 2001.

“I was covering the court beat and some of the judges let me study at the courthouse for my classes,” Sadler said.

Admitted to The Florida Bar in 2002, Sadler was an assistant public defender for nine years, then was in private practice until she was elected to the bench in 2018.

The Buddy Bus is available to businesses, civic and church groups in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties that want to schedule mobile mammography events. Visit baptistjax.com/buddy for details.

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