The Windermere Post Office could be getting a new name — one that would pay tribute to a Windermere police officer who was killed in 2014 while on duty near the facility at 9930 Conroy-Windermere Road.
U.S. Rep. Val Demings introduced the legislation to rename it the Officer Robert German Post Office Building.
“We’re truly excited about it,” Windermere Police Chief Dave Ogden said. “It’s certainly a great way to honor him.”
The House of Representatives passed the legislation — which was co-sponsored by every member of the Florida Congressional delegation — so now it goes before the U.S. Senate, where it can be passed by either vote or by unanimous consent.
U.S. senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott endorsed the bill in a letter to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs dated Sept. 29.
“In honor of his life and service to our nation, as well as his unwavering devotion to protect his community, we support the dedication of the United States Postal Service facility in Windermere to Officer Robert German,” Scott and Rubio wrote. “We are proud to offer support for this bill.”
German was killed in the line of duty on March 22, 2014, at age 31. The two teenagers responsible for the officer’s death turned the gun on themselves that same night.
German was the first Windermere police officer to die on the job since the founding of the town.
“Officer Robert German was known for his spirit of service and his commitment to his community,” Demings said. “He served Windermere honorably for five years, turning down other opportunities in order to stay in the community he loved. I believed that it was fitting for his sacrifice and his love for Windermere to be recognized, and I am honored that the House of Representatives has moved to make this a reality.”
Demings’ office said the final vote likely will take place before Congress adjourns for the year. Her office will be working with the German family for the eventual renaming ceremony.
“Our mission has always been to honor the legacy of Officer Robbie German,” Windermere Police Chief Dave Ogden said. “We were grateful when we were told U.S. Rep. Val Demings submitted H.R. 5062.
“I will never forget that day nor how the town of Windermere enveloped our police department with the most amazing demonstration of care and compassion for our collective loss,” Ogden said. “It was a day the town lost her innocence in a horrible tragedy yet grew closer as a community.”
It was the small-town atmosphere that drew German to Windermere.
After attending South Georgia College, the Lake Mary High School graduate returned to Central Florida and pursued his dream of serving the public through law enforcement. He graduated from Seminole State College Law Enforcement Academy in 2007, and chose to serve in Windermere, where he believed the small police force and tight-knit community would provide the opportunity to develop personal relationships with his colleagues and residents.
“Robbie’s sacrifice will never be forgotten,” Ogden said. “What an amazing way to honor his sacrifice and commitment to the town of Windermere.”
Tim German said he and his wife, Debbie, were they were thrilled to hear of Deming’s desire to honor their son.
“Windermere had become Robbie’s home, its residence his daily concern, his chief and fellow officers his family,” Tim German said. “We hope this memorial reminds its visitors of Robbie’s brothers and sisters of law enforcement and (the) sacrifices made from which the rest of us benefit daily.”