WINDERMERE — Orange County Fire Rescue, Ocoee Police Department, Orlando Police Department, Apopka Police Department and, of course, Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Windermere Police Department.
These were merely some of the agencies whose staffs gathered twice in about an hour with dignitaries and community members during the morning of Sept. 14, each on opposite ends of the northern edge of The Grove Shopping Center. They paid tribute to two officers killed six weeks apart last February and March, about a half-mile apart in the vicinity of Apopka-Vineland Road (County Road 435), just east of Windermere.
First was a dedication to Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Jonathan Scott Pine along Apopka-Vineland Road at its intersection with Conroy Windermere Road.
“By naming this roadway in tribute to our and your beloved Deputy Pine, it will serve as a remembrance to … everyone who passes by,” Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said, “a visible reminder to our citizens that Scott’s dedication to public service and a reminder of our profound gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice rendered while protecting the citizens of Orange County.”
Sheriff Jerry Demings said National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund stats show one law enforcement officer killed per 60 hours in the U.S.
“There have been 46 different occasions here in Orange County,” he said.
District 1 Orange County Commissioner S. Scott Boyd said the county would try to ensure parks would be available to generations of children such as Pine’s. Pine enjoyed playing with his children in parks to the extent that county officials will name multiple parks after him.
Bridget Pine, Scott’s widow, said she and their three children still strive to figure out life without him, their hero, and thanked their community for helping them to remember him.
“While sitting at the dinner table the other night, Haley said that she doesn’t understand why she only had six years with her daddy,” Bridget said. “She began to cry and said, ‘It’s just not fair.’ In the next sentence, Ryker said, ‘I can’t remember my daddy.’ Maddox? He only knows his daddy by a picture.”
Those gathered at Pine’s dedication walked hardly a third of a mile to arrive at German’s, at the intersection of Conroy Windermere Road and Horizon Circle.
Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn recalled awaking before 5 a.m. March 22, 2014, to a phone call that shocked his system, knowing it was bad news.
“On this very spot, (German) reported two teens walking down the road … because (he) was concerned these youths may have a problem or be at risk,” Bruhn said. “He had been back to work just three days after being cleared to work since … requiring surgery while responding to an incident where an autistic young man had charged him. After that incident, his first thought: ‘How is that young man?’”
More than 14,000 vehicles per day will pass the signs, which should remind us to give thanks for our blessings, Windermere Police Chief Dave Ogden said.
“My son … loved what he did for the five years he (was a police officer),” German’s father, Tim, said. “We’re grateful for the quality of life this community provided for him. … For almost 18 months, Windermere residents have placed flowers, crosses … showing how much they considered Robbie to be a part of their community. … Windermere has modeled exactly what communities should do.”
Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].