Places of Tribute & Hope

by Debra Wood

Regardless of hard times, places of hope can be found throughout Central Florida, places where residents and families are coming together to pay tribute to fallen heroes and inspire others for a brighter future. Two such places are the Deputy Scott Pine Community Park and Pink Ribbon Garden.

County Names Park After Fallen Deputy

Orange County and Orange County Public Schools officials dedicated a 19.5-acre site destined to become a public park and football stadium for Windermere High School to Orange County Deputy Scott Pine, who was killed in 2014, after responding to a call in southwest Orange County.

“I continue to be grief-stricken that Deputy Pine is no longer with us or your family,” said Southwest resident and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs at the groundbreaking. “I want you to know that this community will never forget him or his service and sacrifice to keep this community and our citizens safe. We will never forget his genuine passion for public service and helping others.”

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs (back, left) and Bridget Pine and her three children attend the dedication of the Deputy Scott Pine Community Park, in honor of Bridget’s late husband.

Pine was killed while pursuing burglary suspect Benjamin Holtermann, who was allegedly breaking into cars in the Chatterley Court apartments with his girlfriend and accomplice, Erica Pugh. Holtermann killed himself with a gunshot blast, and Pugh accepted a plea deal for 15 years in prison.

The county and school district will share the park, which will have two multipurpose fields: one for soccer and the other the high school’s football stadium. The agreement came about as part of a legal settlement that allowed for the construction of the West Orange High School relief school, Windermere High School, which will open in August.

The total cost of the park is $9.7 million with $3.7 million being funded by OCPS. The county contributed $2.3 million in park funds and dedicated $3.7 million for the park through Invest dollars, an initiative of Mayor Jacobs’, who said the park will pay tribute to Pine’s life and serve as a place of gratitude, where children can play and families can gather.

Jacobs, District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey, and former District 1 Commissioner Scott Boyd were joined by Southwest resident and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and Orange County Public Schools officials for a groundbreaking ceremony at Deputy Scott Pine Community Park. Deputy Pine’s widow, Bridget Pine, and their three children, all of whom are Winter Garden residents, participated in the event.

The county also named part of South Apopka-Vineland Road after Deputy Pine. Additionally, the Roper YMCA in Winter Garden installed a piece of knotted rope climbing equipment in the deputy’s memory.

The park is expected to open in early 2018.

Garden to Feed Breast Cancer Patients & Survivors

Breast cancer patients will receive free, organic vegetables grown by breast cancer survivors at Orlando’s Pink Ribbon Garden.

The Pink Ribbon Garden will provide free organic vegetables to breast cancer patients and survivors.

“For every bag harvested, we give one to someone in treatment,” said Robin Maynard, founder of Libby’s Legacy Breast Cancer Foundation of Orlando. “Eating organically can decrease the risk of recurrence.”

Libby’s Legacy, which provides comprehensive breast health care to underserved patients in Central Florida, created the Pink Ribbon Garden, the first-of-its-kind organic, shared garden, in Lake Druid Park.

The garden is a 29-foot-by-17-foot raised vegetable bed in the shape of a breast cancer awareness ribbon. The wood is painted pink. The bed is in the center of the Lake Druid community garden, one of 17 in the city.

Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan said that many people made the garden a reality and encouraged people to “grow some vegetables.”

Orlando Health is the presenting sponsor, with Vitas Healthcare, Orlando City Foundation and Lowe’s as active co-sponsors. The city provided space for the garden.

“The Pink Ribbon Garden matches up with our team’s focus on treating the entire person, not just the cancer,” said Brian Wetzel, chief operating officer at UF Health Cancer Center Orlando Health. “We wanted to be involved with Libby’s Legacy on this project, because its mission to educate breast cancer survivors on the value of a healthy lifestyle aligns with what we do at the cancer center to provide the best care possible.”

Maynard called the University of Florida Health Cancer Center “the best” while praising its holistic approach to cancer treatment.

Maynard and singer Melissa Etheridge, cofounder of the garden, believe food injustices occur in the United States. Many women cannot afford organic vegetables, so Maynard and Etheridge plan to take the Pink Ribbon Garden concept nationwide.

The garden will help breast cancer patients and survivors eat healthier foods. No matter a survivor’s economic status, she can give back through the garden.

“I love survivors, because they keep going and growing,” Etheridge said. “It’s sisters helping each other.” ♥

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