Elias De Jesus | Honoree for January 8th, 2021

Eli was nominated by his friend, Christie, who said, “Eli has spent his entire life in service. He signed up and served in the military at an early age. When he returned to civil service, he became a paramedic in Seminole County. While there he became a certified firefighter. Many years later he applied for firefighter and paramedic within the City of Orlando. During his 26 years at OFD, he started training to become a law enforcement officer. He studied and tested - then he became a police officer for the Town of Oakland (west of Winter Garden). For several years he worked both as a police officer and a firefighter. He loved both jobs. He was a smiling and friendly officer about both the jobs he loved. He was always quoting the motto “To Protect and to Serve.” His uniforms were worn with pride, always crisp, clean and ready to wear with honor.

Last year while training in full gear and running stairwells with fellow firefighters, Eli had a severe injury. While the crew was coming down the stairwells, in full gear, Eli missed a step, fell, and landed on his right shoulder. Thank God he was wearing a helmet to protect his head. The weight of the 2 oxygen tanks, full Bunker gear and forward motion caused what would become irreparable damage to his shoulder and both his careers. But he had surgery and hope. Lots of physical therapy and pain. Then the doctors wanted to do more surgery. Alas, his career as both a police officer and firefighter came to an unexpected end August 1, 2020. His heart is broken. He genuinely loved what he did and now he no longer can work in this capacity. He was born a front line worker and helped to save so many lives. He witnessed so many situations, accidents, and unspeakable injuries to others all in a day’s work.  Please help us to honor him as he heads towards a forced retirement that he never ever expected”.

Elias, thanks for all you do for the community. As a way of saying thanks, you will receive a BBQ feast for 10 from Mission BBQ.

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