First responders maintain community presence by volunteering, competing

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ORLANDO, Fla.- – From honoring members of the community to hosting free, family-oriented events, Central Florida's first responders strive to serve the community in more ways than one can imagine. 

With the help of 100 volunteers, the Lake County Sheriff's Office hosted its 6th Annual Project Kids Connect, where deputies and employees handed out free backpacks and school supplies to more than 700 students. The weather allowed for a great turnout and those who attended the event got to participate in a wide range of activities, from dunking deputies and feasting on free hot dogs to petting therapy dogs. 

Project Kid Connect 2019

Our 6th annual Project Kid Connect event enjoyed a super turnout and great weather on Saturday. Over 100 volunteers, sheriff’s deputies, and other employees handed out free backpacks and school supplies to more than 700 of Lake County's kids. This event is brought to you by The Lake County Sheriff’s Charities Inc. and their community partners who pitched in and donated their services to the cause. #BackToSchool #LakeCountySheriffsCharities #GivingBack #FreeSchoolSupplies #ForTheKids

Posted by Lake County Sheriff's Office on Monday, July 22, 2019

When members of law enforcement are not volunteering their time, some like to get competitive. A Flagler County officer participated in a powerlifting competition in which he set state and national records and brought home a shiny, gold medal to prove his skill set. 

FCSO's very own Gerry Smith competed in the 2019 United States Powerlifting competition in Las Vegas. Gerry set the...

Posted by Flagler County Sheriff's Office on Monday, July 22, 2019

Firefighting may be worth the heat, sweat and exhaustion -- if that means being able to bring a smile to someone's face. The Orange County Fire Rescue Department named 25-year-old Eric "Fireboy" Aach, a young man with autism and significant health conditions, an honorary firefighter. Although Aach generally loves all firefighters, having visited over 1,000 fire stations, he has a close relationship in particular with Orange County Fire Rescue, which has sent crews to respond to his home over the years when he needed help. 

Eric’s family estimates he’s visited 1000 fire stations in his life, but it’s Orange County he loves. Today, crews who...

Posted by Orange County Fire Rescue Department, Florida on Saturday, July 20, 2019

Local officers are no strangers to social media. The Polk County Sheriff's Office took to Facebook to share a picture of a deputy posing with a large tortoise, challenging readers to come up with creative captions . Readers may or may not have suggested that the tortoise was the fifth member of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 

Hey FB fans - we thought we would share a pic from our other social media accounts (Instagram and Twitter) just in case...

Posted by Polk County Sheriff's Office on Friday, July 19, 2019

Getting active can be fun and educational while getting to know your local law enforcement. Kickin' It with Ocoee PD was an event just for that. Children at the Jim Beech Center had the opportunity to dribble a basketball alongside officers. Kickball was also among the activities and lunch was provided. 

Such a great time with the kids at the Jim Beech Center today! Looking forward to our next event with them!!!!! (BASKETBALL: OCOEE PD Vs. REC DEPT STAFF)

Posted by Ocoee Police Department on Monday, July 22, 2019

For more on these feel-good stories and to see other stories that highlight the good news in Central Florida, watch News 6 at Nine on Wednesdays, starting at 9 a.m.