by Chuck Seaver, South Lake Tablet

The 2024 Lights and Ladders community event was held on February 9th at the Sky Zone Trampoline Park, 2510 South US-27. The annual collaboration between the Clermont Police and Fire Departments, as well as the Sky Zone Park, is a free event that is open to the community with the goal of supporting the Officer Support Initiative (OSI).

The event included free food and drinks, as well as games, bounce houses, obstacle courses, rides, and an open door to the trampoline park within Sky Zone. Children ages 5-15 were treated with a 30-minute free jump session that included regular jump and dodgeball. Participants enjoyed a jump and dodgeball session with police officers, as well. A ninja warrior course, foam pit, and rock-climbing wall were big hits as well with the older children who dared to try out their adventurous sides.

Local businesses and area non-profits were on hand giving away free food samples, ice cream, exhibit tours, and health tips. Businesses and patrons alike made donations to support this year’s chosen beneficiary.

The Officer Support Initiative was born in 2023 by an Orlando Police Officer who responded to the mass shooting that occurred at the Pulse Nightclub in June of 2016. Officer Fink established the organization to take the initiative of breaking the stigma between mental health and law enforcement. Members of OSI, each having faced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) battles, are now committed to helping fellow officers who are struggling with mental health. “All of the founding members of OSI have worn the uniform and have faced their struggles with PTSD. It is our mission to make a positive change in the lives of all of those who have worn the uniform,” says Fink in a social media post for the organization.​

Visit the Officer Support Initiative page on Facebook to learn more about law enforcement PTSD and the support mechanisms that are in place.

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