Showing posts with label Pulse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pulse. Show all posts

Saturday, February 15, 2020

After almost being fired, Orlando Police Officer with PTSD to receive pension

Officer who suffered PTSD after Pulse massacre granted retirement, pension


Orlando Sentinel
By TESS SHEETS
FEB 13, 2020
Clarke was nearly fired from OPD in November as she awaited the pension board’s decision, because her application had been pending for 180 days, the time limit set by the agency’s union contract for officers to either win their pension or face termination.
Orlando police department Officer Alison Clarke is embraced by Christine Gogicos while visiting the memorial outside the Pulse Nightclub on the one-year anniversary of the shooting in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2017. (SCOTT AUDETTE/Reuters)
Police pension board members voted unanimously Thursday to grant disability retirement and a lifelong pension to Orlando police Officer Alison Clarke, who developed post-traumatic stress disorder following the Pulse massacre.

Clarke cried as she embraced her wife and friends after the hearing. Clarke’s wife, fellow OPD officer Kate Graumann, let out a deep breath as tears welled in her eyes after the vote.

“Now I feel like I’ve come to a conclusion and I can start moving on with the next chapter of my life,” Clarke said after the hearing.
She went to counseling for her symptoms and continued working.

But her condition worsened after the January 2017 death of OPD Lt. Debra Clayton, who was shot and killed outside of a Walmart near College Park, Bouchard said. Clarke responded to the scene, where she “witnessed her colleague and friend mortally wounded,” Bouchard said.
read it here

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Bomb tech responded to Pulse and more...lost everything

Orange deputy found to have fled crash after drinking: 'I gave too much of myself to the Sheriff’s Office’


Orlando Sentinel
By MICHAEL WILLIAMS
MAY 28, 2019

Futch also said he used the Sheriff’s Office Employment Assistance Program to speak with a psychiatrist about the trauma he experienced from his job. He said the allotted six sessions didn’t help; he’s still seeing a therapist and said he’s “absolutely” doing better.
Futch appealed the decision to fire him, but said he has no desire to return to a career in law enforcement. “I lost my marriage, I lost my mind, I gave way too much of myself to the Sheriff’s Office,” he said.
Orange deputy found to have fled crash after drinking: 'I gave too much of myself to the Sheriff’s Office’
This image shows Emiliano Hernandez's car after it was hit by Matthew Futch's OCSO-issued truck (Orange County Sheriff's Office)
An Orange County deputy was fired after an investigation found he got into a car accident after drinking at downtown Orlando bars while he was on call for the agency, then fled and lied to his supervisors about the crash.

Matthew Futch, a 10-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, violated the agency’s policies governing truthfulness, conformance to laws, violation of rules and operating vehicles during and after the Sept. 14 crash in downtown Orlando, the investigation found.

The Orlando Sentinel obtained the report through a public records request.

In a phone interview Friday, Futch admitted drinking prior to the crash, but cited depression, PTSD and personal turmoil as “extenuating circumstances.”

Futch worked as a bomb technician during the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre; he built the explosive breach that ended the hours-long standoff and was involved in the shootout with the gunman, according to an FDLE summary of the attack that claimed 49 lives. He also built the explosive breach used in the June standoff in which four children died and an Orlando police officer was seriously injured.
read more here

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Orlando backed out of talks with Pulse responder?

Orlando backed out of settlement with officer suffering PTSD after Pulse, wife says
Orlando Sentinel
David Harris
August 7, 2018

The wife of a retired Orlando police officer diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after the massacre at Pulse nightclub said the city has backed out of a proposed settlement in his workers’ compensation lawsuit.
Orlando Police officer Gerry Realin was part of the small hazmat team that was responsible for removing the bodies from Pulse nightclub. He now struggles with PTSD and blood pressure so high he was recently admitted to the hospital.

Gerry Realin was rendered permanently disabled after working on the team that removed bodies from Pulse after the attack in June 2016, which left him with PTSD according to the lawsuit.

He is suing the city and the Orlando Police Department in Orange County circuit court, claiming lost wages and medical benefits, as well as Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations.

His wife Jessica Realin said the parties met for mediation in June and came to a proposed settlement, but her attorney called her Monday to say the city backed out of the deal.

She declined to say what the settlement was.

“Gerry wanted to move on,” his wife said. “He felt like he wanted to be completely separated [from the city]. He didn’t feel like he could handle trial. I guess the city wants a trial.”
read more here

Friday, January 12, 2018

Judge Ruled Against Pulse Officer with PTSD? Seriously?

Ex-Orlando cop with PTSD gets suit against city denied by judge

My News 13
January 11, 2018

Former Orlando police officer and Pulse Nightclub shooting first responder Gerry Realin, who filed a lawsuit against his former employer, has been denied by a worker’s compensation judge. (File)

ORLANDO
A former Orlando police officer and Pulse Nightclub shooting first responder who filed a lawsuit against his former employer has been denied by a worker’s compensation judge. Judge Neal Pitts ruled against Gerry Realin in his case against the City of Orlando and the Orlando Police Department.

Realin developed PTSD after the shooting at Pulse Nightclub and claimed that OPD ignored safety procedures during cleanup of the incident.

Realin was part of a small Hazmat team who pulled bodies from the club for hours.
read more here

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Another Pulse First Responder With PTSD Mistreated

Pulse first responder suing Orlando police dept., city for $1 million

Officer says he was harassed over claims for PTSD treatment

By Mike Holfeld - Investigative Reporter
ORLANDO, Fla. - Pulse first responder and former Orlando police Officer Gerry Realin said Thursday that he will file a lawsuit against the city of Orlando and Orlando Police Department seeking damages for alleged violation of Florida's Workers' Compensation Law.

Maitland attorney Geoff Bichler, of the law offices Bichler, Oliver, Longo and Fox, told News 6 that Realin was harassed and intimidated by at least seven Orlando police employees including Chief John Mina.
Realin was part of the hazmat team assigned to remove the dead from Pulse Nightclub the morning after the deadly assault June 12, 2016. His doctor said he was unable to return to work at the department because of PTSD.

“We feel that the facts are very clear and compelling," Bichler said. “That there was harassment and retaliation almost from the time Mr. Realin came forward.”

In the lawsuit, Bichler included copies of texts and emails that he said will offer strong proof of the “intimidation tactics” used against Realin.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Pulse Heroic Officer Out of Job Because of PTSD?

UPDATE
Eatonville officer who saved victims during Pulse attack still losing job, but will get pension
By: WFTV Web Staff UPDATE

UPDATE

Community raises funds for Pulse first responder with PTSD who's losing jobPeople from across the world have raised more than $30,000 for a Pulse first responder with post-traumatic stress disorder who is being terminated by the Eatonville Police Department.  
Cpl. Omar Delgado was left with severe PTSD after being one of the first officers to respond to the mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse on June 12, 2016. The massacre left 49 people dead and more than 68 wounded, including survivor Angel Col√≥n, whom Delgado dragged out of the club. read more here


What kind of a message does this send to First Responders across the country?

“I guess I’m being punished, because I did cry for help,” Delgado said.

What kind of message does this send to veterans with PTSD and the troops still afraid to speak up about needing help?


These are the same people who risk their lives for everyone else, and now they are still risking their own lives because they do not get the help they need when they need it!

After you read this story, maybe you can explain how this is still happening?


9 Investigates: Pulse hero let go from Eatonville Police Department

WFTV News
Karla Ray
December 4, 2017

“I was able to save Angel, and I wouldn't trade it for the world, but now I suffer through my agony,” Delgado told Ray about his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


EATONVILLE, Fla. - 9 Investigates learned an Eatonville Police officer, who was called a hero after pulling Pulse survivor Angel Colon to safety during the June 2016 attack, is now being let go from his department. 


Investigative Reporter Karla Ray obtained a town resolution that is being voted on during an upcoming meeting, that would pay out some of officer Omar Delgado’s accrued sick time.  It states that his last day will be December 31.

No one from the town would comment on the reason for separation, but Delgado told 9 Investigates he believes he’s being pushed out due to his PTSD.  He admits that an evaluation showed he was unfit for duty, and the town will not allow him to stay on light duty.

Delgado has been with the department for nine and a half years, putting him just shy of the tenure he needs to receive retirement benefits from the town.
read more here

UPDATE
This story got to me and good time to remind folks what happens when they do not get help after taking care of us.

This is from yesterday,
BRIDGEPORT, CT — Police are investigating after a Bridgeport police officer is suspected to have committed suicide in Seaside Park, reports the Connecticut Post. There was a heavy police presence at the park for nearly two hours after a man was found unresponsive in his silver car with city of Bridgeport license plates.
And this is how 2017 started

Second cop commits suicide on Staten Island this month 

About two weeks ago, NYPD Officer Yong Yun — a former borough cop of the month...




Sgt. Freddy Dietz Jr., 53, had been with SAPD since 1983. He served as the city jailer when the SAPD had its own jail.
His father, Fred Dietz Sr., also was an SAPD officer, beginning in 1966 and retiring as a lieutenant in 1997. 

His father said he was struggling to understand the situation. He said his son loved being a police officer and helped a lot of people during his career.
*******
According to Karen Solomon, founder of Blue HELP, which raises awareness of officer suicide and advocates for mental health benefits, six police officers have died from suicide in Massachusetts in 2017. Another five Massachusetts officers died from suicide in 2016, compared with two killed in the line of duty.
*******
After Derek Fish finished his patrol last Friday afternoon, the sheriff’s deputy drove his cruiser to his department’s regional headquarters in Columbia, S.C., and parked in the back.It had, for all purposes, been a normal shift, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott would later say.Fish had answered calls. Made an arrest. Written a report.“And then, for some unknown reason, he did what he did,” Lott said.Using his service weapon, Fish killed himself inside his patrol car.The deputy was 28. He didn’t leave a note.
******* 
An off-duty police officer fatally shot himself at his Queens home Sunday afternoon, police said.The 37-year-old male officer, whose name has not been released, was found dead before 3 p.m. at 113th Ave. by 205th St. in St. Albans, police said.Not including Sunday’s death, four active NYPD officers committed suicide this year, according to NYPD stats. 
In 2016, four officers and one school safety agent killed themselves.
******* 
A 47-year-old Chicago police officer was found dead Sunday in a possible suicide, two years after her sergeant husband appeared to take his own life under mysterious circumstances.Cops say Dina Markham was found by a family member in her bathtub on Sunday after taking pills, the Chicago Tribune reported. Her death is being investigated as a suicide.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Pulse Responding Officer Wins PTSD Disability Claim

UPDATE

Judge Hears Lost Wage Claims For Pulse Officer With PTSD


Jessica Realin, Gerry’s wife, said the city fought the case hard.
“You’re sitting there watching them pick apart a person, and this person served this community for 13 years proudly,” Realin said. ” For them to tear him apart as if his service didn’t matter, it’s disgraceful.”

Orlando pension board grants officer with PTSD early retirement, pension
Gerry Realin assigned to remove dead from Pulse nightclub
ClickOrlando.com
By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist
July 13, 2017
"This has been a very difficult time for my family. Listening to the evidence today was very hard." Jessica Realin
ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando Police Department Pension Board granted the early retirement and pension for an officer diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after he was assigned to carry bodies out of the Pulse nightclub.

Officer Gerry Realin, 37, asked the board approve his early retirement on permanent disability. The veteran officer was not present for the board’s decision. His wife, Jessica Realin, said doctors told her it would be too stressful for him.

Gerry Realin was one of seven assigned on June 12 to remove some of the 49 dead from the Pulse building. He was diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder following his assignment to the nightclub and, according to his treating physicians, has been unable to return to work in any capacity.

The board found that Realin's PTSD was a permanent and total disability directly attributed to his response to the mass shooting.

After the decision, Jessica Realin was very emotional and thanked the board for their time and for hearing their case.
read more here

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

PULSE NIGHTCLUB RESPONDER CONFRONTS A NEW CRISIS: PTSD

A PULSE NIGHTCLUB RESPONDER CONFRONTS A NEW CRISIS: PTSD
WMFE
by Abe Aboraya (NPR)
7 hours ago

Gerry Realin says he wishes he had never become a police officer.
Self portrait of Gerry Realin. Time on the paddleboard is one way Realin deals with his post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis. Gerry Realin (left) and his wife Jessica are working to get first responders workers' compensation benefits in Florida. Image credit: Abe Aboraya

Realin, 37, was part of the hazmat team that responded to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando on June 12, 2016. He spent four hours taking care of the dead inside the club. Now, triggers like a Sharpie marker or a white sheet yank him out of the moment and back to the nightclub, where they used Sharpies to list the victims that night and white sheets to cover them.

He says small things make him disproportionately upset. He gets lost in memories of the shooting, he says — his young son will call him over and over again. Then, he gets angry that he let himself get trapped in thought, and that spirals into depression.

“Then there’s the moments you can’t control,” Realin says. “The images or flashbacks or nightmares you don’t even know about, and your wife tells you the next day you were screaming or twitching all night.”

Realin was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and hasn’t worked since just after the shooting. He worries about his family, he says, “hiding from your kids so that they’re not traumatized by your rage or depression,” which “gives them a sense of insecurity, which isn’t good.”

At least one other police officer has publicly discussed being diagnosed with PTSD after the Pulse shooting, and it’s possible there are more who suffer from it. Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan says there are people who go to war and don’t see what officers saw inside Pulse.
read more here

Monday, June 12, 2017

Pulse Responders Needing Help But Still Not Finding It

A Pulse Nightclub Responder Confronts A New Crisis: PTSD
NPR
Abe Aborya
June 12, 2017
Sheehan has heard from first responders and mental health workers that there are more officers, possibly with PTSD, who don't want to come forward because they don't want to be seen as weak or unfit for duty. She says she wishes they would, though.
Gerry Realin says he wishes he had never become a police officer.

Realin, 37, was part of the hazmat team that responded to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando on June 12, 2016. He spent four hours taking care of the dead inside the club. Now, triggers like a Sharpie marker or a white sheet yank him out of the moment and back to the nightclub, where they used Sharpies to list the victims that night and white sheets to cover them.

He says small things make him disproportionately upset. He gets lost in memories of the shooting, he says — his young son will call him over and over again. Then, he gets angry that he let himself get trapped in thought, and that spirals into depression.

"Then there's the moments you can't control," Realin says. "The images or flashbacks or nightmares you don't even know about, and your wife tells you the next day you were screaming or twitching all night."

Realin was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and hasn't worked since just after the shooting. He worries about his family, he says, "hiding from your kids so that they're not traumatized by your rage or depression," which "gives them a sense of insecurity, which isn't good."
"I've talked to some of the officers and they're pretty traumatized by what they saw," Sheehan says. "It was horrible, the sights and the smells, and the thing that really haunts them is the cell phones that were in [the victims'] pockets ringing."
read more here

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Responders Haunted By Pulse One Year Later

Basic Instinct to Save Lives Haunts Them After Pulse
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 11, 2017


Most humans are programmed to run from danger. The need to stay alive is a basic instinct. Some humans are programmed to run toward the danger. The need to help others stay alive is just as much an instinct within them.

A year ago it happened during a time when on man decided to kill as many others as possible at the Pulse Nightclub.

USA Today has a section devoted to the survivors and responders from DearWorld, like Eatonville Police Officer Omar Delgado.

Most of the people at that nightclub were running for their lives and trying to find their friends. All of the people rushing to the unknown horror awaiting them, were on a mission to save as many strangers as possible.

What makes people like Officer Delgado do such a thing? Not just during one horrifying event, but to choose to do it as a job?

We have far too many placing such a value on others lives, to the point where they were prepared to die for them, turning into someone who can no longer value their own lives.

“Each memory stings sharper than a slap, how can there be a healing of the heart?” Peter Meinke
As we approach one year since the Pulse nightclub shooting … 90.7 reached out to Florida’s Poet Laureate, Peter Meinke to see if he’d write a poem to mark the occasion. And he did.
Pulse six months It is an anniversary no one wanted to have.
Definition of anniversary
1: the annual recurrence of a date marking a notable event a wedding anniversary; broadly : a date that follows such an event by a specified period of time measured in units other than years the 6-month anniversary of the accident
2: the celebration of an anniversary
A remembrance is not always something someone wants to have either.
Definition of remembrance
1: the state of bearing in mind
2 a : the ability to remember : memory b : the period over which one's memory extends
3: an act of recalling to mind
4: a memory of a person, thing, or event
5a : something that serves to keep in or bring to mind : reminder b : commemoration, memorial c : a greeting or gift recalling or expressing friendship or affection
Let all that sink in for a moment. Ready to sacrifice their own lives for total strangers ending up not being able to find something worth living for? What happened?

That question is asked all the time when we have men and women coming home from combat doing a job that they knew could cost them their lives. It is asked of current military members when they continue to do it knowing the price they too many have to pay.

We hardly ever ask that when police officers, firefighters and other first responders suffer for doing those jobs.

Why? Aren't they just as human as the rest of the people the majority of the humans depend on for their own lives?

We were stunned when regular people put their lives on the line to save their friends. Even more so when they stopped to help strangers they could have simply ran by but did everything possible to help them get to safety. We were not so stunned by the police officers and firefighters doing their jobs.

Have we become so hardened that we think "Oh well. They get paid to do it" instead of being able to simply be in awe of what they decided to do with their own lives? After all, they could have chosen any other profession that would not be do dangerous.

The most difficult thing for me to understand, or accept, is the simple fact that they valued life so much, they were willing to die, but did not value their own enough to find what they needed to recover from those jobs.

How is this possible? This is PTSD Awareness Month which began seven years ago and the 27th is PTSD Awareness Day. Yet for the people who put their lives on the line, are still unaware of what PTSD is, why they have it, or what they can do to heal. Most do not even know they can heal!

How about tomorrow we send our responders that message? Let them know we will help them heal and how much they do mean to us! They do not have to suffer alone. 

This is a day that will haunt them for the rest of their lives and they need help to kick the crap out of the ghosts and stop the sound of the cell phones from ringing in their dreams!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

First Responders to Pulse Searching For Healing

Pulse survivors share memories, messages
USA TODAY , KHOU
Rick Jervis
June 09, 2017
“I don’t care how rich or important you are, when you have a problem, you’re going to dial those three little numbers. But when we need the help, who do we call?” Omar Delgado
More than anything else, Omar Delgado remembers the phones. Dozens of them, he said, ringing incessantly and spinning in pools of their owners’ blood, the only sound in an otherwise quiet nightclub.

Delgado, 45, an Eatonville Police officer, was one of the first responders to the June 12, 2016, Pulse nightclub shooting. As he entered the club through a patio door that night, he saw bleeding and bullet-torn bodies strewn across the dance floor, many of them slumped on top of one another, their phones ringing next to them.

“I knew it was a loved one trying to reach that person and they were never ever going to pick up that phone again,” Delgado said in an interview with USA TODAY. “It was horrific.”

A year ago Monday, gunman Omar Mateen opened fire inside Pulse, a popular LGBT club in Orlando, with a semi-automatic rifle and a 9mm Glock pistol, killing 49 patrons and injuring 53 others in one of the deadliest shooting sprees in U.S. history. Mateen was shot and killed by police after a three-hour standoff.
read more here

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Red Tape After Pulse Massacre Leaves First Responder Struggling

Orlando Officers Grapple With Trauma and Red Tape After Massacre
New York Times
By FRANCES ROBLES
OCT. 27, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla. — The sound of a ringing iPhone makes Omar Delgado sweat and freeze in place. His heart pounds. He closes his eyes to fight back the ghastly images that no one should ever have to see.

He hears the marimba-like tone and he is back at the Pulse nightclub on June 12 as a police officer pinned down in an hourslong standoff surrounded by dead bodies, their phones ringing again and again with calls that will never be answered.

“I literally felt like I was standing there at the club, my feet hurting, my arm hurting from holding my weapon,” Officer Delgado recalled, thinking of the times just after the slaughter when the phone rang and the panic came back.

It has been more than four months since a security guard named Omar Mateen gunned down 49 people at the gay club in Orlando. Officer Delgado, 44, who works in nearby Eatonville, was on the job briefly over the July 4 weekend but suffered a flashback on duty and has not been on patrol since. He has spent the last few months getting treated for nightmares and depression while managing red tape and cuts in his take-home pay because he no longer earns overtime.
read more here

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Orlando Police Officer May Lose Everything After Talking About PTSD from Pulse

When you think about all that has been known about PTSD, especially among those putting their lives on the line, you'd think that Florida would actually be proud to be among the best in the nation addressing it.  But that would mean you were thinking when obviously, my state is not.

Tracking reports from all over the country as well as internationally, it is reprehensible that Florida, the number three state in the US for veterans has this record.  Why? Because law enforcement and firefighting are the top jobs veterans seek after risking their lives in the military. You'd think they would matter enough to be able to depend on us to stand up for them.

UPDATE

Florida Denies Pulse First Responder Workman's Comp for PTSD

Gerry Realin helped pull 49 bodies out of the club on June 12. That night has haunted him and made him unable to work.
BY NICO LANGAUGUST 23 2016 Officer Gerry Realin, one of the first responders on the scene following the Pulse nightclub shooting in June, is fighting the state of Florida to have his post-traumatic stress disorder recognized as workman’s compensation, as current policy doesn’t cover psychological trauma.
After a lone gunman opened fire on the Orlando gay bar on June 12, killing 49 people, Realin helped remove bodies from the club.
“When he got home, 2:30 the next morning, he came in very quiet… looked at both of our kids, then went in the shower and just lost it,” his wife, Jessica, told Orlando TV station, WFTV. “And he didn't stop crying. The next day, it was on and off. And it's just been really hard.”




Orlando Police Officer may lose everything after Pulse terror attack. He has PTSD from it. Is this how we treat those who risk their lives when the survivors are trying to heal from it too?

Does the Police Department understand how vital it is to have an officer talk publicly about having PTSD? It comes with the job! It comes with the job of anyone risking their lives. Firefighters and EMTs get hit by it from their jobs. National Guardsmen and Reservists get it from their jobs. Military members get it from their jobs. It seems everyone is more accepting of civilians getting it from surviving the day the event happened to them than those who serve risk their lives responding to them all the time.

'I still see all the red,' officer who removed bodies from Pulse says 
Orlando Sentinel 
David Harris 
August 13, 2016
Clark estimated there are 100,000 officers nationwide with PTSD, but the law-enforcement industry has been slow to react to officers' needs. They also have a higher rate of suicide.
Sometimes the smell comes back to Officer Gerry Realin. He can't describe it, but he knows it when it hits him.

It's the smell of death.

For four hours, Realin and the seven other members of the Orlando Police Department's hazmat team were tasked with removing all the bodies from Pulse nightclub. As a result, he said he has been diagnosed with PTSD.

"There was just that smell that saturated my whole body," he said while holding his wife Jessica's hand. "My hair, my skin, my whole respiratory system."

Two months after the massacre that killed 49 people and injured more than 50 others, Realin said he still sees "all the red."

Now, Realin's attorney Geoffrey Bichler wants to use the case to challenge the constitutionality of the state's workers' compensation law, which will pay for physical injuries but not psychological ones.

"It is a travesty that there's no legal protection for a guy like Gerry," Bichler said. "The law needs to protect them. As a society, we owe it to them."

Only five states pay workers' comp because of psychological issues suffered on the job, said Ron Clark, who runs the Connecticut-based group Badge of Life, which studies post-traumatic stress disorder in law enforcement. read more here

Monday, June 20, 2016

Army Reservist Among The Dead At Pulse

Second Army Victim Identified among Casualties of Orlando Shooting
Military.com

by Brendan McGarry
Jun 17, 2016

A second U.S. Army victim has been identified among the casualties of the deadly shooting at an Orlando nightclub.

Angel Candelario-Padro served in the Puerto Rico National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve, officials said.

"It is again with our deepest sadness, our heartbreak that we inform you that National Guardsman SPC. Angel Candelario-Padro was among the victims we have lost," said Matt Thorn, executive director of OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that represents the U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Candelario-Padro, whose home of record at the time of enlistment was Guanica, Puerto Rico, served as a member of the Puerto Rico National Guard and was assigned as a musician to the 248th Army Band, officials said. He also played clarinet with his hometown band and had just moved to Orlando from Chicago, Thorn said.

He served as a specialist in the Guard from Jan. 12, 2006, until Jan. 11, 2012, at which point he transferred to the U.S. Army Reserve, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Houk, a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau, confirmed in an email to Military.com.

read more here

Saturday, June 18, 2016

ORMC Doctor Wore Army Boots Before Sneakers As A Medic

The doctor behind the bloody shoes on Facebook
Orlando Sentinel
Naseem S. Miller Contact Reporter
June 16, 2016

Corsa joined the Army after he finished high school in North Carolina. He spent six years in the Army, where he was a medic. He came back home and got his bachelor's degree in two years and then went to medical school.
A week before the bloody massacre at Pulse nightclub, Dr. Joshua Corsa bought a new pair of shoes from the REI outdoor company.

They were Keens and he liked them because he could put them on quickly – one of those important little details for a senior resident who has to rush around a busy Level I trauma center like Orlando Regional Medical Center.

Little did he know that in a few days those sneakers would become a symbol of all that's good and evil in this world.

It started with a text from an attending physician at the trauma center: possible active shooter and up to three injured with gunshot wounds.

Throughout those years he worked full-time as a firefighter/paramedic.
read more here

Comfort Dogs Arrive With ‘Unconditional Love’ in Orlando

In a Shaken Orlando, Comfort Dogs Arrive With ‘Unconditional Love’ 
New York Times 
By JONAH ENGEL BROMWICH 
JUNE 16, 2016

Melissa Soto with Susie, a comfort dog, on Tuesday near a memorial
site for the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla.
Credit John Taggart/European Pressphoto Agency
On the Monday following the Orlando massacre, 12 golden retrievers arrived in the Florida city.

They had come to offer comfort to some of the victims of the attack, the families of those killed and the emergency medical workers, as well as anyone else in the city in need of some canine affection after the deadliest shooting in American history.

The animals are part of the K-9 Comfort Dogs team, a program run by the Lutheran Church Charities, based in Northbrook, Ill. Founded in 2008, the team has comforted victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.

Tim Hetzner, the president of the charity, said that the dogs in Orlando were helping to provide a feeling of safety, allowing those in distress to relax their guard and express their vulnerability during a difficult time.

“We’ve had a lot of people here that start petting the dog, and they break out crying,” he said.

The dogs and their 20 handlers have visited hospitals and churches, and attended vigils and memorial services.

On Wednesday, they visited some of the hospitalized victims and met with the staff of Pulse, the gay nightclub where the shooting occurred.
read more here

Need Help in Orlando After Pulse?

This is from Mayor Buddy Dyer
I am so proud of our community and how we have come together to support each other during this difficult time. We have shown the world the strength of our city and how we are better together and will not be divided. 

As our community continues to recover from the Pulse tragedy, we have opened a Family Assistance Center to serve as a critical connection between victims and the important services they need as part of their recovery. 

Over the past two days since we opened the center at Camping World Stadium, 94 families and 256 individuals have visited to receive help. But we know there are still more victims in need of help and we want them to know we are here for them. 

The Family Assistance Center isn’t just for those who lost loved ones or were injured, it is for anyone affected by the tragedy. If you, your friends or family members have been affected by the shooting, please encourage them to seek help. 

We have made access to these services as easy as possible. Hours of operations and resources available at the Family Assistance Center are listed on our website cityoforlando.net/familyassistancecenter. 

Thank you for continuing to stand together as one Orlando. 
Buddy Dyer 
Mayor

Friday, June 17, 2016

OneOrlando Fund Reaches $7 Million

$7 million donated to OneOrlando Fund, mayor says
WFTV ABC News
Updated: Jun 17, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced Friday that the OneOrlando Fund had received more than $7 million in donations.

“We're showing the world that we are Orlando United. I'm so proud of the people standing behind me,” said Dyer.

The fund was set up to help people directly affected by the Pulse nightclub shooting, he said.



The outpouring of support from our City partners has already begun:
  • Walt Disney Company $1,000,000
  • In addition, eligible donations from Disney employees will be matched dollar for dollar by Disney. Employee Matching Gifts: A Program of The Walt Disney Company Foundation
  • Darden Restaurants $500,000
  • The Orlando Magic $100,000
  • JetBlue $100,000
  • Mears $50,000
  • Comcast NBCUniversal $1,000,000
  • Tishman Hotel Corporation $25,000
To contribute to the OneOrlando Fund, please visit OneOrlando.org.