Sunday evening young people in Mount Dora marched in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. For two Mount Dora Police Officers in attendance, the adrenalin didn’t kick in until the peaceful event ended.
The group of protestors marched and chanted as they made their way from Cauley Lott Park to SR 441 and the corner of Donnelly Street. They were accompanied by a Mount Dora police officer who rode alongside on a Segway.
The peaceful march was organized by Mount Dora residents Quanasia Forsythe and her friend Bervline, both of whom held signs and marched with fellow residents. When asked, the crowd of young people was pleased to enthusiastically explain the purpose of their walk. “To protest against the loss of black lives at the hands of police,” and “Because we have to stop this violence,” were among the reasons offered from the group.
Asked how they felt about being accompanied by Mount Dora Police Officer Garcia on their walk, the group’s responses ranged from, “We love him,” to “He’s great,” and ultimately – to a unanimous agreement to stop for a photo with their escort. The end result was a peaceful protest by conscientious, thoughtful young people. Officer Garcia met the group at McDonald’s immediately following the march. Garcia personally ponied up the money to buy the protestors hamburgers before heading home.
The 14-hour workday ended much more dramatically for two officers who had earlier been on that scene of the protest. After the peaceful gathering ended, Mount Dora Police Officer Sevin Still headed home. Driving down SR 46, he spotted what appeared to be a disabled vehicle along the side of the busy highway. As he pulled over to inquire whether the driver was in need of assistance, a woman jumped out of the vehicle with a baby in her arms. The infant was limp and unresponsive. Still immediately began administering CPR/first aid. Officer Severance, who had also been at the event, arrived on scene to assist. The infant was revived due to the officers’ instinctive ministrations. An amazing coincidence or a small miracle?
It was a touching irony that at the conclusion of the day’s events, officers attending a march decrying lives lost, saved a life that very evening. As of early Monday morning the baby was doing well and was in the hospital in stable condition.
Melissa DeMarco, Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)