Local Lieutenant with PCSO Raises More Than $30,000 For Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center
by James Coulter
Lt. Jim Ostojic normally serves his community through law enforcement. This past month, he has also been serving it by helping raise money for a local treatment facility that helps countless children with their hearing disorders.
Lt. Ostojic is one of 22 local gentlemen who are helping to raise funds for the Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center by participating in its annual Mr. Central Florida fundraiser event.
For the past several weeks, he has volunteered 168 hours. During that time, he has raised nearly $30,000. He has another month to reach his goal of $50,000.
Aiding him with his efforts was Craft + Kitchen in Lakeland. The local eatery hosted specials that evening, with all proceeds from their pulled pork dinners going towards Lt. Ostojic and his campaign for Mr. Central Florida. Sales from their beer drafts were also included, with $2 for every draft sold.
For the past 60 years, Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center has served as a world-class speech, language and hearing disorders treatment facility whose core mission, according to its website, is “to provide the highest quality speech, language and hearing services, always in a caring manner.”
Deborah Dodge, the owner of Craft + Kitchen, previously ran her business near the Hearing Center, having since changed location along South Florida Avenue three years ago. She has a friend whose son has hearing problems that were being treated at the Center. She appreciates the work that they do, which is why she wanted to help raise money for it.
“Jim has been fantastic,” she said. “He is very passionate about supporting this cause with the speech and hearing center. He has been great to work with, he has spearheaded this entire endeavor.”
Lt. Ostojic has been a proud member of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) for the past 26 years. He started as an explorer as a teenager, having been introduced to law enforcement by a school resource officer. He became a reserve deputy at age 19, and his career has only grown ever since.
“I always wanted to be a police officer,” he said. “I always thought it was a good thing, a good way to help the community, and I want to give back to the community because they do so much for us, and we want to do a lot for them as well.”
He was chosen by the Honorable Sheriff Grady Judd personally to participate within the Center’s annual fundraiser, Mr. Central Florida. The event allows 22 men to raise funds and compete against each other for the titular title of the event.
As one of his daughter’s best friends receives treatment from the Center, Lt. Ostojic knows from personal experience the good that the local facility does. As such, he takes his position and volunteer work for it very seriously.
During his campaign, he met a gentleman who had taken a child under his care. The man had assumed that the child suffered from disciplinary problems. Only until after the child received a hearing test did they realize that he was hearing-impaired.
Earlier on, Lt. Ostojic met a stranger at a restaurant. He told her he was raising money. After giving her his info, he received a phone call from her. She asked to meet with him at another eatery. There she offered him three big checks for donations.
“She gave me a check from the organizations she is involved in,” he said. “It was inspiring, because for how hard I was working, it is nice for someone to go out and work hard to help us.”
For as much work as he has already accomplished, Lt. Ostojic hopes to continue raising more funds and perhaps even winning Mr. Central Florida. Of course, in the end, the goal is always to support a great organization like the Speech and Hearing Center.
“We have done a lot already, but there is a lot to be done,” he said. “Please help these organizations. There will be children who will be depending on this money to get hearing aids [and other treatment].”