PCSO Lieutenant Raised More Than $87,000 For Central Florida Hearing And Speech Clinic
by James Coulter
By day, Lt. Jim Ostojic serves his community through law enforcement as a lieutenant for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Throughout the year, on his off-time, he spent more than 200 hours raising money for the Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center.
Lt. Ostojic raised more than $87,000 fundraising for the Center’s annual fundraiser, Mr. Central Florida. He shattered so many records through his volunteer efforts that he was named the titular title of this year’s Mr. Central Florida.
He was one of the 22 contestants who competed in this year’s fundraiser. To celebrate his victory, he hosted a victory lunch at Beef O’Brady’s in Lakeland on Tuesday, and was officially crowned during a ceremony on Thursday.
He was handpicked personally to enter the contest by the Honorable Sheriff Grady Judd himself. Lt. Ostojic was proud to serve on behalf of the PCSO, as well as to further support his community by raising proceeds that will go towards providing 80 children with hearing tests and aids.
“It really feels good to win Mr. Central Florida,” Lt. Ostojicsaid. “I think the most I enjoy about this is knowing that all of the kid who need hearing aids will be getting them. I think that is important. That is why I put in 200 hours of my own time to make sure that this was accomplished.”
Daniel Bourque, General Manager of the Lakeland Beef O’Brady’s, has known Lt. Jim for the past 11 years he has worked at the eatery. Jim often frequents Beef O’Brady’s with his family, and has proven himself to be a very valuable member of the community.
Beef O’Brady’s has hosted different functions and fundraisers for the Center, including a wing eating contest. The establishment’s owner even served as Jim’s campaign manager. As such, Bourque and the other staff members could not be any prouder of Jim winning the tile of Mr. Central Florida.
“I don’t think it could have happened to a better person,” Borquesaid. “Jim is a good guy. He cares about the kids so much, he raised so much money to help so many kids. It is phenomenal. He is dependable. If you call him, he is there, he is willing to give you advice, talk to you, as well as anything else you need. We really like having him come in here. It makes our day better when he shows up.”
Channon Eickenberg, Development Director for the Center, was especially proud of this year’s Mr. Central Florida event. Despite occurring during these uncertain times, the fundraiser and individual contestants managed to shatter previous records. This year’s event raised more than $256,000, she said.
“Jim was very motivated and worked hard on this,” Eickenbergsaid. “The money he raised had never been raised before, and it shattered all records.”
Due to the COVID crisis, the ceremony was hosted via livestream, with the stream being broadcast on its website and at the Silver Moon Drive-In in Lakeland. Even without a live event, the award ceremony received such a virtual turnout that next year’s event will also be planned to be livestreamed.
“The gentleman were able to rally the audience and engage with our guests, and it was a lively event,” she said. “Everyone enjoyed getting out of the house with a safe social distancing. I thank everyone who supported the event.”