Orange County Government, Florida
8 August 2016
Orange County Parks and Recreation Honors Fallen Hometown Hero Deputy Brandon Coates
[L-R] (top row) Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association Security & Safety Council Past Chairman Greg Moore, Orange County District 4 Commissioner Jennifer Thompson, Orange County Sheriff Jerry L. Demings, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orange County District 1 Commissioner Scott Boyd, former Hunter’s Creek Homeowner’s Association President Joe Overberger, (bottom row) Deputy Brandon Coates’ widow Virginia Coates Ricks and his mother Debbie Griffin gather at the new Deputy Brandon Coates Community Park memorial bench.

With numerous community leaders and the law enforcement community in attendance, Orange County’s Parks and Recreation Division held the grand opening ceremony of the Deputy Brandon Coates Community Park on July 30.

The park was officially dedicated in memory of Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy First Class Brandon Lee Coates, who was killed in the line of duty while making a traffic stop in December 2010.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs was joined by Orange County District 1 Commissioner Scott Boyd, Orange County District 4 Commissioner Jennifer Thompson, Orange County Sheriff Jerry L. Demings Deputy Coates’ mother Debbie Griffin, his widow Virginia Coates Ricks, Orlando Police Department Deputy Chief Orlando Rolon and many deputies who worked with Coates.

“We will never forget the warrior and fearless leader that Brandon was known to be, the loving heart that he brought to work each day, or the devotion that he had to his wife, family and friends,” Mayor Jacobs said during the ceremony. “By naming this Orange County community park in tribute to the beloved Deputy Brandon Coates, it will serve as a place of gratitude for his service.”

Coates served two tours in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps prior to joining the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

“The park is a place I can now bring my children and others, and it will bring smiles to their faces as he did to so many,” said Ricks. “I would like to thank everyone who made this possible and all who worked many hours on building this amazing park. I am forever grateful.”

Together, Mayor Jacobs, Commissioner Boyd, Commissioner Thompson, Sheriff Demings as well as Deputy Coates’ mother and widow unveiled a memorial bench dedicated to Deputy Coates. The inscription on the bench describes Deputy Coates as having “a warm smile, a kind spirit and a compassion for those in need.”

The mile-wide property, which is located south of the Deerfield community at 3815 Substation Road, is situated east of John Young Parkway and west of Orange Blossom Trail in Orange County District 1 along the border of District 4.

Commissioner Boyd approached the Orange County Parks’ Advisory Board and garnered the support of Mayor Jacobs and the Board of County Commissioners to name the park after Coates.

“Not only is the park a lasting tribute to an Orange County hero, but it’s a beautiful space that residents and guests will get to enjoy for generations to come,” said Commissioner Boyd.

Amenities at the park include two multi-purpose fields, a playground, walking path, concrete skate spot, picnic pavilion, restrooms and paved parking. The art at the Deputy Brandon Coates Community Park, created by Tallahassee sculptor Ira Hill, includes a 30-foot skateboard shade structure and three-dimensional graffiti benches.

“It is fitting that our newest park is named after one of Orange County’s true hometown heroes, Deputy Brandon Coates,” said District 4 Commissioner Jennifer Thompson. “It’s truly a tribute that honors his legacy and I am positive that residents in our region will thoroughly enjoy and appreciate all of its amenities.”

To view photos from the grand opening ceremony, visit Mayor Jacobs’ Flickr album.