Seven Still….My kind of hero

Published 10:15 am Monday, July 18, 2016

“We ask police to do too much and we ask too little of ourselves. From the moment you put on that uniform, you have answered a call that at any moment, even in the briefest interaction, may put your life in harm’s way.” –President Obama

After the tragedies of last week, just about everybody has a police story.

Well, here’s mine, and it’s a little more personal.

Sunday evening some young people, about a dozen or so, in Mount Dora, FL – a suburb of Orlando – marched in solidarity with others across the country protesting the deaths in Louisiana, Minnesota, and yes – even in Dallas.

On this particular Sunday, the group of protestors marched and chanted. No one hurled projectiles or epithets; there were no fires, there were no shots, just a small vocal group making its way along a hot Florida highway.

What might have appeared peculiar is these protesters were accompanied by one Mount Dora police officer who rode alongside on a Segway, one of those battery operated self-balancing two-wheeled electric riders with an extended stem for steering that urban cops command around shopping malls.

Asked how they felt about being accompanied by one of the little town’s “finest” on their walk, the group’s responses ranged from, “We love it,” to “He’s great,”.

The end result was a peaceful protest by conscientious, thoughtful young people. They all even met – the officer and the demonstrators – at a local McDonald’s immediately following the march, with the policeman personally ponying up the money to buy the hamburgers before heading home.

The 14-hour workday ended much more dramatically for two other officers who had earlier been on the scene of that protest. After the gathering ended, one officer headed home. Driving down Highway-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. Her 18-month-old infant was limp and unresponsive.

The officer immediately began administering CPR/first aid while his fellow officer, who had also been at the march, arrived on scene to assist. The infant was revived due to the quick thinking and actions of the officers thanks to their life-saving training. Life saving. Think about it.

An amazing coincidence or a small miracle?

How ironic that at the conclusion of the day’s events, officers attending a march decrying lives lost, saved a life that very evening. Four communities (Orlando, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas) intertwined by fate and circumstance.

Earlier this week, the Orlando Sentinel newspaper named Mount Dora policeman Seven Still their “Champ of the Week” for saving that baby. His rapid, lifesaving response is another reminder — at a time when the actions of a few other cops around the country have provoked outrage across the nation.

Seven Still could have been any other man –or woman – in blue headed home after a quiet day of duty, protecting and serving.

But for me, he’s more than that: he’s also my second-cousin; and I’m proud of who and what he and that badge, and that uniform, and when necessary, even that gun, represent.

Thanks to his mom, the Mount Dora Citizen newspaper, and the Sentinel for sharing Seven’s story with me; now I’m paying it forward and sharing it with you.


Gene Motley is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7211.