LAKELAND, Fla. - Law enforcement officers have a duty is to serve and protect.
One Polk County deputy is sacrificing time and money to do just that. His commitment to his community is what's right with Tampa Bay.
He can't remember a time when he didn't want to be a police officer.
"I told my parents I wanted to be a police officer," recalled Lt. Jim Ostojic. "Even since I was a child, I use to play and watch all the cops shows, like 'Chips' and stuff like that."
Ostojic has been a Polk County Sheriff's Office deputy for 26 years.
"When I was younger, I was actually in the Explorer Program with the sheriff's office," he said.
Now, Lt. Jim, as he's known, is fulfilling another dream to raise money for the Speech and Hearing Center in Polk County.
"My daughter got tubes in her ears when she was younger and her friend actually used the Speech and Hearing [Center] services and that's why it's important to me because I saw what it has done for him," Ostojic said.
He's taking part in the Mr. Central Florida campaign, an annual fundraiser for the Speech and Hearing Center.
"I feel, as a law enforcement officer, that we help the children of the community because that's what we do every day when we go out there and make contact with them," he said.
Thanks to local businesses and friends, Lt. Ostojic has already raised more than $30,000.
"The outpouring that the community has shown us in this is tremendous. I can't say how much I am appreciative of that," he said.
It's the community that Lt. Jim is proud to serve. He donated more than 150 hours of his own time for this campaign. He is having a Wiffle Ball tournament Saturday, October 24. For more information, visit www.mrcentralflorida.org.