Mt. Dora Teacher and Cop go Extra Mile to Get Student a Place to Sleep


As Mt. Dora Police Officer Mike Garcia prepared for the annual Shop with a Cop event this month, a middle schooler’s request for a very simple gift struck him.

“She said, ‘all I want is a bed,’” said Garcia.

Mt. Dora Middle School Guidance Counselor Kelli Rodewald brought the letter to Garcia’s attention. Being School Resource Officer at the campus, he shared Rodewald’s interest in this one.

The duo eventually discovered the girl simply didn’t have a bed and was sleeping on the floor in her family’s small home.

“When she mentioned that, that just really touched us,” said Rodewald.

So they got to work to see that changed for the student.

Garcia said he reached out to managers at the Mt. Dora Walmart for assistance and, initially, they pledged to give a $25 gift card to help the cause, but they had a surprise of their own for the educators.

"When I got there she [the manager] didn't have a gift card for us anymore and kind of made us wonder what happened,” said Garcia. “She says, 'no, I can't charge you for this, you're going to have to take this for free."

The store donated a collapsible bed that was just right for the girl’s living situation.

Garcia and Rodewald personally delivered it along with all of the bed dressings she’d need.

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