Haley Pine had just turned 6 when her father, a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed while on duty in 2014. Her brothers, Ryker and Maddox, were just 4 years and 14 months. Their mother, Bridget Pine, was widowed at the age of 34.
Today, eight years later, Scott Pine is still part of their daily lives through photographs, stories and the occasional cookie cake, Scott’s favorite dessert. Haley is now 14, Ryker is 13 and Maddox is 9. And even though the youngest doesn’t remember his father, he still holds him close to his heart.
Bridget Pine wants people to remember her husband and his sacrifices, and she and her children continue to accept invitations to honor Scott. The most recent event took place on Friday evening, October 14, at Assistant Scott Pine Community Park in Horizon West, where the Windermere High Wolverines play their home football matches.
Bridget and her three children were introduced before the game. She tossed the coin and spoke to some of the football players, the family accepted a football signed by the senior players, and then Maddox took her place among the players to walk through the tunnel to signal the start of the game.
“It had such an impact on the family,” Bridget said of the experience.
Also in attendance were several members of the sheriff’s office and Scott Boyd, the former Orange County commissioner who proposed the park’s name.
“Some of these kids know they’re playing on a beautiful pitch and they know the name of it but don’t know the story behind it,” she said. “It gives us a chance to share Scott’s legacy and tell his story. This is an opportunity for us to let them know: “This is why we are here.
“Scott loved football and he would like to know that they are playing on a field that bears his name,” she said. “It brings a lot of joy to our family to be able to honor their father in this way, and it’s a joy to see these children on the pitch. They let us stay at track level during the game, and that was just really special. And they scored at the end. We were really happy.
Bridget said her kids look forward to events honoring their dad, especially when they’re in “his” park.
“A PART OF OUR LIVES”
The sense of family loss is felt just as deeply today.
“In our house, we talk about him almost every day,” Bridget said of Scott. “We always talk about dad. Even eight years later, we have good days and bad days. Some days are more difficult than others. There are bigger events happening in their life that are difficult but happy at the same time. But we try to find joy in all of them. We do it for Scott; he would want us to have the same experiences as everyone else.
Bridget said their children were resilient and doing better than her. All three discovered the world of competitive gymnastics.
“We learned to find ways to find joy even (with) him not being there,” she said, “but there are days that are very difficult and sad. time, you discover how to function while keeping it a part of our lives.
Scott’s birthday is July 12.
“We always have one type of cookie cake because that was her favorite,” Bridget said. “We always sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him. We usually go to the cemetery, and we take something new. The children make objects. We have made springboards in the past, or we hang different flags. new flowers, of course.
Holiday meals usually include one of Scott’s favorite dishes. At Christmas, the four of them take a family photo and include a photo of their dad.
THE LEGACY SURVIVES
Windermere High parent Phillip Pacheco started the tradition of inviting the Pine family to a Wolverine football game.
“A few games had passed, and I was sitting … in the stands, and I saw the sign for Deputy Scott Pine and wondered if (the school) had invited the Pines,” a- he declared.
The school administration loved the idea and a tradition was born. The pandemic put a temporary halt to the annual event, but this year marked its return.
“I think it’s really important for the community to remember the sacrifices that take place,” Pacheco said.
In addition to naming the park in honor of Deputy Pine, there are other ways to remember Scott.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Foundation presents an annual award called the Scott Pine Achievement Award. He is introduced to a member of the sheriff’s office who represents Scott’s character, Bridget said.
She usually goes to these events.
“Whatever we are offered to attend to honor Scott, we always try to be there,” she said. “We are so lucky that the community, even after so many years, is still reaching out to us. … It’s just wonderful for our family to have them reach out and remember us and Scott and his legacy. … We are grateful to the community that remembers our sacrifice.
The Pine family lives in Winter Garden and Bridget is a physical therapist working in acute care primarily at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. Haley, Ryker and Maddox keep busy with school and competitive gymnastics.
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