Remembering Fallen Heroes

Valencia’s Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) hosted a memorial service on April 27 to honor Orange County Deputy Brandon Lee Coates who died in the line of duty last December.

Deputy Coates attended basic recruit law enforcement training at CJI in 2006. His wife, Orange County Deputy Sheriff Virginia Coates, is also a graduate of the program.

Donna Marino, coordinator of Donor Relations at Valencia Foundation, announced at the ceremony that a memorial scholarship fund had been established in memory of Coates. An initial gift of $500 was made by students now enrolled in the same class that Coates once was.

Numerous law enforcement officials from central Florida, along with Deputy Coates’ widow and mother, Debbie Griffin, attended the ceremony.

Inscribed in a memorial monument that stands at CJI were these words:

“This monument is dedicated to the valiant men and women that have selflessly given their lives to protect the innocent and preserve the American way of life. We honor the valor in their hearts and the fortitude they showed in the face of death. As recruits at this academy, we strive to walk the path they have laid before us. To be as brave, chivalrous, and have the same courage under pressure. We celebrate their lives, their sacrifice, and the hope they inspired in us all.”

CJI’s ceremony was the first of many local, state and national law enforcement ceremonies that occur each May to honor officers who have died in the line of duty.

To make a donation to the Brandon Lee Coates Memorial Scholarship Fund, please visit


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