August 03, 2006
Deputy Michael Anthony Callin
ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
E.O.W. August 02, 2006
“There is an appointed time for everything, a time to give birth, a time to die, a time to weep and a time to laugh. HE has made everything appropriate in its time and has also set eternity in their hearts yet the man still does not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even unto the end.
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2, 4, 11
Michael was born to Anna and David on March 04, 1980. One year later, his sister, Christina, came into this world and the two were inseparable. Many thought that they were twins because of their closeness in relationship and their ages. From his childhood he grew into the lives of all those he came in contact. It really didn’t matter how old you were, Michael was your friend. At such an early age, Michael was a giver of himself, a pleaser, always wanting to help.
Being an Orange County Deputy Sheriff myself, you can imagine the joy and pride I felt as Michael came home one day from elementary school with a big smile on his face wearing a safety patrol belt and badge. Many who knew my profession as a law enforcement officer remarked “He is following in his dad’s footsteps”. How true that would become in just a few short years.
At a very early age, Michael gave his life to Christ and was raised in a home where the Word of God was a prominent fixture of principle and teaching. Michael also was blessed to have these same values taught by his loving grandparents. As Michael grew older, it was apparent to all who knew him that he was a communicator. Okay, he was a talker. It was not unusual for us to receive a letter or note from one of Michael’s teachers informing, “Michael is spending too much time communicating with his neighbor”. I would comment to Anna with a wry smile, “I wonder where he gets that from”? She would just simply smile and say, “He is following in his dad’s footsteps”.
As Michael grew into his teen years, his life continued to weave that caring, loving, and giving attitude into everyone he met. Michael never met any strangers. Whether you were his peer, a younger child, or an adult, Michael Callin was your friend. Often times our family would be at different events and there we would see Michael talking and laughing with adults, coaches, his classmates or friends. His infectious laugh was loved by all who knew him. While other peers were playing ball, there Michael would be on the sidelines talking and laughing with coaches or other adults. I would look over at Anna and say, “I can’t believe that boy”. And of course, her simple reply was, “He is just following in your footsteps”.
Michael graduated from Oviedo High School in 1998. Shortly after this and during one of those great times of laughing and fooling around, Michael surprised me when he said he wanted to be a deputy. I wasn’t sure this was what I wanted to see him doing. Not only was there the issue of uncertain danger from so many unknown areas but the work was very demanding on the family. I spent some time trying to talk him out of it but Michael was certain that this profession was what he wanted to pursue. I asked him why he really wanted to do this. Without hesitation, he firmly spoke the confident words, “It is because I want to help people”! Though proud as I was of his choice and reason, Anna and I spoke together of this choice he was making. Again, Anna reminded me of the resounding words, “He is just following in his father’s footsteps”.
Michael joined the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in 1999 as a 911 Operator and then became a Communications Dispatcher. Right away he made such an impression on the staff. Often times I had the opportunity to hear from so many office personnel that Michael was a man who cared and loved. In one case I was told that after Michael got off of his midnight shift in the morning, he began working on someone’s car which had engine problems. That was Michael. If someone needed help, Michael was there. It didn’t matter if he worked the night before. If your lawn needed mowing or your house needed painting, Michael was there!
Then the most pleasurable moment of my law enforcement career came when I had the opportunity to pin his badge on his chest during his graduation from the academy as he was being sworn in as an Orange County Deputy Sheriff. It was so rewarding for us to see our son take this incredible step that brought honor to both of us and our family. Michael continued to make great choices for his life, the most significant one since his choice to serve his heavenly Father was to marry Victoria. What a compliment to his life! The two were made for each other. The marriage of the two also meant the marriage of two families.
Michael’s successful career in law enforcement was exciting and we had so many things in common. I heard from many of my colleagues over the next few years how great he was doing. But it wasn’t until after his death on August 02, 2006 that the real story emerged.
I would hear stories of Michael stopping to help many stranded motorists to the point of getting his hands all greasy trying to fix their car, counseling troubled youth whose lives were on a downward spiral, and Michael coming alongside some of his fellow deputies and giving of himself to encourage those going through very difficult times.
And now, Michael has gone to be with the Lord. During these most tragic days, my friends and fellow law enforcement officers came to encourage me by telling me “Dave, he was just walking in his dad’s footsteps.” As the tears swell in my eyes, I now have the realization that Michael wasn’t walking necessarily in my footsteps but he was actually walking in the footsteps of his Heavenly Father. We love him so much and will miss him dearly!!!