An Orange County man has logged thousands of hours as a volunteer for Orlando Police Department. And at the age of 78, Everyday Hero Johnny Stringer is their top volunteer.

  • Johnny Stringer has contributed to more than 1,300 hours as an Orlando Police Department citizen observer
  • He did this when he retired to Central Florida in 2003
  • He hopes being a constant figure in the community gives neighbors sense of security

“Well it makes you feel good, of course, to come out to be number one. I wasn’t striving to be number one. I just come and do what I do,” he said with a smile, continuing, “Then it makes you feel like you really are helping, doing something worthwhile.”

Stringer was given the award for contributing nearly 1,300 hours of service to the city. Each day, Stringer drives around the west side for hours, serving as the eyes and ears of OPD.

“This is something I did later in life. Matter of a fact, it’s after I retired,” he said, mentioning his own janitorial business in San Francisco. Stringer’s second chapter landed him in Central Florida, where in 2003, he noticed a call-to-action for citizen observers.

“I read it in the newspaper they were looking for some volunteers,” he recalled. “They were looking for people to ride around in cars and observe.”

Following a 12-week course, Stringer began putting in several hours of work a day. That progressed, he said, to six or seven hours, with time.

“When I got into it, I really liked it,” said Stringer.

The Everyday Hero said he’s had neighbors come up to his car, thanking him for patrolling their community. There were even times he drove up to trouble — that quickly dissipated.

“I rode up on a bunch of guys fighting. It was a gang on the west side,” he said. “I got out to the car, they were swinging away at each other. Then, when they saw me, they all scattered, took off.”

While Stringer has no power to make an arrest, he simply hopes that being a constant figure in the community deters crime and gives neighbors a sense of security.

“The hope is that I can be some help to keep down crime by my presence,” he said. “I found out I was really helping out.”