Trigger warning: This story discusses the Pulse Massacre, in enough detail to understand the significance of what has occurred. It discusses PTSD and the events that led up to it. Though this story may be disturbing to some readers, it is important to tell.
Omar Delgado, 45, a 9-year veteran of the Eatonville Police Department, heroically saved lives while one of the worst mass shootings in Amerian history was taking place in Orlando at the Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016. Amid the gunfire, heard even from outside the building, he and fellow officers bravely went in to try and stop the carnage.
Bodies littered the floor, but Delgado was able to pull survivors to safety. The nightmare gave Delgado Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and now he faces a new tragedy inflicted on him by his own police force, he’s being let go just six months before he would have secured his pension.
Omar Delgado’s last day is December 31st, shy of his 10-year mark. Without a pension.
Discarded before his economic future is assured, and a pension could provide some stability. It’s a sickening story that more and more companies are looking for ways to cheat loyal employees from securing their hard-earned pensions. In Delgado’s case, it’s an added insult, considering he is so close and has been hailed as a hero in the mainstream media for his part in confronting a mass shooting. 49 people lost their lives and dozens were injured in an act that was later recognized as a terrorist attack and a hate crime.
Since the force is letting him go early, he’ll only get 42% of his salary instead of the 64% and benefits for life that would come if he made it six more months.
Omar Delgado, a 45-year-old corporal who was one of the first officers to respond to the Pulse nightclub shooting, is being let go. https://t.co/eq4HaUOiNA
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) December 6, 2017
Christal Hayes, a reporter for USA Today, spoke to Delgado and confirmed his story that he believes his PTSD is why they are letting him go early.
I spoke with Cpl. Omar Delgado tonight and he says he suffers from PTSD and that’s why he believes he’s being let go.
— Christal Hayes (@Journo_Christal) December 6, 2017
A GoFundMe page has been created for Delgado, which explains that since the shooting he’s been struggling to get “back to normal.” He’s been on desk duty since the mass shooting.
“He is in need of specialized counseling that is not covered by insurance. He was gifted some sessions but that gift is running out. Due to the horrors that he experienced, he has had to step away from his normal day to day duties as a Police Officer. He continues to work but the income he is able to bring in does not allow for the counseling he needs to continue,” wrote Kelly Anderson Kutcher on behalf of Delgado.
Delgado asked the force to let him remain for just a short time longer so that he could receive his pension.
“They can’t find it in their hearts to find six more months, just so I can be vested and just move on with my life,” he said. “I needed help and I guess I’m being punished because I asked for help,” said Delgado.
The officer rescued a survivor, Angel Colon, and their story made national news. Colon spoke out for Delgado with a reporter for WFTV9, an ABC affiliate.
— Karla Ray (@KRayWFTV) December 5, 2017
“He was my hero,” Colon said. “He saved my life, and for them to just do what they’re doing in front of my face, it’s a slap to my face as well.
“God sent him and he was my hero that night,” Colon said. “Without him, who knows if I would have stayed inside that club and not made it out.”
Colon owes his very life to the officer and is now clearly doing what he can to help him in return.
“To be at work with PTSD, it’s something that’s impossible, but at the same time, you can’t just throw him out like that. He needs help,” Colon said. “He was there. He did his job that night on June 12, so they should have his back 100 percent, totally, and be there for whatever he needs.”
Eatonville’s Mayor, Eddie Cole reportedly refused to answer questions about the early termination.
“There are some things that I’m not privileged to say,” Cole said.
Representative Carlos G Smith (D-FL), the first openly gay Latino to serve in the Florida Legislature, called on residents to help Delgado through his GoFundMe page.
Pulse hero Omar Delgado’s GoFundMe is catching fire! This is the MOST EFFECTIVE way #OrlandoUnited can help our Omar w/his recovery + ensure he can continue to support his family after being let go from Eatonville Police Department! https://t.co/9GCQQ1dFQX #Sayfie
— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) December 6, 2017
See Officer Delgado’s story with Anderson Cooper for CNN below:
Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube