JURUPA VALLEY: Sheriff’s officials make one special young man’s dreams come true
JURUPA VALLEY- This past Monday was a very special day for a local man with down Syndrome, as he got to become friends with several deputies and officials from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Jurupa Valley Station. Ricardo also got to open a very special gift, specifically picked out for him by the members of the Jurupa Valley Station.
In spite of his age at 41-years-old, Ricardo’s mother Teresa describes her son as a “child at heart.” Ricardo, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and also suffers from a number of serious medical conditions. In spite of his medical conditions, Ricardo loves to sing, is an expert at performing Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk and is the life of every party.
According to Teresa, Ricardo loves and admires police officers and firefighters and he never misses an opportunity to shake their hands at the store or wherever else he sees them. He especially loves whenever he gets a plastic badge, sticker or other memorabilia, no matter how small, from his heroes.
Ricardo has been described as patient, caring, sweet and has so much love to share with his family. Teresa explained that although Ricardo doesn’t have a group of friends he can socialize with after he gets off work, he enjoys watching his favorite television programs, walking on his treadmill and listening to his music. Teresa has said Ricardo has often claimed to be Michael Jackson’s number one fan.
Teresa also recently shared, “Ricardo’s favorite time of the year is the holidays! He always knows when the holidays are getting close!”
This year, Ricardo expressed a specific interest in a Christmas present that would help him share his joy of music with others and help him make friends while doing so. Teresa shared how at every family gathering, Ricardo finds a microphone and takes on the role of DJ, using his vast knowledge of artists and their songs to liven up every get together.
Teresa recently wrote, “It would be so absolutely awesome, a dream come true for Ricardo, if he ever got to have a police officer be his friend for a short while.” Continuing, Teresa explained, “Ricardo is one of the most loving people anyone could ever encounter! I would be forever grateful if you could help make one of his dreams come true!”
Once the deputies and officials at the Jurupa Valley Station found out about Ricardo’s requests, they went right to work.
Asked how the whole special surprise for Ricardo began, Kylleen Coogan, one of the Western County Leadership Council members for the Spousal Support Group and the Administrator for the group’s Facebook page, explained, “Sgt. Portillo, of the Jurupa Valley Station, mentioned Ricardo’s story to me in passing at a recent “Shop with a Cop” event. He told me about what the station and department were planning to do for him. From there, we just started telling Ricardo’s story and began collecting the money needed to buy the karaoke machine.”
To help make Ricardo’s dream come true, a number of officials from the Jurupa Valley Station, including Cpt. Horton, Lt. Ditton, Sgt. Portillo, Deputy Montgomery and Deputy Waters spent a fun-filled afternoon treating Ricardo to a tour of the Jurupa Sheriff’s Station. While showing Ricardo all the sheriff’s station had to offer, deputies began getting to know him and what an amazing young man he is. At the end of the station tour, Ricardo was presented with a special gift, a karaoke machine, just like he had asked for!
About Ricardo’s enthusiasm during his tour and his excitement at getting to open a gift from his new friends at the sheriff’ department, Sgt. Portillo said, “As you can see in the picture of him opening the gift, the expression on his face shows his true excitement.”
About the special Christmas surprise for Ricardo, Coogan exclaimed, “I just can’t come up with words how much I love Riverside County Sheriffs Department’s heart! These deputies from the Jurupa Valley Station went over and beyond to make this guys day incredible.”
“People don’t always get to see how an entire community of law enforcement will give their own shirts to help someone else. It’s called character and it is what calls them to the profession!” Continuing, Coogan said, “I always say one person can change the world, these deputies are changing the world everyday one person at a time.”
After last Monday’s big adventure, I am sure Ricardo would agree.
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