The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Posted the following story to their Facebook page that was shared to them by 100 Club of Arizona about a Deputy named Valdez who just wanted to do the right thing.
Kathryn Baillie of the 100 Club of Arizona shared this act of kindness she experienced by one of our deputies. Deputy Valdez of the Needles Sheriff’s Station, when asked why, he simply said, “It felt like the right thing to do.”
“On February 16, 2016 one of our heroes, a sergeant, lost his life while on duty. I was tasked to deliver the check to the widow on Saturday between 1:00 and 1:30. Such deliveries are somber, and my goal was to make sure the widow received the check without disrupting her family during this time of mourning.
The widow’s residence was about 3 ½ hours from Phoenix, so I started out early to ensure a timely delivery. As I traveled down a desolate highway 95 through the cool desert, I had no idea that my car’s transmission was boiling. As many of you may know, highway 95 is built like a rollercoaster, and my old vehicle could only handle the terrain at a speed of 55 mph. Unfortunately, as I drove, smoke began to billow up from my vehicle’s hood.
My vehicle quickly descended to a crawl, and it became apparent that my accelerator was not responding. With the last bit of energy, I steered to the side of the shoulder. I opened the hood and could smell burning transmission fluid. I quickly realized I wasn’t going anywhere and the sinking feeling of aloneness and dread came over me. I was alone, without food or water, stranded in the Mohave desert with only one little bar on my cell phone that taunted me as it would go in and out of service. I didn’t even know where I was and there were no mile posts in sight. As you can imagine, here I am a female, alone in the Mohave desert dressed in pretty high heels and a black suit with my cell phone raised as high as possible desperately trying to capture a solid bar or two. As vehicles zoomed past, I could only imagine what they thought, if they even bothered to see me.
With my hands up I was able to call AAA; however, as soon as they forwarded my call to road side assistance, I lost service. I tried again to call AAA; however, this time as I looked toward the highway, I noticed a beautiful, white, gallant, metal steed with hope filled lettering on the side, “San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department”. My heart jumped with relief as the knight (or the deputy) calmly asked “are you okay?” and introduced himself, “I’m deputy Valdez, tell me what happened”.
Kindly, the deputy informed me that we needed to get the rear of my vehicle out of the street to avoid a collision. I hopped into my tired old vehicle, placed it in neutral and the gallant deputy physically pushed my heavy vehicle onto the shoulder for safety. Deputy Valdez then advised that we needed to call for a tow. As we talked about my vehicle, I told Deputy Valdez the reason I was in the Mohave desert; about being tasked to take a check to a widow of a fallen sergeant.
Deputy Valdez replied that he knew about the case and was familiar with the sergeant who lost his life. I told him that I would need to notify the widow and arrange for another day to deliver the needed check. Deputy Valdez told me to wait as he walked back to his vehicle. When the Deputy returned, he told me that he would take me to the widow’s house to make sure that she was taken care of and that he would have me back at the substation by the time the tow company delivered my vehicle. Elated, I jumped up into the mighty police vehicle and off we drove.
When we arrived at her home, our precious widow unlocked the door and met not only me – the little messenger, but her eyes caught the gallant Deputy Valdez. I stood and observed as she greeted the deputy in full uniform, another sworn officer like her husband. I saw her expression and I knew at that moment she needed to see another sworn officer and Deputy Valdez was that person.
As we quietly entered the home, we observed the widow’s beautiful family, and Deputy Valdez looked at plaques and mementos from the U.S. Marine Corp. Unbeknownst to me, Deputy Valdez was also a former Marine. I realized that this encounter was not just a mishap or an inconvenience, it was divinely orchestrated.
Heroic acts come from not just a rescue from violent or dangerous situations but from every day acts of caring and kindness – stepping up to the challenge of ensuring that a widow was taken care of, and that a little messenger was safely returned to her home in Phoenix. These are the acts that occur daily with our sworn. The silent, unheard and unrewarded acts of our fearless officers. I learned that it didn’t matter that I was an Arizona citizen delivering a check to another Arizona citizen whose husband served with an Arizona police department, this California deputy saw the need, rose to the challenge and rescued the day in so many countless ways. Deputy Valdez is a hero!”
-Kathryn Baillie (100 Club of Arizona Board Member)