Espanola police officers shop at Center Market to give food to an elderly woman in need. Courtesy photo.
Police Donate To Feed Elderly Woman
We all have someone in our life who is getting up in years. Often times our elderly relatives I live nearby and we are able to take care of them, but sometimes there are those older members of our community who don’t have anyone that they can rely on.
This past Saturday officer Manuel Romero with the Espanola Police Department discovered how some of our most vulnerable citizens are sometimes hidden in plain sight.
Over the weekend Officer Romero received a call to perform a wellness check on an elderly individual living in the southern side of the city. When he rolled up in his patrol car he noted that the outside of the home showed signs of disrepair and a lack of any recent maintenance. When he knocked on the door a friendly but fragile senior greeted him. The senior citizen, a longtime resident of Espanola has no family or children, with only a distant relative who lives far away checking in with her every few months.
Officer Romero noted the tell-tale signs of someone who may be having a hard time making it on her own. The house was in disorder, so with woman’s permission he checked the kitchen and saw that there was very little food. The fridge was empty and there were only a couple cans left in the cupboards.
After completing the wellness check officer Romero returned to Espanola police headquarters but the situation continued to bother him. He asked other officers on duty if they were interested in pitching in to get this lady some groceries to tide her over “until we figure out a long-term solution”.
All officers on duty immediately pitched in with officer Carl Romero, officer Robert Vigil, and officer Danny Pacheco jointly contributing $140 to buy the woman groceries. Officer Romero singled out Danny Pacheco in particular for contributing the largest some of the group. “I was really impressed with officer Pacheco,” officer Romero said, adding that a few days prior an individual spat in his face, but “then he turns around and gives money to the community. It speaks a lot for his character.”
The officers went to Center Market where they began to shop for food to help the woman, and when Center Market employees learned why they were buying the groceries they also pitched in and donated to give food to the woman.
The officers then delivered the groceries to a very grateful citizen. “We’re still working on finding a long-term solution and figuring out what options the woman has” said officer Romero, “We are coordinating with Santa Fe County where the woman lives, and although the situation does not warrant Adult Protective Services, we need to find a way to protect this woman and people like her.”
This is not the first time Espanola police have gone out of their way to help citizens in need. Some months back officers’ worked with Wal-Mart to donate tires to an individual who had her tires slashed.
“I genuinely care about the elderly I hate the stigma of law enforcement being people who only want to get through the calls. Officers actually care about the community themselves” said Romero.
At the close of the interview, officer Romero requested to send a message to the community. “A lot of good things are happening in this community but we need more people to get involved.” In particular, he singled out the upcoming Walk Against Drugs and asked for people to participate.
The 16th annual Walk Against Drugs will occur Saturday, April 1 when hundreds of walkers will walk from the San Juan church to the Plaza in Espanola. (click HERE for background story on the Drug Walk)
Romero ended the interview by saying, “get involved in your community. The more people we have doing good stuff the better our community will be”.