Be Their Rock

The following post is from an San Angelo PD officer that was reposted with his permission. I love reading his stories about why he does what he does. Thank you Abel, we are lucky to have officers like you on San Angelo PD and it’s an honor to get to work with you. The thoughts are the officer’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the department.

Here’s Abel’s story:
So the other night I’m working security at “Larry’s Garage n Grill” It’s kinda busy. I see a lot of familiar faces. Everyone seems to be having a great time.
I’m posted up towards the back so I can watch the entrance and the dance floor. Then this young man walks in. Looks around. Looks over and sees me through the crowd.
He walks past his buddies who are trying to greet him and straight to me.
Smile as big as Texas, arms open wide. I greet him in the same manner as I’m trying to remember how and when I met him. He hugs me the way a father and son, a brother to brother, like a loving family that hasn’t scene each other in while.
The hug lasted for several minutes as he says to me “Thank you, thank you! I’m listening as I’m still watching the crowd and I ask, “What did I do?”
He says, “You saved my life and you changed my life.” Then I make eye contact and notice his eyes are tearing up a little.
I stop watching the crowd and give him my full attention.
He says,”When I was at Lake View, you treated me like a son.” He says, “You and Mrs. Staha. I was doing some bad stuff back then and ya’ll still treated me with respect. Like I was your son. You played chess with me. I beat you and you bought me Chick-fil-a. I laugh as I remember…”Ricardo Santos”
He says he beat me 3 times, but I know for a fact I won the first game. Lol, then he won 2 out 3.
The wager was the loser buys the winner a lunch. He wanted Chick-fil-a so I drove all the way across town to get him his lunch. Then we sat together as I watched him enjoying every delicious bite of his victory meal.
From then on we always greeted each other both on and off campus. It’s been years since I’d seen him.
He said, “I got my sh-t together. I got off the drugs, I went to college got my degree. Now I’m a Master Diesel Mechanic. I live in Midland. I’m single. I don’t have any kids right now. I bought myself a new house and a brand new truck. I’ve been able to help my family out financially. My Dad and my Mom see me differently. Things are better between us. I am very Blessed. I always wanted to Thank you and Mrs. Staha.” As he went on, we both got teared eyes and just kept laughing and hugging.
Back in the day I thought he was just going through the motions and not even hearing what we were saying or trying to show him, but now I could tell it really touched him.
Our Lord works in mysterious ways Ricardo. There’s a reason he brought us together that day. I needed it just as much as you did.
I haven’t worked the Schools since then, but I keep in touch with the Administrators, Teachers and Coaches. I can Honestly tell you that they don’t do it for the money, they do it for Love.
We were constantly talking about ways to reach out, to the students. Help them realize their personal potentials. Steer them away from bad things and bad choices.
I remember the endless hours of frustrations and prayers. At times wanting to just give up. I learned a lot while I was there.
When it comes to listening and learning. People don’t always listen with their ears. They listen with their hearts. They don’t always learn from books. They learn from love.
Ricardo, son I’m very proud of you and who you have become! Keep up the good work and pay it forward. Be Blessed and Be a Blessing.

-Abel Nandin, SAPD


Blog For the Brave is a blog series for first responders, military personnel, teachers and nurses.  It is brought to you by For the Brave.  Our contributors are the men and women that are in the trenches with you.  We discuss equipment, tactics, technologies and many other topics pertinent to our fields.  Thanks for reading and we hope that you will join the For the Brave community by following our other pages!

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