By Kathleen Sterling
He grew up watching Adam 12, Emergency and Chips.
He tried to arrest his brother every week.
George was in awe of first responders, especially after an L.A. Sheriff found him on the side of the road after a bike mishap. Deputy Fred Fate helped George free himself from the bike chain and gave him a ride home. That was one of the best days of George’s life. He was forever hooked.
George asks everyone he meets if they are a policeman. His heroes are Officer Pete Malloy, Officer Reed, paramedics Johnny and Roy and highway patrolmen Ponch and Jon. To him they aren’t fictional characters, but real-life role models and law enforcement offi-cers. He has always held out the hope of becoming one himself.
On Tuesday, George got his wish.
The amazing staff at Valley Village where he lives arranged it all with LAPD, and on November 14, George was “deputized” at the Northeast Station.
The incredibly caring Valley Village staff and LAPD officers, who were so touched by the request, planned the entire day. George put on a uniform, hung out with other officers, took a ride in a patrol car with sirens blaring, and even sat in an LAPD helicopter after it flew over the station. He visited the mounted unit at Griffith Park, and even got to hand out safety flyers at the park.
In an amazing coincidence, the pilot of the helicopter, when told of the mission, said, “Wait, I know that man.” Turns out Lt. Ismail was George’s coach at Valley Village many years ago.
The two reunited at the station, where George was “badged” at roll call.
I asked the new deputy what his first job was going to be. His answer? “Put all the bad guys in jail!”
Not a bad goal, even if he did mean his younger brother.
The day was a dream come true for George, who has spent 30 years at Valley Village, which serves more than 367 men and women with developmental challenges.
Matthew Swearman, Valley Village’s Senior Director of Development, told Valley News Group, “This has been a lifelong dream of George’s. We work with our clients to understand their goals and aspirations to help them achieve what’s important to them in life. We are thrilled that LAPD could help fulfill George’s.”
As we go into the holidays, Valley News Group is also thrilled to have a “feel good” story to kick off the season. You can’t help smiling around George!