Christmas Compassion

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JAMES MACPHERSON | Photos courtesy Pasadena Police Dept.

7:18 am | December 25, 2013


Moved by a tragedy they had seen and couldn’t forget, a group of Pasadena police officers has brought the magic of the holiday season to five-year-old Adolfo Garcia and his family.

Members of police Team Five first came to know about Adolfo under horrible circumstances.

The boy, then only four, was shot during a senseless crime in March as he stood inside a garage-turned-game-room in his family’s Pasadena home.

Adolfo survived, but he is paralyzed and is confined to a wheelchair.

Involved – professsionally and emotionally – two police officers spearheaded efforts with other Team Five members to make this holiday as wonderful as they could for young Adolfo and his family, starting with a full Thanksgiving dinner.

For Christmas, Adolfo was invited to get presents and his picture with Santa Claus at police headquarters.

The team delivered a Christmas tree to the family home and, the day before Christmas, accompanied by Chief of Police Phillip Sanchez, delivered gifts for the entire family and gift certificates for food.

The team also presented the family with a shadow box containing Pasadena memorabilia for a lasting memory of this Christmas season.

“Officers Kevin Okamoto and Johnny Calderon coordinated the Christmas Gift visit,” Sanchez wrote in an email. “Very special.”

“They care about all of my kids,” said a grateful Maria Bemudez, Adolfo’s mother. “They helped me too much.”

Officer Okamoto said that tickets and parking passes had been arranged for the family to watch the Rose Parade from a prized viewing area near the start of the parade on New Year’s day.

The team’s compassion for this very young Pasadenan is mirrored by other holiday efforts of the Department’s Community Services Section.

It’s all about “outreach,” “assisting” and “helping” the community, said Community Services Section’s Officer Ralph Ordonez, who arranged with the Salvation Army for Santa to pose with children and distribute presents.

The impact of the officers’ compassion is clear in the faces of the families and children.

“Last year was…” Bemudez’s voice trailed off and tears welled in her eyes as she watched Adolfo with presents at the Santa Claus event. “But this, this is special for me.”