ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) – A 5k run Saturday morning honored a fallen officer from the Ector County Hospital District Police Department who was killed in a traffic accident in September.
Sargent Daniel Valenzuela Jr. was killed in a car crash that also killed his father and grandmother back on September 26th in San Antonio.
He served in law enforcement for almost thirteen years. A 5k run and a 2k walk were held in his honor at Mission Fitness with all of the proceeds benefitting his family.
He made a lasting impact on the people who saw him in a profession he cared so much about.
“He was very serious about his job, he did his job well,” said MCH Community Relations manager Susan Thornton.
“But, he was one of those that would smile and had a joke kind of in the back. So he was really a great guy and we do miss him greatly.”
Even people who never met him, who only heard about who he was, felt compelled to come out and run to honor Valenzuela’s memory.
“I had spent nine hours in the emergency room with my mom last Sunday and because I’d seen the advertisements for this race I stopped a couple of the police officers and said ‘Hey tell me about this guy,” said 5k participant Jonathan Terry.
“They talked about how he interacted with patients, his empathy.”
Working as a police officer in a hospital allowed someone like Valenzuela to be sensitive and provide comfort to patients and their families.
“Something that’s important to understand is these police officers are human beings and they have empathy and they’re able to interact with people that are in a great deal of pain,” said Terry.
To help Valenzuela’s family, you can donate to their GoFundMe page.