The St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office shared a heartfelt social media post, over the weekend, about Deputy and fellow cadet, Raul Vega, who was experiencing some difficult situations in life, and how the greatest ever most inspiring act of kindness—restored his faith in mankind.
“I will never forget the first couple days of the Academy in Session 59. We were introduced to adversity, but none of us were facing it on the level that our fellow cadet, Raul Vega, was experiencing.
We were sitting in class when Vega was called out of the room to find out that his sweetheart, Daylen de Jesus, was in the hospital. Vega and de Jesus were expecting twins but there were serious complications. Vega went to the hospital immediately.
In the academy, a cadet can only miss a few hours out of the whole 17-week experience before they have to be recycled to the next academy. The cadets expected Vega to be the first one to drop out of Session 59, and in Vega’s case, it would have been understandable. He and Daylen had just lost their twin girls, who they named Amelia and Sophia Marie.
“I didn’t know if he was going to continue,” explained fellow cadet Dylan Toups, who went to the hospital after work that day to see Vega. “He was destroyed and I had to physically hold him up.” Toups was surprised at Vega’s resiliency when Vega returned to the Academy early the next morning.
“I was surprised to see him show up that day. I love him to death and was so glad he didn’t quit,” said Toups. “After that first week, I knew he would never quit.”
If that wasn’t enough to discourage a man, Vega’s patrol unit was broken into and his duty rifle was stolen. Inside Vega’s mind, there was a moment when he considered quitting. However, a sweet hug from his little boy, Lucas, and words of encouragement from Daylen were the support needed for Vega to refocus on completing the academy. Not only did Vega graduate, but was also awarded the “Top Gun” award for his excellence in firearms in an Academy class that performed well above average on the range.
Captain Nick Rogers watched Vega’s progress in the Academy and his determination to rise above difficulty and was impressed.
Rogers consulted with the Academy Director Captain Brian Charpentier and made some phone calls to put a plan in place to replace Vega’s rifle.
That’s where Charlie Solar with Charlie’s Pawn Shop became connected with the situation. Solar ordered the rifle, told Rogers that no money was needed, and gifted it to Vega.
Solar at first insisted that we not mention this. According to him, the look on Vega’s face and his response to the gift was “all the recognition he needed” for his involvement in the situation. However, we were all so touched with the whole story that it needed to be told.
When Captain Rogers called Vega to come to the office on Saturday morning, Vega assumed they needed his Spanish-speaking skills.
“I thought I was being called to translate. So whenever we got to Charlie’s and he told me about the rifle, it was like a dream. I don’t want to wake up from this,” said Vega. “This is the greatest thing ever, it’s amazing working in this department. Good things are happening to me now and I’m so grateful.”
We at the SMPSO are thankful for people in our community like Charlie Solar, who are quick to support us. We are also thankful for deputies like Raul Vega, who want to wear the badge and be in law enforcement and will overcome adversity when it presents itself.
We are proud of you, Raul Vega!”