HOUSTON – One Houston police officer got the surprise of a lifetime.
A local sports store and his colleagues honored him for his dedication to his job -- saving hundreds of people during Hurricane Harvey despite battling for his own life.
If the officer’s 24 years in the police force taught him anything it was that serving the community always comes first.
On Saturday, the community, Academy Sports + Outdoors and his colleagues, served him.
"He's a humble guy. He's selfless, and he always want to help out," said the officer's said supervisor Sgt. Santo Aranzeta.
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, 55-year-old officer Norbert Ramon put on his boots to save lives. As he got ready to battle the heavy rain, he had also been gearing up for a different fight.
"I have cancer, it's stage 4. It's colon cancer," Ramon said.
The 55-year-old was diagnosed last year.
The cancer had spread to his liver and lungs. He was told he may only have five years to live. In the midst of receiving chemotherapy in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he came to help the people who needed him.
“He came out and said, 'Hey I'm ready to go back in,'” said Sgt. Aranzeta, who worked with Ramon for five years.
"The hospital was kind of concerned with what I was doing, but once I'm working, you know, you're all ‘go.’ You don't worry about yourself. You worry about the people you're trying to help," Ramon said.
Working 12-hour shifts, Ramon estimates he helped save 200 to 300 lives.
“The rain. It never stopped. It was day after day. Trying to figure out where the streets are and everything is flooded. It was pretty horrible condition,” Aranzeta said. “He had it tougher because he was out in the worst part.”
Aranzeta couldn't make it to his home base headquarters at HPD downtown, so he found the nearest Houston police station where he could help.
"I was worried that time because his platelets were low, but he is who he is. Nothing holds him back. He's an officer first, and cancer comes second," said his wife, Cindy Ramon.
“We were getting calls left and right, ‘Go here. Go there.’ Whether we could get there was a different story,” said Ramon. “One time, we reached out on social media that we needed big trucks to come help us take our boats to where we needed to go, and they showed up.”
Academy Sports + Outdoors decided to surprise Ramon for his selfless work. Store managers brought together his colleagues at the police department to surprise him.
“I am excited to show our appreciation to you today in front of all your friends and colleagues with two tickets to tonight's Game 4 of the World Series and two jerseys of our own MVP, Jose Altuve,” Academy store director Greg Creel said as he handed Ramon the tickets and gear.
More than a dozen officers cheered for their colleague inside the store on Southwest Freeway.
“Thank you so much I appreciate this. I thank you for everything,” Ramon said to the crowd.
"He stopped his own personal treatment to take care of others. (That) spoke true volumes to who he is and how our community is," said Allan Rojas, with Academy.
"It just picks up my spirit. Big time ... It keeps me going," Ramon said.
He’s using his fighting spirit to inspire others.
"Live life to the fullest. This is one day right here that I'll never forget," Ramon said.
Ramon also wanted to warn others to keep up with their colon health by getting checked regularly. Ramon will fly to Oklahoma after the game. He will be back Monday in Houston to serve the community in uniform.