Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and deputies who knew and loved Deputy Jesse Valdez III came to support his son at his graduation Wednesday.
Pasadena ISD’s Dobie High School held its graduation at NRG Stadium where deputies and the sheriff came to support it.
Deputies aimed to honor the life of a hero and also let his son know he always has the support of his law enforcement family.
Deputy Jesse Valdez III pass in the line of duty after a tragic car crash in 2014.
”This is a very special day because we get to honor and pay tribute to a wonderful young man that we’ve seen grow up over the years in such a special milestone,” Sheriff Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said the sacrifice of Deputy Valdez III will always be remembered. His son was only 10-years-old when his father died.
“He’s not forgotten. He left a mark,” the sheriff said.
So, when 18-year-old Valdez IV walked into NRG, he was all smiles, seeing a line of law enforcement waiting for him on the other side of the tunnel.
“We wanted to make sure that we could be here to stand in the gap of the late Deputy Valdez and honor his family, honor his name and honor his legacy,” Gonzalez said.
Sgt. Marco Carrizales, a dear friend and colleague of Deputy Valdez III, walked Valdez IV through the tunnel for graduation.
“I’ve been there through the beginning, and I’m here now,” Carrizales said.
Carrizales said Deputy Valdez III and him had known each other since high school and played sports together. They became dear friends.
On Wednesday, Carrizales said he wants to be there and carry the spirit of Deputy Valdez III to remind his son that he is never alone.
“That his dad is always watching him. That his dad is his angel [and that] his dad is going to protect him in anything he does,” Carrizales said.
“Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to make it. But here I am today,” the son said.
The sheriff handed Valdez IV his diploma as the crowds of parents cheered.
“It makes me feel happy because I know I got people to back me up in life. I got people to support me every day!” Valdez IV said.
The now graduate could not help but feel his father’s love.
“I honestly think my dad is with me right now. Probably telling me I’m doing a good job [and to] Keep pushing,” Valdez IV said.