JIM DUTTON WEARS A BIG SMILE AND A COWBOY HAT. We now have to say with conviction that he has the appearance of a extraordinary wrangler – not the ranching kind with cattle and horses, although he would probably excel at that job, too.
Dutton, the host of a KTRH home improvement show who thrives on helping people in need, wrangles the needs for an ongoing project or group of projects he calls the Overhaul for a Hero Project. He learned of the home plight of one of our HPD heroes, Officer Ramiro Garcia Jr. Ramiro was off duty and traveling home from a wedding when one of his tires blew out, causing Garcia to be ejected from his vehicle. The resulting injuries paralyzed him from the neck down.
In the three years since the accident this officer has faced many problems maintaining his residence, not the least of which has been the inability to get to a bathroom to take a shower. The house simply has not been equipped to accommodate a handicapped person.
Dutton came to the HPOU with a plan. All it required, he said, was volunteers to do the grunt work. And there was plenty of grunt work, as dozens of Garcia’s fellow officers who volunteered to do the work will attest to.
Dutton implemented his plan on the radio airwaves of Houston. The Youcaring page set up for the project had raised only 60 bucks until Dutton’s broadcast. Then the number soared to $9,000!
HPOU Board Member Luis Menendez-Sierra helped to coordinate the volunteers (see pictures in this issue) and was astounded at Dutton’s wrangling technics and successes. It turned out that Dutton’s broadcast provoked the citizens of Houston to open their arms and hearts to help a police officer in need.
By Menendez’ account, Dutton aimed to accomplish a total makeover of the house. He secured a new roof, new flooring, new air conditioning, new water heater, new siding, a new coat of paint, new windows, etc., etc., etc. Most of all, he got the materials needed for a newly expanded bathroom, enabling Garcia to take a shower instead of a spit bath.
What a great man to partner with! Our hats are off to the wrangler who walked the walk after talking the talk. It’s safe to say we will not soon forget a man like Jim Dutton. Thank you, Sir, for your helping to serve a Houston police officer in need.