Glendale police officers came up with a unique fundraiser recently to help a volunteer -- whose dreams of becoming an officer himself were derailed by violence -- make his home wheelchair accessible.
During the entire month of July, officers who donate $50 to raise money for police volunteer Jorge Acevedo will be allowed to ignore the department’s grooming requirements and grow a beard.
“You know as the chief I was kind of a little leery about it at first ... wondering ... but then I said, 'Yeah, let's go ahead and do it,” Glendale Police Department Chief Robert Castro said.
Acevedo was on his way to becoming a police officer when he was shot multiple times and left for dead while stopped at an intersection the day after Christmas in 1999.
Acevedo believes gang members shot him in a carjacking attempt, but the case was never solved, according to a GoFundMe campaign created by the Glendale Police Officer Association.
Paralyzed and disabled, Acevedo bounced back after months of physical therapy and became a volunteer at the Glendale Police Department.
But then, in the summer of 2015, Acevedo suffered a debilitating stroke that impaired his mobility and left him nearly unable to speak.
"Here he is. He keeps fighting. So I have to be at his side. That way he can get better," his mother, Alcira Acevedo, said.
Officers hope the fundraiser will make it possible for Acevedo get a wheelchair lift installed in his parents’ Highland Park home.
The lift would allow Acevedo the freedom to come and go from his house without needing his mom to carry him down the stairs, the GoFundMe post stated.
"Never give up, no matter how hard things are in life. I know that someone in the world has it harder than I do," Jorge Acevedo said.
As of Wednesday, the account had raised more than $13,000.