HOUSTON — Retired Houston Police Officer Ronny Cortez and his wife Sheri were among the elated spectators as they watched their son graduate from the police academy. They aren’t just any proud parents watching a child take a step toward the noble career, but a couple who has been through enormous pain as a result of the profession.
Ronny and his partner were shot when confronting a burglary suspect in 2017. As a result, one round pierced his spine and left him paralyzed and in a wheelchair. The 24-year veteran spent weeks in the hospital and months at TIRR Memorial Hermann, but later said he would do it all over again, KHOU 11 reported.
“To some people it’s a job, to others it’s a calling,” he told KHOU on the day he was finally able to return home.
Four years later, his son Evan is answering the call of duty. In what was understandably an emotional moment at Wednesday’s graduation ceremony, Ronny proudly pinned his own HPD badge on his son.
“Can’t believe he is wearing his daddy’s badge. Truly turning a tragedy into triumph,” Sheri tweeted.
Amazing day! @houstonpolice Ofc R Cortez, shot/paralyzed in the line of duty, watched his son graduate from HPD academy. Then he pinned his own badge on his son🥲Thanks @TroyFinner for helping him pin the badge. #TeamCortez @SylvesterTurner we missed you at ceremony pic.twitter.com/WysfrMI9NS
— 💙#CopWifeHeroLife💙 (@HouPDwifeSheri) May 20, 2021
“What a great day…emotional day,” she said after learning her husband kept the badge a secret prior to the special occasion.
Ronny pondered the circumstances, saying, “It’s a moment you’re supposed to be proud, but then yes you’re awful afraid because of what could happen.”
Sheri has been a rock at her husband’s side every day since the shooting. Consequently, the couple has helped countless other officers and their families, including those injured – or killed — in the line of duty, KHOU reported.
Indeed, it’s a tragedy-to-triumph kind of story, and they hope for more future victories as Ronny is bound and determined to walk again. His positive attitude inspires many people – including Evan, as he follows in his father’s footsteps.