Having fun as Sheriff for a Day

Dominic DeHerrera is a tall, formerly-healthy 15-year-old boy who has always wanted to be a policeman like his Uncle William Sanchez. As his special wish as a cancer patient, he was Sheriff for a Day in Bent County, going on patrol with Captain Brian Therrien, even out to John Martin Reservoir, which looks like a small ocean these days.

When they got back in, pictures were taken and then he got to have some fun with Deputy B. Valencia, the handler of Uno, the Bent County Sheriff’s dog. Uno had fun, too, chasing his ball and having DeHerrera try to keep up with him. What a fast dog!

Therrien and DeHerrera had stopped a couple of people on the road that morning. “Safety first!” was their message, said Therrien. After receiving from LJPD Lt. Mitch Zgorngynski a La Junta Police hat and shirt before the luncheon in his honor and enjoying his lunch, DeHerrera would go out on patrol again with Captain Therrien.

DeHerrera’s life was turned upside down with the discovery of a large lump on his neck as he was getting a haircut on Christmas night, said his mother, Nicole Garcia. “You should check your children’s bodies,” she said.  The lump had gone unnoticed, although it was there in pictures since November, at least. When the doctors checked it out, at first they thought it was not cancerous, but on January 18,  after the biopsy, the family got the diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. DeHerrera is now undergoing chemotherapy at Children’s Hospital in Aurora every two weeks. His mother is very optimistic. She says the cure rate is 80 to 90 percent. During the treatment, DeHerrera is home schooled.

Police officers from La Junta and Sheriff’s officers from Bent County had a nice day making sure Dominic DeHerrera would remember being Sheriff for a Day.