Officer Bert Ramon
Houston (TX) Police Department
Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has selected Officer Bert Ramon, of the Houston (TX) Police Department, as the recipient of its Officer of the Month Award for November 2017.
As Hurricane Harvey battered the state of Texas in August 2017, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said the homes of 400 Houston police officers had been destroyed by the storm as they worked to save the citizens of the city from massive floodwaters. Officers stayed on duty despite tragedy hitting their own department — a fellow officer died when his patrol car was swept up in the rising waters.
Officer Ramon, a 24-year veteran of the department, knew he couldn’t stay home when so many people needed help during the storm. And he didn’t let his cancer diagnosis stop him. In early 2016, Officer Ramon was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, which has spread into his liver and lungs. Doctors gave him six to eight years to live, and he was placed on desk duty.
As Officer Ramon ventured into his flooding city, he was unable to make it to his station, and instead went to the department’s Lake Patrol division. He spent three days helping that division rescue more than 1,000 people, including many children and senior citizens. Officer Ramon would spend six to seven hours a day loading people into a group of four boats, and recruiting citizens with elevated trucks to help in the rescue efforts because the floodwaters had become too high for standard police vehicles.
But there were moments when Officer Ramon and the Lake Patrol division were able to be lighthearted, such as when they recovered a group of senior citizens at an assisted living center. “We made jokes about the boat,” he recalled. “We told them they were on the San Antonio River Cruise.” It was during this rescue where he posed for a photograph with a thumb up, so he could send a signal to his wife that he was okay.
Days after helping save so many people, Officer Ramon made the eight-hour drive to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for his bi-weekly chemotherapy treatment. “Being sick plays in your head if you sit there by yourself,” he said. “I want other cancer patients to go out there and live life. Don’t give up the fight. Stay strong.”
“Officer Ramon demonstrated courage and selfless actions above and beyond saving hundreds of lives in the most devastating environment,” said Houston Police Sergeant James Armstrong. “He disregarded his own personal safety while battling stage 4 cancer. This is the embodiment of what a police officer should be!”
“The remarkable story of Officer Bert Ramon’s determination during Hurricane Harvey shows his true character as a selfless, compassionate human,” Memorial Fund President and CEO Craig W. Floyd said. “The citizens of Houston owe him a great deal of gratitude for going above and beyond what could’ve been expected from him. It is my great honor to present him with the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award for November 2017.”
Located in the nation’s capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
The Police Unity Tour is the official sponsor of the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program.