It’s a hard story to tell, but one that deserves an audience. On April 2, 2016, a frantic mother called 911 in Fort Worth, Texas. Her son, 5-year-old Joshua Garcia, was missing. He hadn’t been gone very long, but his mother couldn’t find him anywhere. As officers rushed to the scene, she made a tragic discovery – Joshua had drowned in the family’s backyard pool.
Officer Damon Cole was the first responder to arrive. He pulled Joshua from the water, performed CPR, and did everything in his power to revive him, but the boy was beyond saving. The incident rocked Officer Cole to his core. Not a minute went by that he didn’t think about Joshua and pray for his family. He planned to attend the funeral, and wished there was a way he could pay special tribute to the young boy.
Finally, inspiration struck. When Officer Cole had pulled Joshua from the water, he’d been wearing Spider-Man shoes and a Spider-Man t-shirt. Upon talking to the Garcia family, he learned that Spider-Man had been Joshua’s favorite superhero. They were planning a Spider-Man themed funeral, and even had a tiny Spidey suit for Joshua to be buried in. Upon hearing this, Officer Cole immediately knew what he could do.
He attended the funeral dressed as Spider-Man, Joshua’s favorite hero. “I would have given my life for him,” he later told local news. “I’ll do anything to honor his memory.”
It’s not the first time that Officer Cole has traded his police uniform for a superhero costume. Although he works full-time on the force, he spends his days off traveling the country (using his own money) to visit children who have cancer. He calls his non-profit Heroes and Cops Against Childhood Cancer, and, over the years, has brought joy to hundreds of sick children.
Over a hundred people attended Joshua’s funeral in Laurel Land Memorial Park …
… and the entire time, Officer Cole stood watch by Joshua’s casket.
There’s little anyone can say or do that truly helps when dealing with the loss of a loved one, especially when it’s a child, but Joshua’s family says that Officer Cole’s tribute has helped them find peace. No doubt Joshua would be honored to know his favorite superhero was by his side, and that’s just what Cole is – a real, flesh-and-blood superhero.
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