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A Fayetteville police officer, Lt. Andy Rodriguez, was recognized during the city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Tuesday for going above and beyond the line of duty in helping a family just a few days after Christmas.
“We take a lot of things for granted, but we don’t realize what kind of personnel we have in the city and we better be proud of it,” said City Mayor John Ed Underwood, just after reading an email he received honoring Rodriguez. “Some towns do not have these kinds of young men who dedicate their lives to their cities.”
The email, from Greg Duncan of Spring Hill, honored Rodriguez for the way in which he helped a man diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and his family when the gentleman was involved in a car accident here.
Following is Duncan’s email, shared with his permission:
“Mayor Underwood, I wanted to inform you of extremely professional and dedicated service provided by Lt. Andy Rodriguez on the evening of Dec. 28. John Welden, a man diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, roamed away from his home in Spring Hill. After reported him as missing, he was located in the Lincoln County hospital, the result of a minor accident.
“My sisters and I made our way to retrieve him and return him safely home. When we arrived in the emergency room, we found our father and Lt. Andy Rodriguez keeping him company.
“Lt. Rodriguez pulled me sister and me aside to tell us the circumstances and necessary actions needed. Everything he told us and his delivery of the message were sincere and given with a caring attitude. In fact, his actions have made such a powerful impact on my sisters and me that we felt we had to inform the city of the impression he left on us.
“After we left the hospital, we followed Lt. Rodriguez and another officer to the vehicle our father had the minor accident in. It was not drivable without an adjustment, because the tire would not turn to the right without rubbing the bumper. Lt. Rodriguez and I pulled that bumper out – as the rain started pouring down, he remained until the truck could make the trip back home.
“He could have shown us where the vehicle was and left us to sort out the situation on our own, but this is not the character of Lt. Andy Rodriguez. There are sills that can be taught or improved upon with training. Some even deal with customer service. But the way Lt. Rodriguez responded to the incident last night – from the traffic stop, to the ‘bedside manner’ with our father at the hospital, to the way he dealt with my sisters and me at the hospital, to the sincere interest in our well being by being the main force in making the truck road worthy for the trip home – cannot be taught.
“These actions come from a person who truly has a good heart. As a retired Air Force member and a ‘law and order’ person, I have personally witnessed police officers who don’t portray the ‘protect and serve’ image, which is the most important aspect of a police officer. I wish all law enforcement personnel were like Lt. Andy Rodriguez. The leadership of your community should feel proud of the impression this man has made. – With utmost appreciation, Greg Duncan”