HOUSTON (FOX 26) - A Houston police officer who was shot earlier this year while responding to a burglary call received quite a present today.
"Once again the 100 Club has stepped up and helped a hero here in Houston" says Joe Gamaldi with the Houston Police Officer's Union.
That hero, Houston police officer, Ronnie Cortez was shot several times when a burglary suspect opened fire, shooting him and his partner Jose Munoz as they closed in on the thief who investigators say had already burglarized several homes in the Glenshire Sub-Division on a Tuesday morning in February.
"We salute Ronnie and his partner officer Munoz (who was not as seriously injured as Officer Cortez) for what they did to make our community a lot safer," says 100 Club Executive Director Rick Hartley.
So the 100 Club is giving Officer Cortez the keys to his brand new wheelchair accessible van.
"To give the Cortez family the opportunity to have more mobility and to be able to enjoy life a little bit better after Ronnie was tragically shot," adds Hartley.
"We really appreciate it. It’s really going to help our family a lot. We’ve got a lot of fighting to do," says Officer Cortez.
"We didn’t know what we were going to do and how we were going to get him to his doctor’s appointments," explains the officer's wife Sheri Cortez.
"Our first responders matter. They matter for the collective safety of this community. This guy right here and his family are our heroes. The way we treat our heroes sends a real powerful message," says HPD Chief Art Acevedo.
Officer Cortez was left paralyzed in the shooting and nearly five months later he’s actually still hospitalized. He was given a days pass out of hospital to receive the van.
"He has a long, long, long road ahead," adds Mrs. Cortez
The van will hopefully make that road to recovery a bit easier.
"I know we’re going to see this man make a complete 100% recovery," smiles Chief Acevedo.
The man who shot the two officers was, in turn, shot and killed by police.
You may remember, officers were looking for two burglary suspects that day. One was never found.