AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - When people face an uphill battle in life, they typically turn to family and friends to help get them through it.
That was the case in this week’s Above and Beyond, as the Potter County Sheriff’s Office lends a helping hand to one of its own.
It was a traffic jam of the best kind, as people flocked to downtown Amarillo in support of a local corrections officer from the safety of their car.
That officer, Arelio Nunez, has been with the Potter County Sheriff’s Office for 12 years.
These days, he finds himself not only working hard at the jail, but also at home.
“My wife was diagnosed with high grade sarcoma in February, it was in her left thigh,” said Nunez. “Since then, it has moved to her lungs. She hasn’t been able to walk on her own for about three months. She can’t do anything for herself.”
The sickness has put him in a bind at work.
“He’s basically going through nearly all his time, as far as vacation and comp time and those kind of things,” said Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas. ”He’s still working for us, but at this point, he’s going to lose his time and he’ll be working. He won’t have a check coming in, so we’re trying to help him out.”
With spatulas in hand and masks on their faces, law enforcement officers served burgers to-go to help ease the financial burden for Nunez’s family.
“He’s having to take off with her, and he also has three young kids he’s having to take off with,” said Sheriff Thomas. “It’s been pretty tough on him, and once he’s out of time, he’s gonna have to pay for his insurance. We’re trying to help him out and get a little money raised up for him so he can afford that insurance.”
For Sheriff Thomas, the situation hits close to home.
“Just showing love to one of our brothers, you know,” he said. “I mean, it’s a trying time. I’ve been sick with cancer, so I know the heartache that goes with it. We’re just trying to help him out.”
Helping someone considered part of the family... the thin blue line family.
“I appreciate everybody that put this together, and I’m thankful to work for a department that cares about their employees and their families,” said Nunez. “Just, thank you all.”
Wednesday’s event had a huge turnout. Sheriff Thomas tells NewsChannel 10 they sold out in 45 minutes.
The department sold 600 burgers and ended up having to go get more.
If you missed today’s benefit and would like to help the Nunez family, you can send a check to the Potter County Sheriff’s Office at 13103 NE 29th.
Checks can be made out to the “Potter County Employee Benefit Board.”