In between chemotherapy treatments, a Houston police officer has been thanked for his heroic efforts helping with the rescue of hundreds of people trapped by the Harvey floods over the weekend.
Officer Norbert Ramon, 55, is battling stage 4 metastatic colon cancer—cancer that has spread beyond the colon. He was diagnosed last March and has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
When he saw the devastation caused by Harvey, the 24-year veteran of the Houston Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement division threw himself into serving his community despite his own health struggles.
Out of concern for his health, Ramon was given desk duty three weeks ago. But on Sunday morning, Aug. 27, extensive flooding meant that Ramon was unable to report for his regular desk duty in downtown Houston.
“There was so much rain and standing water,” his wife Cindy Ramon told Fox.
Following protocol, Ramon notified his sergeant and then left the house to join the closest patrol unit, which was the Houston Lake Patrol Unit.
“From then it was a madhouse,” Cindy Ramon told Fox. “They started going out rescuing people in all parts of Houston. That’s where it started from and it’s been nonstop.”
Over the next few days as part of the Lake Patrol Unit, Ramon had a hand in helping rescue 1,500 residents from the floodwaters.
“It’s just an emotional roller coaster,” his wife said of the storm. “It’s just crazy, watching everybody struggle—people lose everything.”
Ramon saw what the experience meant for her husband and his cancer battle, “He’s been so caught up in the emotions and the excitement of trying to rescue people, he had no time to even think about it,” she said. “You wouldn’t even think he had cancer, he’s plugging along like he doesn’t.”
On Aug. 30, Officer Ramon was notified that his flight to Oklahoma for his semimonthly chemotherapy treatment had been canceled due to problems caused by the storm. So Ramon and and his wife got in their car on Aug. 31 for a long nine-hour drive to the Cancer Center of Tulsa. The treatment center came highly recommended to the Ramons.
“The people actually reached out to me, they called us and said, ‘Hey how are you guys doing, we’re seeing all the photos and we wanted to check up on you.'” Cindy Ramon said that she and her husband have been overwhelmed by the support they have received from the staff during the ordeal of the storm.
Ramon’s wife shared a photo of him performing a floodwater rescue with his doctors and the staff who have been helping him with treatments, and although they were concerned for his health, they all praised him as a hero.