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Officers bond to support brother in need

Aug. 11, 2011 at 3:11 a.m.


IF YOU GO

WHEN: Tournament begins at 9 a.m. Sunday; food will be served starting at 11 a.m.

COST: $7 for a plate of food

WHERE: the Softball complex at Ben Jordan and North streets.

FOR MORE INFO: contact Holly Jedlicka at 648-1003

When Victoria Police Detective Zach Caldwell was diagnosed with a kidney disease on July 3, his co-workers decided to throw a fundraiser to help defray the cost of his treatment.

Caldwell was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy, a build up of an infection fighting protein, which will require a kidney transplant.

"We wanted to band together to show him that we support him. We want him to know that he's not alone in the battle," said Caldwell's former platoon mate, Senior Patrol Officer Chris Guerra. "Our hope is that we can make a tough journey a little bit easier on him if we can."

Guerra said it hurts colleagues to see Caldwell in this situation, but he knows Caldwell is going to make it through this and will be OK.

"We're a fraternity. We're close, like brothers and sisters," Guerra said. "We often have each other's lives in each other's hands while we're on the job."

Guerra said if anyone deserves the support of the community during a hard time, Caldwell does.

"Zach is an amazing officer. He works hard and puts everything into what he is doing. He doesn't cut any corners," Guerra said. "He's top notch and that is the truth. He's the definition of professionalism."

Guerra said the fundraiser will bring local families together for a fun time. Police officers and first responders will provide entertainment - presenting a softball tournament for a good cause.

"It'll be a lot of fun for the whole family," Guerra said. "Some of them are pretty good, but a lot of people will be doing it who don't play sports, so that will be entertaining."

About 10 teams of police officers, agencies and residents have made a donation to play in the tournament.

The event also will include a cake walk, a silent auction and a raffle after the tournament of items donated by local businesses.

Silent auction and raffle items range from gift cards to local businesses to a weekend family fishing trip to Port O'Connor.

All proceeds will go directly to 30-year-old Caldwell, his fiancee, who is an officer with the Port Lavaca Police Department, and his three children.

"I never, in a million years, could have dreamt up something as big as what this has turned into," Caldwell said.

He said most of the planning of the fundraiser has happened behind his back.

"We officers in general tend to fight and bicker just like family members do. Then, when something big happens, we tend to bond together," Caldwell said. "I just never thought it would be me that something would happen to."

While Caldwell has been able to continue his work as a motor vehicle theft detective, he expressed gratitude to everyone who has offered prayers and assistance from financial gifts, to being willing to drive the children where they need to be or cook meals.

"They didn't even have to be asked. They just kind of came forward." Caldwell said. "Both my law enforcement family and my family in general have been super helpful through all this."

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