A local radio station recently recognized an Ocala Police Department officer for his compassion and for going above and beyond the call of duty after he surprised a local child with a bicycle.
Last year, Officer Jorge A. Fernandez, a school resource officer at Howard Middle School, saw a student named Yometh and his mother walk for miles to and from school each day. Fernandez regularly spoke with Yometh, and the officer learned that Yometh was new to the area and spoke little English.
During one of those conversations, Yometh mentioned that he had never owned a bicycle and had never learned how to ride one. Fernandez found out that Yometh’s birthday was approaching, and he wanted to find a way to get Yometh his first bike.
Fernandez received help and was able to secure a donation which set the wheels in motion for the birthday surprise. After school on October 8, 2021, Fernandez presented the brand-new bicycle and helmet to Yometh.
OPD shared the good deed on social media and the video went viral with over two million views. According to OPD, the story inspired some viewers to donate additional bicycles for Yometh’s mother and other children in the school who may need a bike.
Yometh and his mother were thrilled with the birthday surprise and the community’s outpouring of support.
On Wednesday, August 3, 2022, 97.3 THE SKY presented its SKY Valor award to Fernandez in recognition of his kind deed.
On its Facebook webpage, the Ocala Police Department stated, “Congratulations Officer Fernandez. Thank you for going above and beyond the call of duty to make such a lasting impression on a young boy, his family, and the entire community.”