Security knows no bounds

It is a rare occurrence in such a rapid paced world to witness a selfless deed from one person to another. The exchange could be as simple as one holding a door open for another, or as complex as donating a wheelchair to a staff or community member in need.

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By John Waterman and Danny Khneiser

No Limits (Danny Khneiser)

By John Waterman and Danny Khneiser

It is a rare occurrence in such a rapid paced world to witness a selfless deed from one person to another. The exchange could be as simple as one holding a door open for another, or as complex as donating a wheelchair to a staff or community member in need. Community Service Officer Salvador “Sal” Gomez is a genuine man confined to a wheelchair, who was forced to go through great pains in order to constantly push himself around campus in order to carry out his duties. But that soon changed when Sgt. Jack Kohlmeier of the Riverside City College police offered Gomez a power wheelchair that had been sitting in his garage left by a family member who had passed away. Gomez has been a part of Riverside City College for over a decade. First as a 2003 alumnus, graduating with an Associate of Art degree and a certificate in Photography, and has been employed as a Community Service Officer for the past nine years. Everyone from RCC staff member to even the most deferred students have seen Gomez throughout campus; whether it’s working in the parking lot or in the digital library watching surveillance.

After sustaining injuries in a motorcycle accident at age 16, Gomez was forced to use a wheelchair in order to get around. The accident left him paralyzed from the waist down leaving him to cope with a physical disability.

Possessing such a tenacious mind, Gomez has overcome tough obstacles in his many years with health problems. His life has been a tough journey to push and keep his head up with the support of his family and friends.

Using a manual wheelchair throughout the years made Gomez’s life all the more difficult due to the labor it takes to push up the massive hills that RCC has to offer. Applying for a motorized wheelchair through his medical insurance brought no relief.

Even his request to borrow the power chair from Disabled Student Services was denied because he’s a staff member in need, not a current student.

“In my opinion the college district should purchase a power chair for staff use. That makes sense because there are district vehicles and utility carts being used for college use around campus,” Gomez said. “I was getting frustrated being turned down every time. I ask for support and meanwhile my manual chair is breaking down that put me to believe there’s no hope. Shame on the system.” Gomez was astonished by Kohlmeier’s donation. He couldn’t believe someone miraculously donated the electric wheelchair out of the kindness of their heart. The electric wheel chair was rarely used and looked brand new.

“Thank you Sgt. Jack Kohlmeier, for donating the chair to me; when things got tough for me with my hands and shoulders you were there.” Gomez said. Thank you and the others that tried to help me in the department.

Since I got the wheelchair it has helped me for work and to go places I once couldn’t.” Gomez believes his position on campus has helped him grow and appreciate life by enabling him to work and be productive while helping others. The donation of the power wheelchair has made patrolling the parking lot, and his life in general for that matter, much easier. Every now and again situations such as this open the mind to the common decency that man is capable of, as well as a reality that for most may be strange and trying, but for someone else it’s just another day in the life.

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