Celebrating Heroes

Honoring Child with Terminal Cancer, Texas Top Cop Tattoos His Arm

As a writer I get to research storylines involving individuals impacting lives of many others. In February 2019 I penned a piece pertaining to cops embracing children with cancer. In that article I was welled-up over a six-year-old girl whose cancer is classified as terminal. (My keyboard eventually dried.) That child, Abigail Rose Arias, was embraced by the finest at the Freeport Police Department, a Texas law enforcement agency staffed by duty-filling police officers working for a phenomenal police chief named Ray Garivey. That cancer-battling child, hereinafter known as honorary police Officer Abigail Arias, badge number #758, is having her remaining days filled with love, laughter, and joy…thanks to Freeport police personnel. Freeport cops sort of adopted her into the family of blue which unwaveringly has her back. Maybe it’s the other way aroundit is crystal clear that “Officer Abigail #758” gives as much fulfillment as these miracle-seeking coppers instill in her.

Since publishing the aforementioned article in February, I had some correspondence with Officer Abigail’s dad, Ruben Arias, and Chief Garivey. Isn’t it amazing how children possess that certain uncanny ability to bring people together, despite vast distances? Google keywords “cops and kids with cancer” (or any similar phrase) and you’ll be exposed to humanitarian stories intertwining people stemming from heartrending situations pertaining to significantly afflicted youngsters…and myriad cops standing in their corner. Often, these individuals were perfect strangers before cancer catered severely awkward yet unquestionably vital introductions.

Speaking of introductions, sometimes relations among humans become rather forged forever, inked like binds of contracts. Chief Garivey did such a thing recently when he walked into the Prison Break tattoo parlor (owned/operated by Bryan Klevens, a former police officer) and had “Officer Abigail #758” tattooed on his bicep, including the personalization of the 7 in #758 showing in reverse. You see, his tattoo was designed by Officer Abigail, and that is how she wrote the number 7. Both Chief Garivey and Officer Abigail did it their way and got it done just right.

Abigail’s uncle also had a tattoo commemorating his niece, including that backwards 7 in the #758 illustrated below a replication of the Freeport police badge.

As Officer Abigail #758 puts it, “the bad guys are in my lungs,” referring to the concentration of her rare form of cancer cells known as Wilms Tumor. She has a set of warriors fighting her fight with her. As I wrote back in February: It definitely gets ya in the gut and stirs the soul to be in front of a youthful warrior who is pledging to fight for your life while she battles for her own.

Fight on, she does.

“We’re cops, mama. We’re not done!” That’s how Chief Garivey encouraged his six-year-old honorary police officer when Inside Edition portrayed Abigail’s legacy on a recent episode. Stellar police leadership!

A recurring theme which magnetized my attention to the Freeport, Texas law enforcement ranks and spoken avidly by Chief Garivey is faith in God and thus a foundational feel for miracles. During a recent tour for local-area youngsters, pictures of the Freeport police workspace depicted crosses on walls. The Freeport Police shoulder patch has “Matthew 5:9” embroidered in the center. Indeed, Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 

As Chief Garivey said during a debriefing with his youngest courageous copper: “You’re gonna go have a scan done. And I believe that you are gonna be just fine. I believe in miracles.” Amen to that.

Referring to the Freeport police uniform she dons, Abigail claims, “It keeps me brave.” I wonder how much of that small child’s large heart and enormous courage influences the police warriors with whom she shares the wonder of mortality on every given day.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Stephen Owsinski

Stephen Owsinski is an OpsLens Content Manager and Contributor. Owsinski is a retired law enforcement officer whose career included assignments in the Uniformed Patrol Division and Field Training Officer (FTO) unit. He is currently a researcher and writer. Follow Stephen on Twitter @uniformblue.

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