A Texas sheriff deputy struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver had his mortgage paid off by a charity dedicated to honoring fallen first responders.
Smith County Sheriff’s Deputy Lorenzo Bustos, 29, died on his last training shift, Tyler Morning Telegraph reported.
Bustos and fellow deputy Michael Skinner “had performed a traffic stop with emergency lights activated on the patrol unit,” in the early morning hours of Friday, July 29, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office said.
Two people were handcuffed in the back seat of the police car, CBS19.tv reported. Bustos was standing on the side of the road next to the police car when a vehicle struck him.
Skinner called for emergency services at 12:15 a.m, and Bustos was flown to a hospital. He passed away at 6:00 a.m. in the ICU.
He leaves behind his wife, Gloria, and their three children ages 4,5 and 11, but Tunnel to Towers made sure his family would never have to worry about meeting a mortgage payment again.
“It is difficult for me to fully express the impact your organization has had on my family,” Gloria told CBS affiliate. “When Tunnel to Towers contacted me and told me they would be paying off my mortgage, I felt an immediate sense of relief. Knowing the kids and I would never have to worry about where we live, knowing I would not have to struggle to pay the mortgage, is an amazing gift. I would like to sincerely thank Tunnel to Towers for their generosity and kindness in this very difficult time.”
The organization’s Fallen First Responder Home Program has paid off more than 1,000 mortgages belonging to “families of law enforcement officers and firefighters who are killed in the line of duty, pass away from 9/11-related illnesses, and leave behind young children,” according to the charity’s website.
Gov. Greg Abbot ordered U.S. and Texas flags to be flown at half-staff.
“The first lady and I extend our prayers of comfort to the Bustos family during their time of grief, and we urge all Texans to remember and honor Deputy Bustos’ service as a brave and dedicated law enforcement officer,” Abbott said in the letter.