*On November 12, the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office received an email from a parent praising Deputy Ben Sadler for fixing dozens of American flags that had fallen down during a blizzard at Grandview High School. Read the email.
Why he did it
The deputy, the blizzard and the fallen flags
On Veterans Day, biting snow cut sideways and ice hugged the ground. The temperature shivered around 10-degrees. At 5:00 a.m., Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Sadler was about to get off the night shift. He knew it would be a tough ride home for his co-workers. So Ben got out his scraper and began attacking the ice on their windshields. A few other deputies joined in to help. While they cleared the cars, one of them mentioned that Grandview High School had placed about 40 American flags along the road for Veterans Day. Ben, a former high school teacher and son of a Vietnam vet, decided to go see it. But it wasn’t a good sight.
In the battle with winter, the sleet ripped flags from their poles and snow buried them. Some flags drooped upside down. The deputy parked his car, flipped on his lights and got out to fix them. The best he could do was rig them up with tape and a spare boot string. An hour later, Ben knew none of his repairs would last. When he got off work, he drove back to the school in his own car with tools.
Ben worked for another hour in the penetrating cold securing the flags with zip ties, pliers and a breaching hammer normally used to break down doors. A parent stopped to ask why Ben was fixing them. After all, the school isn't in Arapahoe County and Ben doesn't have kids. He told her it was his way to thank Grandview High for teaching students about patriotism and for recognizing veterans. Besides, he said, it's the right thing to do.
"The reality is, I picked up flags. My father was a prisoner of war in Vietnam and tortured. Other veterans sacrificed their lives. If they can go through that, I can pick up some flags." - Deputy Ben Sadler
From the outside it looks like Ben has had the perfect life. He married his college sweetheart, works his dream job and lives in a beautiful home. Ben holds a college degree and speaks four languages. But in the beginning, he had nothing.
When Ben was 14, his dad died and everything changed. Fred C. Sadler had been an army combat medic in Vietnam. During one of several tours of duty, he was captured, became a prisoner of war and tortured. He was eventually released. After 20 years in the military, his dad retired as a highly decorated master sergeant. He died from cancer fed by Agent Orange.
Without his dad’s income, his mom lost their house. Instead of moving in with estranged family, Ben lived in his car, homeless. He became a troublemaker. More than one teacher called him worthless.
"When my father died, I didn’t deal with it well. I made some bad choices, I hung out with bad people and I got in a lot of trouble.”
Ironically, the antics saved him. Ben met police school resource officers who knew about his dad and what Ben was going through. They offered him support, so Ben started focusing on his school work. When it came time for him to go to college, the officers secretly collected money in the department and paid his entry fees. From that moment on, Ben wanted to be an officer. He remembers thinking, “Man, I should be a cop. I want to help others like they helped me.”
The 37-year-old has worked for the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office for eight years. His wife, brother and nephew also work in the office. None of them were surprised when a parent wrote an email to Sheriff Tyler Brown with a photo of Ben making the flags stand tall on Veterans Day.
To date, the photo of Ben in the cold has been the most shared, or popular, social media post in the history of the sheriff’s office. Thousands of people from across the country have thanked him for going above and beyond. When someone read the messages to Ben, his tough exterior cracked.
“It’s humbling. I love that this is resonating with our community,” said Ben. “Seeing that tells me what my father and all of the soldiers in our history served for, bled for, and died for wasn’t in vain. We only have what we have today because of what they went through.”
Grandview High thanked Ben with a school shirt and hat. The Cherry Creek School District is going to honor the deputy with its Hero Award in December 2019.
Voters reject measure for a new jail
Arapahoe County won't be getting a new jail anytime soon after voters rejected Ballot Issue 1A which would have raised property taxes to replace the current jail. After the defeat on November 5, Sheriff Tyler Brown released the following statement:
“A new facility would have made it safer for our employees to work with inmates in the crowded, stressed facility. It also would have allowed us to offer more programs to help inmates. Now we will need to focus on how to manage the increasing population in a facility that has been pushed far beyond its capacity. We will also continue to educate the public about the need for a safer facility that offers more treatment and rehabilitation programs to lower recidivism rates for inmates."
The measure was rejected 67%, with 33% in favor.
SERVING FAMILIES OF THE FALLEN
"It was so rewarding to see and hear everyone talk about how much they appreciated the dinner," said Lt. Craig Reams.
Sheriff's deputy battling kidney & prostate cancer
We're in a battle today alongside a brother in blue. Patrol Deputy Jeff Manqueros is recovering from surgery on November 21 for a rare kidney cancer. Doctors removed part of his left kidney. He is also battling stage 4 prostate cancer. Jeff is resting at home with his family and friends by his side. He will be out of work for about eight weeks, then he'll return to light duty.
Watch Jeff's story below on FOX31 News
Help us solve this COLD CASE
Eugene Roderick Miera, 22
On December 17, 1972 the body of Eugene Roderick Miera was discovered at the corner of East Evans Avenue and South Lima Street. Miera had been shot once in the back. Further examination revealed it was a .38 caliber. The murder weapon was never found.
Miera was last seen at 5:00 p.m. at Cowboy Bar on December 17, 1972. Miera was said to have gone into the Cowboy Bar, checked to see who was there, and left.
Miera was a heroin user. His death is thought to be tied to a debt he owed for heroin. He had also begun to sell drugs. Miera also owed people money.
If you have any information about this case, please contact Arapahoe County Cold Case Investigator Niki Bales at 720-874-4030 or email@example.com.
Thank you Aspen Crossing Elementary School in Aurora for inviting us to be in your Veterans Day parade. Our school resource officers helped with traffic while our sheriff, K-9 unit and bomb squad led the parade.