ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Cherry Creek School District honored an Arapahoe County Sheriff’s deputy with a Hero’s Award on Monday. They noted his actions while off the clock outside of his assigned duty area.
On Veterans Day, temperatures hovered in the low teens at around 5 a.m. Snow had fallen on everything. Deputy Ben Sadler, 37, was getting close to the end of his shift, but before leaving, he first cleared windshields of his co-workers. Other deputies jumped in to help.READ MORE: Coloradans Kim Dobson And Ashley Brasovan Take Top Spots In Mount Washington Road Race
One of the deputies mentioned dozens of American flags at Grandview High School. The storm blew the flag poles over, leaving some buried in snow.
Sadler, a former teacher and the son of a Vietnam Veteran, drove to them, pulled over and turned on his lights. He fixed them with tape and a spare boot string, the department says.
After going home, he realized his fixes wouldn’t withstand the weather. So, he drove back in his own car with zip ties, pliers and a hammer.
He spent an hour making sure the poles were secure.
A parent saw Sadler and asked why he was fixing them. Sadler said it was the right thing to do, and he wanted to thank the teachers at the school for recognizing veterans.READ MORE: Preventing Theft: Denver Police Etching VIN On Catalytic Converters
“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,” said Sadler.
At 14 years old, Sadler’s father died from cancer caused by Agent Orange, officials say. His father served in several tours, was captured and tortured. After being released, he retired with 20 years of service.
Sadler became homeless after his mother couldn’t afford their house anymore.
“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,” Sadler said.
That’s when school resource officers helped him turn his life around. They pitched in to pay for his college application entry fees. Sadler graduated and now speaks four languages.
The day after Sadler fixed the flags, a parent emailed the sheriff to praise his actions. Sadler story has since been shared hundreds of times.MORE NEWS: Colorado Weather: Landspout Tornadoes Hit Colorado Plains
“It’s humbling. I love that this is resonating with our community,” he said. “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.”