CLEVELAND (WJW) – Fundraisers are being held to help a former Cleveland SWAT officer who was paralyzed two years ago while on duty.
On June 5, 2020, Officer Jonathan Rodriquez was paralyzed from the chest down after his team’s SWAT van was struck by a drunk driver. His spinal cord was injured, and he was forced to retire in September 2021 at the age of 31.
The father of two is now cared for by his wife and nurses.
“He has been in the wheelchair since the accident and has no mobility in his arms or legs,” said Officer Freddy Diaz, a good friend of Rodriquez and his family. “He is a fighter, and he is not giving up.”
Diaz says Rodriquez is now taking part in physical therapy. He is also scheduled to undergo a costly procedure that is expected to increase his quality of life.
“They have exhausted all Bureau of Workers Compensation and medical insurance options, and so the expense of the procedure will fall entirely on the family,” Diaz said.
Friends and former co-workers have organized a GoFundMe, a raffle, and dinner to help raise money for the family.
The raffle and dinner will be held on September 24 starting at 5 p.m. at the UAW Hall, 5615 Chevrolet Blvd., in Parma. Tickets must be purchased online by September 1. To purchase a ticket, click here.
All proceeds will go to support Rodriguez and his family.
“It’s been a long, long road,” said Lt. Ray Kaloczi, of the Cleveland SWAT unit. “We are very optimistic that he is going to fight through this he is a fighter, he is a warrior.”