FOX21 News and the American Red Cross are partnering once again to honor our “Hometown Heroes”. They are people who exemplify courage, kindness, and unselfish character.
This time FOX21 is highlighting the first responder hero, a Colorado Springs Police officer who went far beyond the call of duty to help a family during a time of need.
On a fall day in September of 2017, Jered and Victoria Wickman and their two children’s lives changed.
“I got a phone call from [Jered’s] friend that said he was in an accident and that it didn’t look good,” said Victoria.
Jered had been riding motorcycles with his buddy when he crashed near the Colorado Springs Airport. Officer Clay Sunada was the first on the scene.
“When I got there I saw a male party, Jered, laying on the ground screaming, in a lot of pain and his legs were pretty messed up,” said Sunada. “His motorcycle had exploded into numerous pieces. They were probably scattered 200 feet or 300 feet.”
At the hospital, Victoria was not yet able to see her husband and still didn’t know what had happened.
“It wasn’t until the officer, Officer Sunada, came in and spoke with me at the hospital that night and I knew something was wrong,” said Victoria.
Jered’s left femur was broken in seven places and his right was broken in five.
After six surgeries, therapy, and rehab, Jered was down for an entire year which took a toll on the family’s income.
Meanwhile, Officer Sunada never forgot about them.
“When the holidays came up, I would try to get Thanksgiving things, Christmas things, show up for the kids on birthdays to make sure that they got some of the things that they maybe wouldn’t have gotten,” said Sunada.
He humbly and quietly pitched in when the Wickmans needed it the most.
“Low and behold, one morning we got up with several police officer cars outside of our house, wondering what was going on and next thing we knew Santa and his elves showed up at our door with gifts for our kids,” said Victoria. “I knew right then and there Sunada had something to do with that.”
“She called me and said, ‘It was you, right?’ and I said, ‘Well, I don’t really need you to know who it was from but people are pulling for you and Jered’,” said Sunada.
Now Jered is back on his feet again, while Sunada has become part of the family.
“Seeing Jered walking was awesome,” said Sunada. “When I went to see him at work, we were joking and smiling and it was a good thing.”
Officer Sunada says he was just doing his job, as his brothers and sisters in blue do every day.
Victoria says she’ll never be able to repay him, but nominating her Hometown Hero is just one way to say thank you.
“We got to see that warm, heartfelt, caring person,” said Victoria. “That was him. That was not him being an officer doing his job, that was also him stepping up, going above and beyond to help a family out.”
All of our Hometown Heroes will receive their awards at a dinner held at The Broadmoor on March 14.