(EL PASO COUNTY, Colo.) — A newly inducted El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy got her badge pinned at her graduation ceremony by the officer who saved her life 22 years ago.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) shared a Facebook post from the Escondido Police Department in California, which told the story of an officer who saved a baby girl from a turbulent home 22 years ago.
According to the Facebook post, in November of 2000, Escondido Officer Jeff Valdivia responded to a home in south Escondido, California to assist state parole with a search. Officer Valdivia found a six-week-old baby girl on a bed next to her mother, with a meth pipe laying nearby.
The baby was underweight, and her mother of only 17 struggled with a drug problem. Deciding the baby was clearly a case of neglect, Officer Valdivia placed her in protective custody.
That baby girl recently reunited with the officer, over two decades later, at her graduation from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Academy.
Deputy Natalie Young wanted the officer who saved her to know that she was adopted by a loving family and that she “turned out alright,” the Escondido Police Department said. Deputy Young’s mother found the officer, now a Sergeant, still working for the Escondido Police Department, and invited him to Colorado Springs so he could meet the little girl he saved and pin her badge to her uniform at her graduation from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Academy.
“We are honored to have Deputy Young as part of our family,” the EPSO said in a statement. “Sergeant Valdivia’s commitment to service… truly made a positive and long-lasting impact not only on Deputy Young but to the community he serves.”
“Congratulations, Deputy Young!” the Escondido Police Department said. “Welcome to a noble profession.”