DAYTON — After Dayton police detective Jorge Del Rio was killed in the line of duty in November, people all over the Miami Valley and the United States started sending cards and letters — and they’re still coming.
The detective’s wife, Mrs. Del Rio, cannot read them herself because she is blind.
Some Dayton police officers reached out to News Center 7’s James Brown to see if he had any ideas.
Together, they found people of all ages Making a Difference.
Abi Florea is 10 years old.
The Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools fourth grader never met Det. Del Rio or his family.
“I felt bad because Jorge Del Rio died,” she said.
She wanted to put her thoughts into words, with one sentence turning into two.
“Dear Del Rio family, we all feel bad for you guys,” she wrote. “I want to write this letter to you because I saw my dad pray for Jorge.”
She wanted Mrs. Del Rio and her family to know “he was a good cop for Dayton.”
But Abi wasn’t done there.
She took her letter to school and into Mrs. Smith’s fourth grade class so her classmates could add their finishing touches.
Abi and her classmates weren’t the only ones who were thinking of the Del Rio family.
Hundreds of letters and cards were sent to Mrs. Del Rio and the Dayton Police Department following the detective’s death.
The Del Rio family and Dayton police let News Center 7 take some of the letters and cards so that people could take the words on paper and turn them into an audio book for Mrs. Del Rio.
“It says thank you for protecting the city. So sorry for your loss,” Denice Schadler said, reading from a card that was from Dayton Children’s Hospital.
While at the Golden Nugget in Kettering, News Center 7’s James Brown didn’t have to ask twice for people to lend their voices to Mrs. Del Rio’s audio book.
No matter the author’s age, or the person reading their words, everyone wanted to make sure they did it right for Mrs. Del Rio.
None of them had ever met the Del Rio family, but each person felt a sense of loss of heartache in their own way.
While reading the cards aloud, people couldn’t help but share their own emotions as well.
“To know this family lost a great man in our community, it was sad,” said Tomeka Cooley-Pettus.
Making a different here was very simple, with letters, words and names on a piece of paper.
We all have images in our minds, moments in time that no matter how hard we try we cannot wipe away.
We can only hope that these voices bring some comfort to Mrs. Del Rio.