By Andres de Ocampo
Jordan Ramirez, an 11-year old world record-holding marathon runner, took to the streets October 3 to walk more than 9 miles to five police departments in San Gabriel Valley to personally deliver thank-you plaques for their service.
Jordan planned the day-long walk with his father, Dimas Ramirez. He said his inspiration for planning the walk was, “to show the first responders that I respect them.”
“Jordan calls it a ‘thank you for your service’ walk,” Dimas said. “He loves to challenge himself. He’s a big supporter of our first responders and military. A couple of months back, he told me he wanted to plan something to continue showing his appreciation [for first responders]. I’m not a [long-distance] walker, a runner… but if it come to supporting him, I’ll suck it up and join him.”
Jordan plans to continue his “thank-you for your service” walks, with the help of his father, by visiting all law enforcement departments and agencies within the San Gabriel Valley area.
The thank-you plaques, made by Jordan, are given to each law enforcement agency that he visits in honor of police officers and first responders. The plaques read:
“In case you haven’t felt it today… You are appreciated.
In case you want to quit today… Don’t. You are needed.
In case you want to talk but feel no one will listen… There are many who will.
In case you haven’t heard it today… THANK YOU.”
Jordan began his tribute walk on October 3, early in the morning, wearing his Young Marines uniform, carrying the U.S. Air Force flag. His first destination was the Pasadena Police Department, then he continued throughout the day to South Pasadena Police Department, Alhambra Police Department, San Gabriel Police Department, and finished at San Marino Police Department.
According to Dimas, Jordan was received well and, “20 to 25 officers lined up at the steps of the Pasadena Police Department. Police cruisers and news vans were there to greet Jordan.”
After Pasadena Police Department greeted Jordan and the thank-you plaque, three police vehicles followed along behind Jordan to South Pasadena, where they handed Jordan off to South Pasadena Police Department.
The weekend prior, September 26, Jordan completed his first planned walk, with his father, to show appreciation for police officers and first responders; both walks with a distance of a little over 9 miles. His first walk was in La Puente, which began at Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department’s Industry Station, then continued to Los Angeles Fire Department Station 26, West Covina Police Department, Baldwin Park Police Department and California Highway Patrol’s Baldwin Park office.
“The plan was that here in La Puente, where we live, we were just going to end up doing the first local police departments,” Dimas said, “Everything went great. It motivated him to go farther and walk to more police departments.”
“I’m really excited for the walks and excited for him, most importantly,” Dimas said. “Again, it’s his choice and as a parent, I support him. I make sure he’s doing OK health-wise. I don’t want him going out there getting hurt trying to do something good,” Dimas explained.
However, Jordan has plenty of experience with running, according to his father. He has competed in marathons while carrying a folded American flag from start to finish and holds a world record title. Jordan said his experience of completing marathons, the 9-mile tribute walks and with the Young Marines, a nonprofit youth organization for boys and girls that promotes moral, physical and mental development, has taught him, “to never give up.”
“Before this (walk), he’s been doing [other marathons and walks] to honor first responders and the military for quite some time. Last year, he completed a world record. He’s the youngest person in the world to complete seven marathons on 7 continents by age 10 and he did it in honor of our fallen heroes in the military and first responders,” Dimas said.
Jordan plans on continuing his ‘thank-you for your service’ walk around San Gabriel Valley, the weekend of October 9, and will be walking to police departments in Sierra Madre, Arcadia, Monrovia and Duarte.
Sgt. Ara Bzdigian of Pasadena Police Department, who received the thank-you plaque from Jordan alongside Lt. Anthony Russo said, “We were honored by what he was doing. We were honored for him to do [the walk] and gladly accepted when his father told us what [Jordan] wanted to do.”
Officers present, who received Jordan, were touched and felt honored by his thank-you walk, Bzdigian said. “It was really emotional for a lot of the officers; what this amazing young man is doing on his own, with the help of his parents,” he said.