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Harvey wasn’t Officer Norbert Ramon’s first rodeo. The Texas native and longtime LEO had faced Category 5s like Rita head-on
and helped his state take in survivors in the aftermath of Katrina. He wasn’t nervous. Less than 24 hours before the hurricane
made landfall in Houston, he was joking around with his partner. “It was pretty weather. We were saying, ‘Aw, nothing’s going to
happen,’” Ramon said. “‘Tomorrow we’ll come in and they’ll let us go home.’”
He was ready. He’d done this before. But this time was different. As much as he kept it out of his mind, it was reality
nonetheless: Ramon would brave the historic disaster while battling stage 4 colon cancer.
When Ramon left his home in the dead of night for his shift, the sheet of rain was so thick he could see it in the darkness. It was
the beginning of a hurricane unlike any other he’d experienced. En route to his station downtown, Ramon was hit with a steady
stream of headlights pointed in the opposite direction of the highway. He followed suit. A fellow HPD officer up the road gave him
the news: the entire freeway was flooded; the path to downtown blocked. Ramon headed to the station just down the street from
his house, Lake Patrol. Time to get to work.
A GENTLE GIANT
Despite his 24 years in law enforcement, Ramon, 55, initially graduated from college on a very different career path, majoring in
accounting and information systems. It didn’t take long for the officer to realize programming wasn’t for him.
“I just happened to thumb through the paper and there was a big ad with George Foreman and it said ‘Be a Houston police
officer.’ I sent an application in and lo and behold the next week they called me,” Ramon said.
The officer, who had no law enforcement family at the time, made a dramatic – perhaps surprising – career pivot. But he’s
always had a passion to serve. Before college, he was in the Army, and his drive to help others made him a natural fit for
policing. His wife of 13 years, Cindy, describes the soft-spoken man as a “gentle giant.”
“He’s a teddy bear,” Cindy said. “I laugh sometimes because if you look at him, he looks like he has this frown on his face. Then
when you talk to him he’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. He’s just a gentle giant who enjoys helping people. You can
always depend on him.”
Ramon has spent his entire career with the Houston PD – serving a range of roles including street patrol, field training, and
traffic enforcement. He’s an outdoorsman, which was part of the appeal of donning the badge and uniform.
“That’s the thing that attracted us,” Cindy said. “We’re both outdoor people. Our passion is fishing, we do a lot of tournaments
together. He loves being outdoors.”
Ramon also has a soft spot for kids, and saw policing as an opportunity to serve as a good example for them. Once, after
responding to a domestic disturbance that required removing a child from the residence, Ramon took the child to eat on his own
dime and stayed by the child’s side until transportation arrangements were made.
“He just loves kids. He melts when he sees them,” Cindy said. “He hates to see the children get caught up in domestic disputes.”
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