A group of cops pooled their money to help this landscaper after his truck, tools, and rent money were stolen.

Adrian Salgado supports his family working as a landscaper. Losing his truck and tools meant losing his livelihood.

It started as a morning like any other for Adrian Salgado, as he started his gardening work in Santa Ana, California. But before he knew it, he was running down the street chasing his own work truck, brazenly stolen by two thieves. The truck had Salgado's work tools, cell phone, and $1,000 cash for rent in it, and he wasn't able to catch it as it sped away.

He contacted his daughter Elizabeth, who called 911. She used Find My iPhone app to track Salgado's phone, which helped the police catch the thieves in the next town over. The truck was recovered and returned to Salgado, but all of his landscaping equipment—a lawnmower, edger, leaf blower, and various hand tools—were gone. So was the $1,000.


The suspects each had $500 cash in their pockets, but they insisted it was their own money. Despite the obvious, police couldn't return the money to Salgado; by law, they could only submit the cash as evidence. Anthony Bertagna, a spokesman for the Santa Ana Police Department, told CNN, "He may never get that money back unless they change their story."

Police estimated the total value of the missing items at $3,000, which equaled months of pay for Salgado.

The officers saw their own working-class fathers in Salgado and wanted to help him regain what was stolen.

Sgt. Michael Gonzalez told CNN that when the officers looked at Salgado, it was like looking at their own fathers. "We all came from working-class families," he said. "It was like, 'Hey, that's my dad.'" They knew that without his rent money and tools, there was no way for Salgado to recover from the theft.

The officers' empathy moved them to help Salgado financially. The officers pooled $500 of their own money. Then the Santa Ana Police Officers Association donated another $500.

Seven officers accompanied Salgado to Home Depot to replace his tools and when Home Depot heard the story, they donated $100 toward the cause. They also offered a military discount on the items since some of the officers were reservists.

Even a random stranger in the store offered $40 of their own money when they learned what Salgado and the officers were doing there.

The generosity and kindness from strangers meant the world to Salgado and his family—and moved others as well.

When the Santa Ana Police Department shared the story on their Facebook page, a woman recognized Salgado. "This gentleman is my mother's gardener and has been for over 15 years," she wrote. "He's the most wonderful man. The SAPD couldn't have helped a more considerate person. I'm glad that the good guy won today."

Sgt. Gonzales told CNN that what most amazed him was how Salgado took the tools home and opened them, then immediately went back to work because he had customers to serve. "I've been doing this job for 27 years," Gonzalez said. "Every so often it's a good day. That was a good day."

Salgado's daughter and daughter-in-law shared a video thanking the Santa Ana police department and police association for their help.

SAPD Recover Stolen Landscape Truck Via Phone App

On 27 March 2019, between 11 am - 12 pm, a local man's landscape vehicle was stolen with all of his tools, cash for rent, and a cell phone. Total value estimated at $3k. The man is the sole provider for his family; his daughter called SAPD and reported the crime. Patrol Officers started pursuing the vehicle through an app on the iPhone and were able to locate the truck. The suspects were unwilling to cooperate thus reluctant to provide the location of his property. The Santa Ana Police Officers Association donated funds, and officers escorted the gentleman to purchase new equipment. #sapoa31strong#31strong #santaanapolicedepartment @sapoa31strong

Posted by Santa Ana Police Officers Association on Wednesday, March 27, 2019

"Now I can see my dad with a smile because he knows he's going back to work," said his daughter, Elizabeth.

This chain of kindness brings a smile to everyone's faces. There's simply nothing better than human beings going above and beyond to help a fellow human being in need.

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Brian Olesen never imagined he would end up homeless.

The former U.S. Air Force medic had led a full and active life, complete with a long career in the medical field, a 20-year marriage, and a love of anything aquatic. But after hip surgery and chronic back pain left him disabled in 2013, he lost his ability to work. Due to changes in eligibility requirements, he couldn't qualify for federal veteran housing programs. His back issues were difficult to prove medically, so he didn't qualify for disability. Though he'd worked his whole life, having no income for five years took its toll. He got evicted from a couple of apartments and found himself living on the streets.

But in 2018, two things completely turned Olesen's life around. He was able to both qualify for disability and to move into an affordable housing community in Miami's Goulds neighborhood called Karis Village.

When people think of affordable housing, they don't usually picture a place like Karis Village. The 88-unit development is brand new, and built with an attention to design that is not always expected for developments that serve as home to people on limited incomes. The apartments have tile floors, marble countertops, and all new appliances and furniture, and the grounds are beautiful and well-kept, with a playground and common areas for residents to gather.

Brian Olesen in his kitchen at Karis VillageCapital One

Karis Village isn't just a housing development; it's a home and a community. Half of the units are set aside for veterans who have experienced homelessness, like Olesen. The other half are largely occupied by single-parent families.

"To me, this building was just a gift," says Olesen. "All of the different parties that got together to put this building together… making half the building available to veterans. We've got no place to go."

Addressing veteran homelessness was one of the goals of Karis Village, which was built through a partnership that included Carrfour Supportive Housing — a mission-driven, not-for-profit affordable housing organization in southern Florida — and Capital One's Community Finance team. More than just an affordable place to live, the community has full-time staff on hand to help coordinate services—from addiction recovery programs to transportation options to job search and placement. Also included are peer counselors who provide emotional and psychological support for residents.

Karis Village, an affordable housing community in Miami, Florida.Capital One

Carrfour President and CEO Stephanie Berman says the core function of the services team on site is to build a supportive community.

"Often when you think of folks leaving homelessness and coming into housing, you think of shelters or some kind of traditional housing," she says. "You don't really think about a community, and that's really what we build and what we operate. What we're really striving to create is community. We find that our families thrive when you create a sense of community."

The intention to create a supportive community at Karis Village was a priority from the get go. Fabian Ramirez, a Capital Officer on Capital One's Community Finance team, says the bank did a listening tour in southern Florida to explore community development and affordable housing options in the area and to hear what was most needed. After deciding to partner with Carrfour, the bank provided not only an $8 million construction loan and a $25 million low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) investment to help build Karis Village, but it also kicked in a $250,000 social purpose grant to help fund the social support services that would be put in place for residents.

"It's not just all about providing the brick and mortar," says Ramirez. "It's about being able to contribute to the sustainability of the development and of the lives of the people who move into the building."


Capital One

Olesen says he and his fellow residents benefit greatly from the network of support services offered in the building. He says a counselor comes to meet with him once a month, sometimes right in his apartment. He also gets help maintaining a connection with the Veteran Affairs office. Other services include social workers and counselors for drug addiction and alcoholism.

Olesen loves being around other veterans, and he says hearing the sound of children playing keeps the community lively. He says anywhere else he could afford to live on disability wouldn't be nearly as nice and would likely involve shared kitchens and bathrooms and neighborhoods you wouldn't want to go out in at night.

If it weren't for Karis Village, Olesen says he doesn't know where he would be today: "I had nowhere to go and this is a safe, beautiful place to spend my retirement."

"I don't think they could have done a much better job of putting this place together and supplying us with what we need," he says. "I have so much appreciation for the ability to have a place to live. And then you add to that that it's beautiful and completely furnished and you didn't need to bring anything—I don't know what more you could ask for."

Karis Village and another development for veterans built the same year enabled the neighborhood of Goulds to meet the requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to declare an end to veteran homelessness in the area.

Ending veteran homelessness altogether is a complex task, but communities like Karis Village show how it can be done—and done well. When government agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporate funding programs come together to solve big problems, big solutions can be built and maintained.

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