Deputy Sees Cancer Patient’s Overgrown Yard, Returns With 15 Volunteers And A Mission.

There’s a lot more to being a deputy sheriff than simply putting on a uniform and badge.

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When Cpl. Dean Peck of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office in Naples, Florida paid a visit to a family friend who is battling an aggressive form of cancer, he thought he was just swinging by to bring her some flowers and lift her spirits. But as the deputy stood in her yard and looked around, he realized there was a lot more that he could do to help her out.


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When she’s feeling well, Cpl. Peck’s friend loves nature and being outside. Sadly the cancer treatments have taken a toll on her both physically and mentally, and her home has fallen into a state of disrepair. The house looked dirty and dilapidated to the deputy’s eyes, and her normally well-tended garden was overgrown and filled with ugly weeds.

When the deputy went back to work that day, he mentioned how sad the house looked to coworker Sgt. John Gogia, and before long the word began to spread throughout the department. Sgt. Gogia was the first to step up and volunteer his free time to help Cpl. Peck spruce up the yard. By the time Saturday rolled around, there were 15 volunteers, 9 of whom work for the sheriff’s office, standing in the woman’s yard ready to work.


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The team of workers brought along a pressure washer and 100 bags of mulch they had purchased themselves. They quickly set out washing the house and brick pavers, pulling weeds, planting and tending to the long-neglected garden space. They had a vision of a “virtual oasis” that would help buoy the woman’s spirits while also providing a restful and healing space for her.


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The group spent four hours cleaning, repairing, and tending to the garden space. When all was said and done the garden looked tidy and pleasant once more, proving that the best gardens are the ones that are tended with love.


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After Sheriff Kevin Rambosk shared pictures of the event online, the public was quick to thank them for their efforts. Over 400 people left comments on the sheriff department’s Facebook post, all of whom praised these deputies for going above and beyond the call of duty in this beautiful way.

“Brings tears to my eyes!! We need more of this!” wrote one commenter.

“Beautiful results that are certain to lift her spirits. Thank you for these extraordinary efforts,” added another.


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This is a wonderful example of the good things that can happen when we go out of our way to help others. Cpl. Peck could have easily noticed the overgrown garden and continued on with his day, but instead he decided to do something about it without ever being asked. The fact that his colleagues didn’t hesitate to give up a day off to work in the hot Florida sun — and foot the bill for the mulch — shows the strength of their character as well.

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