By Tamas Mondovics
Six-year-old Brandon boy, Vincent Wildgen, enjoyed a special day last month thanks to the caring spirit of his community, led by members of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) with its SWAT team taking center stage.
Having no idea of what was about to happen, Wildgen, who has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and has been receiving extensive chemo therapy, was looking forward to a meet and greet of law enforcement staff along with a tour of the Sheriff’s District 2 facility, located at 2310 N. Falkenburg Rd.
Just when he thought his visit was coming to an end, Wildgen got a surprise he won’t soon forget, as uniformed patrol deputies, along with members of HCSO’s various divisions including crime prevention, Homeland Security, motor squad, bomb team and several SWAT officers, showed up to meet him and to turn him into an honorary SWAT Team member.
But, there was more. Deputies also presented Wildgen with an electric toy car donated by the Bloomingdale Square Walmart in Brandon, which was assembled by HCSO automotive teams and marked with HCSO decals.
The plan to surprise Wildgen began with his neighbor, HCSO Deputy Derrick Locket who knew of the little boy’s love and admiration for law enforcement officers, particularly the SWAT team. After learning that Wildgen missed a SWAT presentation on career day at the Children Cancer Center due to his chemo therapy treatments, Lockett knew something had to be done.
Wildgen’s visit was supervised by HCSO District 4 Major Rob Bullara, and was assisted by HCSO Master Deputy Curtis Warren who had played a huge part in getting the toy car.
“As you can see the outpouring of generosity and care for Vincent is second to none,” Bullara said.
Overjoyed by the outpouring of support and care for their son, Wildgen’s dad, Bill, and his mom, Mary, thanked all present during the event for their kindness.
“It is just amazing to see so many show up just to make this day special for Vincent,” Mary said, while, Bill added, “It is incredible what this community can do.”
After a brief tour of the HCSO chopper that also landed for his honor, Vincent returned to his toy HSCO patrol car for a few more turns on the grassy lot.
“It’s my favorite,” Vincent said, as he put the pedal to the floor while chasing a few imaginary bad guys.
For more information, visit www.hcso.tampa.fl.us.