A CMPD officer goes above and beyond to change the life of a homeless woman after she goes through hard times.
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – For the past 9 months, Demitris Gonzalez has been sleeping in some of the most uncomfortable places.
Gonzalez slept in tents, from sleeping bags in the middle of the woods to the front seat of his van.
Nothing ideal for a woman who is not only disabled but blind living with three dogs to help her get around.
“I have problems, but I try to take care of myself, I have fought for my life my whole life,” Gonzalez said.
Fighting is an understatement.
Ms. Gonzalez has done everything to just survive over the past year.
Originally from New York, the 65-year-old moved to Charlotte from Florida when she discovered her sister Elena was in critical condition at the Mecklenburg Rehabilitation Center.
“She had seven open-heart surgeries in a year, they didn’t expect her to live, they didn’t expect her to live, never talk about anything,” he said. Gonzalez said.
Ms. Gonzalez spent everything she had to make sure her sister had support.
However, her generosity forced her to take to the streets without her own support system.
She had little food for herself and her dogs or a stable roof over her head during unforeseen weather conditions.
“These dogs, two of them saved my life,” Gonzalez said.
“It’s been difficult, I’m not going to say it isn’t.”
Over time, his sister Elena has improved a lot.
“Prayers help, she’s out of this coma, she’s here alive, God is good,” Gonzalez said.
Then Ms Gonzalez’s life changed when she met Kathleen Caffray, an officer with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, from Animal Care and Control.
“I took it upon myself to devote my time to her and put her in a better position,” Officer Caffray said. “It started with hotel stays and then we put her in a better place closer to her sister.”
Officer Caffray jumped into action by rallying organizations like Urban Ministries, Steele Creek Church and the nonprofit Heart and Hands to help Ms Gonzalez and her sister have better lives.
“They come here, they get our meds for us, they come here and help us when they can,” Gonzalez said.
Agent Caffrey also used his resources with Animal Care and Control to make sure Ms Gonzalez’s dogs had medication and vaccines.
“I respect them, I love them, I’m here to tell people that not all cops are the same,” Gonzalez said. “They are ready to serve their community and to help, at no time did I feel threatened by the police department.”
Ms. Gonzalez not only has a roof over her head, but also a place to call home with her sister and her dogs.
“I am really happy that she is here now in a safer and better place,” said Officer Caffray.