PHOENIX — A young Mesa man credits a fallen police officer with the positive changes he’s made in his life and now wants to serve the community as the late Sgt. Brandon Mendoza did.
“Brandon was my true hero,” said 22-year-old James Pinkerton. “I thought about doing drugs or joining a gang. Brandon was trying to change my life and that’s exactly what he did. He told me just because I grew up in this part of town I could live a better life, that I could succeed. I want to be a police officer because of him.”
Pinkerton said he met Mendoza at Guerrero Rotary Park in Mesa, the same park he is credited with transforming.
“He took time out of his day to talk to me or to just say hello,” said Pinkerton.
Residents who live in the area near Southern and Country Club in Mesa describe a crime-ridden park in the heart of a crime-ridden neighborhood transformed because one person showed an interest in making the community better.
“This park would still be in shambles if it wasn’t for him,” Pinkerton said.
Mendoza is said to have tackled crime and drugs while beginning a movement within the community. Mendoza, who was killed by a drunk wrong-way driver earlier this month, inspired residents to care and to take back their community from the criminal element.
Recently, top city leaders announced that a baseball field inside the park was named after Mendoza. Fundraising efforts have started to continue the improvements he was so passionate about.
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets