“Each time I put that badge on that uniform, I know I’m going to do something positive,” Sergeant J.J. Gonzales said.
Gonzalez has been working for the Finney County Sheriff’s Office for the past 18 years. And to him, this job is everything.
“A lot of people say a job doesn’t define who you are,” said Gonzalez. “Well, this particular job defines the person who I am.”
During his 18 years, he has served as a jailer, patrol duty, in the gang unit, as a member of the S.W.A.T. team, warrants deputy and now a sergeant in the warrants and fugitive Division.
“He’s a good guy, and it’s always a pleasure to be around him,” Master Control of the police department Emma Banuelos said. “Everyone knows him in the community.”
But for the past six months, he’s had to put his beloved uniform away.
He lost his leg after his body rejected six knee replacements and now needs a prosthetic.
“Upon removing the appliance, the surgeon discovered that I had developed a bone infection,” Gonzales said. “It had eaten my tibia from the inside out all the way from the top of my knee down to my ankle.”
Since the amputation, he’s been limited to his duties.
“My team having to work so hard in my absence, it destroys me,” he said. “I’m not the one to just sit down and let things pass me by.”
Gonzalez needs a new leg in order to get back to duty, but the one he needs the insurance won’t be able to cover.
“Our insurance is Blue Cross and Blue Shield and in the insurance language what they approve is the basic leg for J.J.,” Sheriff Kevin Bascue said. “What’s not in the language is any electronic that works with that leg.”
The basic leg offered by the insurance will allow J.J. to walk to the grocery store and around the house, but not perform his everyday duties.
“The Microprocessor is a computerized prosthetic that will automatically adjust my foot and ankle on uneven terrain or quickly go up stairs,” he said. “Without the leg, I become a trip hazard.”
Now, the community is working to help support his efforts to fund the $46,000 leg.
“The amount of time he’s devoted his life to Finney County citizens, and then to lose a limb is devastating,” Senior Sergeant Matt Cole with the Garden City Police Department said. “He deserves this leg.”
“J.J. has dedicated his life to helping others,” Banuelos added. “So, I think it’s time we return the favor.”
“I just want my life back,” Gonzales said. “I want to serve people.”
If you’re interested in helping J.J. get a new leg, you can donate to the following places:
- Go Fund Me
- A Leg for JJ, C/0 Finney County Sheriff’s Office – 304 North Ninth Street, Garden City, KS 67846
- A Leg for JJ, C/0 Golden Plains Credit Union Account – 1714 East Kansas Ave., Garden City, KS 67846