Norbert Ramon left his cancer treatment last August when Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast and hovered over Houston, submerging neighborhoods across the city.
Ramon and other officers used four police boats to move the hundreds of stranded residents out of flash flooding in northern and eastern parts of Houston over a three-day span.
“My main concern was to help the citizens,” Ramon told WFAA at the time. “Nothing else was on my mind. I didn’t worry about me or anything.”
Ramon’s battle with cancer ended Friday, Houston police confirmed.
“Today our [Houston police] family lost a great colleague, husband, father, friend, cop, hero, with the passing of Senior Police Officer Norberto Ramon,” HPD chief Art Acevedo wrote on Twitter. “He served honorably for nearly 25 years. Despite being seriously ill, he showed courage & grit as he saved dozens of lives during [Harvey].”
Today our @houstonpolice family lost a great colleague, husband, father, friend, cop, hero, with the passing of Senior Police Officer Norberto Ramon. He served honorably for nearly 25 years. Despite being seriously ill, he showed courage & grit as he saved dozens of lives during pic.twitter.com/uVdML4H6Or
— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) June 15, 2018
During the rescue efforts, Law Enforcement Today reported:
Norbert Ramon has been with the Houston Police Department for 24 years. He currently serves in the Traffic Enforcement Division. As a result of Hurricane Harvey, he received the call from his sergeant as the rain started to fall on Saturday, reported Fox Health.
“He went and they started preparing everything and that’s when the rain started in,” Cindy Ramon, the 55-year-old’s wife, told Fox News. “By Sunday morning when he woke up, there was so much rain and standing water that he could not go to his regular duty in downtown Houston.”
Ramon followed protocol and notified his sergeant, and then set out to report to the nearest patrol unit, which was the Houston Lake Patrol.
“From then it was a madhouse,” Cindy said. “They started going out rescuing people in all parts of Houston. That’s where it started from and it’s been non-stop.”
Ramon had a new sense of purpose. Cindy said his cancer quickly became the furthest thing from his mind. He was put on desk duty three weeks ago out of concern for his health, but as a part of the Lake Patrol he has had a hand in helping to rescue 1,500 residents from floodwaters.
“He’s been so caught up in the emotions and the excitement of trying to rescue people, he had no time to even think about it,” Cindy said. “You wouldn’t even think he had cancer, he’s plugging along like he doesn’t.”
In January, the Houston Texans surprised Ramon with Super Bowl tickets to show their gratitude for his heroism months earlier. The big game was played at Houston’s NRG Stadium.
The Houston Police Officers Union wrote on their Facebook page:
We have lost one of our best today. Officer Norb Ramon, who valiantly fought cancer while saving thousands during Hurricane Harvey, passed this morning. His integrity and courage is without measure and this loss will be difficult for all of us. Please keep his family in your prayers, we will share funeral information when we receive it.
The city lost a true hero in every sense of the word. May his family receive comfort from his legacy.