It's not every day that a complete stranger makes it his or her mission to make a fellow stranger's life better. And many people wouldn't expect that kindness to come from a code enforcement officer, someone whose job it is to write up citations and fines. That's exactly what's happening, however, in an unheard of act of kindness in Palm Springs.
Palm Springs Code Enforcement officer Mark Rodriguez says he first visited Edgar Pizzaro's home to see if it was in compliance a couple of years ago. He said he quickly found a lot of issues. The roof was caving in and leaking.
Rodriguez said when he went to tell Pizzaro's family that he would need a new roof, the case became personal. He found out that Pizarro is an Army veteran who recently suffered two strokes and has been diagnosed with Dementia and Parkinson's Disease.
For two years now, Rodriguez has delayed fining Edgar Pizzaro, knowing he can't afford to pay for the repairs. The fines could grow at a rate of up to $100 a day that the roof goes unfixed.
"You were looking at about $40-50,000 by now," Rodriguez said.
The veteran and his son, Alberto Pizzaro have nowhere else to go.
"Sometimes I do sleep with one eye open," Alberto said.
Alberto has his father stay in the dryest room, while he sleeps underneath the worst of it. He says his ceiling leaks heavily every time it rains, adding he's had to move his bed several times to keep from getting wet in the night.
Rodriguez says he's called every major roofing company in Palm Beach County, asking for help.
"Just to see them happy and knowing that he doesn't have to wake up in a puddle of rain coming through the roof, and that dad's going to be ok," the code enforcement officer said.
The father and son are hoping for a miracle.
"All you can do is pray and hope something happens," Alberto said, hoping for help with the repairs so he doesn't have to send his father away, "My dad wouldn't have to go into a nursing home. He'd have a home to stay in."
"He gave his time for us," Rodriguez said. "I think now, it's time that the country gives back to him."
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