Timothy Daponte wrote to Mayor Sylvester Turner to share a touching story about Houston Parks and Recreation Department lifeguards who made his son's day.
Here's what Daponte had to say:
"All too often we hear stories disparaging public employees. My son, George is severely autistic and nonverbal. As part of his therapy, he swims regularly at the Memorial Park pool. One characteristic of autistic children is their inability to form social connections.
On July 5, George turned 17. When we arrived at the pool, the lifeguards had a sign welcoming George and wishing him a happy birthday. They had also baked cupcakes for George as well as other children at the pool. George was able to make a connection and interact with the staff. Those members of the staff include Clancy Nelson, Laura Rodriguez, Mia Aldridge, Cayla Cloud. They are to be commended for taking the initiative and showing compassion for a special needs child. Special needs children and adults have always been accommodated by all of the staff at Memorial Park.
We have been regular patrons of the Memorial Park pool since our sons were infants even though there are other pools closer to our house. The staff at Memorial Park has always been the paragons of professionalism.
It is my understanding that these employees are seasonal employees. Every endeavor should be made by the city to retain these outstanding employees in some capacity. I would recommend these employees for any employment or educational opportunity for which they may otherwise be qualified."