A binder full of pictures tells a story about a friendship between law enforcement officers, firefighters and one special child.
Nine-year-old Pedro “Moose” Salinas has Apraxia of Speech (AOS), an impaired ability to perform speech movements, making it hard for Salinas to speak.
Moose, as he likes to be called, has about 50 words in his vocabulary, according to his mom, Ashley Salinas. He had been in speech therapy but did not make any progress until his brush with first responders.
At the age of three, Moose was outside his home when a fire engine passed by. He lit up when the firefighters honked their horn at him. After that, he saw an officer parked outside his home doing paperwork. He rushed over to the officer and shoved a paper and pen into the officer’s face.
Ashley and Officer Arnold Garcia, who at the time worked with the Alice Police Department, didn't understand what Moose wanted, but eventually Garcia signed the paper and took a picture with him.
The rest is history.
“Now he has a binder full of pictures of firefighters and law enforcement officers from local, state and even out-of-state,” his mother said. “He carries his backpack with his binder everywhere he goes so that when he sees an officer he rushes to them, slams the book down and asks for them to sign it. Everyone has been so nice to him; no one ever turns him away.”
Moose wants to be in law enforcement when he grows up just like his “friends."
"He calls them his friends and he isn’t afraid to tell everyone about his friends,” Ashley said. “Many adults use officers to scare their children into behaving, so when Moose hears that police are ‘bad and will take (kids) to jail’ he comes to their defense."
Moose has made it his mission to get as many officers and firefighters in his book. He has also added to his mission by making sure the first responders know that someone in this unpredictable world has their back.
He delivers cakes, goodies and other gifts to show his friendship.
“These guys don’t understand what they have done for Moose,” Ashley said. “There is no cure for apraxia. But because of them he has come along way.”
Due to his father’s employment, Moose and his family will be moving from the Alice area. Moose wanted to show his friends one last gesture of friendship before they left. He visited the three entities in Alice with cake and punch in hand.
In return he received gifts along with more pictures and signatures to add to his large binder.