The ripple effect of the Oct. 1 shooting of Mariposa County Sheriff Deputy Rudy Mirelez during a routine traffic stop reached Yosemite High School, where two different student groups held fundraisers for the deputy and his wife, Christine.
The Yosemite High School Criminal Justice Class raised $1,400 in three weeks to help Mirelez and his family. The students came up with various ideas to raise the funds including a bake sale, and soliciting neighbors, friends and family. Most of the funds came from the Mountain Area, although some checks were mailed from outside Madera County.
Class instructor Dave Maynez, who also serves as director of campus safety at YHS, is a retired Fresno police officer. He came up with the idea as he himself has benefited from assistance from his law enforcement family during his career.
“I wanted to teach the students about the ‘Thin Blue Line’ which refers to all law enforcement officers, their friends and family, and how we take care of each other in time of need,” Maynez said. “Deputy Mirelez protected this community, therefore we need to take care of him. I am proud of these students and what they achieved in three weeks.”
The class presented the funds Nov. 3 to Mariposa County Sheriff Deputy Aron Akbiyikian, who accepted the check on behalf of Mirelez, along with an oversized get well card signed by all the students.
The Criminal Justice Class provides instruction on criminal law, law enforcement procedures, victimology, investigation of crimes and related subjects. The students are expected to complete community service and law enforcement ride-alongs during the school year.
The YHS water polo teams also raised $400 for Mirelez by selling raffle tickets for a cord of wood.
Mirelez is now home after spending several days in the intensive care unit of a Modesto hospital, where nurses called his recovery miraculous.
Mirelez recently appeared before the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors to voice his appreciation to the community for their support throughout his ordeal.