Family thriving one year after police help

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MASON, MI. (WILX) -- Joseph Rodriguez brought his family downstate for a new job.

But things didn't work out. As the bad news spiraled they had no choice but to live out of their van.

He and his wife Monique were working on Mackinac Island last year and ran into a little bad luck.

"We lost our jobs and home within 24 hours," said Monique.

They were forced to move downstate. It took a few weeks before Joseph found a job.

"We were staying in hotels at first, using what we had saved up and set aside. We went through that just 2 days before he was going to get his first paycheck," said Monique.

It was in a parking spot at the Barnes Road park-and-ride south of Mason that they decided to sleep.

"First thing in the morning, there were two cop cars," they said. "We were terrified at first...didn't know what was going to happen.”

Sergeant Ted Harrison and Deputy Brandon Doerr from the Ingham County Sheriff's Office helped the Rodriguez family get back on their feet.

"It's not because we're police officers, it's because we truly care about people and we want to help them out," said Harrison.

They set the family up with two nights at a hotel, gift cards to Meijer and Culvers, and food donations, just enough to help them before joseph's first paycheck.

"He would call to make sure that we were okay, that we were set for Christmas, and for back to school," said Joseph.

"We could have scraped by with maybe some not so great clothes for school, but it made all the difference for the kids to go to this new school with the nicer clothes on," said Monique.

A year later, Joseph and Monique are able to live comfortably.

"We’re paid ahead several months on our electric and rent. It feels good, we're not worried about what's next," they said.

And earlier this month they sent a family photo to the sheriff's office, a reminder that a good deed can go a long way.

"Needless to say the deputy and the sergeant that were the catalysts to this had pretty big smiles on their faces...I can only imagine," said Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth.

"It was great to hear from them after a year and know they were going to be okay," said Harrison.

"It was just something that came about, but it was good to see how we helped them and how we're doing now," said Doerr.

The Rodriguez's say they were like a lot of families...and that all they needed was a bit of help.

"That’s what they did for us, and it made the difference. It made every bit of difference," said Monique.

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