This past week was a week filled with loss for the city of Downey. We lost one of our brave and dedicated police officers. Ricardo “Ricky” Galvez was tragically killed as he finished his shift protecting us from the kind of people who took his own life.
I visited his memorial at the police station Thursday evening and wept with my fellow Downeyites. Hundreds of people have visited the memorials outside and around the police station. We stop and share our condolences, not because we knew Officer Ricky personally, but because he was part of our community, our neighborhood, our home. We share a common shock, a mutual pain, and we come together to support our Downey family.
Officer Ricky symbolizes what is good, and true, and right about our city. His murder is an attack on all of the virtues we uphold and cherish. We take pride in our city: our police officers and firefighters, our schools, our people, and our history. Downey is a very special, tight-knit community. As the city has evolved since its incorporation almost 60 years ago, we have witnessed many changes, but the heart of Downey remains strong.
Ironically, on the same day that Officer Ricky was taken from us, another Downey symbol left its home. Glen Bell chose Downey as the city to open his first Taco Bell because it was a boomtown in 1962, one of our country’s centers for aerospace engineering. That little taco stand that birthed a world-wide fast-food empire was detached from its Downey roots on Thursday and transported through the middle of the night to Taco Bell’s corporate headquarters in Irvine. Downey lost an important piece of its unique history.
On our city website, the “About Us” section begins with this statement: “We are home to where the Apollo Space Program began its journey to the stars. Downey is where you can find the world’s oldest McDonald’s restaurant and the site of the first Taco Bell eatery.” Not anymore. It’s another loss of that which we take pride in, what makes us special. With any loss we experience in our lives, we come together to support each other, reflect, and look forward with faith and hope for the future. And so it will be true for the Downey community.
As it says in the second paragraph of the city website:
“Downey is a unique community in the heart of Southern California that combines the best of both large and small. We are an active city of 110,00 with a small town atmosphere. This is a place of pride, history, involvement, and community.”
May we cherish all that we have been given and give back in whatever ways we can to keep Downey special; a boomtown of pride, history, involvement, and community.