Through prayer, positivity and community loved ones and colleagues of Dallas Police Sr. Cpl. Arnulfo Pargas remain hopeful that he'll beat COVID-19.
The 52-year-old tested positive for the virus on June 12. He continued to have trouble breathing and six days later his wife took him to the hospital.
"I'm glad I took him when I did, and they (medical staff) said that they were glad that I went ahead and took him in," said Toni Pargas, the officer's wife.
They've been married for 20 years, but together for 35 and have six kids.
She said his oxygen levels were extremely low and was placed on a ventilator. He's been in the hospital for a month now.
"We have faith that God is going to lift him up from that bed and he’s going to come back home to us, it’s just going to take a while," said Toni.
His wife and one of their daughters got vaccinated in May. They told Pargas to go with them, but he wasn't able to make it and said he would go later. Toni said he planned on doing it, but time kept going by.
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"The day before I took him to the hospital, he was like, 'Man I should have just gotten vaccinated,' you know? Like he had already tested positive and it was already too late," said Toni.
Their family is relying on their faith to focus on a positive outcome. They've been through tough times before, like three years ago when their 19-year-old son, Alexander, was killed by a drunken driver.
Toni said religion continues to bring them comfort and she's only focusing on the positives as they rally around officer Pargas.
"We read the Bible to him every day that we go up there," said Toni about their hospital visits.
She said they have received little glimmers of hope from medical staff about her husband's condition. On Wednesday evening she had a moment that she felt was encouraging.
"They lowered down his sedation just a little bit, so he’s able to wake up a little bit and last night I said, ‘Squeeze my hand honey, squeeze my hand,' and he squeezed my hand," said Toni. 'It felt amazing, he knows that I'm here, my daughter was right by him telling him, 'It's okay, you’re getting better."
"It’s been hard," cried their 18-year-old daughter, Valarie. "We’re all so used to him being here joking around making us laugh."
She said she continues to tell her dad how much she loves him and for him to keep fighting whenever she visits his hospital room.
“It’s hard seeing him in the hospital just there, not being able to do anything and we miss him a lot," said Valarie. "My dad means the world to me."
Officer Pargas Service to the Community
Pargas works in the Lakewest Patrol Division and over the years has gained a reputation for his community policing,
"He's served, he's done food drives, turkey drives, he's very embracing, he's got a beautiful spirit about him. He knows the people in the community and he's always there promoting, engaging, and interacting with our community," said Robert Munoz, with the Dallas Police Department's Community Affairs.
Toni said even when Pargas is home, he's still helping out his community.
"He gets donations and he takes it to pantries, he does it on his days off on his time off," said Toni.
"We're praying for him, we're praying for the family Officer Pargas is very instrumental in the community, essentially in the West Dallas community, they love him and raised him," said Munoz. "I know he's a fighter and we just got to keep him in our prayers."
Dallas Police said while they strongly encourage employees to get vaccinated, it's not mandatory.
Since March of 2020, 677 personnel have contracted COVID-19 according to the department. That includes 587 officers and 90 civilians. One officer has died due to the coronavirus. Last Nov. Sgt. Bronc McCoy died of complications from COVID-19.