EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. - A police officer in the Poconos is known for giving back and helping others.
Stroud Area Regional Police Officer Ruben Torres has served years on the force, he has 11 children and he also has advanced cancer. Now the community is rallying around him and his family.
"Ruben is a very passionate police officer," said Chief William Parrish.
"He's very much into his faith, into his family, a dedicated police officer," described Lt. Kevin Transue.
The veteran officer is going through the fight of a lifetime.
Parrish said, "It was ultimately determined that he had renal cancer. There was some initial surgery which he was very optimistic about initially, but apparently there are many more complications based on the cancer."
Torres is the father of 11 children, five of whom were adopted. Five of his children have Down syndrome.
"He's given, in his life, back to young individuals who might not have had a chance in life. He's given them the opportunity to have a foundation, a family, a home, just love and I just want that returned back to him," said Transue.
Donations are pouring in on a web page set up to help pay for an alternative treatment his family is seeking in Mexico. Their goal is $30,000.
Parrish said, "I think time is of essence and that's the critical nature here, to get him to Mexico as soon as he can."
As of Tuesday night almost $10,000 had been raised. 69 News learned the family had raised enough money so far for the beginning of treatment and Torres will leave for Mexico Wednesday. They will still need more money for the remainder of the treatment.
In a video posted to the police department's Facebook page, Torres and his wife share words of thanks.
Chief Parrish said Torres has been a police officer for more than 25 years and he had just started to think about retirement.
"Had actually started making plans and to be making these emergency plans to go to Mexico for treatment is not what you envision when you start the job and you start your 25 year clock," said Parrish.
He added, "It's heartbreaking, it really is."
Allentown, PA 18102