(Juan Heredia via Bay City News)

Community Honors Local Diver For Heroic Efforts In Stockton

Yellow Line

In a touching tribute to bravery and selflessness, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors honored professional diver Juan Heredia this Tuesday for his pivotal role in the search for 15-year-old Xavier Martinez, who tragically disappeared in the Calaveras River. The ceremony, highlighted by deep respect and gratitude, took place just days after Heredia's crucial discovery near Stagg High School in Stockton.

On March 19, Heredia, donned in scuba gear, ventured into the challenging conditions of the Calaveras River. Remarkably, within just thirty minutes, he located the body of Martinez, a local high school student missing since a campus altercation led him to the water's edge. This act of courage ended a harrowing six-day search led by the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office boating unit, which until then, had seen no success.

The board's certificate to Heredia read, “Your remarkable selflessness in answering the call to search for a drowning victim in Stockton reflects the true essence of heroism.” This commendation not only recognized Heredia's bravery but also underscored the profound impact of his actions on the community and the grieving family.

Chairman Miguel Villapudua and Supervisor Tom Patti personally expressed their gratitude. Villapudua praised Heredia for the peace he brought to the community in such a tragic time, while Patti, a friend of Heredia, highlighted the dangers the diver faced in the murky waters to aid a family in despair.

Heredia's act of bravery transcends mere recognition, embodying the spirit of community and the strength of human resolve in the face of adversity. As Stockton mourns the loss of young Martinez, with his funeral held this Wednesday, it also stands united in honoring a man whose selfless act provided closure to a bereaved family, marking a poignant moment of heroism within the community.

Reported by Victoria Franco for Bay City News Foundation.

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