FORT WORTH, Texas – As many dressed in black to mourn the premature death of a 5-year-old boy, one man stood out in red and blue.
Officer Damon Cole of the Fort Worth Police Department in Texas dressed as Spider-Man to attend the funeral of Joshua Garcia, 5, who drowned in his pool on April 2.
Cole was first on scene, according to TODAY, when Garcia drowned.
When Cole arrived on scene, Garcia’s mother had already jumped into the backyard pool at an acquaintance’s house. He says the pool was in a state of disrepair with darkened water and garbage littering it. Because of this, says Cole, it was difficult to find Garcia.
Cole says when they finally found him, he attempted to give Garcia CPR for nearly an hour.
"We see a lot of difficult things on this job and you try not to make it personal, but this is the first time I've been directly affected like this in 16 years as a police officer,'' Cole told TODAY.com. "I don't view myself as a hero. I just wished I had super powers to save that boy."
Cole is a part of a group of Dallas-area officers who dress as superheroes to cheer up children at various events.
Garcia’s parents requested Cole dress as his favorite spidey hero when attending the funeral because the little boy was wearing a Spider-Man shirt and shoes the day he died.
"I told them I would be honored,'' Cole told TODAY. "I was really touched. I was having a really hard time with it because I felt like I should've saved him."
During the Garcia’s obituary, Cole was thanked and given a special plaque signed by the family members. In addition to dressing up as Spider-Man himself, Cole also purchased an outfit for Garcia to be buried with.
"It just broke my heart,'' he said. "I have an 8-year-old daughter of my own, and I just couldn't imagine something like this. I heard all these stories about how Joshua was just happy and full of live, and this just made it more personal.
"They call me a part of their family now, and they are definitely a part of mine, too."