One year into the Boy Scouts of America’s Exploring program, young Buena Park Explorer Vince Parra faced a battle that threatened to halt his quest for his police badge.
At 16, Parra found out he had bone cancer. He beat two rounds of the disease with the vigor that earned him the immense respect of his Exploring and police force peers. They voted him the most inspirational Explorer in 2013 and 2014.
This August 18-year-old Parra passed away.
At his funeral, law enforcement personnel from at least 15 law enforcement agencies in Orange and Los Angeles counties flooded the ceremony at Church of Our Fathers at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Hundreds of attendees spilled out of the doors of the church.
Following mass, Para’s nurse Laura Fonseca, Explorer progam advisor Officer Joey Hoover, and Buena Park Police Chief Corey Sianez shared their memories of the Explorer.
Their words triumphed Para’s unwavering positivity.
“I took over (Explorer Post No. 474) last November,” Hoover said, “and if you didn’t know what Vince had already been through with his cancer, you would never have known.”
Fonseca shared Para’s incredible bravery, providing a glimpse at his harrowing life.
“He was a warrior, and we got to see that in the hospital,” Fonseca said. “We want you all to know how strong and brave he was … no matter how hard things got, how sick he became, I never saw a tear. He was always smiling and making us laugh.
And then this warrior received a long-awaited honor in celebration of his life. Holding up a Buena Park Police Officer badge, Sianez bestowed the badge to Para posthumously.
“I wanted him to take this with him because he’s going to need it,” Sianez said. “I’m sure that as he moves on that he will continue to be a public servant.
Para reached his dream because of his tenacity and the tremendous impression he left on his colleagues, friends, and family.
Read more about how Para’s life was celebrated on Behind the Badge OC.