Johnathan, a miracle man

This column is overdue, but I wanted to give you good news, so I waited a while.

Today, write Richard Velasco, the former managing director for Riu Hotels in Aruba, in an online entry from yesterday, Jonathan had his first Physical and Speech Therapy sessions. He was happy to start a twice a week schedule. The PT is a Body Builder, and Johnathan can relate, most importantly, she feels she can get him back to at least 90% of his former strength.
After five minutes with the ST, Johnathan could say his name clear as a bell.

That’s tremendous progress.

It’s been a while.

On January 2, 2020, Special Agent (SA) Jonathan Velasco of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Santa Rosa Resident Office, 26, suffered a traumatic injury and was hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit at the Aventura Florida Hospital and Medical Center.

SA Velasco recently graduated from the DEA Academy in class BA 219. He was previously employed by the South Miami Police Department.  He graduated from Florida International University with Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and attended high school at the International School in Aruba, Richard wrote when he first floated the GoFundMe page, pledging that 100% of the proceeds will go to SA Velasco to assist with any financial obligations associated with his care.

So, you understand that tragedy struck. Inexplicably. Suddenly. Life as we knew if was tragically disrupted.

The tall, handsome, amazingly educated Aruban/American Johnathan Velasco was living his dream, as a special agent in Miami Florida, plain clothes, and then some SOB shot him in the face.

It bothers Johnathan quite a bit and lately, he keeps asking, “Why me,” as he makes a sign of a pistol with his good hand. All we can tell him, says Richard, is that only the person who shot him knows. Johnathan has no recollection of the traumatic event.

One minute he was walking, the next minute he was in coma, connected to machinery, with only his father Richard, convinced, absolutely sure, that he will get better, and that he will be himself again.

You have to understand that when the Velascos arrived in Miami, after that fateful call on January 2nd, nothing could have prepared them for what they saw in the hospital bed. They could hardly recognize their beloved son. He was shot in the face, around the nose area, the bullet penetrated and is lodged behind his ear.

It took huge doses of faith in God, and prayers, and the amazing support of the DEA SA brotherhood, to get Johnathan to where he is today, taking careful beach walks – he can move his legs and arms easier in the water and it helps him with his balance, Richard explains.

He learned to swallow, and can now be trusted to eat without choking, no coughing no gagging, and his stomach peg could be removed.

I want to thank all his DEA Sisters and Brothers, says Richard, they continue to support him with their time, and prayers, and arranged mid-pandemic for a humanitarian flight to bring Johnathan home, after months in the intensive care then extended care unit of the hospital.

So, that’s the good news today. Jonathan is progressing, working on mobility and speech, gaining weight, his memory is excellent except for the shooting. He does not know what happened to him and perhaps never will.

On his difficult journey he met Doctors, Nurses and especially Therapists, at Memorial Rehabilitation Center, and later at the Neurological Rehab that have shown special affection and care for him,

He has two loving, supportive parents, with a steel will, that won’t quit.

Check out Special Agent Jonathan Velasco Fund, @gofundme, perhaps you would like to become part of his community.



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July 30, 2020
Rona Coster