The Wildomar City Council recognized two local residents at their general meeting July 12.
Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Ochoa was acknowledged for his help in locating a stolen vehicle while off-duty in early June.
Ochoa works out of the Cabazon sheriff’s station but lives in the Wildomar area.
On the afternoon of June 6, Ochoa was driving with his wife in the area of Bundy Canyon Road and Interstate 15 when he noticed a pickup truck that he knew from earlier social media posts to be stolen.
Ochoa immediately called the Sheriff’s Department dispatch center to report the vehicle, Elsinore station captain Daniel Anne said, resulting in the arrest of the man and woman driving the truck.
“Within a matter of 10 hours of the truck being stolen in Murrieta, the owner had his truck back,” Anne said. “No harm, no foul.”
Ochoa was congratulated by Wildomar Mayor Timothy Walker.
“We want to show our appreciation to anybody that gets anybody in our city, since we’re very lacking in sheriff’s coverage right now until we have all of our money back,” Walker said.
Wildomar’s most recent budget provides funds for eight full-time sheriff’s deputies, or about one for every 4,000 residents. The city awaits the return of state vehicle license fee money, which was earmarked for newly incorporated cities until 2011 and only recently reinstated.
The Wildomar City Council also recognized Ileana Herrera, who just finished eighth grade at David Brown Middle School, for receiving a scholarship from the Carson Scholars Fund.
According to its website, the Carson Scholars Fund awards about 500 scholarships annually, totaling $1,000 each, to students in grades 4 – 11 “who excel academically and are dedicated to serving their community.”
An interested student must be nominated by an educator at their school, and only one student may be nominated from each school, according to the fund’s website.
Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.75 and “display humanitarian qualities through community service.”
Ileana said she won an essay contest and was selected by her school counselor to be David Brown’s applicant for the Carson scholarship.
“The application was long,” she said. “I had to put my community service hours, write an essay, answer a few questions, just all of that.”
But clearly, it paid off.
“I got a letter home, and it said, ‘congratulations, you got the scholarship,’” she said. “And I told my father, and he was so happy, and we were both jumping in the air.”
Ileana said she plans to save the $1,000 for her college textbooks.
“Those are a lot of money, I’ve heard,” she said.
Ileana will be attending Elsinore High School this fall.