Rancho Water throws surprise parade for employee fighting cancer

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Rancho Water employee John Olmos wipes away tears as his co-workers drive by offering words of encouragement and strength to him as he is dealing with a diagnosis of stage 4 cancer. The employee parade was organized by the employees. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Rancho California Water District employees came together Tuesday, May 19, to perform a surprise parade for a longtime district employee, John Olmos, who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

“To know John is to instantly love him,” Jeff Armstrong, general manager at Rancho Water, said. “He has always been a hard-working employee whose smile is infectious. John will give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. That is just the type of guy he is. This is devastating news to Rancho and to me personally.

“We wish nothing but the best for John, his wife and kids. John has done so much for our community and for our district and we wanted to give back in a big way. To be able to mobilize over 100 people in such a short time was incredible to witness. Even more incredible was the reaction on John’s face. We can’t wait to see him back at Rancho Water soon,” he said.

Rancho Water employee John Olmos shakes the hand of an employee during a drive-by parade in his honor, May 19. Valley News/Courtesy photo

According to Grace Cardenas, public information officer for Rancho Water, Olmos has been with the district for more than 20 years. He’s spent the majority of his career in the construction department, helping to ensure the community receives water every day by performing all types of infrastructure maintenance and water line repairs.

The parade passed in front of the Olmos home in Winchester with more than 50 cars and 100 Rancho Water employees and family members in attendance. Many participated in the parade during their lunch break or on their own time.

Rancho Water employees offer encouragement to co-worker John Olmos who is fighting stage 4 cancer. Valley News/Courtesy photo

As they drove by, waving, honking and holding signs of encouragement, Olmos was seen wiping away tears while standing in his driveway with his wife Adriana and his two children.

All the cars and trucks had the hashtag, #OlmosStrong, written and taped to the sides of their vehicles.

“The amount of love and support we got today for my dad’s fight with cancer is unreal,” daughter Kiana Olmos said. “Big thank you to his co-workers and company, Rancho Water, for the drive-by.”

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.

A group of Rancho Water employees shout words of encouragement and display signs for John Olmos who is fighting cancer. Valley News/Courtesy photo
John Olmos
Rancho Water employee John Olmos holds up a sign, bearing the hashtag #RanchoStrong, after the drive-by parade by his co-workers. Valley News/Courtesy photo