Dallas, TX-Erika Benning, 42, was preparing to be sworn in as the Irving Police Department’s newest officer, but little did she know her son was there to pin her badge on her uniform.
Her son, 21-year-old Army Sgt. Giovanni Pando, whom she hadn’t seen in over two years because he was stationed overseas, arrived at the ceremony on Friday to pin the badge on her uniform.
“When my son came around the corner and I realized that this was real, my breathing just started to slow down, and everything just felt really tight,” Benning said. “I just didn’t want to pass out because I wanted to enjoy every moment of it.”
The police department in the Dallas, Texas, suburbs posted the moment on Facebook, writing, “All swearing-in ceremonies are special but every once in a while one tugs at your heart strings a little more than others.”
“It was overwhelming. I felt every emotion you could think of just from being happy for her and also missing her. I was also trying to keep my composure as well,” Pando said, while admitting that a “little bit of tears” came out.
“He’s the reason why I breathe every single day. He’s the reason why I wake up every morning. He’s my world,” said Benning, an immigrant from Honduras. Once he finishes in the Army, Pando said he plans to become a police officer and follow in his mother’s steps.
“She’s never let something stop her from achieving what she wants. And while raising me, that’s always something she’s preached to me. If you want something, work for it and you’ll achieve your goal,” Pando said.
“The only other moment that I will never forget that is more meaningful than this was the day I gave birth to him,” Benning said. “So, this moment of him pinning my badge, I have to say is up there with that.”