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Cleveland Police fundraiser: $30,000 raised for officer paralyzed after drunk driver crashed into SWAT vehicle

Hundreds of people showed up to a fundraiser the goal: $50,000 for potentially life-changing surgery.

PARMA, Ohio — Hundreds of people showed up to a fundraiser the goal: $50,000 for potentially life-changing surgery after a drunk driver hit a Cleveland SWAT vehicle two years ago, leaving the 32 year old paralyzed from the neck down.

It's easy to see how loved Officer Jon Rodriguez truly is. 

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"After the two or three years that this has happened to see the amount of people you're seeing tonight, this is a sellout crowd, it's been sold out for weeks," Ralph Spidaleri with nonprofit Blue Line Unlimited said.

Everyone we spoke to describes Rodriguez in the same way, big beaming smile, and so much pride in his young family. 

His wife spoke with us off camera saying she was told this was a small event with a couple people.

"It's awesome, it really is, it renews your faith in humanity, really it does and people have been coming up to us, we've sold out, people have just given us money they're not coming to the event," Cleveland SWAT Lieutenant Ray Kaloczi said.

The Rodriguez family were shocked to see wall-to-wall of the UAW hall packed Saturday afternoon, but the people who planned it aren't surprised one bit.

"The guys on SWAT have absolutely 100 percent taken this thing to heart and to just do whatever we can for Jon Rodriguez and his family," Spidaleri said.

Before the event even started, Blue Line Unlimited who throws events like this for officers and families in need, already raised $30,000 on its website.

"It was something that we could do and we could help bring this thing together and get it organized and facilitate it and that's what we did," Spidaleri said.

And people continued to step up and donate throughout the night. 

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