For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett today took part in the renaming ceremony of the Montgomery County Department of Recreation’s Wheaton Glenmont Outdoor Pool, officially titling it the “Sergeant Hector I. Ayala Wheaton Glenmont Outdoor Pool.”
Joining him at the 5 p.m. ceremony were Montgomery County Councilmembers Marc Elrich, Nancy Navarro and Nancy Floreen; Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger, Director of the Department of Recreation Gabe Albornoz, representing the Montgomery County National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Chairman of the Montgomery County Planning Board Casey Anderson; National Capital Park Police-Montgomery County Division Assistant Chief Rick Pelicano, Sgt. Ayala’s personal and police families, and interested members of the greater Wheaton Glenmont communities.
“Today’s ceremony to rename the Wheaton Glenmont Outdoor Pool in Sergeant Ayala’s honor is a wonderful way that our County can pay tribute and remember the sacrifice of this dedicated young officer,” said Leggett. “It is particularly fitting because this pool serves so many families in the police district where Sergeant Ayala spent his entire career.”
During the ceremony, Albornoz announced the beginning of the Sergeant Hector I. Ayala Safe Summer Initiative. Each summer, beginning in 2018, the Department of Recreation will provide a safe summer program at the pool now named for Sgt. Ayala. This will be a free community event to provide County families with a half-day session of water safety, mini swim lessons, swim stroke instruction and important parent/guardian safety tips for keeping children safe while at the pool.
The wooden entrance signs provided by Montgomery Parks, one at the 3201 Randolph Road entrance and the other at the 12621 Dalewood Drive entrance were replaced with new versions of the signs to include Sgt. Ayala’s name. A plaque commemorating Sgt. Ayala’s service to the community will be installed inside the pool facility.
On April 4, 2010 at approximately 3:19 a.m., then-Officer Ayala, working the midnight shift in the 4th Police District, responded to a back-up call to assist a fellow officer. He lost his life when his police cruiser left the roadway and struck a tree on Randolph Road near Denley Road. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
Officer Ayala was a seven-year veteran of the department and for his entire career was assigned to the 4th Police District. He was fluent in Spanish and frequently served as a translator for the department and Hispanic community members. He had attended Basic Investigator School and served as a Field Training Officer to newly graduated officers.
During his career he was nominated for several awards and commended for many examples of his excellent police work. Promoting traffic safety was very important to him. In one year he wrote 800 traffic citations, and always explained to the driver, what he or she had done wrong. In 2005, he was instrumental in helping to save the life of a man who attempted to commit suicide by jumping from the roof of the Glenmont Metro Station. Officer Ayala and two back-up officers physically subdued the victim and prevented him from jumping.
At the time of his death, Officer Ayala left behind his wife Melissa, who was pregnant with their triplets, and their 14-month-old son Hector, Jr. He was also survived by his parents and two siblings. That June, Melissa gave birth to Ayala’s daughters: Angelica, Gabriella and Victoria.
The renaming of the Wheaton Glenmont Outdoor Pool to honor Sergeant Ayala was initiated by a member of the Wheaton community. He described Sgt. Ayala as an outstanding police officer who was viewed as a role model of service and selfless sacrifice for the betterment of the community.
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Media Contact: Lucille Baur, 240-777-6507 or Lucille.Baur@montgomerycountymd.gov
Department of Recreation Contact: Carmen Berrios Martinez, 240-777-6875 or Carmen.BerriosMartinez@montgomerycountymd.gov
Release ID: 17-439