MESA, Ariz. -- Mesa city leaders announced Thursday they will honoring fallen police Sgt. Brandon Mendoza by naming a baseball field after him.
"I'm very proud and appreciative that you care enough to name this ball field it after him," Mary Ann Mendoza, the officer's mother, said at a press conference. "He will be remembered in the area where he made such a big difference."
Before his untimely death on May 12, Mendoza helped to make Guerrero Rotary Park -- 205 W. 8th Ave. -- a safer and better place for residents to enjoy. He would counsel young people to stay in school, kick the ball around with little kids and became a mentor to some of them.
Mendoza was off duty when a driver going the wrong direction crashed into him head-on just after midnight on a Valley freeway.
"If my son's death has taught me anything, it's that every human being is important and deserves compassion, respect and love that each of us needs to feel wanted in this world," his mother said.
The announcement follows numerous discussions among the police department, city officials and community leaders about how to honor the fallen officer, who was posthumously promoted from officer to sergeant four days after his death.
"The incredible outpouring of support from the local community after Sgt. Mendoza's death is a testament to the impact he had as a Mesa police officer," Mayor Alex Finter said. "I look forward to the day we can visit the baseball field at Guerrero Rotary Park, reflect on his life and see the kids that he inspired every day."
The Foundation for Mesa Parks and Recreation is raising money to make improvements to the baseball field in honor of Mendoza. Those upgrades will include covered dugouts, an irrigation system and new concrete work.
"I can't think of a better way to honor Sgt. Mendoza than for his name to grace this field," Vice Mayor Chris Glover said. "The baseball field and this community meant so much to him; it is fitting that his name be forever linked with it. I am so glad that his legacy and his commitment to the neighborhood and the park will be honored this way."
To contribute to the Guerrero Rotary Park upgrade fund, visit MesaParksFoundation.org and click on the "Donate Now" button.