Third-grader who cleaned up graffiti honored by Sheriff’s Office

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When third-grade student Joaquin Moncada noticed graffiti on the slide at the newly-opened Rocky Mountain Elementary School playground in October, he and his sister Asiah, didn’t just sit idly by. They cleaned it up.

Joaquin and Asiah’s mother Patricia told The Daily Sentinel at the time Joaquin wanted to shield younger kids from seeing the profane graffiti.

For their efforts, Joaquin and Asiah were presented with citizen awards for “an act of civic responsibility or assistance to the community that is noteworthy and of significant quality require an expression of appreciation” at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office’s annual awards ceremony Tuesday at Colorado Mesa University.

“The Clifton Community spent four years building the Rocky Mountain Elementary playground. The excitement around the opening was palpable throughout the area,” said Mesa County Sheriff Todd Rowell.“The opening of the newly-established playground had the local schoolchildren eager to make the trip out to the playground to enjoy its newness.”

However, Rowell said, students found the equipment had been vandalized after the playground had been open for less than a month, including “inappropriate drawings” on one of the slides.

“Unfortunately, to their dismay, they discovered their new equipment had been vandalized,” Rowell said.

Joaquin and Asiah acquired cleaning supplies and removed the graffiti from the slide.

“Although vandalism may have ruined the park’s splendor, Joaquin turned his disappointment into action,” Rowell said.

Rowell credited Joaquin and Asia’s parents for their good behavior. He noted their other sibling, Ayanna, would have been there also if not for an injury.

“Joaquin’s determination to do what is right and demonstrate leadership amongst his peers shows he is well on his path to a successful future,” Rowell said. “Joaquin and Asiah have shown a commitment to making Mesa County a safe place to live, work and play by making the community a better place.”

Overall, 29 awards were given to 96 recipients at the ceremony. Those awards included service awards, life saving awards, unit citations, community service awards, citizens awards, excellence awards, and medals of merit.

Years of service, promotions and new hires were also honored.

“We have more awards tonight than we’ve ever given out,” Rowell said.

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