WOODLAND PARK — Unless you have a family member or a friend in law enforcement it can be hard to know who the people in uniform in our community really are.
In the four years I have taken part in the SHIELD616 Border to Border Ride I have certainly gotten a lot out of each and every year, including new friendships with some of the first reponsders in our community who go on the bike ride to raise funds for protective gear. In 2021 Levente-Bontond Racz joined our cycling team. Boti as he likes to be called, has been protecting and serving in Woodland Park for almost three years.
In October of 2022 a few weeks after we had completed the Border to Border ride, Boti told me, “This has been a dream for more than 10 years and finally I realized my dream.”
Riding the state of Colorado on a bicycle isn't the dream Boti is talking about, infact he's had many dreams in his unique life.
“I started skiing when I was two or three years old. My parents put me on the skis and kicked me out of the house and said, ‘You go slide’, just to get rid of me and we would ski all day.”
Born in Transylvania, and growing up in Transylvania and Romania - one of Boti’s early dreams in life was to be a national champion, on the Romanian national triathlon team.
“I decided one year that I was going to win the national triathlon championship. I really worked for it and in 2008 I was Romanian national champion.”
Boti’s next big dream was to be a professional triathlete, a dream that came true also, and brought Boti and his now wife to America on a P-1A athlete visa to compete.
Eventually, Boti and his girlfriend married, which led to kids, and an end to his professional athletic career. Boti also transitioned to a green card and then his next life long dream of becoming a police officer. He attended the Pikes Peak Regional Law Enforcement Academy, and went to work for the Woodland Park Police Department.
“Finally, I became a law enforcement officer, which has been a lifelong dream.”
His first job in Woodland Park made sense for so many reasons to Boti who says, “I always had a feeling that the mountains are calling me back. I come from a mountain area in Transylvania where I was always skiing and hiking, climbing and everything connected to mountains. The first time I drove through this small town of Woodland Park, I was like, ‘Dang - I love this place! I love Colorado because I can do everything I want here. I can go fishing, skiing, hiking, I can shoot my bow - it's the best place to live in my opinion. I can drive 20 minutes and I can fly fish, that's the best thing ever!”
But getting back to that 10 year dream Boti mentioned at the beginning of this story, last year in October he and his wife became citizens of the United States.
“I became a U.S. citizen, which gives me a lot of pride. I’m really proud to be a U.S. citizen. It’s just joy, like such a big joy that you want to cry, but you can't cry because of such a strong emotion.”
Now as a citizen of the United States, Boti will continue to make a living by serving his community - and his county no differently than when he was living and serving here with a green card.
“It was a great day knowing that I’m now a U.S. citizen, like every other citizen and I'm doing something for the community and wearing this uniform.”
And that’s a dream come true.