BOGOTA, N.J. — Bogota Police Capt. James Sepp wasn't about to leave a displaced family of five homeless after they awoke during the weekend's Arctic blast to frozen pipes and the smell of gas.
"We had no plan," Ingrid Valdivia, 38, told Daily Voice after firefighters said she, her husband, Dino, and their three teenage daughters couldn't stay in their Linden Avenue home. "We just moved here last April. We don't have any family here."
Joined by Borough Emergency Management Coordinator Tito Jackson, Sepp drove the Valdivias to the Hilton Garden in nearby Ridgefield Park.
Sepp then paid for four nights.
"I was really amazed," Valdivia said. "I have never had a good experience with police officers, so it was a shock to me that they were so helpful.
"I can’t thank them enough for being there for me and my family."
Sepp insisted it was nothing special.
"I signed up for this job 26 years ago to help people," the captain told Daily Voice. "I am fortunate that I am in a position where I can do that.
"I do it obviously to help those in need but I also do it for me and to set a good example for my children," the captain added. "If they know I care, they will care, too.
"He who serves almost always benefits more than the one who is served."