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Fundraiser held for Yellowstone County jail officer with cancer

Jason Valdez
Posted at 5:24 PM, Oct 08, 2023

A fundraiser event was held at The Red Door on Sunday afternoon where everything generated will be donated to Yellowstone County Detention Facility Officer Jason Valdez.

Valdez, who has worked for the detention facility for nearly 25 years, was diagnosed with stomach cancer this past July.

"It was probably one of the worst days of my life," Valdez said. "If not, then probably the worst."

Valdez said that the diagnosis was difficult to hear for both he and his family.

"I just remember turning the corner and seeing my brother and my wife," Valdez said as his eyes got a little misty. "It's been tough. I'm usually the guy that helps others and to be on the other side has been hard."

But Valdez hasn't been fighting alone. Fundraisers were planned by friends, family and coworkers to benefit him.

"It's very, very overwhelming and I've been very blessed," Valdez said. "It's always so good to see my staff because I miss them a lot right now."

Jason's older brother Dave Valdez said it's been difficult to process, but that the support has been amazing.

"Nobody wants to see your younger siblings go through this," Dave said. "It just sucks because we're the protector. This is what he needs. He needs to see the people here that love him and supporting him through this."

Dave said he's already been amazed with his brother's progress.

"He looks great," Valdez said. "To see him out doing things now is great. Honestly, I didn't think he was going to leave that hospital room."

And Jason is already eyeing a return date for work. He knows that the jail is understaffed and could always more officers on duty.

"My goal is to go back to work by the end of the month," Valdez said. "We're already short staffed as it is."

For now, he's letting the treatment do it's job and just doing his best to be thankful for all of the love and support he's received.

"For the people that have been involved and helped me out," Valdez said. "I just really, really appreciate it."