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Monday, July 22

Fallen Heroes


Riverside County Sheriff's Department - Medal of Honor

Deputy Manuel "Manny" Villegas
Riverside County Sheriff's Department - Medal of Honor

Manuel "Manny" Villegas

Date of Birth: June 26, 1973
End of Watch: March 19, 2007
Donations can be made through the
Riverside Sheriff's Association
Relief Fund/Deputy Villegas
6215 River Crest Drive, #A
Riverside, CA, 92507
(909) 653-5152

During the early morning hours of March 19th, 2007, Deputy Manuel 'Manny' Villegas was working the unincorporated, agricultural communities of Thermal and Mecca. He was en route to back-up a fellow deputy when another driver, traveling in the opposite direction, veered into Deputy Villegas lane of travel and collided with him in a head-on collision. Deputy Villegas was killed instantly.

Though he was only 33 years of age at the time of his death, Manny had lived the life many men strive for. He was a husband, a father, a decorated combat veteran, a friend and valued beat partner.

Manny served his country in the United States Marine Corps as an infantryman with the First Marine Division and later as a member of the United States Army's elite Special Forces. Manny served as a Green Beret in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan where he was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat 'V'.

Manny brought his quiet leadership, keen sense of humor and esprit de corps to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department in November of 2005. He attended the Sheriff's Basic Academy, graduating first in his class, and was awarded the California Academy Directors Association Award for being the most inspirational student to his classmates and instructors. Manny also set the academy record for the mile and a half run with a scorching time of 8:01.

Manny reported to the Indio Sheriff's Station in May 2006 and this quiet, unassuming man quickly became a favorite among his peers, his supervisors and the public he served.

Deputy Manuel Villegas was buried with full military honors in Bakersfield, California. He is survived by his wife Xochitl and his four children, daughter Stacie Lee and sons Ezequiel, Israel and Xavier.