2 Orange County deputies form deep bond after overcoming same obstacle

TUSTIN, Calif. (KABC) -- Orange County sheriff's deputy Aron Grumbles is passionate about teaching others how to work in law enforcement. Most days, you can find him barking orders and pulling recruits aside, quietly encouraging them at the department's training facility in Tustin. "If I had it my way, I would never leave training," said Grumbles. "I love training recruits."

In 2015, Grumbles was part of history. His student, Robert Ram, became the first amputee to go through OCSD's Correctional Services Assistant Academy. He lost his left leg to cancer. "I can't say that it was harder for me than anyone else, because I don't know what it was like to go through it with two legs," said Ram.

Ram credits Grumbles and his other instructors for pushing him to succeed. "Here's a guy with one leg that was outrunning, out PTing them, he's a motivator," said Grumbles.

Ram recalls his first impression of Grumbles during the academy, "I was scared because he came out, he's fit, he's loud," said Ram.

A month before Ram's graduation, Grumbles was in a motorcycle accident, hit by a distracted driver, forcing doctors to amputate his left leg. "The day I lost my leg, he became my hero and it was because of him I knew it was going to be alright," said Grumbles.

The accident didn't stop Grumbles from watching Ram and his class graduate. Then, the student became the teacher. Ram began encouraging Grumbles through his recovery, from finding a prosthetic leg to his first steps. "I felt honored that he was asking me, but also I had more answers than anybody," said Ram.

In November of 2016, Ram was sworn in as a deputy, the same month Grumbles returned to full duty. Their connection is undeniable. The two men, forever bonded not by what they've lost, but what they've gained in each other. "Even today I text him, he texts me -- we can ask each other anything and I look up to him 100 percent," said Ram.

"I'm a huge believer in, God only gives you what you can handle, and I don't know that I would've handled it quite as well if I didn't have Robert," said Grumbles.
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