Jace Marietti participates in the Ikidarod at the Castle Valley Center last week. Marietti will be made an "honorary deputy" on Saturday after being led down Price's Main Street by a procession of law enforcement officers from across Utah. Marietti, who suffers from Cockayne Disease, has had a life-long dream of becoming a police officer. On Saturday, because of his new friend Jessica Adams and a team of loved ones, that dream will come true.
Those who have seen, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," know that Brad Pitt ages in reverse, lives an amazing life and carries on a lifelong love affair with Cate Blanchett. For 17-year-old Jace Marietti of Carbon County, a similar disease has not led to a similar life.
Marietti was born with Cockayne Syndrome, a disease which causes problems with his sight and hearing. It also causes him to age prematurely and wreaks havoc with his mind.
Those who know Marietti, know he is an extremely likable young man. While the syndrome causes him to age quickly, is also has left him small in stature, causing most to see him a child. Until you talk to him that is.
"What's up bro?" he asked me at a recent event put on by the Sun Advocate at the Castle Valley Center before putting up his knuckles to show he wanted to shake hands in the manner most young people do. "I'm just hangin' out, looking at the dogs."
Marietti was riding on one of the school's many large tricycles as he has recently lost the ability to walk. Just one more ability his life-long genetic condition has taken.
Most know Marietti, as his mother has been taking him to physical rehab for the majority of his life, but Jessica Adams has developed a special relationship with the young man through a chance meeting on Facebook.
"A few weeks ago as I was surfing through Facebook and I came across a page for Marietti who I recognized from my community. My husband Mike (Adams) and I met him briefly back in November and in 20 minutes this kid made a lasting impression on me," she said. "He is such an amazing young man."
Adams fell in love with Marietti's spirit and the more she read on his "Team Jace" page the more she wanted to be a part of his life. Jessica's husband is an officer with the Carbon County Sheriff's Department and when Jessica saw that Marietti loves to get mail and that his dream was to be a police officer, a friendship was born.
Adams went to work collecting patches for Marietti from departments around the state and country. She also used her husband's contacts at the Sheriff's office to obtain memorabilia that she could send the young man's way.
When Carbon County Sheriff James Cordova heard about Jessica's work, he sent an email to every county sheriff in the state asking that a patch be given to Jace.
"People were so generous right from the start and I began to think, could it be possible to get him a an Honorary Deputy," said Adams.
Like Marietti, Adams has a "never say never" personality, and began working toward making his dream come true.
She contacted Carbon County Lt. Tory Christiansen asked him if it would be possible to make Marietti an honorary deputy. Christiansen and Chief Deputy Tom Stefanoff met with the sheriff and presented my idea, which he approved, according to Adams.
"Tom and Tory split the cost purchased and the badge for Jace to help Mike and I get the ball rolling," explained Adams.
She then sent an email to Frank Budd, the Executive Director of Utah Chiefs of Police Association about Jace's dream and their plans to make him and honorary deputy. She asked that every department in the state send a patch as a special gift which would be presented to Marietti at the ceremony.
"Mike and I decided that with the patches we have collected we are going to have them put on a quilt for Jace, and are hoping to get a patch make sure and get a patch from every department we can," said Adams.
Budd forwarded the request to all his contacts, and in three days the group had more than 25 patches along with pins, coins and other types of memorabilia.
In three weeks, the group succeeded in their goal and collected all the patches they were seeking.
"Meeting this kid only one time and seeing his amazing personality, strength and energy, you cant help but adore him," explained Adams.
The actual event of Marietti being deputized has become a statewide event with media from across Utah planning to descend upon Price this Saturday.
Jace will receive his patches and memorabilia and be made an honorary part of the Carbon County Sheriff's Office on March 15 at 2 p.m. The event will take place within the Carbon High School Auditorium.
According to Adams, the ceremony is open to everyone and has been put together for Marietti's enjoyment alone.
"This ceremony is about Jace's dream of becoming a cop, it's not a fundraiser and there is no admission fee," said Adams. "From the beginning I just wanted this to be about Jace."
Marietti will receive a police escort down Main Street and to Carbon High.
"We're pretty sure we can hide the paper from Jace because he has no idea this is going on," explained Adams. "The event is a complete surprise, he has no idea we are doing this. We want to make sure that this is a day he will always be able to cherish, so don't tell him."