Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal was a true trailblazer. As the first Sikh deputy in the state of Texas, Dhaliwal bridged a divide between cultures. Never before in American history has a law enforcement officer been permitted to display a beard and turban during work hours. In 2015, the Harris County Sherriff's Department changed the rules to allow for religious attire.
The turban is an important part of the Sikh religion, and Deputy Dhaliwal showed that it was possible to be committed to one’s faith as well as the American way of life. Rather than allowing his appearance to become controversial, Dhaliwal used his turban as a conversation starter. He worked hard to provide education on the true nature of Sikhs, a people with a long history of serving their communities through law enforcement.
“He represented his community with integrity, respect, and pride,” Harris County Sherriff Ed Gonzalez told reporters in a recent press conference.
In a tragic turn of events, the beloved deputy, a 42-year-old married father of three, was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop in September. His killer has since been arrested and charged.
This incident has devastated the local community. Everyone in the area saw Dhaliwal as a hero and admired his generous commitment to public service. He was known for his volunteer work, which included helping with rescue efforts after Hurricane Harvey caused major destruction in Texas. He had also traveled to Puerto Rico to assist with hurricane relief efforts there.
Like so many other community members, Sam Zavary, CEO of Exclusive Furniture, was shocked and upset by Dhaliwal’s loss. After receiving so much support for his furniture business from Houston residents throughout the years, Zavary felt that giving something back was the right thing to do. The furniture store donated 10 percent of sales profits from a three-day span in October to the family of Deputy Dhaliwal.
“I want to take this time to thank all our customers for supporting us, which allowed us to help out in this effort,” Zavary said in a recent video interview.
Exclusive Furniture ended up donating well over $31,000 to the family of the fallen deputy. The deputy’s father, Pyara Singh Dhaliwal, was on hand to accept the check.
“Thank you very much for supporting the family in this difficult time,” he said.
If you’d like to make a donation in honor of Dhaliwal, you can do so here. The funds will go toward education expenses for the deputy’s children.
For more information about Exclusive Furniture, you can visit their website.