The 60-gallon fish tank in the living room of the Fullerton home speaks volumes about its occupants.
But inside the tank, a softball — and on top, several trophies, medals and ribbons for sports and academics.
Heavy hitters when in comes to achievement and community involvement.
These are just a few of the ways to describe Corp. Raymond Flores and his family.
Flores, a School Resource Officer (SRO) in the Community Services Bureau of the Fullerton Police Department, has coached his three daughters and countless other girls in Fullerton Hills Softball, a recreational softball league, for 10 years. His two older daughters have played travel softball for five years and have competed in tournaments around the country.
Emy Flores, Ray’s wife, is a longtime educator and elementary school principal who, in January, started as assistant superintendent of educational services at the Fullerton School District, which encompasses 15 elementary schools, two K-schools and three junior high schools.
Ray and Emy Flores are well-known fixtures in Fullerton, who through policing and education hope to inspire youth to do their best — and always go down swinging hard.
The family-on-the-go recently was under one roof at the same time to collectively catch their breaths and enjoy dinner together — which doesn’t happen often.
Although Ray Flores has had a more normal schedule the last two years as an SRO at Sunny Hills High School, after spending six years as a motor officer working the Thursday-through-Saturday night shift, Emy’s responsibilities often last well into the evening.
And she’s working on a doctorate in education from USC she hopes to wrap up around May.
“We’re running all the time,” Ray Flores says.
“We’ve become very good at juggling a lot of things,” Emy Flores adds.
Through it all, Ray and Emy Flores have managed to raise three high-achieving daughters who not only are great softball players but also are doing very well academically.
Amanda, 17, a senior at Fullerton High School, is interested in becoming a chiropractor.
Erin, 16, a junior at Fullerton High, has a 4.5 GPA and wants to become an astrophysicist.
Gabrielle, 10, a fourth-grader at Valencia Park Elementary, loves art and wants to be an architect.
Both Ray and Emy Flores are from East Los Angeles. They met while undergraduates at UC Santa Barbara. They have been married 20 years and have lived in Fullerton since 2000 — a city Ray Flores calls “the biggest small town you’ll ever be in.”
Ray Flores, 47, has been a cop for 20 years. He transferred to the Fullerton PD in 2001 after working for the South Gate Police Department.
Emy Flores, 44, started her career in education in 1993 as a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District. She moved on to become a vice principal in the Paramount Unified School District and as a principal in the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District.
After a stint in the non-profit world, Emy Flores served as principal of Valencia Park Elementary, from 2008 to 2013.
As the couple sees it, investing resources in youth is key to Fullerton’s future.
“We have a heart for the place — we love it here,” says Ray, an Army veteran who served as chief of an Apache helicopter crew, and who serves, at the Fullerton PD, on the honor guard and as an advisor for the Explorers program.
“And our kids and all the kids of Fullerton are our priority.”
The family-friendly vibe of Fullerton is one of the reasons Ray “lateraled” to the FPD in 2001. The chief at the time, Pat McKinley, told Flores:
“At our department, family comes first.”
At Sunny Hills High, Flores works a lot with at-risk youth. He’s far from a pushover, but he strives to be compassionate and show that he cares about the roughly 2,300 students.
“A lot of these kids don’t understand their own potential because no one has ever told them they have any,” he says. “Some of the kids who end up liking me best are the ones I’ve arrested. And I try not just to arrest them, but mentor them. I will help them if they are trying to do the right thing.”
Ray and Emy are involved in several local organizations. Ray has been an advisor for the RSVPs, for Retired Senior Volunteer Program, and also volunteers at elementary and high schools to teach parent groups about drug trends.
Emy is on the board of the Fullerton Technology Foundation.
“This is my community,” Emy Flores says, “so I’m going to bring all the resources necessary to it. There is great need in this city. As an educator, I want to make sure that every child has equal access to a quality education and has the same opportunities.”
Although their days and evenings are hectic, Ray and Emy Flores work out together every weekday at a gym from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. after coffee and stretching.
A saying Ray Flores always uses with his young softball players can apply to life in general — and not just to his children, but all kids:
“Work hard,” he says, “earn what you get, and always do your best on the field.”