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April 12, 2005

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24Seven Cop2Cop: News By, For & About Law Enforcement In the West
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LAPD helps wounded troops

On December 22nd LAPD Assistant Chief James McDonnell, Deputy Chief Michael Hillmann, Officer Kathy McAnany and Officer Gary Ross led a convoy of LAPD Officers down the I-5 to San Diego’s Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital and Balboa Naval Hospital. Hillman made a dramatic entrance on the SWAT Huey helicopter and the equally dramatic convoy of 30 LAPD patrol cars was escorted by 8 California Highway Patrol motorcycles. SWAT Officers Joe Witty and Andy Hudlett assisted by driving the SWAT "Bear" which transported the gifts.

Their mission to deliver $13,000 worth of Christmas presents to the 400 wounded Marines and Sailors that have returned from Iraq.

It all started with this notice posted by LAPD’s West Traffic Division’s Officer Gary Ross on Chief Bill Bratton’s web page on by the LAPD Intranet.

“There are approximately 400 injured soldiers that have returned from Iraq, many with severe injuries that have been recently transferred to the hospital at Camp Pendleton for further surgeries and physical therapy. There is not enough room in the hospital for all the injured soldiers, so temporary hospital quarters have been set up. These buildings are not designed for long-term use and there is no source of entertainment for the troops to watch TV or listen to music. The LAPD is collecting donations, portable electronics devices such as DVD players with a headset, CD players with a headset, or a game boy. These items need to be donated by December 21, 2004, so they can be delivered in time for Christmas. If you would like to make a donation, we can provide a tax identification number for your records. Checks can be made out to "Central Area Station Fund." For additional information please contact Officer Gary Ross, at 213-473-0220 or Officer Kathy McAnany at 213-972-1880.”

The notice solicited an immediate response and over the next five days Gary and Kathy collected $13,000 by going to roll calls and local businesses; both officers and business owners were generous.

- The Los Angeles Police Protective League and Command Officers Association.

- Howard Klein, CEO of "Three Star Smoked Fish" and "Ocean Beauty Seafood" in downtown Los Angeles.

- LAPD Central Division Senior Lead Officer Pete Foster's stepfather.

- LA Downtown Fashion District BID Director, Randy Tampa.

- Best Buy gave Gary and Kathy a big discount on the game boys, personal DVD players and 2 big screen televisions, which they purchased with the money. (They also gave away several cash envelopes and lots of toys for the kids.)

- Paul’s TV and Appliances in La Habra, (714) 713-4927, donated a 65" Diamond screen big screen TV for Balboa Hospital. Prior to the donation they only had 2 small TVs in an 85x85 foot hospital room.

- Newland Street Church in Garden Grove donated $2,500.

- Coca-Cola Beverage of San Diego was also a donor.

Kathy summed it up like this, “The LAPD officers really came together on this - everyone was outstanding. We all feel privileged and honored to be able to show our support for our military members and their families. They certainly are deserving of any and all assistance that can be given to them, especially our wounded. The LAPD has many veterans who are sworn officers and also has approximately 500 who are still with the Reserve or National Guard. There are approx. 75 officers who are currently deployed on active duty status”.

When I interviewed Kathy for this story the 9-year veteran said it was the “ best day of her career”

Way to go Kathy, Gary, the LAPD and community members who supported this project !

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