El Monte Police Mid-Manager’s Association and El Monte Police Officer’s Association Bring the Joy and Gift of Christmas
By Ben Lowry
January 7, 2013 • 963 views
Historically, the El Monte Police Mid-Manager’s Association (PMMA) has spent money during the holidays to buy gifts for fellow employee groups and fund a Christmas Luncheon. While this has been enjoyable, the current economy has made life even tougher for the residents of our City. A decision was made to use the normal Christmas budget to fund a full Christmas for a truly needy family, including a tree, decorations, Christmas dinner and age appropriate toys for children living in the home.
The PMMA worked with the executive director of the El Monte / South El Monte Emergency Resources Association, Lillian Rey, to identify families deserving of a proper Christmas and found two families who greatly needed our help. The PMMA joined forces with the El Monte Police Officers Association (EMPOA) and the two groups worked together and divided costs to provide Christmas for two families who otherwise would not have anything.
Shortly thereafter, both association representatives met with the families. After hearing their stories, it was difficult to hold back emotions.
Celia and Carlos Perez have six children ranging from four to 17 years. Celia recently had back surgery and it was not completely successful. Carlos has two brain tumors, is unable to find employment, and suffers from debilitating headaches. The youngest male child, Ethan, has been diagnosed with a fatal bone disease. They had very little among the family and the children had to share the available family clothing. When asked about their wishes for Christmas, it was a very modest request. They just wanted the children to receive a gift on Christmas.
Sheila Crippen-Thomas, Director of Marketing and Membership for the El Monte/So. El Monte Chamber of Commerce, heard about the Perez family and shared the story with Randy Wines of Wal-Mart. Randy created a shopping spree for the family at the Baldwin Park Wal-Mart. When the Perez family arrived at the Baldwin Park store they were greeted by the store manager Dwight. Prior to the family’s arrival at Wal-Mart, donations were collected amongst the Wal-Mart employees and they gave the Perez family a shopping cart filled with groceries.
The second adopted family was the Sotelo family. This is a single mother family with five children.
Captain Michelle States, representing Police Mid-Managers Association, coordinated the effort. Lieutenant Eric Stanley dressed up as Santa Claus and was joined with several police employees (and their families) to make the Christmas deliveries Saturday afternoon, December 22nd. Captain States said “These are good families who have had some unfortunate circumstances. We are glad to be able to help them have a good Christmas”.
El Monte Police Officer’s Association President, Ben Lowry said “We are grateful we could join the El Monte Police Mid-Manager’s Association to help make Christmas a little brighter for these two families.”
The first Christmas delivery was at the Sotelo house. The police employees and their families who accompanied them, were greeted with tears of joy and appreciation from the children.
After the delivery at the Perez house Celia Perez shared some of her life experience with the officers. Celia said she was taken from her family home and placed in foster care when she was young. This experience made her uneasy with law enforcement. Celia added that as a young adult and mother, she realized that the action was for her protection. As a result, she has been able to raise her family with a better foundation. She is very thankful for the action of the El Monte Police Department that turned her life around. She said that when the family gets back on their feet, they too would give back to the community.
Chief of Police Steve Schuster was present and oversaw the efforts of both associations and said, “Our police officers care about this community. This is another example of our commitment to improve the quality of life for the residents of our community.”