Editorial: Assist the Officer Gala another example of positive annual event

Tom Kennedy

ASSIST THE OFFICER AND HPOU HAVE SUCCEEDED IN PUTTING TOGETHER yet another positive annual HPD tradition that recognizes the true heroes in the Department.

First there came the Police Week “Heroes” recognition that’s held in May of every year under the expert direction of the Houston Police Foundation. HPOU, Assist the Officer and First Responders Benefit Trust are always on hand to ensure this great event is widely attended and contributes greatly to the Foundation’s purpose of helping to fund special needs not covered in Houston’s police budget.

Comes now another truly fun and upbeat February event – the first annual ATO “Top Cop” Gala. Held Feb. 10, the gala drew a packed crowd of duded-up (tuxedoed) HPOU officials and local elected officials and celebrities to honor HPD’s “Top Cops” of this past year. Each honoree was presented a plaques and cash award. It was the high point of a grand and glorious evening that was, as usual, the product of many days of preparatory work led by ATO chairman Tom Hayes, who also serves as the 3rd vice president of the HPOU.

Hayes especially singled out event chairman Mike Mitchell, HPOU’s Lisa Marino and Gabriela Gregory for their expert assistance. These three also serve as ATO board members. Other members and hard workers putting together the event are Vice Chair and HPD Officer Michael LaReau, Treasurer Drew Doebbler, board members Renee Cravens and William Booth, a 32-year HPD sergeant who also serves as a Director of the Houston Police Officers’ Union and Secretary of the First Responders Benefit Trust.

Other great worker bees from the board are HPOU 1st Vice President Doug Griffith, HPOU Treasurer Tim Butler, HPD Sgt. and HPOU Board Member Luis Menendez-Sierra, HPD Sgt. Matt Williams and HPOU Board Member Terry Seagler. Hayes and Mitchell also singled out the usual great work of HPOU Photographer Gary Hicks, whose photos of the gala appear on the pages of this issue.

And let’s add yet another working faction: the spouses of board members as well as the many great friends who came out and showed their support of the gala. Their work also helped make this event a success.

Congratulations, team, for a great first-time success story. We can’t wait’ll next year!