JFlo’s close friends and colleagues pitched in to make Aug. 23 Minute Maid fundraiser a gigantic success

Tom Kennedy

One could practically hear the steady beat of the heart under the JFlo T-shirt worn by Senior Police Officer Stephanie Reyes at the fundraiser for her friend and colleague Jerry Flores – the real “JFlo.”

Reyes undertook a steady leadership role in organizing the minute details of the Aug. 23 fundraiser/auction at Minute Maid Park starting very soon after Flores’ head injury at a golf tournament in April.

She immediately knew the recovery period for her close friend would be long, arduous and – bet on it! – very costly. So in the months since it happened she’s taken many giant steps to ensure an awesome turnout at the event. Those who saw her could hardly get a clear focus because she moved so fast and steadfast.

“I certainly was astounded, taken aback by the fantabulous turnout,” Reyes told the Badge & Gun. “The crowd, the number of people was fantastic.

“In my heart I was smiling all day long. I wanted it to be this crowded but had no idea. My heart was warm with love for the Astros Foundation, the Thin Blue Line and Assist the Officer.

“Look what happened. It’s really going to help Jerry a lot. When he’s able to look at the pictures and videos he’s going to see how much he’s loved. He’s going to get strong and get through it. His family is overwhelmed.

“There are so, so many people to thank. I hope I don’t leave anyone out. First and foremost, of course, are all the contributors of those great auction items. There were so many I couldn’t start to name them all. But I will say a sincere thank you!”

At a time like this – in the wake of a heartfelt event that proved to be a gigantic success – event leaders like Reyes find it difficult to thank people by name. But she gave it a try.

From the Astros: Team President Reid Ryan and Astros Foundation Executive Director Twila Carter. Reyes said, “Twila coordinated EVERYTHING with the venue and the food, etc.”

From the Assist the Officer Foundation: Sgt. Tom Hayes, Mike Mitchell, Lisa Morino, Gabriela Gregory (and her husband) and Krystal LaReau Reyes said, “We couldn’t have done any of this without Assist the Officer Foundation.”

From the Thin Blue Line: Todd Young and Steven Garcia, both senior police officers at HPD.

Jerry’s close friends: Jeff McShan, HPD SPO Troy Hollier and Harris County Sheriff’s Maj. Armando Tello and Alfredo Perez of the U. S. Marshal’s Office.

From Major League Baseball: security officials who know the work of Flores, Reyes and Tello from being a strong MLB security team attended the fundraiser. They included security officials from MLB security headquarters in New York, as well as security officials from the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants.

From the state – as always – was state Sen. John Whitmire, HPOU’s best friend during his service as the “Dean of the Texas Senate.” Also: State Rep. Carol Alvarado.

From the county: Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and his predecessor former Sheriff Adrian Garcia, both retired HPD. Also present as an auctioneer was Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen.

From Pasadena: Mayor Jeff Wagner (retired HPD).

From the city and HPD: You have to lead with Mayor Sylvester Turner and his staff, Police Chief Art Acevedo, Fire Chief Sam Pena, the HPD Honor Guard and a host of City Council members Robert Gallegos, Brenda Stardig, Dwight Boykins and Jack Christie. Most of the Command Staff was present and so many captains and lieutenants you couldn’t keep track of how many.

And these great people: Auctioneer/donor Alan Helfman, DJ Gabe Bizonee, sound man Jesse Cerda, Kevin Scully, a professional auctioneer who works with Apple Towing, as well as Helfman’s fundraising stalwarts Kent Sessions, Steve Schars, Georgia Provost and Sessions’ daughter Bailey.

Reyes was reluctant to “start naming names” of people to thank and only gave it a try with the encouragement of the B&G. In sum, she said, “We must thank all of the volunteers that were assigned specific duties and responsibilities at the fundraiser that day that made the whole operation very functional. The list is endless.

“A sea of blue is what I saw that day,” she said. “My heart is full.”