Lupe Tortilla lunch at HPOU raises $14,000 for HPD flood victims

Tom Kennedy

An Oct. 26 luncheon Lupe Tortilla with the help of the Union and Assist the Officer raised a total of $14,000 to help HPD officers who suffered heavy home and automobile losses while on duty during Hurricane Harvey.

HPOU and ATO raised $7,000 in ticket sales and Lupe Tortilla matched that amount. The check presentation by company officials Judson Holt and his brother Peter Holt added to the dedicated effort to help about 600 officers seriously affected by the flood waters of Harvey.

“These amazing men and women sacrificed so much as they came to the rescue and aid of thousands in neighborhoods across Houston,” Judson Holt said. “Our company has deep roots in this city and we were excited to treat attendees to a delicious lunch in an effort to help support those who help us all.”

Holt said 100 percent of the ticket proceeds and matching funds “will go to benefit first responders – law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics – who have suffered from the severe flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey and lost homes, cars and personal possessions, yet are still out on the streets serving our community.”

Retired HPD Officer David Wall played a prominent role in the development of the fundraiser, having contacted Union leaders to initiate the arrangements for the luncheon. Wall worked an extra security job for Lupe’s which turned into a permanent position after retirement.

“I contacted the Union and they had a very positive response which worked toward this great benefit,” Wall said.

HPOU 1st Vice President Doug Griffith explained that “during the events of Harvey, Houston Police Department officers were mobilized and required to be at work on 24-hour shifts. “Throughout the mobilizations, numerous officers sustained significant damage to their homes and property. The losses were worsened by the fact that they could not leave work and do anything to protect or even retrieve their personal property.”

As usual, HPOU and ATO answered the needs of these officers. The Union provided funding to cover the deductible for officers’ personal cars that were totaled during the storm and also handed out $600 cash cards to designated officers and HPD staff members. These cards were

Sponsored by the Chi Foundation, an international Buddhist-inspired organization.

HPOU 3rd Vice President Tom Hayes, chairman of ATO, said this effort was part of ATO’s goal to “help provide short-term, immediate need financial assistance for officers. Our efforts help symbolize the appreciation for every officer’s dedicated service and commitment to the safety of citizens.

“The devotion of our officers was never more evident than during the catastrophic flooding of Hurricane Harvey.”

ATO has distributed $700,000 in benefits to Harvey-affected first responders and their families.

Also being distributed are gift cards for Honey Baked Hams, a benefit sponsored by the Gary Sinise Foundation, run by the actor known for his roles in CSI: NY (2004–13) and as Special Agent Jack Garrett in Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, among many other award-winning roles.

Lupe Tortilla also arranged for the musical talent at the luncheon, the Tim Nichols Band.

The first Lupe Tortilla opened in 1983 in Addicks and soon became famous for sizzling marinated fajitas, according to company spokeswoman Tony Niece.

“From the beginning, Lupe’s mission has been to serve the freshest, best tasting Mexican food in a fun, unique and inviting atmosphere,” Niece explained. “A scratch-made kitchen, Lupe Tortilla delivers on its promise by using only the finest, highest quality ingredients, hand rolling flour tortillas one at a time.”
Lupe Tortilla currently operates 17 locations throughout Texas, including Houston, San Antonio and Austin.