Editor’s note: Reserve Officer David Bush, #R2493, retired on October 22, after 28 years of service; click here to learn more.
The first help call to our reserve officers came out mid-September 2006 from Sergeant II Ralph Morales from Community Relations Section (CRS)/Office of the Chief of Police (OCOP), with less than two weeks to prepare for our first time hosting the Sunshine Kids’ national trip to Los Angeles. They needed officers to show up to the Sheraton Universal Hotel with clean black-and-white vehicles in order to do our slow “Code 3” motorcade from the rooftop to Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. We had responses almost immediately, including from Reserve Officers John Matthews and Gary Kennedy.
On Wednesday, September 28, 2022, Reserve Officers Gary Krystof and this author (Devonshire Division) escorted the bus carrying 30 Sunshine Kids and medical staff from the Sheraton Universal Hotel to Elysian Park.
The Sunshine Kids were met on the field with a friendly and cheering gauntlet line mostly of reserve officers and the staff from CRS/OCOP. Once the kids were seated under their protective canopies, the event was started by emcee Deputy Chief Blake Chow, who was then joined by Chief of Police Michel Moore, who acknowledged the Sunshine Kids and swore them in as honorary LAPD police officers for the day. Each Sunshine Kid was presented with an ID card and junior police badge. Each ID card had their name on it along with a photo of Chief Moore. After a photo with the Chief, the kids were presented with gift bags from our Communications Division and a special blanket from the Linus Project, coordinated once again by retired Reserve Officer Cheryl Gifis.
The Sunshine Kids were treated to lunch and visited several special displays by the Mounted Unit, K-9 Unit and Metropolitan Division, which featured its robot. As every year, Air Support Division performed a “fly-over,” welcoming the kids to Los Angeles and our Academy at Elysian Park.
This event was planned and carried out by CRS/OCOP, headed by Senior Lead Officer Joe Orlanes.
After the event, the Sunshine Kids were escorted by our reserve officers, including reserve motors, back to Hollywood.
I would like to thank CRS/OCOP for the continued support all these years, Bernard Khalili for the lunch and Roger Andrews for the junior badges. The Reserve Foundation has also donated money for the junior badges from day one. Thank you, Michael Sellars and Karla Ahmanson, for many years of support.
Thank you to Chief Moore and Fred Booker for believing in this event and your continued support. These events would not have been possible without the support from our reserve officers, thank you!
We received a letter from one of the Sunshine Kids after the event (see below). This is what really counts. Please read the letter, then accept that you all made this possible.
LETTER FROM A SUNSHINE KID
September 28, 2022. One of the most memorable days of my life. I woke up that day, excited to see the LAPD headquarters, all the cool gadgets, the cool cars. I didn’t realize that I was gonna meet some of the most amazing people in this world. I didn’t realize I was going to meet a family I never knew existed. I didn’t realize that there were people that were there to support me and my friends. The tears that were brought to my eyes as we were walking down, seeing many men and women clapping for us, were the most valuable tears I had ever drawn. The words that were said from a man of such high respect, directed toward us immediately touched my heart, and hit a soft, sensitive spot. As my eyes looked around me, my heart was filled with appreciation. These men and women really took the time to make such a nice ceremony and experience for us. They took time out of their day to spend time with us? It was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. I want to say thank you. Thank you for caring. Thank you for bringing happiness to our tough lives. Thank you for doing the unexpected and absolute maximum to make us happy. To any child who gets to experience what I experienced, I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did. Thank you for your service, LAPD.
2022 Sunshine Kid