Fallen Peace Officers Not Forgotten
TUSTIN, Calif., Oct. 28, 2014 – Southern California’s law enforcement community joined Donate Life California and the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation Tuesday in honoring fallen peace officers during a special Donate Life Rose Dedication Ceremony. Dedications, written by family members, will be placed with fresh roses in the Dedication Garden on the Donate Life Float in the 2015 Rose Parade®.
In its 12th year, the Donate Life Rose Parade Float has become the world’s most visible campaign to raise awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation. Millions of people view the Rose Parade each year, held on New Year’s Day in Pasadena. Donate Life California and the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation hosted the Rose Dedication Ceremony at the Orange County Sheriff’s Training Academy in Tustin.
Organ donation and transplantation affects people from all walks of life, including law enforcement officers. Corporal Steve Ahearn, Santa Ana Police Department, is one of the more than 22,000 Californians waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. He’s been on dialysis for three years awaiting a kidney donor to save his life so he can continue as a police officer.
“There is no doubt the fallen officers we are honoring today are heroes. They gave their lives for us all,” said Corporal Steve Ahearn, Santa Ana Police Department. “But you don’t have to take an oath to protect and serve to be a hero. Organ, eye and tissue donors are heroes, too.”
“Donor heroes and law enforcement heroes have something very important in common – they save lives,” said Charlene Zettel, CEO of Donate Life California. “California families and communities benefit from their generosity and sacrifice. We thank donor families and law enforcement families as well, for sharing their heroes with us.”
“Many of California’s fallen officers continue to give the gift of life. Through their tragedy, others’ lives were saved and/or healed through organ, eye and tissue donation. Many other officers, like Officer Sablan, are able to give the gift of life without such a tragedy by selflessly offering to supply an organ to a fellow co-worker,” said Kevin Mickelson, president of the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation. “We, along with Donate Life California, wish to highlight the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation and to remember all donors, their families, and their recipients whose lives are forever changed thanks to the gift of life.”
Other speakers and presenters included:
- Assemblyman Don Wagner, District 68
- Captain David Moeller, California Highway Patrol – Santa Fe Springs
- Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, Orange County Sheriff’s Department
- Chief Sergio Diaz, Riverside Police Department
- Tom Mone, Chairman, Donate Life Rose Parade Float Committee; CEO and Vice President, OneLegacy
The fallen officers recognized at today’s ceremony by their End of Watch (EOW) are:
- Officer Nelson K. Sasscer, Santa Ana Police Department, EOW 6/4/69
- Officer Joe Rios, Los Angeles Police Department, EOW 1/20/93
- Sergeant John A. Aguilar, Santa Ana Police Department, EOW 6/30/98
- Deputy John Paul Monego, Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, EOW 12/12/98
- Corporal Tyler Matthew Pinchot, Buena Park Police Department, EOW 9/21/03
- Special Agent Patrick T. Dillon, California Department of Justice, EOW 4/14/07
- Sergeant Greg Hernandez, Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, EOW 2/6/09
- Sergeant Ira G. Essoe, Jr., Orange County Sheriff’s Department, EOW 2/4/10
- Officer Ryan P. Bonaminio, Riverside Police Department, EOW 11/7/10
- Officer Michael Crain, Riverside Police Department, EOW 2/7/13
- Detective Jeremiah MacKay, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, 2/12/13
- Sergeant Loran Lee “Butch” Baker, Jr., Santa Cruz Police Department, EOW 2/26/13
- Officer Gilbert Cortez, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, EOW 3/25/13
- Officer Jon Coutchie, Laguna Police Department, EOW 9/21/13
- Deputy Jeremy Meyst, Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, EOW 12/24/13
The names and biographies of all California peace officers killed in the line of duty can be found at www.camemorial.org under the “Honor Roll” tab.
About the Donate Life Float in the 2015 Rose Parade®:
The 2015 Donate Life Rose Parade Float, themed “The Never-Ending Story,” features 60 beautiful butterflies emerging from an open book. The butterflies ascend above 72 books adorned with floragraph portraits of deceased donors whose legacies are nurtured by their loved ones. Walking alongside the float will be 12 living organ donors. Seated among thousands of dedicated roses are 30 riders representing transplant recipients who celebrate the new chapters of their lives made possible only by the generosity of donors.
Since its debut on New Year’s Day 2004, the Donate Life Rose Parade Float has become the world’s most visible campaign to inspire people to become organ, eye and tissue donors. The campaign began as an idea expressed in a letter by lung recipient Gary Foxen (Orange, Calif.), who wanted to show gratitude to donors who make life-saving transplants possible.
Now, in addition to the 40 million viewers who view the Rose Parade in the stands and on TV, hundreds of events are held in cities and towns around the country to put the finishing touches on floragraph portraits and present dedicated roses to donor families and community partners that play a role in making donation possible.
Fast Facts from Donate Life California:
- 21 people across the country die each day awaiting life-saving organ transplants.
- One in five on the U.S. organ transplant waiting list lives in California.
- All major religions support or permit organ, eye and tissue donation.
- You’re never too old or sick to be a registered organ, eye and tissue donor.
About Donate Life California:
Donate Life California is the nonprofit, state-authorized organ, eye and tissue donor registry. As a public service, the registry assures all personal information is kept confidential and stored in a secure database, accessible only to authorized organ and tissue recovery personnel at the time of an actual donation opportunity. The registry is administered by Donate Life California and California’s four nonprofit, federally designated organ recovery organizations: Donor Network West (formerly CTDN), Lifesharing, OneLegacy and Sierra Donor Services. For more information about Donate Life California; how organ, eye and tissue donation saves and improves lives; and to sign up, please visit www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org or in Spanish at www.doneVIDAcalifornia.org.
About the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation:
The California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation is a nonprofit charitable foundation whose mission is to recognize and honor California’s peace officers who gave their lives ‘In the Line of Duty’ serving the citizens of this great state, and provides support to the family members left behind. For more information, go to www.camemorial.org.