CPF Community Partner of the Month Award Recipients
2021 Community Partner Award Recipients
The Cleveland Police Foundation has implemented the Community Partner of the Month Award, given to individuals from the community who strive to support the mission goals of The Cleveland Division of Police and the CPF. These good folks support law enforcement and continue on a daily basis to help improve their individual neighborhoods. Award recipients receive a plaque and appropriate recognition. Thank you to these achievers!
December Community Partner of the Month
St. Ignatius of Cleveland and St. Brendan of North Olmsted
For the past nine years, CPD Lieutenant Tim Maffo-Judd has spearheaded the Second District Holiday Sock and Underwear drive to support the homeless community during the winter months. This year the lieutenant decided to contact St. Ignatius High School for some help!
As fate would have it, Maffo-Judd was pleasantly surprised to find one of his teachers from St. Edward’s High School, Mr. DeVenney, working as Campus Minister at St. Ignatius. DeVennney agreed to help the lieutenant with the clothing drive, then taking it upon himself to contact Principal Julie Onacila from St. Brendan School in North Olmsted. Between the two schools a substantial amount of new underwear and socks were donated and delivered to St. Ignatius and picked up by a group of Santa’s Elves.
At that time, Lieutenant Maffo-Judd stated “This is really remarkable how these two schools came together to help us help those in need. It is my hope that we can continue this tradition with them and possibly plan other events to solidify this relationship.”
It is because of this combined effort of both schools to assist Lieutenant Maffo-Judd and the CPD Second District in this clothing drive that the Cleveland Police Foundation is proud to name St. Ignatius of Cleveland and St. Brendan of North Olmsted as their Community Partners of the Month for December 2021.
November Community Partner of the Month
Brenda and Richard Serrano
Richard and Brenda Serrano have been longtime supporters of both the Fourth District community and the Cleveland Division of Police officers who work there!
This outstanding duo donates toys and other gifts during the holiday season to the kids in the Fourth District and assists the officers at many events. During the NFL Draft they provided food, Gatorade, and water to our officers, and always ask if they can be of assistance in any way during such events.
When asked about Mr. and Mrs. Serrano, CPD Community Engagement Officer Antonio Andino stated, “They have been longtime friends who have now become family because of their support of us and the Fourth District community. They have been doing this for several years and have never been recognized for their behind-the-scenes help and always ask how our officers are doing and if we need anything to let them know.”
It is because of their commitment to the Fourth District community and the Cleveland Police officers who serve there that the Cleveland Police Foundation is proud to name Brenda and Richard Serrano as its Community Partner of the Month for November 2021.
Community Partner of the Month
Hertz Cleveland Hopkins
The Hertz Cleveland Hopkins Airport Car Rental Company has been a great partner for the Cleveland Division of Police First District over the past few years!
Jackie Hejduk is the general manager of the Hertz Airport and has led her fellow workers by volunteering and fundraising for numerous events in the First District. The team has offered assistance to our CPD officers to rehab a house for a woman who was living at “Laura’s Home” and collected shoes to donate to The Hope Center for Refugees and Immigrants. The Hertz volunteer team also played a huge part in the recent school supply drive held at the First District. Currently, they are collecting coats, hats, and gloves for a giveaway on November 13th at the First District station.
When asked about the Hertz Airport team, First District Community Engagement Officer Kerry Adams stated, “Jackie’s team has been a great partner for the CPD First District and I believe Hertz Airport would be a perfect recipient for the Cleveland Police Foundation’s Community Partner of the Month.”
It is because of their dedication to the community and the Cleveland Division of Police that the Cleveland Police Foundation is proud to name Hertz Airport Car Rental as its Community Partner of the Month for October 2021.
September Community Partner of the Month
Amazon Distribution Center DCL7
The Amazon Distribution Center DCL7 is a true supporter of the Cleveland Division of Police and especially the officers of the CPD First District!
Located at West 110th and Madison Avenue, the Amazon team is led by Angela Green, the force behind the many events they have assisted with. The group helped out at a recent school supply drive at the First District Police Station on West 130th Street. Not only did Angela and numerous Amazon employees assist at the event, they also provided much of the needed school supplies that were distributed and a disc jockey to provide music!
When asked about Amazon’s participation, CPD Community Engagement Officer Kerry Adams stated, “Angela Green from Amazon has been amazing to work with at our previous events and has agreed to donate an estimated 300 coats to our upcoming coat drive to be held in November. She really is a very special person and our thanks goes out to Amazon DCL7 for their continued support.”
It is because of their continued support of the Cleveland Division of Police and the CPD First District that the Cleveland Police Foundation is proud to name the Amazon Distribution Center DCL7 as its Community Partner of the Month for September 2021.
August Community Partner of the Month
Cleveland Police Athletic League
The Cleveland Police Athletic League has a rich history in providing quality recreational and educational activities for youth. In fact, many of the current volunteers, coaches, and police officers have participated in PAL programs as children. Here in Cleveland, we are very lucky to have many dedicated volunteers plus an executive director, Retired Cleveland Police Sergeant Bob Kumazec, who has been with Cleveland PAL for over 20 years.
Sergeant Bob has made it his personal mission to ensure that the PAL program is one to be proud of! The annual kids’ Christmas Party that he organizes reaches thousands of kids in the community and provides them with a day of games, activities, and presents they may not have received otherwise. Although there are many similar recreational and educational programs geared towards youngsters, PAL is the only program in existence that provides daily interaction with police officers in the community. Yes, indeed…every kid needs a PAL!
It is because of the dedication of all the volunteers and retired Sergeant Bob Kumazec that the Cleveland Police Foundation is proud to name the Cleveland Police Athletic League as its Community Partner of the Month for August 2021.
July Community Partner of the Month
Western Reserve Land Conservency
The Cleveland Police Foundation was recently contacted about the 2021 Cops for Kids fishing event. Matt Zone, former Cleveland City Councilman and now Senior Vice President of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, wanted to partner up with the CPF!
Matt’s idea was to hold the Cops for Kids fishing event on the WRLC property in Burton, Ohio. Named the Blue Heron Preserve, the former sand and gravel quarry offers opportunities to fish for bass and bluegill. The event was held on Tuesday July 20, 2021 and was a total success! Cleveland Police Officers and kids recruited from the east and west side of Cleveland interacted and each kid caught a fish.
A big thank you goes out to Matt Zone and all of his staff members who attended from the Conservancy! They are looking forward to next year and a tentative date has been set.
Keith Sulzer, retired CPD Captain and CPF Liaison Consultant states, “The Western Reserve Land Conservancy is a terrific organization that was instrumental in helping the Cleveland Police Foundation turn three abandoned lots on Parkview Avenue into The Officer Derek Owens’ Memorial Park. Their understanding of how community and nature coexist in an urban area makes this organization invaluable to Cleveland!!”
It is because of their commitment and dedicated partnership to promote Community Policing that the Cleveland Police Foundation is proud to name the Western Reserve Land Conservancy as its Community Partner of the Month for July 2021.
June Community Partner of the Month
If there is such a thing as a guardian angel, Amy Sharo is a prime example of one!
Recently, while directing traffic at West 9th & Superior, Cleveland Police Patrol Officer Rich Strunk was the victim of a hit-and-run accident. The impact from the vehicle was so strong that Officer Strunk flew through the air and suffered a concussion, broken bones, and other serious injuries.
Luckily for Officer Strunk, Amy Sharo was in her vehicle directly behind the suspect’s car. She quickly exited her own vehicle to attend to this very dazed and confused Victim in Blue. When Amy assessed the condition of the officer, she grabbed his portable radio and informed the dispatcher of what had happened. She gave the location of the accident so EMS and other help could be sent.
When asked about this incident, Amy stated, “I saw someone in need of assistance and my natural instinct was to comfort and get the help that was needed for him.” A short time ago, Amy and Officer Strunk were able to meet and he called her “a true hero.”
It is because of her concern and compassion for a fellow citizen in need that the Cleveland Police Foundation is proud to name Amy Sharo as its Community Partner of the Month for June 2021.
May Community Partner of the Month
Chef Bruno DiSiena
Chef Bruno DiSiena, through his namesake restaurant Bruno’s Ristorante, has been a wonderful community partner to the Second District of the Cleveland Division of Police!
Chef Bruno has generously donated food and catering services to a number of events, including the annual Second District Awards Ceremony. Bruno’s Ristorante is a very unique place to eat and has made Cleveland’s “A” list of top 100 restaurants for ten years in a row.
Commander Thomas Stacho stated, “Throughout the years, Bruno has had food delivered to the Second District as a ‘Thank You’ to the officers for all their hard work, dedication and commitment to the Second District neighborhood that he calls home. Bruno and Bruno’s Ristorante are true community partners and very deserving of this honor and recognition.”
It is because of the devotion shown to the women and men in Blue that the Cleveland Police Foundation is honored to name Bruno’s Ristorante as its Community Partner of the Month for May 2021.
April Community Partner of the Month
Niko Frangos is a Cleveland business development leader and entrepreneur. He is also the president of Rascal House Pizza, founded by his parents forty years ago.
Niko has always been a supporter of the Cleveland Division of Police, the Cleveland Police Foundation, and promoter of Police-Community relations. For the past thirty years, he has been there to assist with the Gun Buy-Back Program, Cops for Kids Fishing Outings, numerous events presented by now-retired Captain Keith Sulzer, and of course the Police Athletic League (PAL) Christmas Party.
When asked about Niko Frangos, the Executive Director of PAL and retired CPD Sergeant Bob Kumazec stated “The entire Frangos family has been a strong supporter of the Cleveland Police Athletic League for a long time and they never failed to assist us anytime we called upon them. We are very fortunate to have them as a community partner.”
It is because of his devotion to the community and law enforcement that the Cleveland Police Foundation is honored to name Niko Frangos (Rascal House) as its Community Partner of the Month for April 2021.
March Community Partner of the Month
Billy Sharp, Jeff Brown, and Geoffrey Ledwidge
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, true support has been shown for the men and women of the Cleveland Division of Police!
Sparked by the effort and encouragement of Cleveland Police Foundation board member Dr. Yvonne Pointer, the crew of Billy Sharp, Jeff Brown, and Geoffrey Ledwidge visited all five police districts and the Public Safety Central Building to provide food for our Heroes in Blue.
The delicious dinners, breakfast sandwiches, doughnuts and coffee were provided by McDonalds, Angie’s Soul Cafe, Chic Fil A, and Beckham’s B&M Bar B Que. Additional donations for these food giveaways were received by Hope Haven, the Jeff Brown Radio Show and the Urban League Guild. A big thank you goes out to all that participated in this effort!
With special thanks and congratulations, it is because of their dedication to the Cleveland Division of Police that the Cleveland Police Foundation is honored to name Billy Sharp, Jeff Brown, and Geoffrey Ledwidge as its Community Partners of the Month for March 2021.
February Community Partner of the Month
Wade Park School
The students, staff, and families of Wade Park School (Kindergarten – 8th grade) have been terrific friends and partners to the Cleveland Division of Police, the Cleveland Police Foundation, and the entire City of Cleveland!
Over the last few years, the CPD and CPF have worked with Wade Park School and their principal, Dr. Lee Clinton Buddy Jr., as well as Paraprofessional Eloise Bullock. They collaborated on several projects including beautifying the school through planting flowers, ice skating at Public Square, Cooking with Cops at Dave’s Supermarket, and getting together just to get to know each other.
After the 2020 May riots in Cleveland, the students and staff from the school came downtown and cleaned up much of the mess. This is indicative of the leadership of the staff at Wade Park, understanding that teaching our children about responsibility, understanding, and caring about their community are cornerstones of building a stronger Cleveland!
It is because of their dedication to the community and the Cleveland Division of Police that the Cleveland Police Foundation is honored to name Wade Park School as its Community Partner of the Month for February 2021.
January Community Partner of the Month
As a young adult in 1974, Jim Craciun was asked by a Catholic priest to help smuggle Bibles and catechism books into Communist-ruled Romania. Jim agreed and successfully completed the mission. That experience not only solidified his lifetime advocacy for religious freedom but also his love for his fellow man.
At the present time, Jim serves proudly as the Vice President of the Cleveland Police Foundation and is a true supporter of the men and women of the Cleveland Division of Police. Before the COVID-19 pandemic took over our way of life, Jim could always be found at CPF events.
When the CPD lost two of its Heroes in Blue in September 2020, Jim found out that Officer Nick Sabo’s family was having financial issues. Through his Craciun-Berry Funeral home, all arrangements for the funeral service of PO Sabo were handled at no cost to the family. Jim also made it his personal mission to ensure a flag was placed on the officer’s casket and eventually presented to the officer’s wife.
It is because of his compassion and devotion to his community and his fellow man that the Cleveland Police Foundation is honored to name Jim Craciun as its Community Partner of the Month for January 2021.
Editor’s Note: “Craciun” means “Christmas” in the Romanian language…a spirit that Jim certainly embraces!