CPF Community Partner of the Month Award Recipients
2022 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
Bill and Jan Dieterle
Don’t tell our Community Partner of the Month for December 2022 that you don’t believe in Santa Claus, because he will tell you he is that jolly old fellow himself. Bill and Jan Dieterle have been helping with the Cleveland Police Children’s Holiday Party for over 10 years, and the children absolutely love them.
They are also caretakers of Santa’s Hideaway in Middlefield, Ohio. This non-profit organization, founded in 1981, is dedicated to working with seriously and terminally ill children and their families to provide comfort and support throughout the final stages of the child’s illness. Many children ask to see Santa for a last Christmas as they near the end of their struggle. Santa’s Hideaway is committed to meeting that very need any time of the year, providing a retreat from the reality of the child’s illness and creating wonderful memories instead. Santa has seen over 58,000 sick children over the last 30 years, and no one in the organization receives a salary as it is 100% volunteer driven.
When approached for comment on these two outstanding individuals, retired CPD Sergeant Bob Kumazec stated, “Bill and Jan Dieterle are two of the most selfless people I have ever met and are most deserving of this award.” So, don’t tell me there is no Santa Claus, I met him and I’m a believer. And, just as we have always been told, he is a true believer in spreading the Christmas spirit and absolutely loves our children.
It is because of their endless love for the children and their families shown throughout the year that the Cleveland Police Foundation is indeed honored to name Bill and Jan Dieterle as our Community Partners of the Month for December 2022.
– Bob Guttu, CPF
(Nominated by retired CPD Sergeant Bob Kumazec)
November Community Partner of the Month
This month’s Community Partner of the Month is a dedicated supporter of the mission goals of the Cleveland Division of Police and the Cleveland Police Foundation.
I contacted former CPD Captain Keith Sulzer to comment on Crust Midtown Pizza and Crust Tremont Pizza and he stated, “These two establishments have been incredible partners over the last 8 years. They have donated countless pizzas to our fundraising and community events. Whether it’s a Cops for Kids event, our karaoke fundraisers, or our baby shower for Providence House, owners Mike Griffin and Megan Griffin have been extremely generous in their support of our officers and our causes. Thank you Crust for your support and for investing in Cleveland and our neighborhoods.”
It is because of their support and dedication that the Cleveland Police Foundation is proud to name Crust Midtown Pizza and Crust Tremont Pizza our Community Partner of the Month for November 2022.
– Bob Guttu, CPF
October Community Partner of the Month
This month’s Cleveland Police Foundation’s Community Partner of the Month is a true hero and well deserving of this recognition. Tomika Johnson was attending a “back to school” festival at the Friendly Inn when she learned that CPD Fourth District Sergeant Ray O’Connor was stung by two bees, was allergic to them, and had left his EpiPen at the District.
While the officers on scene attended to a now unconscious Sergeant O’Connor, Tomika ran home to grab her 10-year-old son Zaire’s EpiPen. Returning on scene within seconds, Ms. Johnson volunteered the EpiPen to Officer Brooklyn Barnes who administered it to Sergeant O’Connor, after which he was transported to St. Vincent Charity Hospital.
Sergeant O’Connor remained unconscious, and doctors and medical staff quickly provided medical attention. He was then transferred to ICU for further observation and has since recovered completely. The doctors on duty at the time of the event explained to Officer Barnes that the EpiPen that was provided by Ms. Johnson, and the quick response from all the officers, no doubt saved his life.
When reached to comment about this incident Sergeant Ray O’Connor stated, “I will forever be grateful to Tomika Johnson, her kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity will never be forgotten.”
It is because of her kindness and caring for a fellow human being that the Cleveland Police Foundation is honored to name Tomika Johnson our Community Partner of the Month for October 2022.
Nominated by Sergeant Ray O’Connor
September Community Partner of the Month
After spending some time with this month’s Community Partner of the Month it didn’t take long to realize this was one very special young lady with a very big heart. Dana Jorgensen is smart and ambitious way beyond her 10 years of age and has a passion for horses and members of law enforcement. This of course shouldn’t come as a surprise seeing that her mom and dad are both CPD officers. Since Dana’s 5th birthday, she has always chosen a charity to support in lieu of birthday gifts from her friends and relatives.
I asked Dana’s mom, Sgt. Melissa Dawson of the CPD Employees Assistance Unit what happened this year. She stated, “This year Dana was struggling as to who to support for her birthday, and after we pointed out that the Cleveland Division of Police has a Mounted Unit she couldn’t have been more excited. It turned out to be the perfect fit as she was able to raise $500.00. I took her shopping where she chose some much needed items that were on her wish list for the Mounted Unit.”
The items were delivered to the Mounted Unit and I had the opportunity to ask Sgt. Joe O ‘Neill about this donation. He commented, “We at the Mounted Unit would like to thank Dana for her support and generosity. She is indeed one very special young lady.”
It is because of this support and generosity that the Cleveland Police Foundation is proud and honored to name Dana Jorgensen our Community Partner of the Month for September 2022.
Nominated by Bob Guttu of the CPF
August Community Partner of the Month
Anthony, Steve, and Ed of A. Ripepi & Sons Funeral Homes
The brothers from A. Ripepi & Sons Funeral Homes, Anthony, Steve, and Ed, have always been proud supporters of law enforcement in Northeast Ohio. Recently the Ripepi family generously provided five northeast Ohio Police Departments (Cleveland, Parma Heights, Euclid, Metro Health, and Brunswick) with K-9 police dogs and included the training with the donation. This was made possible through the Danny Ripepi Memorial Concert held recently.
Cleveland Police Department Sergeant Brian Allen, the Canine Unit Officer in Charge, said, “Not only did the Ripepis provide the City of Cleveland with a new canine but also they have provided our Canine Unit with K9 ballistic vests for each of our dogs in the past. The Ripepi family has always been the first to step up and provide their services to the entire City of Cleveland Division of Police family when needed.”
It is because of this generosity and caring for the law enforcement community that the Cleveland Police Foundation is proud to name Anthony, Steve, and Ed, representing A. Ripepi & Sons Funeral Homes, our Community Partner of the Month for August 2022.
Nominated by CPD Sergeant Brian Allen
July Community Partner of the Month
Tunnels To Towers Foundation
This month’s Community Partner of the Month is the Tunnels To Towers Foundation.
This outstanding organization’s mission is to honor the sacrifice of New York City Firefighter Stephen Siller who laid down his life to save others on September 11, 2001. Their goal continues to be to honor military and first responders who continue to make the supreme sacrifice of life and limb for our country. They have paid off mortgages for 22 fallen first responder families across 16 states including two of our own CPD Heroes in Blue.
I invited one of the Ohio Tunnel To Towers representatives, Mark Phillips, to meet me and other CPD officers at the First District to present the Community Partner of the Month Award and thank them for their effort not only for our officers but nationwide. We also learned from Mark that all donations are tax deductible and 95 % out of every dollar goes directly to the program it serves.
It is because of their dedication and devotion to our first responders and military that the Cleveland Police Foundation is indeed honored to name the Tunnels To Towers Foundation our Community Partner of the Month for July 2022.
Nominated by Bob Guttu of the Cleveland Police Foundation
June Community Partner of the Month
Michael Khodakovsky of A & G Furniture
Mr. Michael Khodakovsky of A & G Furniture is an extremely generous individual who when approached by Lt. Tim Maffo-Judd to purchase furniture for the 2nd District renovation project jumped on board immediately.
Michael donated approximately $1500.00 worth of furniture to the 2nd District and stated, “This is my donation to a worthwhile cause that I hope will raise morale for our officers that are out there on a daily basis risking their lives and no recognition for me is necessary.”
After thanking Michael for this donation Lt. Maffo-Judd stated, “We, at the 2nd District, are extremely grateful for Michael’s generosity and his willingness to help the police with this project. These donations will be used everyday 24/7/365 by our officers and this endeavor would have been much more difficult without Michael’s help.”
It is because of his generosity and support for our heroes in blue that the Cleveland Police Foundation is proud to name Michael Khodakovsky of A & G Furniture our Community Partner of the Month for June 2022.
Nominated by Lt. Tim Maffo-Judd and the officers from the 2nd District
May Community Partner of the Month
Rick Seyler, Founder of the Silver Bullet K-9 Service
Rick Seyler founded the Silver Bullet K-9 Service Ministry initially to pair up therapy dogs with veterans suffering from PTSD, but soon realized after spending some time with police officers it could be a great resource for a police department with the same type of training.
Rick desensitizes and trains all his puppies from a young age not to bark, be startled at noises, or show any aggression at all, then eventually their prime purpose will be to comfort those who need it the most.
After spending time with Rick Seyler it doesn’t take long to realize he is a true “Dog Whisperer” and treats his dogs as if they were his children. It is because of his desire and dedication to providing these support dogs to law enforcement agencies that the Cleveland Police Foundation is proud to name Rick Seyler our Community Partner of the Month for May 2022.
The May Community Partner of the Month was nominated by Bob Guttu, CPF Community Partnership Coordinator
April Community Partner of the Month
North Coast Emergency Services
The Cleveland Police Foundation proudly announces that the recipient of our Community Partner of the Month Award for April 2022 is North Coast Emergency Services.
In 2017, the City of Cleveland lost a hero in blue while he was working the scene of a motor vehicle accident. That hero was Cleveland Police Officer David Fahey, who was laying flares to redirect traffic when he was struck and killed by an impaired motorist.
Since that day North Coast Emergency Services has evolved from just a simple emergency roadside assistance company to what it is today, which includes a free safety patrol service that local law enforcement agencies can rely on when it comes to traffic management.
Since their service began in 2016, North Coast has responded to thousands of calls for service and in 2019, NCES Ohio team members received a Citizens Award from the Cleveland Division of Police for their dedicated service.
First District Administrative Sgt. James Bezak said, “The dedicated volunteers of North Coast Emergency Services work tirelessly assisting with traffic control and securing a safe zone for public safety personnel in the Cleveland area. Their efforts help keep public safety officials safe from traffic hazards as they perform their duties. North Coast Emergency Services and the work done by these volunteers is a tremendous asset to the City of Cleveland.”
It is because of their dedication to the community they serve that the Cleveland Police Foundation is proud to name North Coast Emergency Services our Community Partner of the Month for April 2022.
The April Partner of the Month was nominated by CPD Sgt. James Bezak
March Community Partner of the Month
Tim Hyland and Boyd Watterson Asset Management
Tim Hyland and Boyd Watterson Asset Management have long been supporters of those in need in the city of Cleveland. They have supported Muni Football and other sports programs that help enrich the lives of our future athletes, and they have promoted programs that bring police officers and our youth together to foster trust and cooperation.
Tim Hyland recently met with the Cleveland Police Foundation in an effort to further his commitment to making Cleveland a safer city by financially supporting CPF programs that will further enhance the relationship between the police and the community they serve. We are humbled and grateful for Tim’s and Boyd Watterson’s generosity and commitment to our foundation and to the city of Cleveland.
It is because of their commitment and support that the Cleveland Police Foundation is proud to name Tim Hyland and Boyd Watterson Asset Management its Community Partner of the Month for March 2022.
The March Partner of the Month was nominated by Retired CPD Captain Keith Sulzer.
February Community Partner of the Month
“It is a great pleasure for me to announce that the Cleveland Police Foundation Partner of the Month for February is a valued City of Cleveland employee who is a definite asset to the Cleveland Division of Police,” said Dick Clough, Foundation Chair. “Cassandra Bledsoe is the Police Chief’s Community Liaison and connects the Chief with a myriad of community groups through events that make dialogue about community issues possible.”
In addition, every March Cassandra plans events honoring women in law enforcement and invites female officers from across Cuyahoga County and the State of Ohio to participate as part of Women’s History month.
“Because of Ms. Bledsoe’s dedication and devotion to her position with the City of Cleveland, she deserves this award,” Clough stated.
The February Partner of the Month was nominated by Deputy Police Chief Joellen O’Neill.
January Community Partner of the Month
Officer Kevin Watts, Officer Sean Lawlor, and Officer Kevin Rodriguez of Richmond Heights
On New Year’s Eve 2021, the Cleveland Division of Police lost a true Hero in Blue when off-duty Fifth District Patrol Officer Shane Bartek was shot and killed in a carjacking near Rocky River Drive on the city’s west side.
As the suspects drove off in P.O. Bartek’s car, a description of the vehicle went out to all law enforcement. It was subsequently spotted by Richmond Heights Officers Kevin Watts, Sean Lawlor, and Kevin Rodriguez, who began a pursuit.
These three officers followed the vehicle, often at high speeds as they put their lives at risk to stop these suspects implicated in Officer Bartek’s death. The chase ended in an apartment complex in Euclid where an adult male was arrested and eventually an 18-year-old female, who was indeed the killer of CPD Officer Shane Bartek.
Cleveland Police Foundation Community Outreach Coordinator Bob Guttu recently visited the Richmond Heights Police Department to honor these three officers. He asked Chief Wetzel about this incident who stated, “These officers whose lives were put at very serious risk demonstrated courage and firm resolve while maintaining a calm professionalism. They performed extremely well and I’m proud of all they did that day.” After meeting with the officers, Guttu (Retired CPD) felt that they were on a mission that night and failure was not an option. We thank these officers for a job well done!
It is because of their dedication and willingness to assist their Partners in Blue that the Cleveland Police Foundation is proud to name Richmond Heights Officer Kevin Watts, Officer Sean Lawlor, and Officer Kevin Rodriguez as their Community Partners of the Month for January 2022.