Our organization began after a tragic accident involving a local police officer on January 2, 2004. When tragedy hit this law enforcement family, first responders and members of the community saw a need and stepped forward to help him and others through Fallen Officer Foundation.
Captain Robert Jones of the UCSC Police Department was riding his new road bike on Hwy 1 when he was struck by a SUV driven by a young teenager who driving while distracted.
Not expected to survive, Robert remained in a coma for three months. He finally regained consciousness and his wife brought him home to provide 24-hour care.
Robert was a “Man’s Man”; athletic, MVP of his football team, black belt in martial arts, and an avid surfer. He was not a quitter and neither was his wife. It was because of Robert that a group of his friends in law enforcement and fire service put together what is now the Fallen Officer Foundation. They raised funds for the necessary vehicle & for his 24-hour care. Robert made progress, slowly and against all odds.
During the summer of 2006 Robert began having seizures which destroyed most of the progress made. A wheelchair challenge was organized for Robert to increase awareness of the Fallen Officer Foundation. He was pushed in his wheelchair night and day to San Luis Obispo raising over $12,000.
Shortly after this event, Robert’s health took a turn for the worse. He died at home with his wife by his side on March 13, 2007. His ashes have been spread over his favorite surfing spots.
We share Robert’s story because it was what touched all of us to become involved in the Fallen Officer Foundation. There have been many other faces of fallen first responders and their families that keep all of us working. A few years later, we began working with Central Fire Fighter, John Tripodi who contracted lung cancer from chemical exposure as a firefighter. John, his wife & teenage son displayed wonderful courageous attitudes. John served on our Board until he lost his battle with cancer.
Since the formation of the Foundation, we have been honored to assist a great number of local first responders in times of crisis or special need. This has been made possible through strong community support.