On January 2, 2004, our organization began, although we didn’t know it yet. On this date, 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 teenage girl who drifted onto the shoulder when she looked away to adjust her stereo.
Not expected to survive, he remained in a coma three months. He finally regained conscientiousness and his wife brought him home where she provided him around the clock 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 a vehicle that could transport Robert and funds to help with his 24 hour care and Robert did make progress, slowly and against all odds.
During the summer of 2006 Robert began having seizures which destroyed most of the progress he had 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. When he arrived, a Sheriff’s Captain was there to meet him and you could see him sit up straight in his wheelchair.
Shortly after this event, Robert’s health took a turn for the worse and 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 Fallen Officer Foundation. There have been many other faces of fallen emergency responders and their spouses and children, that keep all of us working.
Several public safety members have been assisted by the Fallen Officer Foundation, including Ryan Fulton, a Corrections Officer with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department. He sustained serious injuries when a speeding car rammed into the back of his motorcycle. He related the following about the help he and his family received from the Fallen Officer Foundation while he was recovering from his injuries:
“I was in pretty bad condition when I got a call from members of the Fallen Officer Foundation who offered to pay for my family to stay up in Davis with me while I was recovering, which was huge.”
The Fallen Officer Foundation also assisted Santa Cruz Fire Captain Russ Long who developed a cancerous brain tumor and sadly lost his battle with cancer. We also assisted retired Capitola Police Sergeant Herb Ross, who at the time had become a Sheriff’s Reserve Officer to work with his son Jim. Herb developed lung cancer and lost his courageous battle in 2007.
The Fallen Officer Foundation is an all volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit benefit corporation (Tax ID Number: 13-4282250). All donations are tax deductible. All contributions go directly to first responders and their families.
|Santa Cruz County Beneficiaries|
|All Law Enforcement Agencies|
|California Highway Patrol|
|All Fire Departments|
|California State Parks|
|Santa Cruz County Paramendics|