Saturday, April 26, 2008

Police, Community Raise Funds for American Cancer Society

Dozens of police officers swarmed the Copper Room restaurant this week, charges were filed and tickets were issued.

There was no yellow tape, but it was an action-packed scene nonetheless.

The occasion was a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

LAPD Harbor Division officers volunteered their time to wait tables.

Diners were guilty of possessing compassion and their citations were duly served.

Tickets looked a lot like dinner checks. Bail was a generous tip, 100% of which was donated to Relay for Life.

So went “tip-a-cop” on Tuesday night, which raised $2,200 from tips and an extra donation by the Copper Room.

San Pedro resident Sheri Hadjis organized the fundraiser, borrowing the idea from her family’s El Monte restaurant, which has sponsored tip-a-cop events for the past three years.

“People said they had a good time,” said Hadjis, owner of Miraleste Catering. “It was successful and fun.”

Hadjis had help from her friend Debbie Heath of San Pedro, whose husband, Bob Phelps, was a captain in the Los Angeles Fire Department when he died of cancer 15 years ago.

“Everyone has been touched by someone who has had cancer,” said Heath. “I was privileged to be part of this and support an important organization.”

LAPD senior leader officer Joe Buscaino recruited officers to don aprons and wait tables.

After posing for the flyer photo, every member of the bike patrol enlisted for the cause. They were joined by other officers who answered the call to protect (appetites) and serve (charity).

Relay for Life is a tribute to cancer victims and survivors in which participants walk or run laps to raise funds and awareness to fight cancer.

San Pedro teams will walk and run at San Pedro High School on May 17, under the coordination of event chair Mary Hamlin.

Now in its eighth year, San Pedro’s goal is to involve 40 teams and raise $200,000, said Hamlin, a board member of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

Tom Meneshian, owner of the Copper Room, enthusiastically agreed when Hadjis asked him to host the event.

“This was an incredible show of compassion in tough economic times,” said Meneshian. “People tipped very generously.”

The Copper Room, located at 9th Street and Grand Avenue, is a three-year-old restaurant and lounge with international cuisine and live entertainment.

It has just launched a Last Thursday music series and plans a number of special summer events on its outdoor patio, described in the story below.

May I take your order?

And for you, ladies?

Good clean fun.

Officer Joe Buscaino, bartender in training.

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