Law enforcement personnel and community members have rallied together to make sure that families can spend quality moments together during trying times.
On Thursday, representatives from the Gloucester Police Department, city government, and the community congregated in the rotunda of City Hall for a presentation of a $15,021.20 check to Edward McNelley of Cops for Kids with Cancer.
All proceeds will go towards financially assisting families who have children that have been diagnosed with cancer.
“Being first responders, we’re always looking for ways to give back to the community, and cancer is something that it seems we’ve all been affected by one way or another,” Gloucester police Officer Joe Parady said.
The total amount was raised through the Police Department’s second annual Community Safety Day and generous donations from Gloucester residents Warren Waugh of Lyon Waugh Auto Group and Mike Nocella of Nocella Paving.
“It is so nice to be able to give back to the community and certainly to an organization that our police are so supportive of,” Waugh said.
Cops for Kids with Cancer is a non-profit organization comprised of active and retired police officers and friends of law enforcement that aim to raise money that will provide assistance to families of children diagnosed with cancer with the hopes of improving their quality of life.
Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken reminded those in the room on Thursday that, unlike adults who can drive and take care of themselves, children are dependent upon parents and guardians who have to work to support them.
“It is an emotional wreck because you don’t know what to do for your child,” said Romeo Theken, explaining the precious time parents give up with their children in order to make ends meet financially.
In recent years, the organization has given $4,100,000 in financial assistance to over 762 families.
“Remember that you are putting a smile on a parent’s face, not because they got the money, but because they get to spend more time with their child,” Romeo Theken concluded.
The donation given by the collective efforts of Gloucester’s Police Department and community members will go directly to families to cover costs of treatment or medications not paid for by insurance, travel and parking for hospital stays, eating away from home, babysitters, and possible house alterations.
“I just like helping out,” said Nocella, who has lived in the seaside community for about 15 years. “Whenever they ask for it, I’ll help them.”
While their gifts will help families who are need, Nocella and Waugh see the real heroes to be the city’s police officers and others who continually bring awareness to what is needed to lend a helping hand.