More than 150 runners raised $8,297.00 by participating in the Santa Ana Police Department’s Inaugural Holiday Fun Run on Sunday, October 31.
The funds will help buy toys for children most in need in Santa Ana.
The 5K run began at the steps of the Santa Ana Police Department and continued to Jack Fisher Park in the Floral Park neighborhood before ending back at police headquarters.
Commander Gil Hernandez and his son Nathan, 11, ran together.
“We want to support the community and raise funds to ensure smiles at Christmas for Santa Ana youth,” Hernandez said.
“This is a great way to kick off the holidays,” agreed Commander Sergio Enriquez, a 26-year department veteran. “This was put together by employees of the Santa Ana Police Department to provide hope to our more fragile neighbors.”
Enriquez noted that the Santa Ana Police Department also sponsors a holiday toy drive each year.
Participating in the weekend event was Explorer member Noemy Gomez, 19, who attends Santa Ana College and aims to become a police department dispatcher.
Many Explorers go on to study criminal justice in college and join law enforcement as adults, explained Detective Jessica Taylor, who began as an Explorer herself and now serves as advisor to the department’s Explorer Post.
Joining officers, their families, and the Explorers were 20 members of PAAL, the Police Athletic & Activity League, which offers after-school programs to Santa Ana Unified School District students ages 8 to 16, said Detective Anthony Pacheco, who serves as PAAL’s head running coach.
Sgt. Dominick Padilla, who has competed in the legendary Baker to Vegas law enforcement marathon annually for 22 years, was happy to support a law enforcement event that gave families the chance to participate. The 5K was sure to be simple for him to complete, since he runs between five and seven miles every other day.
Distributing information at the race was Grizelda Cisneros, a 21-year SAPD dispatcher, representing the Pink Patch Program offered by Breast Cancer Solutions, a local charity that provides breast cancer patients with direct assistance, community referrals, and compassionate support. Cisneros noted that several department employees have been affected by breast cancer.
Rupert Vega, an elder in Orange-based Household of Faith Family Church and a police department chaplain, offered a blessing of hope as the race began.
“I believe that the community needs to know that people care,” Vega noted afterwards. “This is a great opportunity to see the goodness that God brings.”