Hundreds of community members, business leaders, deputy sheriff’s, firefighters, California Highway Patrol officers, American Medical Response personnel, friends, and family members joined at the Racer’s Edge Indoor Carting facility Thursday night to raise money for abused children and other causes.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department – Santa Clarita Valley Station joined the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the California Highway Patrol, and American Medical Response at the first-ever “Fast and Furious First Responders” fund-raising event.
Representatives from the emergency services agencies volunteered their time and, in partnership with Racer’s Edge, brought an indoor kart racing challenge to local government, the public, and business entities. The first responders challenged each other and offered a unique opportunity for the public to race against a police officer, deputy sheriff, paramedic or firefighter – all for a great cause. The common goal of the event was to raise money for each agency’s selected charity.
Four hundred people packed the raceway, with 200 of them actually racing, while others cheered them on and enjoyed the music, food, and prizes.
By the time the checkered flag was dropped, the event had raised more than $6,000 for the Racer’s Edge local business, a substantial portion of which will be donated to four different non-profit charitable organizations, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department: 999 for Kids Program, the California Highway Patrol Newhall Area Squad Club, which offers support for fallen officers’ families; the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Explorer Post 6 Program and American Medical Response’s charity, the American Cancer Society.
The top five finishers with the fastest single lap times at the event were as follows:
Andrew Schlottman – undetermined agency or entity – 24.52 seconds
Larry Verdugo – Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department – 24.58 seconds
Ryan Drake – City of Santa Clarita – 24.63 seconds
Ryan Resella – City of Santa Clarita – 24.63 seconds
Chris Cabral – California Highway Patrol – 24.65 seconds
There was also a “Pit Crew Challenge” to see how fast one person could change two real race car tires. That event was won by Deputy Michael Lorenzi of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station with a time of 41.58 seconds. Mike won a one year season pass to Racer’s Edge, which he donated to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Explorer Program.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Darren Harris said that the event was a resounding successes and estimates that nearly $2,000 will be donated to the Sheriffs’ 999 For Kids Program.
“Every year the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, and other sheriff’s stations throughout Los Angeles County host events in support of the annual 999 For Kids fund-raiser,” Harris said in a press release. “If people in the community need emergency help, they call 9-1-1, but if deputies need emergency help they radio ‘999.’ In 1985 the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Department of Children and Family Services joined together and organized the 999 For Kids Program as a way to help abused kids.”
This organization was developed in an effort to help children who are victims of the most severe cases of child abuse, neglect and domestic violence. The Specialized Medical Placement Unit and Deaf Services Unit of the Department of Children and Family Services are responsible for the care of more than 1,000 of these children who benefit from the 999 For Kids Program. The number of children has been increasing each year. Although tax dollars provide for the basic needs for these children, there are no funds available for the needs that go beyond basic care.
The 999 For Kids Program raises money for the purpose of purchasing special items and services for these children, i.e., sport wheelchairs, computers, special education classes, medically-oriented toys and games, and a yearly holiday party.
A few examples of how some of the funds were spent in the past include piano lessons for a child who is blind. the purchase of a specialized tricycle for a child with a seizure disorder, severe developmental delays and cerebral palsy, a gastro-intestinal feeding switch and pump for a child with cerebral palsy, the purchase of a television/VCR/DVD combo for a child with a chronic lung disease and the purchase of a bicycle and helmet for a child with sickle cell anemia.
The 999 For Kids Program is an opportunity for a corporation or individuals to join others in providing much needed funds for this very special program. Contributions and donations are tax deductible.
“We got into law enforcement and emergency services because we want to help people,” said Captain Anthony La Berge of the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station. “Participating in events like this, that we know are helping children and others in need is just an extension of what we do – it’s in us.”