SANTA ANA, Calif.– Santa Ana Police Athletic and Activity League (SAPAAL) student Grant Cuevas was recently nominated by U.S. Congress Member Representative Lou Correa for the Naval Academy. Every year local high school students submit an application to be nominated for one of the four U.S. Military Academies. The applicants are vetted by a military board, and ten students are selected for the nomination. The acceptance to a military academy provides a four-year college education and a career in the military as an officer. Grant is currently a senior at Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) Santa Ana Valley High School.
Center: Nominee Grant Cuevas with his family.
Cuevas was introduced by Rep. Lou Correa’s and presented a certificate of nomination in the presence of his family, friends, mentors, military veterans and honored guests.
Grant Cuevas stated, “The nomination is a tough process, but is worth it, in the end, to be accepted to the Naval Academy.” Grant submitted a 500-word essay on why he wanted to attend the military academy. With guidance from his higher education counselor at Valley High School. Grant has a 4.5 g.p.a. At Santa Ana Valley High School. He is a team captain of his wrestling team. Grant was the first team captain of the SAPAAL running team. He has been a great role model for setting the gold standard high for current and future SAPAAL students. Grant plans on giving back to his community by returning to the city of Santa Ana as a police officer. Grant started the SAPAAL after-school program when he was seven years old. Grant continues to volunteer at the SAPAAL center and give back to the after-school program.
“We are really proud and happy for his family,” stated, Director of the SAPAAL program Officer Kenny Aguilar. “Grant was the first team captain of the SAPAAL running team and has been a great person for the other kids in SAPAAL program. He has set the bar for the kids to follow and emulate.”
“What an accomplishment we are all proud of Grant. His hard work and determination prevailed in and out of the classroom,” stated, Santa Ana Police Officers Association President Gerry Serrano. “We are thankful for the opportunities available to our youth in the community, with the active support of the Santa Ana Police Department, Santa Ana Police Officers Association, Santa Ana Unified School District, and U.S. Representative Lou Correa’s office.
SANTA ANA, Calif.– Santa Ana Elks Lodge hosted their Annual Public Safety Award Banquet for 2017. The Elks Lodge in collaboration with the Santa Ana Police Officers Association (SAPOA) and the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) honored members of the police department as the detective and the police officer of the year for 2017.
Art Echternacht (Past Elks President 2012-2013) and Suzi Brown Elk Loyal Knight were the masters of ceremonies introducing the presenters SAPOA President Gerry Serrano and SAPD Commander Eric Paulson
“As President of the Santa Ana Police Officers Association and on behalf of the men and women of our organization, we are honored and privileged to be recognized by the Elks Lodge of Santa Ana,”stated President Gerry Serrano. “The Elks Lodge has a rich tradition of supporting our police department and various youth programs in our community.”
SAPOA President Gerry Serrano introduced Police Officer Jonathon Perez as the Field Operations Uniform Officer of the Year for 2017. Perez joined the police department in March 2015 and is currently assigned to patrol night shift. Perez has been acknowledged for his thorough investigations and quality interviewing. Perez is proactive in the community, interacting with the residents while on patrol in a positive manner and his knowledge of the issues in the city.
Perez is an avid soccer player. He played club soccer in Santa Ana as a youth, then played four years high school varsity soccer and was team captain, he played two years at a local community college and was team captain. Perez completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology in 2013 from California State University, Fullerton. He is also a United States Army National Guard, Calvary Scout veteran.
“I have the honor and privilege tonight to present this award to Detective Maria Lopez,” Commander Eric Paulson stated. “I have known Maria since she started her career. She has represented this department [SAPD], the community and the citizens with the utmost professionalism.”
Detective Lopez has been a member of the Santa Ana Police Department for nine years. During her career she has been assigned to patrol, civic center directed patrol and is currently a supervisor for the Sexual Assault Unit. She also manages the Human Options resource grant for “breaking the cycle of domestic violence” through intervention and education.
Detective Lopez is an Explorer Post Advisor mentoring the youth of our community who are interested in a law enforcement career. She is an avid runner and a member of the running team which participates in the annual law enforcement Baker to Vegas 120-mile relay race. Lopez also is a member of the women’s flag football team.
Detective Lopez graduated from Santa Ana Unified School District Century High School in 2002. Lopez was a member of the highly competitive varsity basketball team for three years and was team captain for two years. Lopez played point guard for San Francisco State University women’s basketball team and was captain for two years. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice in 2007 from California State University, Chico. For the past two years, Lopez has been an assistant varsity coach at her alma mater Century High School.
“My distinct pleasure to present a small token of our appreciation from the Santa Ana Elks Lodge,” stated Art Echternacht. ” A check for the Santa Ana Police Officers Association Widows and Orphans fund.” The Elks Lodge is a social club with a mission to help their community. Their donation provides assistance to fallen and injured members of the police department.
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SANTA ANA, Calif.- The Santa Ana Police Athletic and Activity League (SAPAAL) hosted their annual family holiday party for 2017. The police athletic league provides after-school programs for more than 200 community youths and their families. Santa Ana Police Officer Kenny Aguilar is the director of the SAPAAL. SAPAAL offers after-school homework tutoring, educational career goals, physical activities and local outings such as the summer program “Camp Cove.”
Staff and sponsors of the SAPAAL host an annual holiday party to provide an opportunity for the kids and their families to celebrate their year-long successes with traditional holiday foods, a gift to bring home, face painting and other activities. Invited honored guests included family members, police officers, and local community members who provide a network of goodwill to the continued success of the SAPAAL families.
Assemblymember Tom Daly 69th District was present to help distribute toys to the SAPAAL families. Daly’s office is very active in the effort to collect toys for SAPAAL families. Daly’s staff was also a significant benefactor during the Thanksgiving season with the distribution of over 200 turkey’s and meals under “Operation Gobble,” SAPAAL families benefited.
Helping Hands Santa Ana a local non-profit represented by Director John Mendez and Ramiro Olivares collected hundreds of toys in collaboration with other non-profits, distributed to the SAPAAL families and the community. HHSA also lead the effort for other SAPAAL opportunities with their annual shoe drive for the SAPAAL kids.
SAPD K-9 Corporal Gripentrog held a demonstration with his K-9 partner Marko at the SAPAAL Holiday party. The kids were able to pet and interact with Marko.
Other invited guests included California State Parks Sergeant Kevin Selna, Marja Selna, California State Parks Interpreter Francesca Manheim, Crystal Cove Conservancy Holly Francesca and SAPD Commander Pete Semelsberger.The California State Parks Crystal Cove along with Crystal Cove Conservancy host 100 SAPAAL kids during the summer months. Camp Cove provides a week-long interaction with State Park Rangers, Lifeguards, offers educational classes, hands-on activities and taught ocean water safety by the California State Lifeguards. Camp Cove is supported through donations by the City of Santa Ana, California State Parks, Crystal Cove Conservancy and private donations. Camp Cove partners were invited to the SAPAAL Holiday party as an honored guest to continue the positive interaction of local community leaders with SAPAAL families.
SeneGence International through HHSA member Albert Mendez provided additional toys to the SAPAAL Kids and the community. California Highway Patrol Santa Ana through SAPD Building Maintenance Tech Andre Montano delivered toys to the SAPAAL Kids and others in the city. Toys “R” Us Santa Ana #7081 contributed toys to the SAPAAL Kids and the community.
Many of the SAPAAL kids attend local Santa Ana Unified School District Schools and are partners for the greater good of the youth in the community. SAPAAL works with the kids at Walker and Jackson Elementary Schools with a joint lunchtime physical fitness program. SAUSD is one of many partners in the city to support the success of the youth. The joint effort is one of the many successes to celebrate the year-end SAPAAL Holiday Party 2017.
In addition to the SAPAAL Holiday party, Santa Ana Police Officers and Jail Staff were able to provide toys to the community while working during the holidays.
The Santa Ana Police Officers Association continues to support the SAPAAL Kids and the community through direct and in-kind donations. For more stories like this follow SAPOA on Facebook and Instagram sapoa31strong. Additional, information at https//:wwwsantaanapoa.com