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Thread: Touching tribute...
02-28-08, 07:26 PM #1Corporal
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Longtime Torrance, CA police volunteer receives a touching tribute.
By Nick Green, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 02/26/2008 11:28:46 PM PST
First came the distant cry of a police siren.
Then a black-and-white patrol car, its rooftop lights flashing, crept slowly into view Tuesday on a quiet, tree-lined north Torrance street.
And still a third.
And they kept coming.
Soon, more than 25 police cars slowly rolled down the residential street and parked in front of a house.
Some parked diagonally; others simply stopped in the middle of the road in a sea of flashing red and blue lights.
Police officers on motorcycles pulled onto the sidewalk.
A white animal control truck pulled up. Detectives arrived along with office staffers. And Police Chief John Neu.
Curious neighbors wandered out of their homes and gaped.
The object of the police attention - a frail, elderly woman in a wheelchair wearing a baby-blue cardigan with matching flip-flops - emerged from her house.
Evelyn Stevens' eyes widened.
Then police broke into a round of sustained, heartfelt applause.
"Thank you everybody," Stevens said softly, her voice catching with emotion. "Thank you so much."
She had expected a visit from a couple of friendly cops.
What she got was not a show of force but an outpouring of respect.
Stevens, 79, had volunteered for 15 years at the Torrance Police Department, putting in an unprecedented 4,100 hours of community service.
Police Department open houses. Parades.
And cutting out articles related to the department from the pages of the Daily Breeze.
Over the years, Stevens, it seemed, had done it all.
Then last month she was diagnosed with inoperable, terminal cancer and quietly cleaned out her desk.
Stevens, who can no longer leave her home, is not expected to reach her 80th birthday in August.
"This is the least we could do for you after 15 years of work you've done with us," Neu said softly, kneeling by her wheelchair and presenting the woman a plaque recognizing her contributions. "We wanted to bring the department to you."
Then officers clapped again before crowding around Stevens en masse for a photograph - or 10.
One of the first department volunteers - there are now about 100 and growing - nobody has put in as many hours as Stevens.
"She was the first one to raise a hand here if we needed a volunteer," said Officer Dave Crespin, the chief's adjutant. "She was that kind of person. She adopted us as a family."
Her real family and her adopted family had hatched their law enforcement conspiracy in the past week, said Stevens' daughter, Sue Trudelle, who was in on the secret along with her brother, Ray Garofano.
"To tell you the truth," confided Neu, "I was worried about what the neighbors were going to think."
He's not worried now.
One neighbor came over to ask what was going and, when told, broke into a broad smile.
"That's touching," he said.
No one in the department could quite remember a similar tribute.
But then no one could recall a volunteer quite like Stevens.
"I can't believe it," she said, as officers gradually filtered back to their cars and the street cleared. "I really can't."
02-28-08, 07:36 PM #2
Got some dust in my eye on that one.
Good story\\` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
`` ` ` ` (3--(____)
"...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
02-28-08, 07:59 PM #3
That's a wonderful story, her family will never forget what that department did for her.
02-29-08, 12:46 AM #4
Ah! Torrance, CA. I remember that city well. Used to live there. When I moved up to Central CA I got teased when they asked me where I was from. You see, my first name rhymes with Torrance so the kids had a field day with that one. Torrance Blvd, Carson Blvd, Normandie Ave, Western Ave, Sepulveda Ave. Reading the Daily Breeze. Sorry, reminiscing here.
Glad to see that a long time volunteer such as this get honored in this way. Sad to see her go. I hate Cancer. Lost a Grandmother and a Father to that disease. I have even had it myself. Not the way I would want to leave this earth if I had that choice.
This volunteer will never forget what the Torrance PD did for her on that day.
Choose The Right. When you're doing whats right, then you have nothing to worry about.
Not a LEO
In memory of Sgt. Howard K. Stevenson 1965 - 2005. Ceres Police Dept.
In memory of Robert N. Panos 1955 - 2008 Ceres Police Dept.
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