$10,000 in cash, gifts collected

By Joe Hughes
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
December 21, 2006

The Christmas spirit is alive and well in San Diego.

Thanks to two San Diego police officers, nearly $10,000 in cash and gifts has been collected for a Marine and his family, whose apartment was cleaned out by burglars while he was recovering from injuries suffered in Iraq.

Sgt. Ishmael Quiroz had returned to his University Avenue apartment near 58th Street in El Cerrito when he, his fiancee, Brittaney Faubion, and their 6-week-old son, Jeremiah, decided it was best to spend a few weeks in Bakersfield to recuperate with family.
They came back to San Diego Dec. 14 and found that burglars had broken into their home, taking everything but a bed and couch, police spokeswoman Mónica Muñoz said.

Among the items stolen was an engagement ring Quiroz was planning to give his fiancee.

Quiroz is based at Camp Pendleton with the 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion. His back muscles were torn apart when an improvised explosive device detonated under his Humvee, he said.

After writing up a police report, officers George Garvey and John Carpenter, both former Marines, resolved to take up a collection for the family. Fellow officers at the Police Department's Mid-City headquarters contributed about $400 before the night was through.

But word soon spread. Other officers contributed cash and gifts, and Garvey succeeded in enlisting a local radio station's help.

Less than a week later, about $10,000 in cash and gifts has been collected, Muñoz said. The donations were presented to the family yesterday.

Among the gifts was an engagement ring from a local jeweler. The ring, which Faubion knew she was getting, will be given to her next week.

“I was totally shocked at what those officers did,” said Quiroz, who has been in the Corps six years. “And the fact they were both Marines made it more awesome. Once a Marine, always a Marine.”

Quiroz's next assignment will be as a drill instructor at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot.