The Celina Police Department is on an upward trend of growth along with the rest of the City of Celina. The number of employees continues to grow annually, along with the specialized divisions and units. With this growth, officers with the Celina Police Department saw the increased need to “Protect and Serve those that Protect and Serve the City of Celina.” The idea launched a plan to start an association that would provide the employees of the Celina Police Department with a way to support their own, while also giving back to the community. Our officers have covered their bases in the “protect” portion of the “Protects and Serve” motto police officers live by. We thank you for that. It’s the ideas put into action to “serve” our community most recently that are nothing short of impressive.
This idea, that unfolded into a reality is called the Celina Police Association, a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. Since the beginning of its establishment in 2017, the Association has proudly raised more than $30,000 in contributions to their Scholarship Fund and Officer Down Fund.
The Celina Police Association’s Scholarship Fund was established to provide just that to the students of Celina. The goal is to provide 3 scholarships totaling $5,000 in 2018. Information on the scholarship can be obtained through the association’s Facebook page. The deadline for submission is April 1.
The Officer Down Fund was established to provide relief to the families of local law enforcement officers who have been injured or killed in the line of duty. Since the creation of the fund in late 2017, the Celina Police Association has already donated $5,000 to the family of a local hero who was recently killed in the line of duty.
The members of the Celina Police Association are always looking for creative and exciting ways to foster community involvement and raise funds. In addition to selling t-shirts that boost community awareness and support, you’ll have another opportunity to Dunk a Cop for $5.00 at the 2018 Celina Park Fest and Splash and Blast events.
It is a fact that for any non-profit organization to succeed, there has to be a commitment to the outcome by people willing to put their nose to the grind to make things happen. Sometimes just putting words into actions one step at a time is all you need to see a series of events unfold into something bigger than ever expected. That is exactly what happened when Detective Jeremiah Phillips, President of the Celina Police Association, asked the right people the right questions at precisely the right time.
Detective Phillips headed over to Tender Smokehouse to pitch the idea of a poker night fundraiser. He spoke with co-owner and friend of the police department, Dante Ramirez, who was eager to contribute in any way. To Detective Phillips’ surprise, Dante introduced him to a man, known all too well to the Major League Baseball community, Torii Hunter. Torii, who is also a co- owner of Tender Smokehouse, learned of the plans for the poker night and began to rally his friends in the world of professional baseball to lend a hand. The event, held on January 30, 2018, was quite possibly the most “star-studded” fundraiser to ever hit our small town of Celina.
Event tickets sold out in a whopping 7 days and with big names like Torii Hunter, Michael Young, Vernon Wells, Tyler Lyons, Samuel Freeman, Matthew Kemp, Nick Castellanos, and Torii Hunter Jr, there in support, it is a surprise that it took that long. For $225, guests were able to sit next to their baseball heroes and compete for the top hand. For $100, spectators were thrilled to catch a bird’s eye view of the action.
Attendees had their dreams come true, by rubbing elbows with MLB greats. Each left with a custom deck of Celina Police Association playing cards and a baseball signed by the sports star they played alongside. The Police Association event awarded no prize of value, however the overall winner, Tod Weber, was presented with a framed “final hand” display autographed by Torii Hunter himself.
When asked about the outcome, Detective Phillips’ credits his wife, Kristina whose tireless support and hours of work contributed greatly to the success of the event. The couple further stated, “The most exciting part of the event was watching our ten-year-old son’s passion to serve, while experiencing the excitement of the event by our side.” Let’s not forget, behind every successful man in blue is a loving family who also sacrifice daily for the good of our community.
The Celina Police Association’s MLB Poker Night was one for the records and a night to remember. Major League heroes worked hand in hand, literally and figuratively, with those that are the real major league heroes of our lives, our law enforcement officers.
The members of the Celina Police Association have been humbled by the outpouring of support as evidence by the association’s success over the last year. Detective Phillips closed with the truth that, “Everything we do as police officers is with the purpose of keeping people safe,” and in retrospect, I guess the same can be said for baseball.
Jodie Brownd | Cedarbrook Media
Photo Credits: Jessica Cernat and Josh Phillips Photography