“As police officers they want to do anything they can do. That’s our nature,” says Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo.
Many members of the Rochester Police Department were personally affected by the devastation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
Officer Agustin Gonzalez says, “I’ve spoken to other officers but my patrol duties include working in North Clinton Avenue, so I’ve also spoken to the citizens there of Puerto Rican descent and they have the same frustrations and the same concerns that I have because they’re not able to really talk to their family and they know the devastation with no drinking water, no electricity. It’s pretty devastating at this point.”
Officer Bernnie Garcia adds, “At the beginning we were frustrated, a little bit angry because we felt we were sitting on the sidelines and not doing anything to help out. Once we started a dialogue between 10 of us, that’s how the ball started rolling.”
The officers went to the Locust Club and asked their brothers and sisters in uniform to help. They got to work having t-shirts printed, and organized a softball tournament for this weekend, all in the hopes for raising money for the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Maria Relief Fund.
“As a union we’re all one and just like the shirt says, it crosses all boundaries. We got everybody engaged, not only for the Hispanic officers who have family there, but our officers who are responding to calls with the Hispanic community of Rochester,” Mazzeo tells News 8.
The Locust Club is inviting the entire community to attend the men and co-ed divisions’ softball tournament October 7th and 8th at Grace and Truth Sports Park. The address is 373 North Greece Road in Hilton. The cost is $200 per team with a minimum of 3 games. For more information you can call Carlos Dejesus at 585-957-0607 or Nelson Madrid at 585-478-6861. You can also help by purchasing one of the t-shirts which you can pick up at any RPD public section office.