South San Francisco, CA November 28, 2016
Monday night’s candlelight vigil for South San Francisco Police Officer Robby Chon brought more than 400 neighbors together in support of a full and quick recovery from the tragic injuries he sustained when brutally attacked on Thanksgiving Day while on duty on Grand Avenue. The outpouring of concern from neighbors turning to Everything South City seeking ways to help and to make sense of this cruel violence led to our organizing this event.
“How can this happen in our City?” Maria S asked “And what can we do to help this Officer recover? What can we do for our police?” Jose R wrote “I was out there that day on Grand. I couldn’t believe it. I seen that guy out there before. How is the cop? I want to help.” Another South City resident wrote “No. Simply no. We cannot let this happen here. We have to stand up for our police department.” Those sentiments continued to come to us as neighbors tried to make sense of this attack.
Not knowing how many would show up for the vigil with such short notice, Everything South City had 150 candles to pass out amongst the group. “There were 3 of us passing out the candles and our supply was gone before we even moved through half the crowd!” Jim Antonis exclaimed. San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine, who was also in attendance, said he thought there was close to 500. “This is an amazing turn out” he said.
Officer Chon’s sister, Yumi Chon, left her brother’s hospital bed for the first time to come speak on behalf of the Chon family. “He has a long road ahead of him to recover from his injuries. We are deeply touched by the well wishes for his speedy recovery by an incredible number of people” she said. “I beg you to please, please continue to pray and I thank you so much for supporting our family and my brother Robby Chon.”
While Officer Chon’s condition is still considered critical as he remains in the ICU, family and friends are feeling optimistic for his recovery. “I see the vigil being a celebration of Robby’s recovery” said SSFPD Chief Jeff Azzopardi.” Chon’s direct supervisor Captain Danny Gil, speaking at the vigil told all in attendance “Some of his first words after his fight to live was to repeatedly ask, ‘Where’s my motorcycle? Where’s my motorcycle?'”
South City native, Congresswoman Jackie Speier speaking before the crowd Monday evening, said what many were thinking “We’re gathered here to recognize a hero” acknowledging that we are in deed a small town with a big heart. Chaplain Danny DiAngelo referenced historic Sign Hill and the lettering that states South San Francisco is the Industrial City. “Tonight we are a City of Inspiration” he said as he led a prayer for strength of Officer Chon and his family.
SSFPD Sgt. Ken Chetcuti, who helped with logistics for the evening, was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from the community. “This has hit a spot in our hearts” Chetcuti said of the vigil “This will leave a lasting mark with us all. We thank everyone for their support.”
Silva Wolfe also announced that blue porch lights would be made available to those who attended the vigil. “They should be in next Monday” she said. “We thank Nick Tentes of Grand Avenue Hardware for this generous donation. Please check our website for updates so we can get these to you” The blue porch lights are a symbol used through out the country in support of law enforcement. “If ever our officers need our support, now is the time.”
A gofundme account that had been started with the initial goal of $25K exceeded that amount within 3 hours. SMC Deputy Sheriff Chris Swinney is a good friend of Officer Chon’s having been academy mates, was surprised at the generosity from so many. “Thank you everyone for the unbelievable support for this cause. Let’s keep this rolling!” he said as the goal was increased to $100K. As of this writing the amount is close to $120K. Some were curious why money was being collected to which Swinney responded in part ”
‘All the donated money will be used for various things such as: medical bills and expenses that are not covered by his medical overage (not everything is always covered), his wife obviously cannot work right now and neither can Robbie, they have bills like a mortgage, utilities, food, costs for their kids, car payments, etc that this money can help off-set, if Robbie can’t return to work, any money donated will help the family transition to a much different lifestyle and way of life, insurance policies and life insurance plans take months to sort through and to get money to the beneficiary, this money will be used for any unexpected bills that might come up while this chaotic time unfolds, some of the money could be used for college funds for his two children, and lastly, for stuff I cannot think about right now. I assure you, no one is being forced to donate and this cause is valid.
As it stands, the money will be moved from the gofundme account to the SSFPD POA and delivered to Officer Chon.’
Donations can still be made HERE or by check payable to”South San Francisco Police Association” with “Injured Officer Chon Fund” on the memo line to:
Sgt. Sean Curmi
SSF Police Association
33 Arroyo Drive
South San Francisco, CA 94080