HPD friends and relatives of Fox pilot Chase Cormier and his partner Jason Knox continued their dedicated efforts to raise funds to benefit the officers’ families while memories of the tragic May 2 helicopter crash stayed fresh on the minds of many.
Cormier’s cousin, Carla Phillips, raised more than $10,000 through a special Facebook online fundraiser that included a well-publicized benefit walk in her hometown of Bakersfield, California.
The funds raised will be processed through Assist the Officer Foundation to benefit Cormier, who is still recovering from severe injuries sustained in the early-morning helicopter crash that took the life of his partner, Jason Knox.
A Knox/Cormier fundraiser was scheduled for Aug. 28, the last Friday of this month. It will entail $15 barbecue plates from Demeris Barbecue that officers may pick up at the HPOU Headquarters at 1600 State St.
The fundraising effort also will include a wide array of exciting auction items that everyone will be able to bid on at a special ATO-sponsored website. An eblast to officers will provide details.
The coronavirus distancing and masking policies prevent the traditional in-person fundraising activities at the HPOU.
Officers at the various outlying stations are urged to pre-order their meals and arrange for pickup. The online auction will include many items, including sports memorabilia donated by long-time ATO benefactor and auctioneer Alan Helfman of River Oaks Chrysler Jeep.
Phillips used the special Facebook birthday fundraising policy that enables a birthday celebrant to designate a non-profit recipient. She designated her cousin through ATO, a non-profit.
Phillips told the Badge & Gun she initially hoped to raise $500 but she soon learned that the generous supporters of first responders like police officers and firefighters have a bigger heart than that.
She is a “Fourth of July baby” who began her fundraiser a month earlier and ended it on July 3. Her husband, Stephan, is a firefighter in the Bakersfield area. He also is the cousin of Cormier’s wife, Brooke. Carla works with Brooke in Brooke’s company, Media Gurus, a media marketing company based in Houston.
“Toward the last day of the fundraiser,” Carla Phillips explained, “we had raised right at about $7,000. I wanted to walk with a Think Blue Line flag. I wouldn’t stop walking until I reached $10,000.
“I went on Facebook live and tagged many media outlets” as she continued her walk around Bakersfield, which has become known as a strong supporter of first responders.
She ended her walk with a total of $10,719 committed to ATO to benefit cousin Chase.
“I walked in 100-degree heat – I obviously wasn’t going to run that day,” Phillips said. “I walked 13 miles, all around the north side of Bakersfield. Cars were honking and people came up to me to hand me cash that I automatically donated to the fundraiser.”
Phillips was very optimistic about Chase’s recovery efforts, saying, “He’s doing well, continuing to go to therapy, thinking very positively. Right now it’s one day at a time.”
She echoed the thoughts of many friends and fellow officers of Cormier and the beloved Jason Knox: “It was surreal that it ever happened. Their families are constantly in our thoughts and prayers.”
Phillips said she and her firefighter husband, Stephan, plan to move to Houston one day soon.