Officer Joe Cantu of Southeast Patrol won the main event at the Dec. 20 Fighting for Toys extravaganza at Buffalo Bayou Brewery, but we must ask ourselves, “Was it really the main event?”
To witness the nine boxing matches pitting Houston police officers and other first responders – some from as far away as Los Angeles – against each other you had to bring a toy instead of paying admission.
Tons of toys for the underprivileged children in the patrol assignment areas of Houston police officers were dutifully collected. They even came in by the “Volkswagen-full!”
The real main event(s) took place a few days later when the officers delivered toys to children of all ages they identified as being from needy families who were not able to afford lots of gifts under their Christmas trees.
“We later gathered at the (HPD) gas pump and officers were able to select the specific toys for the children from their areas,” Officer Josue Villa, the tireless coordinator of the first-ever event. “We were able to provide every officer with the bags of toys to make many needy kids happy at this time of the year.”
Villa had high praise not only for the participating officers, Guns and Hoses and Assist the Officer, but especially the staff members at Buffalo Bayou, the gracious hosts for the second ATO event, the first being the Lovings fundraiser earlier in 2020.
Like Santa Claus, other gift-bearers in elfin vehicles showed up, bearing gifts that surprised everyone in a “fighting mood.”
“We had no idea these guys were going to show up,” Villa said. “They came in older Volkswagens and had a trailer loaded with toys they donated.”
Coincidentally, another “Josue” oversaw the VW fleet and explained what was happening:
Josue Silva talked to ATO’s Tom Hayes, 3rd vice president of HPOU, to get the details of the toy drive/boxing match at Buffalo Bayou.
“We’re just a bunch of VW enthusiasts who loves classic Volkswagens,” Silva explained. “Our name is ‘Volkswagen of Houston Car Club.’ We’ve heard about your toy drive and decided it was time for someone to step up the game.
“We did a toy drive to collect toys and give it to you as we did talk about making a toy drive to help kids this Christmas. But we didn’t know what to do after that with the toys as it was our first time doing this.
“So, we heard about you guys and decided it was the best thing to do on giving you everything we collected. The toy drive we had was called ‘Toys for Smiles’ and was hosted by Rosehill Beer Garden on the Cypress area.”
Silva concluded by saying, “We did the best we could, and we really hope we made a difference in someone’s life this Christmas.”
The VW aficionados may love small vehicles, but they did indeed, make a big difference in the success of the first-ever boxing event. Villa said will not be the last such fight for toys. You might say, what about next year (2021).
We will not leave the results of the fights after espousing about the toys and their deliverance.
- In the main event, Joe Cantu (HPD) defeated Jose Valdez of the Cloverleaf Fire Dept by unanimous decision.
- Lance Martinez of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s office defeated Will Jones of Constables Office Precinct 1.
- Joe Guerrero of the Houston Fire Department defeated Alan Pena of Arlington Police
- Dan Shurtleff (HPD) defeated fellow Eduardo Pena for the “PRIDE OF PATROL REGION 1”
- Laura Servise and Gillian Richardson (Both Houston Police) fought in an exhibition
- Manuel Maldonado of Los Angeles Sheriff’s office defeated Martin Gonzalez of Pearland Police Dept by knockout
- Kyle Hartnett (HPD defeated Jacinto Rodriguez an actor who starred in major motion picture Pitch Perfect 2 and internationally syndicated television Queen of the South
- April Fonseca of Los Angeles Sheriff’s office defeated Erica Donnelly
- Glen Salisbury of Constables Precinct 4 defeated HPD Officer Paul Torre