We make the argument that longtime HPOU benefactor and charity auctioneer Alan Helfman didn’t need a costume to be Santa Claus – especially the blue version.
Helfman, who has conducted 103 auctions benefitting law enforcement officers – most of them for Houston officers in conjunction with Assist the Officer, donated a brand-new Dodge Promaster to the HPD Blue Santa program.
The donation came just in time for the 2020 Christmas distribution process for the decades-old program that allows HPD officers to purchase and distribute toys for the needy children on the beats.
“I saw the older vehicle they were using,” Helfman told the Badge & Gun. “I saw that it seemed to be falling apart and immediately concluded it was time to replace it. The Blue Santa program is unique in our nation and brings out the best in Houston police officers who dedicate their lives to serving the Houston community.”
He remarked that the new vehicle was “fully loaded – just like the officers loaded up with toys for the kids in the neighborhoods they patrol. I just wanted to make the season bright for everybody.”
As HPOU members have grown to anticipate, Helfman is never through with his fundraising efforts. There was an online auction of sports memorabilia and a guitar to be used to benefit Officer Courtney Waller, who was wounded in the shooting confrontation that killed Sgt. Harold Preston.
The auction ended Dec. 20. No surprise here that Helfman donated all the items that were up for bids. This is not the end of Waller benefits. On Feb. 12, ATO has scheduled a drive-thru barbecue and gun raffle to benefit the wounded officer. This fundraising method has been used in recent months due to the pandemic.
As for Helfman, the owner of River Oaks Chrysler Jeep and the man who offers incredible deals for law enforcement personnel throughout the Texas Gulf Coast, he was not through playing Santa Claus in 2020.
Helfman donated a 2020 Dodge Caravan for the use of the Police Activities League (PAL) and the Explorers program. He presented the generous four-wheeled gift to Police Chief Art Acevedo in mid-December.
That’s not all.
He anted up another $15,000 to be used to benefit the HPD Village at the L. D. Morrison Sr. Police Academy. It brought Helfman’s total contributions to $100,000 for this special project.
That’s still not all.
Recently, he donated two vehicles to the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Union. Helfman was moved by the fact that an old vehicle used by the union to transport the widow of a firefighter to the man’s funeral broke down in the process. He vowed that would never happen again, saying that Houston firefighters now have a newer van for this purpose among other special needs.
And those free vehicles just keep on being donated by Helfman at River Oaks.
He donated a Pacifica to the Ronald McDonald House, replacing a rundown 12-year-old vehicle “in terrible condition.” He also gave a new Caravan to Houston Community College and a new Dodge Ram Charger to Rice University. He also gave a van just like the new one he gave Blue Santa to Methodist Hospital.
We should remind everyone at this point that Helfman provided about $100,000 in masks for HPD, HFD and other law enforcement agencies last February in the early stages of the pandemic when KN95 masks were hard to find.