More than 2,000 residents and tourists came together at the Fort Christian parking lot for the Family Fun Day Fundraiser in support of injured officers, specifically officers Colvin Georges and Aaron Hodge, who were shot while on duty May 26.
The fundraiser, hosted by the St. Thomas-St. John Police Benevolent Association, brought out everyone from families to business owners who gave everything from cash donations to food stamps. Dozens of officers were also present. Georges’ cousin Vanessa Bellot said many came early to help set up.
Georges’ family and Hodge also came out to support Georges and help raise funds for his medical needs. Bellot said the family cannot afford the $700,000 deposit Jacksonville Memorial Hospital in Florida is asking to accept Georges into their facility.
“We need to come up with money for the deposit. We’re just hoping and praying for a miracle. We need help,” Bellot said. “People have been giving and giving all day.”
Bellot said that Georges has his good and bad days, but at the moment, his spirits are low.
“He needs this right away,” she added. “His situation is not getting better laying there. His mental state is degrading. He wants to know why he’s still there and why he can’t get help.”
The family wants to have Georges transferred to a hospital that is better equipped to help him, but government insurance will not cover his long-term care. Gov. John deJongh Jr. pledged that the government would pay the bills Georges’ family cannot cover. The governor wrote a letter to the hospital stating this, but the hospital would not accept the letter until the deposit is received.
Cpl. Elroy Raymo, president of the St. Thomas-St. John PBA, said money earned at the event will help Georges get the transfer he needs, help with medical bills for hospital care and any special equipment, and it will also assist Georges’ family with travelling expenses.
Raymo said they won’t know the final count until they can turn all of the donated items into one lump sum for the family, but the family has received continuous support from the community, and even from agencies beyond the territory, such as the Miami Police Department.
Georges’ family sold food at the event, while other groups sold things like drinks made from local ingredients. There was also a DJ as well as bounce tents for kids. Bellot said the special operations unit was present and several of the officers stood by the road with buckets to take donations. In a touching moment for the family, a fleet of police cars drove by in honor of Georges.
Raymo wanted to thank Police Commissioner Henry White for allowing officers time to stop by the fundraiser. He also thanked Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls, who offered the parking lot for free. Raymo said they continue to get support from the governor.
Sugar Bay Resort also donated a two-night stay, which PBA gave to Hodge and his wife. Bellows International and the West Indian Company donated the drinks, while Cost U Less and Plaza Extra gave food.
Raymo also thanked the Steelworkers Union #9488 which pledged to match the money earned at their booth, Georges’ graduating class, Ivanna Eudora Kean High School’s class of 1988, the community and other sponsors who came out to assist the Georges family.
“It is a community effort because it is beyond us. It’s a matter of us telling the community that we’re here together. It’s a battle and we continue to fight,” said Millicent Aubain of the Steelworkers Union #9488.
PBA plans to hold monthly fundraisers monthly called “Care for Officers” to assist other injured officers and their families.