Sandi L. Gerena
(Plain Press, January 2005) Sandi L Gerena, age 61, who delighted many Plain Press readers with her Second District Police Beat column, died Tuesday, December 7th at MetroHealth Medical Center.
Gerena, a long time community activist in Cleveland, in recent years devoted her considerable organizing talents to the Second District Police Community Relations Committee, for which she served as Chairperson. Gerena solicited donations from individuals, small businesses and corporations, and held pancake breakfasts and spaghetti diners to help sustain the activities of the Second District Police Community Relations Committee. The committee held an annual awards dinner to honor public servants in the Second District – police officers, firefighters, neighborhood merchants, employees of local companies and residents were honored for acts of service or heroism. The committee also hosted events for senior citizens and children in the Second District.
It is a testimony to Gerena’s skill and hard work that the Second District Police Community Relations Cops and Kids Christmas Party provided gifts to neighborhood children on the Saturday after Gerena’s funeral. Gerena organized the event. Volunteers from the Second District Police Community Relations Committee collected used clothing and gifts over this past year for neighborhood children. Before the party, schools in the Second District were asked to identify families with children who could benefit from some help with their Christmas. The families were sent invitations to the party and employees of Astrop Awning were recruited to see to it that there would be a new gift for each child.
As evident in pictures featured in this issue of the Plain Press, Gerena’s efforts brought joy to many families. They enjoyed a hot dog lunch, searched through used coats, clothing and toys to take home, and then each child received a new gift from Santa Claus. Police officers from the Second District and community members worked together to make this possible.
As a staff person in the City of Cleveland Community Relations Department, Gerena became involved in efforts to improve the relationship between police officers and community members. Beginning in the mid-1980s she helped to lay the groundwork for the new Police Community Relations Committees being formed.
Prior to her work with the Community Relations Department, Gerena worked for the May Dugan Center using her skills to help needy families.
Gerena is survived by a son, a daughter, five grandchildren, and a sister.
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