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Angels Sluggers Honor Kids for Posting Big Attendance Numbers

Anaheim Sgt. Juan Reveles with students from Walter Elementary

Growing up with a rough crowd in Arkansas, Torii Hunter says he could’ve strayed into a life of drugs like his father.

Instead, he kept busy playing sports – and avoiding the wrath of his mother, a school teacher.

On Monday, the Angels’ star centerfield said those decisions were key to his success.

“School is very important,” he said to 500 cheering children. “What you do will affect you later.”

Hunter, slugger Bobby Abreu, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and police officials from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Anaheim, Orange and Buena Park police departments honored the formerly “at risk” children, ages 9-13, for great attendance – and avoiding gangs. Each child received an Angels cap, admission to the game and an exclusive and inspiring chat with the sluggers.

The students cheered when the players jumped on the dugout

“We are blessed to have a community partner like the Angels,” said Anaheim Police Lt. Mark Cyprien. “Being in a position to honor these children – many of whom had one foot in a gang – reenforces that they are making the right decisions when choosing to go to school.”

Their ticket in?

They had to improve their attendance and grades – and stay out of trouble.

Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu share stories from their childhood

David Santos, a sixth-grader at Walter Elementary, said the Gang Reduction and Intervention Partnership’s mentor program has helped him.

Katie Morel, his mentor and a Walter first-grade teacher, opened her classroom to him and his friends after school. She’s taken him to movies, pizza and on other outings – at her own expense.

“The gangs are always coming up to me asking me where I’m from,” he said. “This keeps us busy and gives us a place to hang out after school away from the gangs.”

When asked about getting an evening at Angels stadium as a reward, he said, “It’s awesome,” adding Hunter is his favorite player.

He might like him even more after Monday’s outing.

Hunter and Abreu invited the children to attend a second game – as their guests.

To read Orange County Register reporter Eric Carpenter’s coverage, click here.

Walter Elementary teacher Katie Morel mentored Omar Higareda, 8, Juan Cruz, 13, and David Santos, 12

Angels “Abreu’s Amigos” Program Honors Dozens of Deserving Kids

Can one person make a difference in the life of a young person?

Dozens of Anaheim children and teens enjoy an Angels game, courtesy Bobby Abreu

“Yes,” says Gina Meza, who manages Anaheim PD’s Cops 4 Kids program.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim star Bobby Abreu has donated 30 tickets for 18 games to the police department’s Cops 4 Kids program and other local youth organizations. So far, three groups of children have enjoyed ball games. For some, it was their first outing to a professional sporting event.

“This is just one example of how an awesome individual is making a huge difference in the lives of our youth and our community,” Meza said.

The kids get more than seats in the right-field pavilion. They get a hot dog, drink and candy. And an “Abreu’s Amigos” T-shirt.

And bragging rights.

Laden and LJ Glenn enjoy a ball game

How many kids can say that a professional athlete honored them for good citizenship?

“We choose kids who have excelled in one of the programs,” Meza said. “We are blessed at Anaheim PD to have partnerships in our community with generous leaders who want to make a difference. Bobby Abreu is great ballplayer – and great member of our community.”

To read more about the program, click here.

Tommy Lasorda’s Letter Congratulates New Captain – a Dodgers Fan in ‘Angel Territory’

Newly appointed Anaheim Police Capt. Raul Quezada plans to frame the congratulatory letter on his wall – and schedule more meetings in his office.

Capt. Raul Quezada

Just so his colleagues can stare at it.

It’s a letter from Tommy Lasorda, the legendary Los Angeles Dodgers coach and special advisor to the team’s chairman.

“It’s an awesome feeling to have Tommy Lasorda acknowledge my promotion and take the time to send me a letter,” said Quezada, a lifelong Dodgers fan. “What an awesome man.”

In the letter, Lasorda said “all of us can be rest assured of being safer because of your leadership.”

When Quezada received his captain bars a few weeks ago, his colleagues – mostly Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim fans – gave him a hard time about his allegiance to the other Los Angeles team.

Framed Dodgers jersey in new captain's office

As 200 people watched, Lt. Tim Miller presented Quezada with an Angels cap and put it on his head. Quezada quickly removed it.

“I owe you,” he told Miller.

But the fun didn’t end at the ceremony. His colleagues covered the Dodgers gear in Quezada’s office with Angels gear.

“Once the letter is framed, I will purposely host meetings in my office where my colleagues will be forced to see my letter,” he said.

He said he will place it on a wall next to a framed Dodgers jersey with his last name on it – a gift from his former crew.

The rivalry continues, Quezada says, adding: “It’s all in fun.”

To view Lasorda’s letter, click here.

Capt. Raul Quezada, a Dodger fan, dons an Anaheim Angels cap after being appointed captain

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Wish APD Officer Randy Quick a Speedy Recovery

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim posted a get well message to APD Officer Randy
last night on the stadium’s scoreboard.

Quick became ill while running a race while off-duty last weekend. He
remains hospitalized in in serious condition.

We hope you’ll join APD in keeping him in your prayers.

LA May Be His Team, But Anaheim PD is His Family

Raul Quezada is a Los Angeles native, and a former Los Angeles Police Department officer.

Capt. Raul Quezada

But that’s not what gets his Anaheim Police Department colleagues fired up.

It’s his allegiance to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“I love working with these guys who joke with me about baseball,” said Quezada, who was appointed last week to captain. “You should see my office. Angels gear has been placed over my Dodgers stuff.”

The Dodgers may be his baseball team. But Anaheim PD is his family, he says.

When his oldest daughter (now 15) was three, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. His APD colleagues scheduled blood drives, arranged testing for bone marrow and did everything they could to assist him and his family during the difficult time.

“It was awesome,” he said. “We got through this because of the support we received from my Anaheim PD family.”

As a young Los Angeles officer he set his sights on a lateral move to Anaheim, he said.

“I knew I wanted to come to Anaheim because of its reputation,” he said. The department “had everything a big city had, only smaller. Anaheim has an outstanding reputation in California.”

Quezada’s most recent assignment involved overseeing internal affairs. He now moves to head the Investigations Bureau – to the job held by retiring Capt. Joe Vargas.

At last week’s promotion ceremony, he said his goal “is to be the type of supervisor you always wanted to have.” Chief among those traits: Be forgiving.

Quezada came to APD in 1996 and has worked in about a dozen roles ranging from patrol to district commander. He was Anaheim’s first full-time officer assigned to the Anaheim Police Activities League (rebranded as Cops 4 Kids). Being involved in finding APAL’s first home and hiring civilian personnel are among his career highlights at APD, he said.

In his new role, he hopes to do what he can to help the department maintain its high standards despite the economic challenges.

“Customer service is huge for me,” he said, later adding: “We are resilient here at APD. We will continue to move forward through these difficult times.”