Eighth annual Cops for Kids Fly-in brings toys for LLUCH kids
Roger Molina, a 14-year-old from Riverside, checks out the cockpit of the Long Beach Police Department’s helicopter on Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday, September 19, helicopters from police departments across Southern California flew into the San Bernardino International Airport bearing toys for children at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.
The event—co-hosted by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, the Riverside Police, and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department—is the end result of toy drives at various police departments culminating in a spectacular delivery to the Children’s Hospital.
This year 80 police officers from agencies across Southern California participated by visiting with the patients at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital and giving out some of the more than 1,000 toys the officers had collected.
Three helicopters landed on the lawn between University Church and Prince Hall at 11:30 a.m., sirens blaring as they circled.
“The first year we did this, we landed three helicopters in f
Don Miskulin, a helicopter pilot for the Riverside Police Department, and Megan Colley, 17, interview with KABC-7 about the Cops for Kids Fly-in event.
ormation,” says event organizer Don Miskulin, a helicopter pilot for the Riverside Police Department. The helicopters were greeted by 12 patients, many pulling intervenous poles behind them as they came to get a closer look at the helicopters.
The toy drive was first organized in 1999 in honor of Megan Colley, then a 9-year-old liver and kidney patient at the Children’s Hospital. Megan, now 17, was on hand to see the eighth fly-in to benefit patients with single-parent families during the holidays.
“I’m speechless,” Megan said as she watched Tuesday’s fly-in.
It was her first visit in three years. Her family moved to Bullhead City, Arizona, a year ago and lost contact with organizers here. Officer Miskulin found her again recently while visiting his parents. He went to an In-N-Out Burger restaurant in Bullhead City for lunch and found Megan working there.
“So the San Bernardino Sheriff crew flew her in for this year’s event,” he says. “She’s healthy, and she’s a success story from this hospital.”
Jeff Werblun, deputy for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, and Mr. Miskulin are the chief organizers of the nonprofit Cops for Kids Fly-in.
The fly-in here is scheduled three months before Christmas because the patients receive a lot of attention at Christmas time and this helps spread the fun out for the rest of the year.
By Preston Clarke Smith
Three helicopters land on the lawn at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. The Riverside Police Department landed first in the front right, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department landed second on the back left, and the Long Beach Police Department is seen preparing to land.