California cop brings summer 'Christmas' to family left homeless by fire
Written by kslmadmin on August 5, 2020
Mayra Valera, 27, and her 3-year-old had lost their Fresno home in a Sunday night fire that police said was set by Valera’s’ brother, Geraldo, who was trying to elude officers looking for him in connection with a robbery.
Sgt. Stacie Szatmari, one of the officers who responded to the scene, told KFSN-TV, an ABC affiliate, that her heart went out to Valera.
“The fire broke out and afterward, we had this family that was homeless,” she said. Szatmari responded by taking action: She gathered toiletries, clothes, and shoes for Valera and her family.
“It was like Christmas Day,” Valera told the TV station. “She was bringing Christmas gifts. Some stranger just said, ‘Here’s everything you need for your family now.'”
Szatmari, who also contacted the department’s chaplaincy service to make sure the family had a place to stay overnight and reached out to the Red Cross for help with longer-term shelter, said her response reflects how she was raised.
“If someone is in need, I need to help out,” she said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the Valera family, which has so far garnered about 10% of its $15,000 goal.
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