Friday, March 29, 2013

Jennifer Sebena

I was completely disheartened when I read about slain Police Officer Jennifer Sebena. Jennifer husband Benjamin Sebena is accused of shooting her to death and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has denied putting Officer Sebena’s name on their memorial wall. For those of you who are not familiar with The National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund they are an organization that is set up to honor police officers who are killed in the line of duty.

Here is an article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund will meet April 3 to once again consider adding slain Wauwatosa police officer Jennifer Sebena to its memorial wall, according to the Wisconsin Professional Police Association.

The memorial fund first said it would not include Sebena, apparently because she was killed in a domestic violence incident. Last week, it announced it would delay the decision until next year.

Sebena's husband, Benjamin Sebena, is accused of shooting her to death Christmas Eve while she was on duty outside of a fire station. The memorial fund's main requirement for the memorial wall is that an officer must have been "killed in the line of duty," meaning "a law enforcement officer has died as a direct and proximate result of a personal injury sustained in the line of duty." The fund's board of directors makes the final decision, and the fund is a private, nonprofit organization.

"This is the only issue on the agenda. We think this is a tremendous development and reflects the fact that people from around the country have heard about this and are actively expressing their outrage at the national memorial's decision to (not) give Officer Jen Sebena the same honor as many others that were killed under almost identical circumstances," WPPA executive director Jim Palmer wrote in an email Monday to the Journal Sentinel.

"We will continue to encourage supporters to reach out to the memorial board and we are optimistic they will make the right decision and honor Jen this year," he added.

More than 14,600 people have signed an online petition supporting Sebena. A Facebook photo from the WPPA compares the case of Sebena to that of Detective Norman Montion, who was killed in El Paso by a former business partner during a lunch break and is on the memorial wall.

The Journal Sentinel has contacted the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund for

Copyright 2013 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

I ask you to consider writing letters, calling, sending emails to let the Memorial Fund know that Jennifer’s name needs to be included on this wall. Just because she knew her killer doesn’t make it less of crime or have her death not be in the line of duty. She was on duty when she was killed and she was killed by someone committing a crime of domestic violence. In my opinion this is wrong. Jennifer should be honored just as those other officers who died in the line of duty.

The contact information is below for the CEO of The National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund

Craig W. Floyd
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Below is the link for their staff e-mails:
Phone: 202-737-3400
Fax: 202-737-3405

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Office
901 E Street, NW, Suite 100
Washington, DC 20004-2025

Thank you for considering this request and for honoring Jennifer for her ultimate sacrifice.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Nick's Head Shave For Hope

I’m so very excited that, once again, Nick Swearngin is hosting his Head Shave for Hope House event! Nick is a very caring and compassionate individual who created this event and continues to grow it every year.

Initially, Nick started by growing his beard and mustache for several months and then having a gathering where the highest bidder was able to shave it all off and he went bald to raise awareness for Hope House. What an event this has become! These days Nick has taken to dying his hair before the event and wears a t-shirt saying “I did this for Hope House”. He raises over $10,000 at this event and each year he gets more and more people involved to share the story of Hope House and the services that we provide. Last year he had 15 people step up to have their head shaved! It is amazing the number of people each year who step forward and are willing to share of themselves in this way. 

We are incredibly grateful to Nick and to all of those willing participants who are brave enough to go bald for the cause. This year’s event will be on March 16th from 10am-4pm. It will be at IAFF Local 2195 Lee’s Summit Fire Fighters Association at 322 SE Douglas in Lee’s Summit. There will be a Hope House entry in the St. Patrick’s Day parade which will take place that day as well. This year, Nick has out done himself with gathering great auction items including The Red Ultimate Experience VIP Taylor Swift tickets for the August 3rd show at Sprint Center. How wonderful!!

This event is great fun and will be full of wonderful people willing to help Hope House and the people we serve. We are extremely grateful and cannot wait to be there and experience the excitement. There are several folks already fundraising on their own personal fundraising pages for the event. If you can’t be there perhaps you want to donate to one of their pages at
Thank you to Nick and everyone who will be shaving their heads and those who are fundraising not to have their head shaved! We are extremely grateful to all of you. You can learn more about The Head Shave for Hope House on the facebook event page: headshaveforhope or through our website at We look forward to seeing you on March 16th!

Friday, March 1, 2013


This weather has been something hasn’t it! I look out my window and all I see are white mountains, many of them throughout the parking lot and street. Some are difficult to see over the top so much snow has been piled on them.

This weather can be very challenging to everyone; it is taxing on the nerves, the emotions and schedules. It can be especially difficult for people in crisis as their whole lives are turned upside down and then they have to deal with the appointment cancellations, maneuvering the streets and cancelled work which often means a reduced paycheck which then starts the crisis spiral all over again.

It is difficult to make everyone happy during snow storms but we certainly work to make the situation as normal as possible for people in our services. Unfortunately, we have had to cancel groups and other services. Courts have had to be cancelled which can not only be troublesome, but also can put goals and needs on hold or take longer to get accomplished, causing further stress on already stressed out individuals. We work hard to normalize the situation as best as possible to avoid further stress and problems and help to create solutions. Sometimes the only solution is to breathe and know there is nothing more that can be done. We cannot control Mother Nature, sometimes we are at her mercy  and can only wait it out and then be grateful for all of the workers who work all night to plow the streets and make it safe for us to venture out again.

Speaking of being grateful, I am especially appreciative of the staff at Hope House who take this weather in stride. Shelter staff come in early; they come with extra clothes and are ready to put in long shifts knowing their replacement may not be able to make it in. The facilities staff are here all hours of the day and night shoveling sidewalks and plowing the driveway to make it easy for clients and staff to get around safely. We have a great crew here; they jump in and do it all without complaint because they know it has to be done. They put the concerns of the clients first, thinking of their comfort and needs and doing whatever is needed to make sure their needs are met.