In 2003, the NPDF learned about the plight of Police Lieutenant Sammy Vinueza from Guayaquil, Ecuador, who was left paralyzed from a job-related shooting. The officer, via email, requested the NPDF’s assistance in helping to secure him a motorized wheelchair, since neither he nor his department could afford one. On May 4, 2006 at our 2006 Annual Awards Dinner, the NPDF presented Lt. Vinueza with a motorized wheelchair. In attendance were the Consul General of Ecuador and his official Police Attaché. The NPDF also arranged the next day a complete medical work up at Hackensack University Medical Center since it appeared Lt. Vinueza maybe a candidate for an operation that would give him more movement in his upper torso. In September 2006, the NPDF traveled to Guayaquil to meet with high ranking Ecuadorian police officials to announce the posting of a Safe Cop reward for the public information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects who shot Lt. Vinueza. In August 2010, Lt. Vinueza’s condition worsened and he was being hospitalized for severe respiratory distress. At this time, the NPDF and his wife traveled to Ecuador to donate a portable ventilator and supplies, so that Lt. Vinueza could return home. With the donated portable ventilator, Lt. Vinueza could survive and thrive at home with increased mobility and independence. In 2012, I traveled again to Ecuador to donate disposable tracheostomy care kits to keep the ventilator running.

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