Bruce and Lori Smith
Most of us recall where we were and what we were doing on Sept. 11, 2001 as terrorists brought down the World Trade Center twin towers. But who could have foreseen on that terrible day the blessing for the people of Rancho Cordova those horrible events had spawned?
Thousands of miles from the dust and destruction, like many Americans, Bruce and Lori Smith
were moved by what had happened and took it upon themselves to change the world they live in. In a time of uncertainty and need, they asked themselves, "What can we do to help?"
And that's where this story begins.
Soon after Sept. 11, Bruce and Lori heard of an opportunity to sit on a board of directors led by local law enforcement. The board had assembled in order to create policies and procedures to protect the greater Sacramento area in the event of a terrorist attack. Bruce and Lori both work in the medical field and were eager to share their insight and recommendations. Through this experience, Bruce and Lori were introduced to the world of law enforcement.
In 2002, this married couple decided to put themselves through the police academy, using their own money, to become volunteer reserve officers. They took this on in addition to their full-time day jobs: Bruce is a hospital director and Lori is a physical therapist.
After successfully completing the police academy, the couple began their volunteer service with the Rancho Cordova Police Department. Bruce and Lori are sworn police officers and can perform all duties of a police officer. However, one thing is distinctly different – they don't get paid for their service.
In addition to working their normal jobs, both still manage to volunteer 100 hours a month to help strengthen law enforcement relationships with community and develop a positive relationship with cops and kids in Rancho Cordova.
Among their endeavors:
- They run an Explorer/Cadet program for the kids of Rancho Cordova and greater Sacramento area. The program is held at the Rancho Cordova Police Department, and over 40 kids meet on a regular basis to get an inside look at law enforcement. Kids not only learn about law enforcement, but the importance of giving back to the community in which they live. Lori and Bruce take their Explorers to events and provide security at no cost for schools, non-profit organizations and other worthy causes.
- Bruce, a cancer survivor himself, was the driving force and lead for the Rancho Cordova Police Department's participation in the Relay for Life event held at Mills Middle School. Together, Bruce and Lori organized the Jail and Bail fundraiser where prominent Rancho Cordova residents and community leaders were "jailed" and forced to raise their bail. As a result of their efforts, the Rancho Cordova Police Department raised over $12,000 for Relay for Life.
- Bruce and Lori also worked tirelessly for the Rancho Cordova Police Department's annual toy drive. Both sacrificed their weekends and evenings to work at toy drives in the Rancho Cordova area, collecting over 3,500 gifts. Bruce single-handily raised an additional 1,300 gifts by holding toy drives at his work and motivating hundreds of his employees at Mercy General to contribute. Every gift raised went to underprivileged kids in the Rancho Cordova community – making the holidays memorable for hundreds of children.
- The Smiths also contributed significantly to the community event "Christmas on Croetto." They secured over 200 food baskets that contained turkeys and food for Rancho Cordova residents. Over 400 adults and kids came out to the event to receive a free holiday meal, and children were able to sit on Santa's lap and receive a gift.
- Bruce and Lori play an important role in educating the community about law enforcement by running the Rancho Cordova Police Department's Citizens Academy. This eight-week program is designed to educate the public about the police department and its role in the community. The program encourages citizens to take an active role in the community and build relationships with the police department.
- When they heard that the police department was going to begin a Police Activities League (PAL) for underprivileged youth in the community, they were the first to raise their hands to help. They now sit on the board of directors and provide support to the Rancho Cordova PAL by helping out at events, providing direct support to PAL officers and supporting fundraisers and programs for the organization.
- On a weekly basis, Lori meets with other female officers to run the nationally recognized mentoring program called "Girls Circle". Lori helps administer the program for the Rancho Cordova PAL. This program helps girls establish and maintain connections with peers and adult women in their community.
- And get this! Often Bruce and Lori give up their Friday nights to supplement patrol and take prisoners to jail. This in turns frees up patrol officers to better serve the needs of the Rancho Cordova community. For Bruce and Lori, they don't see this as a burden, but rather a great date night!
Bruce and Lori are amazing citizens, volunteers and people. They think of others first, and their sense of giving and selflessness is truly inspiring to those around them. The city of Rancho Cordova is better off because of the tremendous and ongoing volunteer efforts of Bruce and Lori Smith. Thank you, Bruce and Lori, for making a difference in our community. Thank you for your Distinguished Community Service.