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Jay Gerace

How did you feel when you first understood the assignment?

When I first understood the assignment I had an overwhelming feeling of excitement about the possibilities. That “overwhelming” feeling really slammed me in the face when a lovely couple sitting next to me reached into their wallets and handed me a hundred dollars of their own money. They said, “you look trustworthy, we want you to take our money and use it with the money from the church, whatever your going to do with it we’d like to be a part of.” My wife and I also wanted to personally invest one hundred dollars of our own money in this project.

How did you decide how/where you’d use the money?

I knew pretty early that I wanted to touch as many people as possible. I spent the next week thinking and praying about how I could use the $300. I am a Colonie Police Lieutenant and I lead 23 patrol officers, 2 traffic investigators and 3 patrol sergeants. This past Monday I committed to involving all of them in the use of this money. These men and women are on the front lines of engaging with people who are hurting and I wanted to leverage their collective might to make a maximum impact with this money. I also wanted to soften their hearts a bit by bringing them along with me on this exciting project. At roll call I briefed them on the origin of the money and sent them out into the community with the clear goal of looking for someone to help. After roll call all three of the sergeants who work for me personally invested $100 each in the project and before I knew it I was sitting on $600. The response from the police officers has been fantastic, they’ve been coming to work all week with smiles on their faces. We’ve also begun soliciting ideas for a name for our fund. I have a feeling that this fund is going to continue to grow.

How did you use the money?

Our first disbursement came the following day, October 10, 2017. Two police officers were dispatched to a local trailer park to check on the welfare of a wheelchair bound cancer patient. The officers engaged her and her husband in conversation and they discovered her prognosis was not good. They also found out that she was having trouble getting to her doctor’s appointments because the people who drive her do not have the ability to lift her out of her wheelchair and carry her down the trailer’s stairs. These officers sprung into action and decided to find a way to build her a wheel chair ramp that would take her from the trailer to the parking lot. They got the assistance of the West Albany Fire Department who agreed to build the ramp for the couple and we used our first $100 to buy the materials. The woman’s husband shook my hand and hugged me and told me that, “There really are good people in this world.”

$500 left to go !!!!!!!