Jason West scholarship fundraiser is May 22
On May 26, 2007, Cleveland Heights Police Officer Jason West responded to a routine disturbance call and was shot getting out of his car. His death shocked the community. In response, local residents, West’s family and friends, business owners and fellow officers established a scholarship fund in his memory. Each year, graduating seniors from the Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement program at Cleveland Heights High School can apply for the scholarship.
To raise money for the fund, the scholarship committee is holding its annual Mega Raffle on Sunday, May 22, at the New Heights Grill on Lee Road. Tickets for the raffle are $2 and can be purchased at several local businesses: Quintana’s Barber & Dream Spa on Taylor Road; and Shawn Paul Salon, New Heights Grill and Parnell’s Pub on Lee Road. Tickets will also be on sale at Zagara’s Marketplace on May 14. Last year’s raffle raised more than $8,000.
Since it’s inception, the scholarship committee has awarded 11 scholarships. In 2012, Stedman Smith received the Officer Jason West Scholarship. After joining the Army and serving in Afghanistan, he returned home and applied to the Cleveland Heights Police Academy. Out of more than 150 applicants, Smith was one of only 20 to be accepted. He contacted the committee to ask if he could use his award for academy tuition.
“Not only did we give Stedman his initial award,” said Betsey Bell, committee co-chair, “but we were able to pay for the entire cost of attending the police academy.” Smith graduated in 2015 and is working for the Maple Heights Police Department.
"We're so proud to see the legacy of Officer West honored by Stedman Smith's commitment to a career in law enforcement. Smith is one of many reasons we're passionate about growing this fund," said Bell.
The Officer Jason D. West Memorial Scholarship Mega Raffle is the only fundraiser the committee holds, and every dollar raised goes directly to the scholarship fund. Tax-deductible contributions can also be mailed to: The Officer Jason D. West Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o CH-UH City School District Treasurer’s Office, 2155 Miramar Blvd., University Heights, 44118.
Checks should be made payable to Cleveland Heights–University Heights City School District, and should mention Jason D. West Scholarship on the memo line. For more information, visit: www.facebook.com/JasonWestScholarship.
Lita Gonzalez is co-chair of the Jason West Memorial Scholarship Committee. A resident of Cleveland Heights since 1995, she recently published her family's history, Meeting the Ghosts Inside Me.