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|One of Our Own Needs Help|
One of our own has fallen and needs our help. His name is Dennis Louball, a longtime HMB Police officer that moved to the Sheriff’s Office (SO) when HMB disbanded its Police Department in favor of the SO (2011).
Dennis started his law enforcement with the HMB Police Department in 1997. I have no doubt that everyone has, at one time or another, run into Dennis or have been helped by him in one way or another. He was a dedicated member of the HMB PD and worked tirelessly for us in many ways. I know he was there for me more than once or twice.
Dennis is married with two young children (boy and girl), one in Elementary school and the other too young yet.
Dennis was first diagnosed with lymphoma in his leg immediately after the transition from HMB PD to the SO. He fought it with chemo and it was covered through his SO benefits. Being the person he is, he continued working, being a father and husband through his fight with cancer. However, when the cancer came back from remission, stronger than it had been in the first place, the County informed him that they could no longer cover him because it appeared to be pre-existing from his HMB PD days and therefor fell under HMB’s Workman Comp. HMB disputes that, just as they disputed another HMB PD officer’s illness claim in the mid-2000’s; Officer Bogner’s claim.
Since coverage has been denied, Dennis has been forced to use up all his earned benefits - sick leave, vacation time and comp time just to pay his bills; normal bills that we all have plus his medical bills. Since he has exhausted all his accumulated resources of relief, he has resorted to what is called Catastrophic Leave. That allows other County employees to donate their earned and saved sick leave to Dennis so he can hopefully feed his family in these very difficult times.
Police and Fire fall under the CA Labor Code, which call cancer an injury, which then qualifies that individual the right to claim the illness under Workman’s Comp. That can be found under Section 3212 of the CA Labor Code; specifically, Section 3212.1, so the City of HMB has a very prominent role in this matter per their contract with the HMB PD Officer’s Association supported by Ca Labor Code. It is very clear. Here’s the Code: Web Link
This, for me, is deja-vu all over again. I remember the shaft Bogner got. I remember Bogner and his wife out in front of Safeway with a card table and large jar, collecting donations from locals to eat. It was ugly, yet after all was said and done, after he and his family suffered to Hell and back, the City finally accepted their responsibility and settled.
HMB is refusing coverage for one of our own - Dennis Louball - a very nice person, a very dedicated person, a very hard and honest worker and longtime HMB Police Officer forcing him and his family into poverty because of cancer, which is clearly covered under contract and CA Code. The only thing left that Dennis may have is his dignity, and the City is taking that too.
I have but one simple, but glaring question for HMB; Why???
George, thanks for bringing this story to our attention. It leaves me frustrated as I am certain you are.
So, I guess my question for you and the rest of us is what can we do?
I wonder if Snideman is paying attention to the precedent being set.
Good question Mr Bills, and thanks.
The short answer to what can we do was provided to me (because I asked the same thing) by the same person that informed me about this the evening of the Bridge meeting just last week: Deputy John Sanchez, formerly another HMB Police Officer who also went to the SO when HMB made the switch.
John asked that any questions regarding help, and any help be sent to 537 Kelly Avenue, HMB, CA 94019 and addressed to John Sanchez - or attention John Sanchez. That address is the Department Operations Center (the old Police Department).
It is my understanding that there may be an event or two in the works, but that's about all i can add now.
I have no doubt that any help would be much appreciated.
As you know; he and I have something in common. Give him my phone number or should I mail him my contact info?
Yours in Liberty;
This is the first I have heard of this medical coverage issue with Dennis Loubal. Let me find out what's happened and what solutions may be possible.
Thank you Allan.
JD, I have passed your (home) number along. Good Luck with that and thanks. Perhaps something positive will come of it; I hope so for both of you.
All the best, as always.
Many residents have been helped by Dennis' dedication to this town. John Sanchez - please count me in to help!
Thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention, George. We're going to look into it as well.
Thank you Clay.
As you probably know, I don't care much for lawyers. Noneheless, sometimes we need them. Dennis needs a lawyer. If I understand correctly, Dennis has been continuously insured - no gap. That being the case, some insurance must cover - and that is exactly what a court would be likely to find.
You are absolutely correct "Barnus", a lawyer is needed. The problem is lawyers will not take this kind of case on a contingency basis so the client would need to come up with $25,000 to $100,000 dollars of their own money to get private representation.
I would imagine, though, that the Police Benovelent Association can provide this gentlemen legal counsel.
Dennis has had to get an attorney, unfortunately. I did not ask him about the financial arrangements of that action though.
I do remember, however, a workman's comp case of someone close to me. She also had to get an attorney to resolve the matter. That attorney worked on contingency, but that's just one case and it was a few years ago. Maybe it's different now; I don't know.
Just the fact that one of our own, in the situation he's in, had to actually go out and hire an attorney for help is bad enough. Whether he paid up front, or will on the back end, it will still cost him (Dennis) money that should have gone to Dennis.
Pretty lousy game with an even lousier message, if you ask me. Talk about kicking someone when they're down...as if Dennis and his family haven't already been through and continue to go through more than enough already.
Tuning in for later details
I'll start with an apology for not keeping current on this thread. A lot has happened since I last posted here. Mark Noack did a piece on Dennis and what he's been going through Web Link and the piece on Patch seems to have gone viral: Web Link
Just to get this up to speed, there have been numerous comments and requests from those wanting to help. Here are 2 things going on now regarding help:
1) I spoke with Cameron on this and he is putting together a Saturday BBQ Benefit for Dennis. When he has the date and time, I will post it for all to see. He said that donations for the silent auction he will hold would be very helpful and appreciated. That's where the bulk of the money will come from to help Dennis. Anyone interested can contact Cameron at 725-5705.
2) The Deputy Sheriff's Association has set up a fund to help Dennis. Anyone wishing to donate would send the donation to:
San Mateo County Sheriff's Association (DSA)
2421 Broadway Street
Redwood City, CA 94063
Please make sure you put "for Dennis Loubal" on the check, as the DSA won't know otherwise.
Thank you to all that have shown an interest to help. It really is heart warming to see such an outpouring to help Dennis in his time of need. To me, that is what community is all about.
Can we mail donations directly to Dennis Loubal instead of routing them thru Redwood City ? Looking forward to hearing more about the fundraiser events.
Dennis is a good man and public servant to our community and now it is our turn to step up for him & his family.
I had a family crisis two years ago and Dennis helped me as an officer, but he was thoughtful and caring enough to take care of my pet so that I could quickly leave a volatile situation. He is caring and kind and is deserving of our help.
Thank you Emily; yes, you can.
Please note above that I provided 2 options. The first one listed would be the event that Cameron will be putting on. You can donate things to the silent auction which Cameron said is what generates the most benefit to Dennis.
Just this morning (I believe), someone posted a comment on Patch that stated they (a small group) are also planning an event for Dennis to raise money to help him: Web Link
So there are two alternatives there. I can't think of anything immediate, other than the DSA I mentioned above, but you've indicated you'd prefer something other than that. A reminder, as long as I'm here; for those that do send a donation to the DSA (Deputy Sheriff's Association), please be sure to write that your donation is for Dennis on the check.
Right now, that's the best I can offer in terms of donations, and thank you all for the incredibly strong support that you are providing Dennis. He is aware, very grateful and very humbled by it.
Well folks, some good news: the benefit for Dennis at Cameron's is set!
Date: April 6, 2013 - which is the 1st Saturday in April.
This will be an opportunity for Dennis to say hello to all his well-wishers and an opportunity for us to see Dennis and say our piece - as well as show our support for him and the fight against cancer.
The response has been overwhelmingly supportive for Dennis and has been recognized and very much appreciated. I, for one, would again like to thank all those that took the time to read this and comment plus the ones that just took the time to read it. This piece, this story about one of our own went viral (with the help of Christa at Patch & Facebook), which has been a bit humbling and overwhelming for Dennis, but a truly wonderful gauge of community.
I did not ask the time of the event, but for those interested, Cameron's phone number is 726-5705. I will speak with Cameron this weekend and get the time, which I will promptly post.
This event might also be a good opportunity for others that may be thinking of doing something to perhaps think of coordinating. Just a thought, because I know there are others that have expressed an interest (like firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Update: I wrote a rather extensive piece on this matter for Patch. Christa, the HMB Patch Editor took that piece and put it on Facebook - and it went viral. It is truly amazing to see the responses. Christa then took it a step further and wrote another piece titled: "Love for Dennis Loubal Lights Up the Coast". Here's the link: Web Link My original piece is linked there.
For those not aware, four coastside locals - Gabi Jensen, Kelsey Larson, Marshall Whelen and Nick Finlen, stepped right up and started this: Web Link It's called Love for Loubal, and they have taken the reins on helping Dennis. All the details are on the link in the first paragraph in Christa's piece, but here's a thumbnail version:
They have a benefit event for Dennis lined up at the Old Princeton Landing (OPL, as they refer to it), as follows: "Love for Loubal's Coastside Club Night" on Saturday, March 30th from 9pm-1:30 AM. It is a $10 cover charge at the door (100% of proceeds will be going to Lucile Packard Foundation of Children's Health) and 10% of the alcohol sales will be donated as well. We will be selling wristbands at the event for $1 that will say "Love for Loubal". Sounds like a good time will be had by all. I’m sure looking forward to it.
In addition, they also met with Cameron to better define the April 6th event that Cameron is sponsoring for Dennis. Here are the details from their meeting:
The Cameron's BBQ: (a little more detailed...)
-The time for the event has been confirmed. We locked in the 1pm-5pm timeframe, allowing us 4 hours for multiple events as well as mingling and everyone getting a chance to talk to Dennis Loubal.
1 pm: Possible blood drive (we are still looking into this and hasn't been confirmed).
2 pm: Cocktail hour (drinks are not included in the ticket price).
3 pm: BBQ - Beef brisquit, tritip, chicken, hot dogs for kids, and salads. This WILL be included in the ticket price.
4 pm: Live Auction - auctioneer is Steve Bowerman. He has gone to auctioneering school and has 30+ years experience. He will be auctioneering big ticket items, and has volunteered his time free of cost.
-The silent auction will be hosted throughout the event, and people can bid anytime between 1pm-4:00pm.
-Ticket prices for the event will be $15, kids are free, and dogs are welcome.
-We will also have wristbands for sale.
-I also plan on bringing my camera and will have a suggested donation to reserve a spot for their picture in a photo album for Loubal. I'll bring a chalkboard or whiteboard so they can write their well wishes to Loubal and can pose with it in their picture.
-Marshall Whelen and Nick Finlen run a DJ company called Local Productions and will be providing the music and equipment for the event.
-We are still needing donations for the auction! Any help is appreciated.
I can't say enough about the efforts of Gabi, Kelsey, Marshall and Nick. They are doing an incredible job and at the risk of sounding corny, they are showing us what community is all about. Just an incredible effort by four incredible locals for another local that has made a career of helping others.
I encourage all readers to check out the links I've provided here. I also encourage all readers to join in, come to the events, help in whatever way you can, and celebrate life and the opportunity to help others not so fortunate.
All that talk, and believe it or not, I forgot to mention something. They have also set up an easy online donation page. The link is: Web Link
Those 4 don't miss much.