Fundraiser held to cover funeral expenses for officer killed in the line of duty

LiAnn Fontes
LiAnn Fontes
John Kim
John Kim
Chai Chaowasaree
Chai Chaowasaree

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Co-workers and friends of fallen Honolulu police officer Eric Fontes gathered at the Aloha Tower Marketplace Sunday night for a fundraiser to help his family cover his funeral expenses.

The late patrol officer grew up on Molokai. Event organizers wanted to raise enough money to bring his Molokai relatives to Honolulu for funeral services September 30th, and then fly his body to Molokai for services there October 8th.

Members of HPD, including Chief Louis Kealoha, turned out for a fundraiser at Chai's Island Bistro in memory of one of their own. The packed house and outpouring of support touched the family of Officer Eric Fontes.

"My heart is so full," LiAnn Fontes, fallen officer's wife, said. "I know that as people grieve with me, it helps me to heal also."

Officer Fontes was a father, grandfather and seven-year HPD veteran.

He was near the concrete median on Farrington Highway near Ko Olina assisting with a traffic stop, when an approaching truck went off the roadway and plowed into him. The driver of the pickup, identified as James Dorsey Mancao, 20, is free while police continue to investigate.

It's been nearly two weeks since the tragedy.

"We're doing okay because we have a lot of faith," LiAnn Fontes said. "We know that God's watching over us and things will be all right."

Borthwick Mortuary donates its services when an officer is killed in the line of duty. But there are other expenses that aren't covered.

"They have to fly Eric's body back to Molokai, so what this fundraiser is for is just to help the family out," Officer John Kim, event organizer, said. "He has a lot of family members from the island of Molokai that want to attend the funeral coming up here."

The ticket to attend the event was $25 and included a buffet dinner. Chef Chai charged for the cost of the food -- $10 a head -- and the rest will go to the family.

"An innocent man who do so much for the community and I think it's the right thing to do," Chai Chaowasaree, Chai's Island Bistro, said. "I know that everybody have a hard time right now with the poor economy. If we can help a little bit, I think it's the right thing to do."

"I'm just really surprised and so touched by this outpouring of love," LiAnn Fontes said.

Officer Fontes' co-workers are also raising money by selling wrist bands at $5 a piece. Each one has his name, his badge number and the day his watch ended -- September 13, 2011.

The first shipment of 1,000 wrist bands quickly sold out.

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