By Thomas J. Sullivan–
Customers waited patiently to be seated for an open table on Wednesday at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Citrus Heights, each wanting to participate in a two-day “Dine to Donate” event to honor and remember fallen Sacramento Police Officer Tara O’Sullivan, who was killed in the line of duty on June 19.
What began as a planned one-day fundraiser, was extended to Thursday, June 27, by the restaurant’s managing partner, Joseph Sevier. He said extra serving and kitchen staff volunteered just to come in to help during the fundraiser.
“The local response has been incredible to this tragedy,” Sevier told The Sentinel. “A one-day fundraiser just wasn’t enough.”
Outside the restaurant, etched on concrete sidewalks on both sides of the front entrance, chalk messages reading “Blue Line Strong” and “Tara O’Sullivan – forever our hero” were written.
A special booth was set up inside the restaurant decorated with blue and black ribbons and photos of Officer O’Sullivan, where restaurant guests could pause in her remembrance and leave a donation if they chose.
In all, over 1,100 meals were served on Wednesday during the first day of the fundraiser, Sevier said. He estimated the same or more were served on Thursday.
The total amount raised during the fund raiser for the Tara O’Sullivan Memorial Fund over the two-day period won’t be known until early next week.
Thirty percent of the proceeds of each guest check at Texas Roadhouse in the two-day fundraiser will be given to support the Tara O’Sullivan Memorial Fund in honor of her public service to the greater Sacramento community.
“I’m not sure yet what the total amount we expect to raise will be just yet,” Sevier said. “We know that the people of Citrus Heights and the surrounding area have been exceptionally generous.”
Donations to the Tara O’Sullivan Memorial Fund, which was created by the California Association Highway Patrol Credit Union, can be sent online at cahpcu.org or through mail at the following address: Officer Tara O’Sullivan Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 276507, Sacramento, CA 95827.
O’Sullivan, 26, who was killed in an “ambush” style attack, was the first Sacramento police officer killed in the line of duty since William Bean Jr. was killed in 1999.
CAHP Credit Union’s president Brad Houle told the Sacramento Bee that the financial institution would waive all fees related to the account, and that the family could receive the money for immediate expenses. Houle said the online donation form will be available for as long as people continued to donate.
A memorial service was held Thursday, June 27, in Roseville, as law enforcement from Citrus Heights and across the capital region escorted O’Sullivan’s casket to Elk Grove in a procession across Sacramento County.