Wanting to raise money for the families of the four Oakland Police Officers slain in the line of duty on March 21, Robert Gallery pulled out the business card of a policeman who worked Raiders games at the Coliseum and with whom he had become friendly.
His heart sunk when he saw the name on the card.
"It was Mark Dunakin, one of the bike cops that got killed," Gallery said at the team's recent mini-camp. "That was kind of a kick in the gut and it was even a bigger deal because I saw him all the time, talked to him after the games. That made it much more, you know, it hit home that much more."
So Gallery's fundraiser on June 6 now has a deeper, more personal meaning.
The Raiders left guard, who is a car aficionado, is organizing and promoting "Cruisin' For Our Community," which will raise funds for the families by way of a silent auction and raffles for jerseys and other Raiders memorabilia. He hopes teammates will join him for the cruise as well as donate their time for an autograph show. All proceeds, Gallery said, will go to the affected families.
"Every dollar," said Gallery, who will drive his recently restored 1954 Cadillac in the cruise.
The 13-mile, two-hour "Cruise" will begin at the old Mervyn's parking lot at 7177 Regional Street in Dublin at 10:30 a.m. and conclude at Los Vaqueros restaurant at 1000 North Vasco Road in Livermore, where the autograph show and silent raffle will ensue. American classic cars manufactured before 1970 are welcome to join the cruise with an entry fee/donation of $30 per car.
"This being the first time we've done this, I think if you raise a dollar it's more than what they had before," Gallery said. "So I would be very happy if we could (raise) $10,000. I think we can easily do that...any money can help. It's something good for the community...I think we can easily raise a few thousand bucks and anything more than that would be awesome."
For more information, log onto the Oakland Police Officer's Association Web Site at www.opoa.org.