Ambrose family makes donation to TJO animal shelter
By Katelyn Gendronkatelyn@thereminder.com
SPRINGFIELD There were tears of joy and sorrow on Nov. 21 as members of Kevin Ambrose's family joined colleagues and friends to honor the fallen police officer by making a donation to one of his favorite charities, Thomas J. O'Connor (TJO) Animal Control and Adoption Center.
The former Springfield police officer, who died in the line of duty on June 4, was an avid animal lover, according to his son, Kyle Ambrose, who attended the check presentation with the family's dog, Zeus. The $7,000 donation was made on behalf of Kevin courtesy of International Brotherhood of Police Officers (IBPO) Local 364 Charities.
"When our shelves are stocked it's a relief and we can worry about the animals and not how to stock our shelves. To say 'thank you' feels not enough," Pam Peebles, executive director of TJO, said as she tried to hold back tears. "Officer Ambrose meant a lot to us. We only knew after his passing how much TJO meant to him."
Kevin Ambrose's wife, Carla Ambrose, said her husband used to take their granddaughter to see the animals at TJO "all the time."
"My dad loved animals and he found our dog Zeus on Ambrose Street eight or nine years ago," Kyle Ambrose recalled, noting that they're unsure of the dog's age or breed but it makes no difference to them as they love him unconditionally.
The $7,000 donation will be used to fund "wherever our needs are the greatest," Peebles explained.
"We have 150 animals here right now and seven that have needs that are well beyond our budget," she added. "They need things [extraordinary medical testing and care] that we couldn't ask taxpayers to fund.
"This is one of our most significant donations. It usually takes us six months of efforts to raise this kind of money," Peebles continued.
Joseph Gentile, president of the Springfield Police Patrolman's Union and the IBPO Local 364 Charitable Fund, said the funds were raised during a golf tournament in Ambrose's name.
"It means a lot to us, the members of the Springfield Police Department, and Patrolman's Union and IBPO 364 to make this donation. We created this charitable fund to give more substantial amounts [to organization's in need]," Gentile said.