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Cleveland Heights Resident Continues Scholarship to Honor Officer Jason West

Proceeds from raffle tickets, available for purchase at many local businesses, raise money for scholarships for students interested in law enforcement and criminal justice.

Cleveland Heights residents and businesses have once again joined forces to honor fallen Cleveland Heights Officer Jason D. West.

West was protecting people he didn’t know when he was shot and killed in May 2007.

He was responding to a fight on Altamont Avenue — a routine call — and was shot as he was getting out of his car.

The 31-year-old was risking his life not for family or friends, but for strangers, as all police officers are asked to do.

In response to this tragedy, Lita Gonzalez, a stranger to west, established a scholarship fund for students in the law enforcement and criminal justice program and Cleveland Heights High School.

Since 2008, she and a committee have selected one graduating senior who receives $500 toward any college expense. The previous year’s winner also receives an additional $500 if they successfully complete their freshman year in college. They are also asked to come back and speak to the law enforcement criminal justice students about their freshmen experience.

To raise money for the scholarships, Gonzalez organizes a raffle and drawing party each year.

Raffle tickets are $2 each and can be purchased at Dave's Cosmic Subs, Eddy's on Coventry, Quintana's Barber & Dream Spa, Parnell's Pub, Shawn Paul Salon and The Tavern Company.

Tickets will be drawn and winners will be announced from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. at Bodega on Coventry.

The prizes include gift certificates to local businesses such as Brennan's Colony, Tommy's, Simply Charming and The Wine Spot. The "Mega Raffle" includes more than $1,000 in gift cards to local businesses.

People can also purchase raffle tickets from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 and Nov. 18 at Zagara's Marketplace.

For more information about West and Gonzalez, , and visit the Jason D. West Memorial Scholarship fund Facebook page.

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