Message from Stewart J Guss: Some of you may be wondering what motivated me to start the memorial fund for Sgt Perez, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to answer common questions about this important project. I would like to personally thank all of you for your involvement and caring donations to the GoFundMe for Sgt Perez’s window.
How did the untimely passing of Sgt. Steve Perez and his heroic efforts effect you personally?
Over the course of my life and career, I’ve had the great pleasure of being friends with a good number of police officers and first responders. I have several currently employed by me at my firm. I still remember after 9/11, my wife and I got in the habit of anonymously picking up the tab for any first responders we saw when out dining, or at a coffee shop. It was simply our way of saying “thank you” and recognizing their service and sacrifice. We still do that when able. It is all too easy to take for granted the daily sacrifices and heroism of those who protect and serve, and Sgt Perez’ death was a tragic reminder of my personal obligation to “never forget.”
How did Hurricane Harvey affect you and your family?
We were blessed in that my home and immediate family were not directly affected by Hurricane Harvey and its devastating flooding. We did have several families living under our roof to take shelter, but we all came out safe and sound. In addition to my immediate family, I consider my employees at my law firm my “extended family.” Of my 60 employees at my law firm, we did have a few that suffered damages as a result of the storm, but individually, and as a firm, we all came together to offer assistance and help them rebuild.
As a member of Houston’s business community, what do you feel are the responsibilities of business leaders to the citizens during times of crisis?
As business people, our success is entirely dependent on our communities. I believe it is a moral imperative to give back to that community when they are in need. Over the course of time since Hurricane Harvey hit our great community, I’ve looked around and tried to help where I could. The loss of a great hero like Sgt. Perez, knowing that he left behind a wife and family, struck me particularly deeply. It is for this reason I took the initiative to start this fundraising campaign.
What motivated you to start this Go Fund Me for Sgt. Perez?
Just like my habit of trying to buy a meal or cup of coffee for a first responder when able, this fund represents another way for me to show my appreciation not just for Sgt. Perez, but for ALL first responders, everywhere. I know that the hearts of those in Houston and southeast Texas are as big as any of those anywhere in the world, and if given the opportunity, they would want to join with me in saying “thank you” for Sgt. Perez’ service, and to help his widow prepare for the financial burdens she will face in the future.
If you could say anything to all of Houston’s First Responders and the countless volunteers at large, what would it be?
Thank you. A million times, thank you. Too all of the police, medical personnel, fire fighters, and all the individual volunteers, the “Cajun navy,” and to everyone else who rolled up their sleeves to help during Harvey and in its aftermath: THANK YOU. Not only did all of you show your heart and your compassion to those directly affected by the storm, but you also showed the rest of the world just have brave and wonderful the people of Houston and the great State of Texas can be!