Rancho Santa Fe Association approves funds for CHP programs


By Karen Billing

The Rancho Santa Fe Association board approved its annual contribution toward the California Highway Patrol’s Senior Volunteer Patrol program and the Explorers program, which provides experience and training for youth for potential careers in law enforcement.

At its July 18 meeting, the board voted to give $4,000 to the SVP program and $3,000 toward the Explorers.

The Association has provided funding to both programs since 1999 and as Rancho Santa Fe Patrol Chief Matt Wellhouser said, they provide a direct benefit to the community and help fill in the gaps, such as recently providing extra help at the July 4 parade.

“You’re the lifeblood of our organization,” said SVP Captain John Green who leads a crew of 40 volunteers, all over age 55 and from different backgrounds. “We get no financial support from the state so if it wasn’t for you, we probably wouldn’t be in business.”

The Oceanside CHP’s Explorer post has about 20 young adults between the ages of 15 and 20 who have made a commitment to donating their time to public service.

“We have a really great group of kids right now who have been working really, really hard,” said Officer LaDonna Palega.

The Explorers go on ride-alongs, help out at community events, participate in competitions and go through a mini cadet training at the CHP Academy.

“It’s my dream to be a CHP officer,” Explorer Carlos Lucas told the board. “It’s really fun…I’m trying to help out as much as I can.”