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Foundation for Fallen Police Officer Helps City Where He Was Killed

irish rugby tours

Foundation for Fallen Police Officer Helps City Where He Was Killed

The Rich May Foundation Holiday Jam is December 22.

The Guild Theatre in Menlo Park, Calif. is hosting the Rich May Foundation Holiday Jam on December 22, an event to raise contributions to the Foundation and the rugby/sports facility it has developed in East Palo Alto.

Rich May is the stepson of longtime rugby player, coach, and administrator Frank Merrill. A Marine Corps veteran, teacher, and East Palo Alto police officer, he was killed by a known gang member in January of 2006. In the trial that followed, the defense counsel argued that the lack of recreational options for young people in East Palo Alto was a factor in the perpetrator’s actions. In response, Merrill and his wife, Clarice, Rich’s mother (who passed away in 2016), formed the foundation to create a recreational facility in the town.

The Foundation, in partnership with the Ravenswood City School District and the Saint Francis of Assisi Church, built a turf rugby/soccer field (lines for both sports) right next to the school and the church. It was completed in 2016 and currently 15,000 kids play on the field each month, as the facility services rugby clubs, the School District, the church parish, and the Boys & Girls Club.

Many young people have found positive options through sports thanks to these efforts. They include longtime Eagle 7s star Folau Niua, Eagle lock CC Mahoni, Eagle flanker David (Tevita) Tameilau, capped Eagle forward Langilangi Haupeakui, and Super Bowl-winning (Tampa Bay) lineman Vita Vea to name a few.

The field is made available to many groups, and it has lights—the rate they charge for use of the lighted field is less than half what other fields charge. 

The Foundation has raised money but is looking to build a 100-year endowment to keep it going and to keep field costs affordable for community sports organizations; the Holiday Jam is a new effort to do that.

The featured artist at the Jam is the band Freestone Peaches, an Allman Brothers tribute band. Paul Simko, who is part of the Foundation, called them first and, said Simko, “they jumped on the idea fast. We’re so thankful.”

To be a part of the event go to:

If you would like to donate to the Foundation, go to: