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November 30, 2022

Deputy Sheriffs’ Association makes record donation for memorial park

SOQUEL—The Santa Cruz County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association (DSA) has offered a $100,000 “challenge” grant to help fund a memorial for Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, who was killed on duty on June 6, 2020.

The grant is the largest donation in the organization’s history.

The DSA now hopes the community will match or exceed the donation, with numerous community members and businesses having already contributed another $18,000, said President Ethan Rumrill.

This includes a substantial donation from Red Apple Café in Aptos.

“The contribution is a commitment to the community, to Damon’s family and to our fallen brother,” Rumrill said. “This project brings all of us together, and we invite everyone to remember Damon by making this project a reality through their own contributions.”

To be located at Willowbrook County Park, the memorial will include the installation of a memorial seating area, park entry enhancements, updates and enhancements to the play area and sports courts and a new flagpole.

Gutzwiller and his dog Shasta frequented Willowbrook Park, and he was a resident of the Willowbrook neighborhood.

“We are grateful to see the continuing support and love from our neighbors,” said Faviola Del Real, Gutzwiller’s life partner. “We have lost so much, and this project will stand as a reminder that there is one thing we will never lose—the memory of the sacrifice that Damon made on behalf of his hometown.”

Led by County Park Friends, the Willowbrook Park Gutzwiller Memorial campaign’s goal is to raise $805,000 in community donations and sponsorships.

For information, visit

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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