DEA recognizes San Diego Chargers
APR 18 -- Three members of the Chargers organization were recognized by the Drug Enforcement Administration Tuesday for their contributions to DEA's Survivor Benefits Organization.
Former DEA official Jack Hook, who now serves as a Special Agent with the Department of Homeland Security, presented commemorative plaques to President Dean Spanos, Director of Security Dick Lewis and Equipment Manager Bob Wick for helping raise funds for the Survivor Benefit Organization.
"Several years ago, we began the non-profit organization to financially assist agents that are killed in the line of duty," Hook said. "The Chargers have faithfully contributed. Thank you calls and notes are one thing, but we wanted to physically do something to show them how much we appreciate their efforts."
The DEA is a federal narcotics investigative agency that enforces federal narcotics laws. They deal with everything from the smuggling of drugs from Mexico and other countries to the distribution of drugs in the United States.
"It's very dangerous work," Hook said. "Sometimes we unfortunately have agents that are killed in the line of duty. Because he is a federal employee, the spouse will get money from the federal government, but it's never enough. The money we raise puts the children of agents through college and things like that. Mr. Spanos, Dick and Bob have always been gracious to help us whenever we've asked."
Hook has seen several success stories through the program.
"In 1985, one of our agents assigned to the office in Guadalajara was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by drug traffickers in Mexico," Hook said. "The Survivor Benefit Organization put his son through college and through law school in San Diego. He is now a deputy district attorney prosecuting criminal investigations. That's a perfect example of what the organization hopes to accomplish."
Hook formed a relationship with Lewis when the two were involved in local law enforcement. Lewis spent 21 years as an officer with the San Diego Police Department, and Hook worked as an officer in Chula Vista during that time. The two have maintained a close friendship since moving on, and Lewis has helped Hook form relationships with Spanos and other members of the Chargers organization.
"I've been to Chargers Park quite a few times during training camp or through the season," Hook said. "Dick has introduced me to a lot of people here. I've told Mr. Spanos that he should be proud of the organization. Everyone is very gracious. They take the time to talk to people and are very helpful. It's a family-owned organization, and it seems to operate like a family. Management starts at the top. If Mr. Spanos wasn't that way, then the organization wouldn't be that way."
"We're well aware of the fact that the Chargers give countless dollars and hours of their time to help people," Hook said. "A couple years ago when I saw Mr. Spanos, the organization had just spent approximately $50,000 to ensure that there was going to be Christmas on the Prado. No other organization in this community came up with that money. It's very obvious that the Chargers are committed to helping people, and we want them to know that it doesn't go unnoticed."