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Sgt. Stevenson pin doubles as fundraiser, remembrance
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The Ceres Lions Club is determined to keep the memory of slain Ceres Police Sgt. Howard Stevenson alive. A special 1,000-count batch of commemorative lapel pins have been produced and are being sold to raise funds to maintain a monument to his honor.

Stevenson was slain on Jan. 9, 2005 in a brutal premeditated attack on officers by an AWOL Marine with gang affiliations.

The pin is a smaller replica of Stevenson's police badge with one slight modification: the inclusion of the Lions Club logo. The pin, which measures an inch and a half high, also comes with a black mourning band which may be removed.

The pin is the brainchild of Ceres Lions Club member Harry Herbert. Herbert mentioned the idea to Ron Richter, a former police officer and friend of Stevenson's. The idea was to sell the pins to raise funds for the maintenance of the Howard Stevenson Memorial.

The memorial was dedicated last year at the Ceres River Bluff Regional Park. It consists of an oval-shaped patio of slate, benches, a wooden shade structure and a cluster of memorial rocks.

Pins are $10 and available at several locations, including the Ceres Police headquarters, Ceres Fire Station #1, B.J.'s Cafe on Fifth Street and at the Ceres Courier.

A special committee of Stevenson's widow, friends, co-workers and city leaders picked out the memorial locations months after he was murdered in the ambush staged by Andres Raya, 19.

Raya stood in front of George's Liquors on Caswell Avenue with a semi-automatic rifle hidden under his rain poncho. Raya got the store clerk to call 911, then ambushed officer Sam Ryno and Sgt. Stevenson, 39.

Raya fled into the neighborhood east of the store, where he was gunned down hours as he rushed officers fully armed.

Richter, who knew Stevenson as a fellow officer and a friend, spearheaded the effort to get the funds for the memorial. Publicity generated others who wanted to help.

Approximately $30,800 was donated by police groups, developers, businesses and citizens to erect a memorial to the fallen sergeant. The funds came from approximately 80 contributors, ranging from individuals sending in $20 to eight different organizations that gave at least $1,000 or more. The Ceres Lions Club donated $5,000.

Howard King Stevenson was born Feb. 18, 1965 in Modesto. He was a lifelong resident of Stanislaus County. He was hired by then Chief Pete Peterson as a Ceres Police Department reserve officer 20 years ago. Stevenson worked his way up through the ranks, serving first as a sworn officer then as investigator, corporal and then acting sergeant upon the retirement of Sgt. Fred Perez on Aug. 1, 2002. He was named Ceres Police Officer of the Year in 1999 at the annual Law and Order Night.