Preliminary plans for a benefit to help a longtime Half Moon Bay police officer, who is not only battling cancer, but also fighting for his benefits, have been set in motion.
On Saturday, April 6, at Cameron’s Restaurant members of the Coastside community will come together and raise funds for Moss Beach resident Dennis Loubal, 43, who was first diagnosed with lymphoma in his leg immediately after the transition from Half Moon Bay Police Department to the Sheriff's Office two years ago. He fought it with chemo, and it was covered through his Sheriff's Office benefits.
However, when the cancer came back from remission, the County informed him that they could no longer cover him because it appeared to be pre-existing from his Half Moon Bay Police Department days and therefore fell under Half Moon Bay’s Workman Comp.
In 2011, the City of Half Moon Bay’s insurer, Cities Group, denied his claim. Since coverage was denied, Loubal has been forced to use up all his earned benefits — sick leave, vacation time and comp time just to pay his bills.
Loubal believes the cost of his medical bills, his deductible and other related bills should be picked up by the City, according to a Half Moon Bay Review article. His family has since hired an attorney to pursue the case.
“The April 6 benefit will be an opportunity for Dennis to say hello to all his well-wishers and an opportunity for us to see Dennis and say our piece — as well as show our support for him and the fight against cancer,” said George Muteff, who originally posted a blog entry on Half Moon Bay Patch about Loubal that generated an outpouring of support for Loubal and his family with more than 40 comments from people in the community.
Shanda Robinson wrote: “Officer Loubal is an amazing person. He's always been so awesome with the kids. The community should stand by him!”
Maggie Reyes wrote: “I've known Dennis since I was young & still in school. He is an awesome person and no matter how busy he was he would always take the time to talk to you and make sure you were doing ok. The city of Half Moon Bay needs to stop being selfish and do the right thing and give Dennis his benefits. He always took care of us when we needed him, now it’s our turn to take care of him.”
David Eck, Jr., said about Loubal: “He is by far the best cop I have ever known and has done so much for his community and especially the children in it. When I think of a good cop he is the one that comes to mind always. Wish there was more I could do to help. Thank you for all your service Dennis you are truly an inspiration to me and hope you get the help you deserve!!!”
And Albert Robinson a cancer survivor sympathizes: “As a father of two active teens in Hmb, on several occasions I have seen Officer Loubal in action, he was always a presence on campus that the Kids could Respect and Trust, he was more than a cop, He was someone those kids could approach and be helped, He was trusted and Respected by the Students, not many Campus Police can say that. I am currently a Cancer survivor and personally know how devastating it can be, and it is a shame that the City in his time of need has appeared to of Failed this admirable man.”
Some community members even went so far as writing letters to the City of Half Moon Bay councilmembers and mayor.
Half Moon Bay resident Deb Wong wrote:
Dear Mr. Mayor and City Council Members,
I am expressing my concern over the issue of Officer Dennis Loubal's benefits – Workmen’s Comp – being denied to him. The reason for the denial (as I understand it) is because his injury (cancer) happened after he left the HMB P.D. Anyone who knows anything about the disease knows that it starts long before -often years prior – to its being diagnosed. In any event, in light of the years that Officer Loubal served the HMB P.D., there must be a way to have his Workmen’s Comp granted. Imagine if you were in his place, and had served the department faithfully, only to be denied in your hour of need. The City of Half Moon Bay is better than that – isn’t it?
She received a reply from both:
Thanks for writing about your concern for a friend to many on the Coastside.
I do not have any details on this issue nor would I be able to discuss any aspect of any employee’s personnel issues what so ever if I did. Especially a medical issue of an employee, past or present. That would have tremendous legal implications. It would be unlawful for me to ask the County to give me information on a County employee. If I did obtain private personnel information of any kind including medical, a criminal investigation would be held against me and the person or persons giving out employee records. Either as a private person or as a Councilmember I do not have access to employee records.
There is a lot of talk and assumptions on the street. I have not had any conversation with Officer Loubal, so I will respect his privacy and not comment on his personal life which I have no influence or authority. I'm sure you can understand and appreciate this.
Marina Fraser, Councilmember, City of Half Moon Bay
“Regarding your note, I want you to know that I am keeping Dennis and his family in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. Dennis is a respected member of our community, and I hold him in high regard. I can let you know that I am looking into the details of this matter, and can assure you that whatever action I may take, that it will be done with the highest integrity. Again, these matters are confidential, but when it comes to our people, I take any issue very seriously and will do the same in this matter."
Sincerely, Rick Kowalczyk, Mayor, City of Half Moon Bay
The April 6th benefit is being organized by Coastside residents Gabi Jensen, Kelsey Larson, Marshall Whelen and Nick Finlen, who have also set up a Facebook page, Love for Loubal, "a call to all members of our community to stand up for one of our own, dedicated to providing residents information on how to get involved in helping one of our beloved community members."
On the Facebook page it states: "It is time for all of the special people of this beautiful coastal community to band together, and help this amazing man, and his loved ones. No amount of money, effort, donation, commitment, or support will be turned away for Dennis Loubal, his wife, and children."
Here’s how you can help:
• Save the date for April 6, 2013, and attend the benefit at Cameron's Restaurant.
• E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and let the organizers know if you have any connections, resources, ideas, or are already hosting an event for Dennis Loubal, so they can coordinate and plan accordingly.
• Like the Love for Loubal Facebook page to show your support and receive updates on how to get involved in helping a fellow community member. There is talk of an online donation page being set-up.
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