Capitol Police honor their own, promote Toys for Tots

The Capitol Police honored their active duty and retired military personnel in advance of Veteran’s Day, as dozens of officers and staff gathered Wednesday for a luncheon in the Cannon House office building.

“This is just our way of showing them we appreciate them, not only the active [duty personnel], but the ones that have actually gotten out of the military,” Capitol Police Labor Committee Chairman Jim Konczos told The Hill.

“As Capitol Police, we tend to think the job we do gets overlooked from time to time; you get taken for granted because nothing’s happening,” he added. “Sometimes we feel the military feels that.”

According to Konczos, the department has more than a dozen officers currently deployed, and about 40 to 50 considered active duty military personnel. Hundreds more are retired from the armed services.

This is the third annual luncheon honoring the veteran Capitol Police officers, but the first time the department and labor committee have partnered with the Congressional Federal Credit Union.

For communications manager Elizabeth Lauber, the decision to partner with the CP was an easy one.

“They reached out to us and said, ‘Would you like to have this lunch with us?’ and we said, “Yeah, we’d be delighted,’ ” she said.

In addition to honoring their own, the Capitol Police and the CFCU are aiming to help local youth who are in need. Both partnered with charity organization Toys for Tots to rally officers and congressional staffers to donate to those less fortunate this holiday season.

Donation boxes have been set up at CFCU branches around the Capitol campus —including in the Longworth and Rayburn buildings — and will remain there until the first week of December.

Donations “go to kids in need in the area,” Lauber said. “These are kids who might not otherwise receive a toy during the holidays.”

Asked if there was greater demand this year than in the past due to the flagging economy, Lauber acknowledged they were stepping up their efforts to increase donations.

“This is a more challenging year, and we’ve been pushing it out harder,” she said.