Fun with the Force

By Richard Mineards   |   October 10, 2019
SWAT Team with hostess Ursula Nesbitt (photo by Priscilla)
Lee Luria accepts her Appreciation Commendation Plaque from Greg Hons, SBPD Foundation Executive Director (photo by Priscilla)
Police Activities League President John Van Donge with Santa Barbara Police Foundation President Pamela Geremia in front of the new Mobile Command Unit (photo by Priscilla)

A sea of blue swept over, Bella Vista, the Summerland estate of hotelier Pat Nesbitt and his wife, Ursula, when they hosted the fifth annual Fun with the Force with a record 900 guests raising around $300,000 for the ten-year-old Santa Barbara Police Foundation.

The popular organization provides financial support for injured and ill police department personnel and their families, and funds the At Ease program, which provides counseling services to first responders and also equipment that is not in the budget.

Executive director Greg Hons and At Ease program director Mike McGrew co-hosted the boffo bash, which featured K-9 members and their officer handlers, a new mobile command unit and a SWAT equipment truck, as well as trying out unloaded shotguns and multi-launchers.

SBPD Chief Lori Luhnow (center) with Misty and Michael Hammer (photo by Priscilla)
Greg Hons presents an award to Peter Hilf (photo by Priscilla)
Mike McGrew with guests Chuck and Margarita Lande at Fun with the Force (photo by Priscilla)

Local comedian and political pundit Dennis Miller conducted the auction, which featured a SWAT team training day, a private cooking class and dinner for two couples with Massimo Falsini, executive chef at the Rosewood Miramar, an 18-course dinner for four at Montecito’s Silver Bough, and a Methuselah of Louis Roederer Cristal vintage 2004 champagne – equivalent to eight bottles of bubbly – donated by English wine dealer Richard Torin, which went for $13,000 and was donated back by the winning bidder.

Food, wine, and beer was provided from two dozen purveyors, including the San Ysidro Ranch, Los Arroyos, Ca’Dario, Opal, Pane e Vino, The Honor Bar, Olio e Limone, Mollie’s, and Los Agaves.

Firefighter Sam Dudley, son of district attorney, Joyce Dudley, recounted rescuing a two-year-old severely injured boy when he heard muffled crying during the mudslides, but later found his ten-year-old brother dead.

The event, which was emceed by KEYT-TV senior reporter John Palminteri, also honored Lee Luria, who funded the purchase of two new K-9s, their bullet proof vests and training, while Montecito philanthropist Michael Hammer was lauded for his instrumental role in founding the At Ease Program and his support.

Peter Hilf, who also lives in our rarefied enclave, was also honored for his financial backing.

Hosts Pat and Ursula Nesbitt expressing gratitude to Kenny Loggins (center) and his band for their contributions to the success of this year’s Fun with the Force event
SBPD Vice President Eric Phillips and Committee Member Nina Phillips thanking auctioneer Dennis Miller

Montecito rocker Kenny Loggins and his band did an entertaining hour-long concert that included his many hits, including “Danger Zone” and “Footloose.”

Among the innumerable supporters were Eric and Nina Phillips, police chief Lori Luhnow, sheriff Bill Brown, Anne Towbes, Gini Dreier, Carol Marsch, Mark Alfani, Barry and Jelinda DeVorzon, Kim and Tammy Hughes, Janet Adderley, Misty Hammer, Tom Parker, Bruce Hill, Dana Hansen, Terry Ryken, Holly Murphy, George Leis, Mara Abboud, Dana Newquist, Tom Sturgess, Ricardo and Dinah Calderon, and Richard Weston-Smith.


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