After about two months of recovery from injuries sustained following a head-on collision crash, Officer Long V. Dinh Jr. joined Fairfax County police officers, local officials, and community members at a fundraising event Sunday for his first major public appearance since the crash.
Dinh, 28, was severely injured in the crash and spent most of March recovering from his injuries which included several broken bones. Dinh was also in a coma for a few days immediately after the collision. During that time, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 77, established a rehabilitation fund to help offset the costs of medical needs. Sunday’s event at Hard Times Café in Fairfax was an opportunity for friends and supporters of Dinh to mingle and continue fundraising efforts.
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"I can't believe how much support I've received," said Dinh during the event. “I feel good. I’m happy that I could walk into [Hard Times] on my own today. Recovery is good, it's going well.”
Dinh said he feels he’s at about 80 percent in his road to recovery and he praised the doctors and nurses at Mount Vernon Hospital for their help and efforts to get him back on his feet. Although he feels fine, Dinh said his father and doctors say he still has a long road of recovery ahead. His goal is to get as close to 100 percent as possible in the next three months and get back to work as soon as possible.
Throughout his recovery, Dinh said the outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming. “I’m been beyond grateful,” said Dinh. “I appreciate it so much.”
Community Helps An Officer in Need
"This is a tremendous turnout. It shows the support that not only Dinh has, but all officers in the county and it shows how they support each other. It's good to see,” said Braddock District Supervisor John Cook.
Earlier this week, Cook’s office launched a social media campaign to help spread awareness about the fundraiser through social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #DonateforDinh.
“[The goal with the campaign was] to help him and it's the story of the incredible dedication these officers have and the risk that they take. Sometimes, we take for granted the fact that these guys are out there doing dangerous work and bad things happen. We want to show we care, that we're with our folks and that's why we reached out on Twitter,” said Cook.
So far, the fundraising efforts have been successful, said Mike Scanlon, president of the FOP Lodge 77. Scanlon described the amount of donations the chapter has received for Dinh as "impressive" and said donations have ranged from monetary donations to donations of equipment and manual labor, which was used to help transform Dinh's home while he recovers. The goal of the fundraising event was to help gather donations that will help pay for and offset any costs not covered by Dinh’s insurance as he recovers.
The FOP Lodge 77 chapter is only about two years old and currently has just over 200 members, but Scanlon said this fundraising effort for Dinh is not the first time the Lodge has done a fund for an officer.
“The chapter is here to help assist as needed,” sad Scanlon, who echoed Dinh’s sentiments in expressing gratitude to the community. “No one has said no to us yet and that's been amazing and helpful,” said Scanlon.
During the event, attendees had the opportunity to bid on items in a silent auction that included Washington Capitals tickets, signed memorabilia from the Washington Redskins, cufflinks from Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th), certificates to local restaurants and events and more. T-shirts and raffle tickets were also available for purchase. Officer Courtney K. Young, who organized the raffle and the auction, said she was pleased with the prizes they received for the event.
“We acquired more items than we expected, which is great,” said Young. "Dinh is happy with the results, so I'm happy and that's all matters," said Young.
Anyone who was unable to attend the fundraiser can learn more about how to help or make donations directly to the fund through the PayPal account on FOP Lodge 77's website www.fairfaxlodge77.com.
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