Cambrian: Opinion

Retired LAPD employee asks diners to Tip-A-Cop

Ramona Voge is involved in a variety of volunteer activities in Cambria, including the upcoming Tip-A-Cop Dinner on June 30 at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St.
Ramona Voge is involved in a variety of volunteer activities in Cambria, including the upcoming Tip-A-Cop Dinner on June 30 at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St. Special to The Cambrian

Hundreds of police officers across America work for tips. And they work hard for the money.

Next Thursday, about 20 officers will patrol tables in Cambria and work for tips. It’s your annual chance to schmooze with local law enforcement and legally bribe them with an extra tip for favors — like maybe an extra helping of dessert.

Thursday, June 30, in the Cambria Veterans Memorial Building, the annual Tip-A-Cop dinner is a classic volunteer event that puts 100 percent of the proceeds toward Special Olympics San Luis Obispo County.

Now in its third year, Tip-A-Cop cruised into Cambria with retired LAPD employee Ramona Voge.

“Four years ago, my husband, (Jim Voge, retired LAPD and now SLO County sheriff’s commander, Professional Standards Bureau), was a waiter at the Tip-A-Cop dinner at Madonna Inn,” Voge said. “We got home late, and I asked him why there isn’t a dinner like that in Cambria.”

True to Voge’s intrepid volunteer spirit, she met with Special Olympics San Luis Obispo County and investigated the possibility of a Cambria event. With the late Sally Thompson, Voge lined-up the first Tip-A-Cop dinner in Cambria in 2014.

Four years ago, my husband was a waiter at the Tip-A-Cop dinner at Madonna Inn. We got home late, and I asked him why there isn’t a dinner like that in Cambria.

Ramona Voge, volunteer

“Everything is donated,” Voge said. That includes the food, wine and raffle prizes. A ticket for the barbecue meal with wine is just $25. It’s the tip that makes a difference. On their own time, the 17-20 officers work hard for those greenbacks that you can slip into an envelope — subterfuge-free.

Voge chairs a four-person committee that also includes Sue Robinson, Janis Hudler and Nancy Bennett. The team has brought in other volunteers such as Coast Union High School Interact Leadership Club, and the Sheriff Explorer Scouts out of Templeton. Ramona’s husband, Jim, coordinates the “wait staff,” and Special Olympics athletes sell raffle tickets for prizes donated by Cambria businesses.

There are two seatings for dinner, one at 5 p.m., followed by another at 7 p.m. Some local nonprofit leaders buy tables, as do other community persons. Tickets are also sold individually.

Since the Voges arrived in Cambria in 2007, Ramona has taken the lead with many volunteer opportunities. Her current volunteerism includes teaching religious education to third- and fourth-grade students at Santa Rosa Catholic Church; she’s the president of the Cambria Community Council, which she has served for the past six years; annually, she raises funds through her bowling team for the SLO County 24-Hour Suicide Hotline; she’s president of a social group, Fuzz that Wuzz, for retired LAPD officers on the Central Coast; and she participates in the Santa Rosa Catholic Church women’s group and seeks scholarship funds for a youth parishioner.

Clearly, Ramona Voge is a dream child for a columnist who writes about volunteerism. But, I start to feel the need for more vitamins in my diet when I see her calendar. So I asked, “What drives you?”

“I was raised to help others. Between my family and my faith, I was taught to serve. I feel guilty staying home. There’s so much work to do,” Voge explained without hesitation.

There may be seats available for the Thursday night Tip-A-Cop. For more information, call 203-5066.

Charmaine Coimbra’s column on volunteering is special to The Cambrian and appears the fourth Thursday of each month.

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