WEST TOWN — Cops vow to serve and protect the public. On Thursday, they'll reach out to help a relative of one of their own.
Anthony Jaime, the 19-year-old son of Nancy Arroyo, a community coordinator for the Chicago Alternative Policing (CAP) program, was in a serious car accident Dec. 8.
A freshman engineering student at Southern Illinois University in Downstate Carbondale, he was traveling in the backseat of a car in Jefferson County with four other students when they were struck by another car.
Jaime remains at Barnes-Jewish Hospital of St. Louis, in critical but stable condition, his mother said.
"I'm not planning on leaving this place 'til my son is able to, too," Arroyo, 39, said in a phone interview from his side.
To help pay for mounting medical expenses, two of Arroyo's longtime colleagues and friends, Mayra Gomez and Liz Rios, created a Friends of Anthony Jaime fund and arranged a benefit Thursday at the Fraternal Order of Police, 1412 W. Washington Blvd.
The Fundraiser for Anthony Jaime will take place from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday at the Fraternal Order of Police Hall, 1412 W. Washington Blvd.
"[Jaime] calls them his 'two other moms,'" Arroyo said of Rios and Gomez, who Jaime has known since he was 9. "I'm a single mom and we're all like this great big family. I had no idea this [benefit] was taken place until a few days ago and am so grateful."
Said Rios: Jaime's "in need of a lot of treatment, just like the flyer said. We want to support him anyway we can."
Since the day of the accident, Arroyo's been "living in the reception area" at the hospital with her other son, Johnny, 15, as Jamie recovers from a traumatic brain injury and kidney failure and slips in and out of a coma.
"We're meeting with medical specialists, who are fantastic," Arroyo said. "Every 15 minutes someone is in here explaining what's going on or just looking in on him.
A 2012 graduate of Rauner College Prep High School in West Town, Jaime was in the midst of his second week of finals when the accident occurred, said Arroyo, a 13-year-veteran of the police department.
"I'm praying and [Jaime's] friends and their parents are stopping by to pray, too," Arroyo said.
Donations (c/o Nancy Arroyo: Friends of Anthony Jaime) can also be mailed to Chicago Patrolman's Federal Credit Union, 1407 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago, Ill. 60607.