Local Police Supporters Donate $4K in Gift Cards to NBPD Officers and Staff

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(L to R): Julie Ann Ulcickas of Bluewater Grill, Deputy Chief Jay Short, Dotty McDonald, Police Chief Jon Lewis, Jeff and Erica Roberts of Sgt. Pepperoni’s Pizza, Grace Hong of Sgt. Pepperoni’s Pizza, Lt. Keith Krallman, Officer David Darling. / Photo by Chris Trela

A group of local police supporters present $4,375 worth of Sgt. Pepperoni Pizza Store gift cards to all 175 Newport Beach police officers and staff during a pre-holiday weekend thank-you ceremony on July 2 at the Newport Beach main police station.

Sgt. Pepperoni Pizza Store on Bristol Street in Newport Beach, originally opened in 1978 and purchased in 2013 by four Newport Beach friends, is a favorite of police officers and staff from Newport Beach and other communities.

All 145 Newport Beach police officers and 30 staff members will each receive a $25 Sgt. Pepperoni Pizza Store gift card that can be redeemed for dine-in and takeout.

(L to R): Grace Hong, Dotty McDonald, Police Chief Jon Lewis, Jeff Roberts, Julie Ann Ulcickas / photo by Chris Trela

The $4,375 to purchase the gift cards was raised by Dotty McDonald and Julie Ann Ulcickas. Fifty community members and businesses contributed to the gift card fund.

Dotty McDonald is a long-time community and police supporter who was recently honored for completing 1,000 hours of volunteer and community service with the Newport Beach Police Department.

Julie Ann Ulcickas is a prominent community supporter and local philanthropist, and wife of Bluewater Grill owner and founder Jim Ulcickas. Bluewater Grill has been a staunch supporter of numerous charitable causes.

The brief ceremony was attended by McDonald and Ulcickas, as well as Police Chief Jon Lewis, Deputy Chief Jay Short, Lt. Keith Krallman, Officer David Darling, Sgt. Pepperoni’s co-owners Jeff and Erica Roberts, and Grace Hong of Sgt. Pepperoni’s.

“When Dotty came to me a couple of weeks ago to help her in this endeavor, I immediately wanted to jump aboard,” said Ulcickas. “She has been a volunteer for the NBPD for over five years (quite impressive for being 91 I believe!) and considers each officer part of her family. She can no longer volunteer due to COVID-19 and felt she just had to do something that would help and support her beloved officers. She knows that Sgt. Pepperoni is their favorite local, family owned pizzeria, and wanted each officer to be able to go have some comfort food to get them through these trying times”

Ulcickas’ husband owns Bluewater Grill restaurants, which had to close all of its locations and furlough over 700 employees. Her mother Phyllis Winnaman recently died due to the coronavirus.

“We have been hit hard by this pandemic, but can’t imagine how hard it must be for our officers to be berated and disrespected,” said Ulcickas. “We must do everything we can to support each other, and get through these trying times as a community.”

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