Steve Harris Memorial Charity
Dubbed the “Cowboy Cop”, by Team Penning USA, Jeff Harris is a retired, horse-mounted unit police officer, who competed in both the professional team penning association and the world championship team penning association. A true gentleman and a man filled with a passion to keep the legacy of a charity (Steve Harris Memorial Charity) his deceased brother founded to help terminally ill children bravely face their treatments with a bit of “good ole” cowboy courage and western flair. Now with a bit of a new twist, Jeff is expanding this 501(c)(3) charity to his new home here in Phoenix and is dedicated to identifying and helping children in need right here in Arizona. Let’s take a close-up look at the history and progression of this incredibly profound charity.
In 1987, Steve Harris started the charity out of Torrance, CA aimed at helping both children and the medical staff in the oncology and hematology unit of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, bridge the lack of necessary funds to supply proper hospital equipment and care for disadvantaged children struggling with terminal illness.
After Steve’s passing in 1999, because of a tragic equestrian accident, Jeff took over the charity in honor of his brother and rightfully named it The Steve Harris Memorial Charity. This charity went on to make such a powerful impact at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center that it was honored by the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics with the creation of an endowment through donations from both the charity and hospital funds held by The Lundquist Research Institute (formerly known as LA Biomed), which collaborates with University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine.
Steve’s love of horses and his membership to the Empty Saddle Club in Rolling Hills California, birthed the idea of bringing children and their families, with only few weeks of life left due to cancer, heart and other terminal issues to the club so that he could give these children “The Cowboy Experience”. The kids received cowboy hats and spent time talking with Steve as they rode his very gentle trusted horse “Lefty”. It was never quite clear who enjoyed the company more, the children, Lefty, or Steve, as they all left the day with the fullest hearts and biggest smiles!
The charity went on to aid the pediatric hematology and oncology clinic where these children were being treated by purchasing western themed art, a horse examination table, a playground, and iPads for the children who had to sit for hours while receiving chemotherapy treatments. The charity even added multiple specialty chairs that recline in the hospital rooms for the mothers of these little patients who were enduring long stays in the hospital. It also throws an annual Christmas party complete with country music, some dancing, food and of course Santa handing out presents to these brave little ones.
Jeff has since relocated to Arizona and after a period of dormancy due to distance and a pause in the Christmas party caused by COVID, he has decided to reactivate the charity with a bit of a pivot. After seeing the devastating effect, the treatment costs and surgeries had on the patient’s families over the years, Jeff decided to refocus his efforts on collecting monetary donations through a “GoFundMe” campaign to directly support the children and families hindered by the steep medical costs and expenses back home and here in Phoenix.
The Steve Harris Memorial Charity has identified their first immediate need here in Phoenix of a child with a congenital heart condition and will be using donated funds to help eradicate some of the procedural debt created from the high cost of treatments & surgeries.
For more information on helping the “Cowboy Cop” keep his brother’s heart-felt legacy alive, please click the “GoFundMe” page below and donate to this amazing cause.