Memorial golf outing, concert Saturday to honor Lower Burrell Officer Derek Kotecki
Officer Derek Kotecki would have wanted to help Alle-Kiski Valley kids.
That's according to Lower Burrell police Chief Tim Weitzel, recalling the city policeman who was killed in an ambush nearly six years ago.
Weitzel and many in the Valley want the life of Kotecki, who was an 18-year veteran of the force when he was killed Oct. 12, 2011, to continue to be honored.
The city's major park now bears his name, and an annual golf outing and an outdoor concert are being held Saturday.
The golf outing is sold out, and 300 people are expected to attend the benefit concert.
Kotecki, 40, was Lower Burrell's K-9 officer, husband of Julie Kotecki and father of two sons.
He earned a college degree and became a part-time police officer in Ocean City, Md., before joining his hometown police force in October 1993 at age 22.
He was also, according to Shasta Bassett, 32, of Lower Burrell, “a funny guy. He was generous, caring, very family oriented, he worked hard for the community and he was the life of the party.”
Bassett said that Kotecki was a close friend of her father's, now-retired Lower Burrell police Sgt. Ted Meixelsberger, and that is why she helped to organize this year's Band in Blue Concert and memorial golf outing.
“We do this to keep his memory alive and to give back to the community, because that is what (Kotecki) was all about,” Bassett said.
Funds raised will be used for scholarships given to students of Burrell, New Kensington-Arnold and Kiski Area school districts, Bassett said.
“That helps keep his memory alive,” Weitzel said.
“It does so by helping kids go to school to follow in his footsteps.”
“Julie Kotecki has told me time and time again that she is most appreciative of the fact that people remember Derek,” Weitzel said. “I share that sentiment.”
Julie Kotecki could not be reached for comment.
Bassett said she expects around 300 people to attend.
“I definitely think it brings the communities together,” she said. “Just the outpouring of generosity is astounding.”
Registration for the golf tournament closed at the start of September, with all 128 slots filled.
The concert will feature live music, food and drink, a 50/50 raffle and silent auction baskets. The cost is $5.
Bassett said those attending the concert should bring lawn chairs and blankets. Parking is plentiful and free.