ALS ice challenge personal for Harrison patrolman

Liz Hayes
| Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, 12:11 a.m.

When Harrison police Patrolman Ken Hanzlik agreed to take on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, he wanted to do it big.

He figured he couldn't get much bigger than having about 300 gallons of water — combined with five 22-pound bags of ice — dumped on his head from the bucket of a Ron Gillette Inc. front loader.

But just in case, Hanzlik had a Citizens Hose Fire Rescue engine squirt him in the face with its powerful deck gun hose.

“They really cracked me in the face with the water,” a drenched Hanzlik said as he stood in a large puddle in Citizens Hose's Burtner Road parking lot Tuesday evening. “I'm soaked. I've got water in my boots.”

Hanzlik, 42, of Harrison said his weightlifting partner Roudy Wall issued the challenge, which encourages participants to dump ice water over their heads and post the event on the Internet to raise awareness and money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

The neurodegenerative disease damages nerves, leads to loss of muscle control and paralysis, and death.

Hanzlik said he took the challenge in memory of his uncle, Jay Jordan of Harrison, who battled ALS until his death at 75 in 2009. Jordan was a 51-year member of Citizens Hose and worked at Allegheny Valley Hospital in Harrison and the Valley News Dispatch in Tarentum.

Hanzlik struggled to hang on to a large photo of his uncle laminated on poster board as he was deluged in water.

“He's doing it with me,” Hanzlik said. “Jay was such a joker. To inform people of the disease, and to do it in way you could laugh about it — he'd love this.”

Hanzlik issued the Ice Bucket Challenge to five others. Four are fellow Harrison police officers Sgts. Mike Ropelewski and Brian Turack and Patrolmen Chris Cottone and Chris Burns.

The fifth person was Ryan Shazier, the rookie defensive linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers who made his team debut at Saturday's preseason game.

However, it appears Shazier already accepted someone else's challenge: On Sunday, video of him under an ice bucket were posted to his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

“Don't make me come for you,” Hanzlik mock-threatened the men he challenged.

Liz Hayes is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680

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