ShareThis Page

Monongahela teen awaiting transplant surprised by 'superhero' police

| Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015, 10:57 p.m.
Officer Ryan Lenzi of Carroll Township Police checks out the new UPMC Police badge on Alicia Hruby, 15, of Monongahela, after she was sworn in as a junior officer at Children's Hospital of UPMC in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. 'She loves the police,' Hruby's sister Taylor said. 'She's always been interested in it so this is a huge deal for her.'
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Officer Ryan Lenzi of Carroll Township Police checks out the new UPMC Police badge on Alicia Hruby, 15, of Monongahela, after she was sworn in as a junior officer at Children's Hospital of UPMC in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. 'She loves the police,' Hruby's sister Taylor said. 'She's always been interested in it so this is a huge deal for her.'
UPMC Police Sgt. Kendall Marasti swears in Alicia Hruby, 15, of Monongahela, as a UPMC Police Junior Officer at Children's Hospital of UPMC in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. Behind her, Hruby's sister Taylor, 21, of Monongahela watches. 'She loves the police,' Taylor said. 'She's always been interested in it so this is a huge deal for her.'
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
UPMC Police Sgt. Kendall Marasti swears in Alicia Hruby, 15, of Monongahela, as a UPMC Police Junior Officer at Children's Hospital of UPMC in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. Behind her, Hruby's sister Taylor, 21, of Monongahela watches. 'She loves the police,' Taylor said. 'She's always been interested in it so this is a huge deal for her.'
Alicia Hruby, 15, of Monongahela, hugs Shaler Police Officer Shane Kochanowski after being surprised by him and a handful of his fellow police officers at Children's Hospital of UPMC in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. The officers were there to give Hruby over 250 patches plus other items from police departments from as far away as Germany. Hruby, awaiting an organ transplant at the hospital, met the officers when they came to visit over the holidays and took an interest in their field, patches, and work.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Alicia Hruby, 15, of Monongahela, hugs Shaler Police Officer Shane Kochanowski after being surprised by him and a handful of his fellow police officers at Children's Hospital of UPMC in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. The officers were there to give Hruby over 250 patches plus other items from police departments from as far away as Germany. Hruby, awaiting an organ transplant at the hospital, met the officers when they came to visit over the holidays and took an interest in their field, patches, and work.
Alicia Hruby, 15, of Monongahela, shows her UPMC Police badge after being sworn in as a junior officer at Children's Hospital of UPMC in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. Hruby, awaiting an organ transplant at the hospital, met the officers when they came to give gifts to hospital patients over the holidays. She was more interested in their patches and meeting the officers than getting presents, Officer Scott Bailey said, so he and his wife and fellow officers worked to gather patches from all over to give to her.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Alicia Hruby, 15, of Monongahela, shows her UPMC Police badge after being sworn in as a junior officer at Children's Hospital of UPMC in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. Hruby, awaiting an organ transplant at the hospital, met the officers when they came to give gifts to hospital patients over the holidays. She was more interested in their patches and meeting the officers than getting presents, Officer Scott Bailey said, so he and his wife and fellow officers worked to gather patches from all over to give to her.
A photo of Officer Scott Bailey of Aspinwall Police and Alicia Hruby, 15, of Monongahela, is mounted in the middle of police patches from across the country at Children's Hospital of UPMC in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. Hruby, who has shown long-term interest in the police, was presented with over 250 patches and other memorabilia from police departments from as far away as Germany.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
A photo of Officer Scott Bailey of Aspinwall Police and Alicia Hruby, 15, of Monongahela, is mounted in the middle of police patches from across the country at Children's Hospital of UPMC in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. Hruby, who has shown long-term interest in the police, was presented with over 250 patches and other memorabilia from police departments from as far away as Germany.
Officer Scott Bailey of Aspinwall Police hugs Alicia Hruby, 15, of Monongahela, after surprising her with a variety of police patches and memorabilia at Children's Hospital of UPMC in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. Hruby, awaiting an organ transplant at the hospital, met the officers when they came to give gifts to hospital patients over the holidays. She was more interested in their patches and meeting the officers than getting presents, Bailey said, so he and his wife and fellow officers worked to gather patches from all over to give to her.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Officer Scott Bailey of Aspinwall Police hugs Alicia Hruby, 15, of Monongahela, after surprising her with a variety of police patches and memorabilia at Children's Hospital of UPMC in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. Hruby, awaiting an organ transplant at the hospital, met the officers when they came to give gifts to hospital patients over the holidays. She was more interested in their patches and meeting the officers than getting presents, Bailey said, so he and his wife and fellow officers worked to gather patches from all over to give to her.
Officer Scott Bailey of Aspinwall Police hands Alicia Hruby, 15, of Monongahela, a Fraternal Order of Police license plate for her 16th birthday at Children's Hospital of UPMC in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. The officers were there to give Hruby over 250 patches plus other items from police departments from as far away as Germany. Hruby, awaiting an organ transplant at the hospital, met the officers when they came to visit over the holidays and took an interest in their field, patches, and work.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Officer Scott Bailey of Aspinwall Police hands Alicia Hruby, 15, of Monongahela, a Fraternal Order of Police license plate for her 16th birthday at Children's Hospital of UPMC in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. The officers were there to give Hruby over 250 patches plus other items from police departments from as far away as Germany. Hruby, awaiting an organ transplant at the hospital, met the officers when they came to visit over the holidays and took an interest in their field, patches, and work.

Alicia Hruby received an unexpected early birthday gift.

Hruby, 15, of Monongahela is a patient in Children's Hospital in Lawrenceville, where she is awaiting a liver transplant. On Tuesday, she was greeted by Patrolman Scott Bailey, a part-time police officer in Aspinwall and Millvale, and nine officers from local departments who brought her patches and police paraphernalia.

Bailey met Hruby when officers from throughout the area delivered Christmas presents to patients at the hospital in December.

“She was saying she loves the police officers, and she thinks the police are real heroes. We were kind of taken aback by that,” Bailey said.

Hruby didn't want the toys the officers brought. Instead, she wanted the patches from their uniform, which she collects. Bailey said several of the officers gave her their patches, but he wanted to do more.

His wife, Tina, set up a Facebook page, “Alisha's Wishes for Police Patches,” and he sent word out through his police contacts that he was collecting patches for Hruby. Soon, Bailey was getting patches from across the country and around the world. He estimated more than 400 patches had been sent, along with T-shirts, letters, pins, hats and other items. Patches came from as far away as Alaska, Germany and Canada.

Hruby will turn 16 on Monday. The delivery wasn't the only birthday surprise officers had for her. She was sworn in as an honorary officer with the Children's Hospital police.

Hruby said she was surprised by the gifts.

“How can you keep this much a secret?” she asked. “It was probably one of the best 16th birthday presents I could get.”

Her mother, Donna Hruby, said she has had an appreciation for police officers and members of the military since she was young.

“She just loves them,” Hruby said. “She admires them for all the right reasons. She knows what they do every day. She knows that a simple traffic stop could be catastrophic.”

Alicia Hruby said she likes the patches because they can come from all over the world. “Cops and military officers are my superheroes,” she said.

Bailey said he hopes Hruby will inspire people to register as organ donors.

“Nobody at this age should be at a hospital waiting,” Bailey said. “They're young, they should be out enjoying life.”

Tom McGee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.