South Hills Country Club pays homage to police officers
Three empty chairs sitting on the greens served as a constant reminder of why the golfers were there.
More than 150 police officers from 20 departments across Allegheny County gathered at the South Hills Country Club last week for a day of unlimited food, beverages, laughs and a free round of golf. The country club's fifth annual Police Appreciation Day served as a “fun-raiser” to show thanks to those in law enforcement for putting their lives on the line every day, appreciation day coordinator Tim Veith said.
“I really hope that they understand that there's a lot of people that thank them for what they do,” Veith said.
The event began after the tragic events of April 4, 2009, when Pittsburgh police officers Paul Sciullo II, Stephen Mayhle and Eric Kelly were fatally shot in the line of duty, Veith said. Club members sought a way to show police officers that they are appreciated while they still are living, he said.
A free day on the course, complete with dinner and time to socialize, seemed like the perfect way to honor the officers. And so it began.
Each year, the event has honored the life an officer killed or injured in the line of duty. This year's event paid tribute to William “Jerry” McCarthy of Shenago County, who died earlier this year when his police cruiser was struck by a suspect's car, and Perry Vahaly Sr., who died in a motorcycle accident.
James Kuzak Jr., 41, who was paralyzed from the waist down when he was shot five times while responding to a home invasion in Clairton on April 4, 2011, said this outing is extra special for him.
He grew up playing on this golf course, where his father, James Kuzak Sr., works as the course superintendent, and enjoys showing it off and sharing it with his fellow officers.
“It means everything to me,” he said. “It gives me great pride to be here. ... It's not often that we get this many ‘thanks' from everyone.
The club's Police Appreciation Day was held in Kuzak's honor in 2011.
More than 50 South Hills Country Club members volunteered their time to wait on the officers. The members of the club raised money to finance the day, Veith said.
“The members enjoy this as much as the players,” he said.
The 158 officers — up from about 140 the last four years — from across the South Hills, Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, laughed and joked about their game, and excitement about that scrumptious dinner that awaited them, as they waited to take the course.
“For the officers, this is important. It's a good time. It's camaraderie. It's talking with fellow officers that you haven't seen in a while,” Whitehall police Chief Donald Dolfi said.
“But the bottom line is that we all remember those photographs over there and the empty chairs. We know those people, and we remember them and miss them. We know why we're here.”
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Police investigating Baldwin Borough shooting
- Whitehall man plans rally to raise awareness of addiction, overdoses
- Brentwood officials plan rules for overgrown trees
- Child-care services in works at West Jefferson Hills
- Jefferson Regional Foundation awards grants
- Whitehall man’s hearing set for child pornography case
- Bridge replacement to close section of Streets Run in Baldwin Borough
- Nonprofit provides backpacks to South Hills children
- Summer splashes
- Brentwood officials committed to leveling municipal building