Police officers' group raises money from Armstrong motorcycle ride
By Brigid Beatty
Published: Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 1:16 a.m.
When the Road Dawgs rev up their engines for a planned motorcycle ride, it's more than just for the thrill of hitting the open road — it's also a gesture of kindness and compassion.
In June, about 12 to 15 members of the Pennsylvania Road Dawgs' Butler chapter joined Kittanning Hose Company 1 in Kittanning for the Waves of Thunder event.
The Dawgs, made up of active and retired police officers, raised $1,000 from their motorcycle ride.
Tattooed, dressed in jeans and sporting a leather vest, Cpl. Tim Wiles, Butler chapter president and retired vice, passed that money on to Andrew “Drew” Volchko, secretary of the Western Pennsylvania Police Benevolent Foundation (WPPBF).
Outside the state police station in East Franklin Wednesday, Wiles said the club had given money directly to injured officers in the past but recently decided to pass the funds to the WPPBF because it has the ability to reach more people.
WPPBF, a nonprofit organization founded in 2011, provides assistance to injured officers and their families.
“We help guys with minor injuries — to help bridge that gap (between benefits) all the way to helping families of those who have paid the ultimate price,” Volchko said.
Volchko, a veteran Bethel Park police officer, sustained severe injuries to his shoulder, back and arm in 2000 while arresting a suspect. He knows firsthand how an incident can impact an officer and family members.
But instead of focusing on his injuries, Volchko came up with a promise, used by WPPBF: “To all of our brethren officers in need, let it be known, no officer or family shall ever walk alone.”
He said the foundation was founded in response to two separate incidents in 2011 when Cranberry police Cpl. Dan Hahn and Clairton police Officer Jim Kuzak were injured in the line of duty.
Volchko said there didn't seem to be an immediate safety net in place to help the men and their families cope.
“What you think should exist, didn't,” he said. “Rather than whine about it, we decided to do something.”
Volchko and Wiles agreed that police officers are facing increased risk.
People seem to have fewer qualms about shooting at officers, and home invasions are on the rise, Volchko said.
He recalled how the 2005 fatal shooting of Cpl. Joseph Pokorny, 45, of Pittsburgh, impacted everyone.
“Joe was that first one who hit home,” Volchko said.
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 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.
- Man stabs couple who took him in, police say
- Park structure at center of investigation
- Kittanning Salvation Army raises red-kettle goal by 12%
- Belmont Complex plans ribbon-cutting to show off $2M in renovations
- Ford City OKs 3 police officers
- $2,000 gifts benefit homeless vets in Armstrong County
- Kittanning vigil planned for mother in fatal collision
- Kittanning vigil honors mother of 3