SEA ISLE CITY - When Philadelphia mounted police Officer William McCarthy was killed in the line of duty in September 1987, the Fraternal Order of Police was there to help pay funeral expenses as well as help comfort the wife and four small children he left behind.
Now a Sea Isle City resident is doing his part to make sure families such as the McCarthys continue to have the financial and emotional support they need during their time of loss.
William Kehner Jr. has organized a fundraiser from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 14, at LaCosta Lounge in Sea Isle City to benefit the Philadelphia Police Department's Survivors' Fund, a nonprofit organization founded after McCarthy's death that helps families of fallen Philadelphia police officers with funeral and other expenses.
Kehner said he was upset when he saw all the Philadelphia police officers who have been killed in the line of duty in the past few years and heard that the Police Survivors' Fund was seriously depleted due to the many deaths. He wanted to find a way to help, so he arranged the fundraiser at LaCosta, where he works.
The Survivors' Fund in Philadelphia was established about 14 years ago, according to John Ruane, treasurer of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police chapter.
"It was designed to relieve the families of our fallen heroes any financial burdens," Ruane said. "The fund pays for all funeral expenses not covered by the city, starting from the time of death. We provide support to all the units and outside agencies during the funeral. We provide transportation of the families and their units to Washington, D.C., for the memorial the following year and continuing support for the widows and their children throughout their lives."
At the event, McCarthy's mother, Teresa, will be honored as well as other survivors. The event includes live entertainment, free soda, draft beer, wine and a buffet.
McCarthy said that when her son died, the Police Department was there not only to help his family financially, but also emotionally, even though the Survivors' Fund was not yet established.
"They just provided so much help in the form of emotional support as well as helped send my grandchildren to college," McCarthy said. "It's just a wonderful organization. When you go to a fundraiser like the one we're having, there is so much camaraderie among the families that are left behind after a tragic death. We can understand each other because we've all been there. This is the first fundraiser in Sea Isle for the fund; I'm thrilled they're having it here. It will help build awareness of the fund and what the organization does."
Kehner said it is important to raise money for the fund to show the families of fallen officers that their loved ones will never be forgotten.
"I would also like to make the families aware that their loved ones, those who protected all of us, will forever remain in our hearts," Kehner said. "I believe we should continue to show our thanks to them. By recognizing their families, we can again thank these officers who made the supreme sacrifice."
Tickets for the fundraiser are $30 and may be purchased by calling 263-3756. Make checks payable to LaCosta Lounge.
For more information,
e-mail: email@example.com. To donate to the Police Survivors' Fund send checks to Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #5, 1336 Spring Garden St., Philadelphia PA 19123 or call 215-629-3600.
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If you go
The fundraiser for the Philadelphia Police Department's Survivors' Fund will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 14, at LaCosta Lounge, 4000 Landis Ave. in Sea Isle City. Tickets are $30 and may be purchased by calling 263-3756. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.