“On behalf of Eureka Fire Rescue & EMS and the citizens we serve, I would like to thank Ben Roethlisberger for the grant award through the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for our canine program. The funds will go a long way to help offset food and veterinary expenses. Our original canine EMBER passed last year after 10 years of service, which left RAMSY on her own. She contracted Lyme disease a few years back so we pay extra close attention to her medical needs. This season there is a new rookie on the team, ‘ASHES.’ She is in training and we have great hopes for her. The dogs’ primary jobs are fire prevention training, K-9 CPR and first aid training, along with functioning as therapy dogs and canine counselors. Of course they are a BIG hit with the children and definitively enhance station security. In the tradition of a true Pittsburgher, ASHES’ favorite thing is to play ball! Mr. Roethlisberger, thank you, not just for your dedication and performance on the field, but most importantly for you interest in outstanding support in the community.”— Richard J. Heuser, Eureka Fire Rescue EMS Chief of Operations.
The Foundation will be distributing nine grants totaling $82,100 to police and fire departments in the Pittsburgh, PA area.
The K-9 departments receiving funding from Ben’s foundation this year include the Sharpsburg Borough Police Department, Beaver Township Police Department, Edinboro Borough Police Department, City of McKeesport Police Department, Lower Burrell Police Department, Eureka Fire Rescue EMS, Ohio Township Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Hopewell Township Police Department. These departments will be utilizing their respective grants in a variety of canine-focused initiatives including the establishment of new K-9 units, replacement of retiring dogs, acquisition and updating of K-9 vehicles, purchasing of safety and training equipment, and training and certification of new and existing K-9s.
“We are thankful for and appreciative of the support from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation as well as all of the other donors that have made bringing a K-9 to Sharpsburg possible. Patrolman Hussar took the lead early and showed tremendous initiative to bring a K-9 to Sharpsburg, a resource long overdue for the area. The benefits of a K-9 are wide ranging and will be an asset to Sharpsburg and the entire region. With the use of the K-9, our department can continue to engage and build relationships with the community while also making Sharpsburg a safer place to call home.” — Joint statement from Sharpsburg Borough’s Mayor Matthew V. Rudzki and Chief of Police Thomas Stelitano.
“On behalf of the proud professionals who comprise the Beaver Police Department, as well as the citizens it serves, I would like to thank the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation. The Foundation’s generous donation will allow us to replace our aging Police Service Dog. Not only that, but one of our officers will be able to become fully certified to train our new dog as well as dogs from our neighboring agencies going into the future. This will save future officers from leaving the area to become trained with their new K-9 partners. Thank you #7!” — Carl N. Frost, Beaver Township Chief of Police.
This announcement completes the foundation’s 11th grant cycle, during which it distributed 23 grants totaling more than $170,000 to K-9 units around the country. In addition to the Pittsburgh grants announced, the Foundation distributed grants to K-9 units of police departments in the cities and surrounding communities of each regular season away game for the Steelers.
“On behalf of the Edinboro Police Department, we would like to thank the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for its support to our K-9 program. This generous donation will allow us to purchase much needed safety equipment and training tools necessary to maintain a safe and efficient K-9 unit. Because of this grant, our K-9 Kenzo will continue to make a positive impact in our community. We commend the Foundation’s continued support to law enforcement and first responders across the nation. GO STEELERS!” — Jeffrey D. Craft, Edinboro Chief of Police.
“Our K-9 unit is sustained solely through community donations and fundraising efforts. This contribution from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation will help to guarantee that our beloved canine partners get the specialized vehicles and equipment they require. The McKeesport Police K-9 Unit is devoted to providing the City of McKeesport and the surrounding communities with the highest quality of canine services. The continued support of the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation will assist in making that possible. The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation should be commended for their unwavering support of law enforcement and K-9 units across the country.” — Sgt. Fran Angert, McKeesport K-9.
“The Lower Burrell Police Department would like to thank the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for selecting our department to receive a grant to assist us in purchasing a new K-9 police vehicle. On behalf of our department and all law enforcement agencies around the country that have received grant assistance to help field police K-9 units, I would like to thank the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for its long standing support in this area of public safety.” — Tim Weitzel, Lower Burrell Chief of Police.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for their continued support of our Police K-9 program. One very important aspect of the protective service is the Police K-9 program. The Ohio Township Police Department provides police service to eight different communities in Allegheny County. Besides tracking, narcotics identification and officer safety, the K-9 program has become paramount to community relations. Dogs bring people together.” — Norbert Micklos, Ohio Township Chief of Police.
Last summer, Ben invited police and fire departments across the country to submit proposals detailing their needs.
“We will use the funds provided to us by this grant to purchase a K-9 to support local law enforcement and better serve the citizens of our county. I am a former K-9 handler and I know this is a much needed valuable asset for our department to help fight the drug epidemic in this valley, as well as have a tool to be utilized to track missing persons and also to track and apprehend criminals. This new K-9 will be an amazing new law enforcement tool for our department as well as the surrounding departments that also do not currently have a K-9. Sheriff Fred J. Abdalla and I would like to personally thank Ben Roethlisberger for his continued support, dedication and generosity towards law enforcement and first responders throughout this country.” — Sergeant Chris Vinci, Sergeant with the Jefferson County (OH) Sheriff’s Office.
The mission of the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation is to support K-9 units of police and fire departments throughout the United States, with a particular emphasis on support for service dogs in Pittsburgh, PA. Roethlisberger and the Foundation also strive to support Make-A-Wish. The Foundation has distributed in excess of $1.9 million since 2007.
“We at the Hopewell Township Police Department are very thankful for our selection as a grant recipient from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation, which will turn our hopes of establishing a K-9 program into a reality. We have worked hard to improve community relations and those same community relationships have supported our effort to establish the K-9 program. In the past year, we have sold K-9 Fund T-shirts at several community events; had several businesses make contributions to our effort; held a Community Safety Day at a local shopping plaza, which featured area K-9 organizations; received support from local church groups, including a major contribution from a church that held an opioid awareness walk; and received donations from several supportive residents. Of note is a donation received from an 8-year-old celebrating his birthday, who requested that those attending his party not bring a gift for him, but instead a donation to our K-9 Fund. The establishment of a K-9 program is not something that we have taken lightly. During the department’s advanced planning for the program, our community has obviously supported our effort. In the near future, through assistance from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation, we look forward to providing the services of a K-9 team to help make our community a safer place.” — Brian P. Uhrmacher, Hopewell Township Chief of Police.
Ben is so grateful for the generous supporters who have enabled his foundation to expand the K-9 grant program, including Pro Camps, as well as caring individual donors from around the country.
Fans, you can support future K-9 grants by purchasing candy on Sarris Candies’ website, (www.SarrisCandiesFundraising.com), using a special purchase code (77-7777). Sarris will donate 25 percent of the purchase price to the Ben’s foundation. If you don’t have sweet tooth, you can donate directly here!
For more information about Ben’s foundation or The Giving Back Fund, please contact Charisse Browner at www.givingback.org.