Today, Ben announced the first grant of the 2015-16 season from The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation at The Giving Back Fund.

The Foundation will be distributing a grant to the Duxbury Police Department just east of Foxborough, MA where the Steelers will play the New England Patriots on Thursday, September 10th.

“On behalf of the Duxbury Police Department, we would like to thank the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for this generous donation. Like many other departments, we face difficult times with budget cuts, and rely heavily on donations to keep our program running. With this grant, we will be able to purchase a new K-9 to help protect our community and continue the program for years to come.” — Ryan Cavicchi, K-9 Officer for the Duxbury Police Department.

DuxburyPD_1stGrantofSeasonThe Duxbury Police Department will apply the grant funds to the purchase and training of a new dog to replace K-9 Zar.. K-9 Zar worked patrol and assisted the SWAT team for nine years.

During the 2015-16 NFL season, The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation will be distributing grants to K-9 units of police and fire departments in the cities and surrounding communities of each regular season away game for the Steelers. The Foundation will also distribute several grants to the Pittsburgh area and will consider a grant to a non-NFL market city in the United States for each playoff game in which the Steelers compete. The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation invited police and fire departments across the country to submit proposals detailing their needs.

This marks the ninth season that Ben’s foundation has distributed grants to K-9 units. His mission 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 support Make-A-Wish.

The Foundation distributed more than $130,000 in grants to K-9 units around the country during the 2014-15 NFL season and has distributed in excess of $1.3 million since 2007.

“We’re very fortunate to be in the position that we are able to help these K-9 units. The work that is performed by the dogs and their handlers as well as the bond that is formed is incredible. We’re just thrilled to do our small part.” — Ben.

Fans can support future K-9 grants by purchasing candy on Sarris Candies’ website, (, using a special purchase code (77-7777). Sarris will donate 25 percent of the purchase price to the Ben’s Foundation.

For more information about Ben’s foundation, please contact Jessica Duffaut at

Memories of a best friend & partner:

Officer Cavicchi shares one particular day on the job for his K9 partner, Zar, as they searched for a missing Alzheimer’s patient at a nearby creek –

DuxburyPD_1stGrantofSeason_1“The area had previously been searched by multiple officers. Zar started pulling me through thick brush and briars, we located her in the water alive, but nearly hypothermic. Although there are many more stories and accomplishments to choose from, one that comes to mind happened on a cold January night. We were tracking for a suspect involved in car breaks, when I noticed blood in the snow. First thinking the suspect must have cut himself, we continued on the track. It soon became apparent that the blood was not the suspects, but from my partner Zar. He had sliced an artery on his paw, but continued tracking. We stopped wrapped it up, and he was back on the track. Zar located the suspect as blood was pouring out of his paw. This is one example of the dedication and loyalty he had for his job.

After 9 years of tracking down missing children, patients, and dangerous criminals, Duxbury’s Canine Zar retired in 2013. He spent his last few years with his family relaxing and being a family dog. In May 2015, Zar was laid to rest after suffering some medical issues. It was one of the hardest decisions I had to make for my best friend and partner. I knew that this day would come and was completely unprepared for how hard it would be. I know in my heart it was the right thing to do, but it didn’t make it any easier. As I look back at what we accomplished together it brings tears to my eyes. Zar was always by my side from the time we went to bed until the time we woke up. We had a bond that couldn’t be explained in words. I know that someday we will be together again.

I will never forget my best friend, and he will always be in my heart.

It’s time to stay at rest until we meet again. He had my back all those years, and I know he is still with me. Rest in peace.”