It is the purpose of the Western Pennsylvania Police Benevolent Foundation to provide assistance to injured police officers in need. This assistance may be in the form of information on available resources or monetary aid to help ease the financial burden in a time of crisis.
The WPPBF is a 501c3 non-profit organization comprised of sworn law enforcement personnel, retired law enforcement as well as members of the community who are served and protected by these officers. The organization was formed in July of 2011 in the wake of two critical incidents where local police officers were severely injured in the line of duty.
As fund raising events were planned and held for these officers, it quickly became apparent that there was a need for an organization where officers and their families could turn for assistance. Help was needed not only in the form of financial aid but also in having questions answered regarding event planning and coordination, donations, publicity and media relations. The families also needed assistance with health care concerns as well as tax issues and banking needs. This organization exists to assist officers and their families in these and other issues.
The Western Pennsylvania Police Benevolent Foundation holds community events throughout the year for the purposes of educating the public about our mission, and to raise monies to help ease the financial burdens on those affected. We are a non-profit organization and all funds raised go to injured officers and their families.
The WPPBF does not differentiate between full-time or part-time police employment or union affiliation. Assistance is available to any police officer in the Western Pennsylvania area. The level of assistance that officers and their families receive will be determined on a case-by-case basis and will be based upon the availability of funds and resources. All cases will be reviewed and voted on by the WPPBF executive board of directors.
Often, injured officers and their families are overwhelmed with important decisions that must be made regarding their circumstances and making correct decisions is critical to a successful recovery. Help with understanding available options, or simply letting those affected know that there are people who care and are available for them, is the mission of the WPPBF.
“To all our brethren let it be known, no officer or family shall ever walk alone.”
association is comprised of actively sworn and retired officers
including officers injured on-duty who have retired due to disabling
injuries, officers injured on-duty who have returned to work, and
officers who have not been injured but believe that injured officers and
their families deserve the best assistance possible. Our organization
also includes leaders in the community who believe that it is crucial to
support those who protect us.
WPPBF Executive Board
“Griff” Griffith President
I have been a
police officer for 20 years, currently in my 19th
year of service at South Park Township. Past departments
I worked for include North Strabane Twp, McDonald
Borough, Union Township, Ohio Township, Heidelberg
Borough, and Hanover Township. My true belief when
starting the foundation is that the brotherhood of Law
Enforcement is only as strong as helping one another and
our families, during times of great struggle or crisis.
began my career in law enforcement
in 2000. Throughout my time of
service, I have experienced and seen
many hardships that police officers
are faced with. These hardships
included both duty and non-duty
related injuries, sicknesses, and
deaths. Sometimes it wasn't even the
officer that needed support, but
rather their families and loved
ones. Many officers don't know where
to turn for help, even if they
just need someone to talk to. When I was
asked to be a part of this
remarkable organization, I was
overjoyed. I thought, "What a
wonderful way to reach out and help
support my brother and sister
officers and their families." I
can’t imagine having to experience
any of these issues alone which is
why I proudly stand with my fellow
foundation board members in sharing
our foundation's promise: "To all our
Brethren let it be known, no officer
or family shall ever walk alone."
"Drew" Volchko Organization
Andrew is a veteran
patrol officer who has worked for the Bethel
Park Police Department since 1996. In 2000
Andrew was traumatically injured during an
arrest and suffered severe injuries to the
shoulder, arm and back. After extensive
treatment and surgeries, he returned to
Bethel Park and resumed his patrol duties
and critical incident planning. Andrew has
seen first-hand the strain and hardships,
both physical and mental, that an injury can
impose on officers and their families. He
has made a promise to ensure that no officer
or their family have to face them alone and
is the author of our foundation promise “To
all of our brethren officers in need, let it
be known, no officer or family shall ever
walk alone” Andrew serves as the
foundation Recording Secretary and
specializes in creating partnerships and
organizing others to serve officers in need.
Rob DiPippa Secretary
I have been a police officer for 17 years.
My career started in Mt. Oliver and Edgewood which afforded me the experience in two vastly different communities.
I joined the Port Authority Transit Police Department in January 2002 where I am a Firearms Instructor, SWAT Member and, my proudest accomplishment, K-9 Officer to my partner, Arko.
I am extremely proud and humbled to be a part of the WPPBF. It’s an honor to be able to be there for an officer and their family during such a critical time in their lives. I hope it gives them a little comfort knowing that the Foundation is there to assist them in their time of need.
I get great pleasure in knowing that I can walk hand and hand with fellow brethren to let them know that they will not walk this journey alone.
involved in different aspects of public
safety for the past 12 years working as an
emergency telecommunicator for the last ten
years. I began my dispatching career at
South Hills Regional 911 in Mt. Lebanon and
worked as a dispatcher for the Brentwood
Police Department. I am now currently
employed as a telecommunicator for Allegheny
County Bureau of Emergency Services. I am
also a graduated from CCAC with an
Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice. I'm
very excited and honored to be given the
opportunity to be able to give back to my
community and to the men and women that that
I work with everyday. It is a privilege to
assist their families in their time of need
because they sacrifice so much for us so
that their loved ones keep us safe.
officer with the Baldwin Borough Police
Department, he is a 1990 graduate of the
Pennsylvania State Police Academy and has
worked for the Borough of Homestead and the
City of Pittsburgh. Tim’s strongest
contribution to the Benevolent Foundation is
perhaps his personal experience and
involvement in three deadly force incidents
during his career. Tim also brings to the
table the experience of chairing or
co-chairing nine police related fund raising
events over the past year.
began his career as a police officer in 1987
with Heidelberg PD before working for South
Fayette then Peters Township in 1989. A
graduate of the University of Pittsburgh,
Jay holds a Bachelor’s Degree in
Administration of Justice. He serves as his
department’s Firearms Instructor and is the
member’s Union Steward for the Teamsters
205. Belonging to the Benevolent Foundation
gives Jay an opportunity to participate in
assisting fellow officers in their time of
need. “The opportunity to help others and
expect nothing in return knowing that
someone will have a burden lifted from them,
even a small one, is priceless. The
profession we have chosen in itself
encompasses stress with others that we work
with adding more. To be able to provide
something to a brother who is down, even if
it is just a card, flowers, or a donation of
some type to lessen some stress already
added to his or her burden is gratifying to
me as a fellow officer.” “What I contribute
to the WPPBF is my time, my effort, and a “We
before me” attitude."
Shanahan Executive Trustee
Dr. Jerry L. Keller
Dr. Keller was involved in law enforcement in Ohio for several years. Later, while working as a Management Consultant for the IBM Corporation, he continued his education, earning a PhD. He is a Certified Grief and Bereavement Facilitator, has written and had published several training courses on Stress, Grief, Bereavement, etc., and continues to research and write courses that are readily accepted by the profession.
Dr. Keller has been a member of WPPBF since shortly after it was formed. He sees the support this foundation offers injured officers and the family of fallen officers to be an invaluable asset to that career. “It helps families work through the immediate trauma they are experiencing and helps position them for the reality of the life that is ahead,” said Dr. Keller. He continued, “I look forward to utilizing my skills for this outstanding and very necessary foundation, and to serve those who risk their lives for us day in and day out.”
It all started one night when my dad and I were watching Glenn Beck,
and he was talking about how police were getting shot and killed because they couldn't afford vests.
So, I thought of the idea of having a foundation named "Vests for Officers."
I got in touch with someone name Rose from the talk show Quinn and Rose, and
she got me in touch ith the president of WPPBF, Rich Griffith.
Then next thing I know I'm getting sworn in as a trustee by Congressman Tim Murphy.
There will be many great things that will come out of this foundation and Vests for Officers.
Corporal Dan Hahn started his law enforcement career in 1982 in Deer Field Beach, Fl. From there he moved onto Port St. Lucie, FL. In 1989, Dan came back to PA as an officer for Cranberry Township. In the 29 years in law enforcement, Dan has seen the devastation that police officers and their families go through when an officer is critically injured or killed in the line of duty. Dan was critically injured in 2011 and as he goes through his recovery process, he is proud to be a part of the Benevolent Foundation in being there for his fellow officers.
Robert Lemons Jr., age 41, has over twenty years of patrol and supervisory experience. Started his career as a part-time patrolman in Allegheny County in 1991, for West Elizabeth and Lincoln Borough. Accepted full time position in 1992, with the City of Washington Police Department. He worked his way up through the ranks of Patrolman, Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant and was appointed to Chief of Police in January 2012. Lemons has been involved in numerous high incident arrests and multiple incidents involving officer involved shootings. He is dedicated helping families of fallen officers along with officers who have survived job related injuries.
A Police Benevolent Foundation ... How it All Started
Often, members of the board are asked, “Where did you come up with the idea for the Foundation?” The answer is simple: Nothing like it ever existed in Pennsylvania, until now. It went like this:
Initially, the idea for an organization dedicated to help injured officers and their families was the brain-child of Officer Rich Griffith of the South Park Township Police Department. In April of 2011, Officer James Kuzak was shot while responding to a domestic call in Clairton, Pa. Friends gathered to help him and his family by raising money. Although his medical bills were covered by insurance, there were many costly incidentals that needed to be addressed. It was quickly learned that there was no agency, business or organization that existed to help police officers and their families in a time of crisis. So, we started one.
Contacts needed to be made, events needed to be planned, and the word needed to get out. Through trial and error, we learned media relations, event planning and coordination, and conquered the fundamentals of fund raising. With little knowledge of public relations but a lot of determination, those who committed to help their friend were very successful. Using our new-found skills, those who came together to help Officer Kuzak in April of 2011, now make up the Foundation's Board of Directors who are dedicated to help many going forward.