Although Philadelphia police officers may not carry guns and badges as they walk the beaches of Sea Isle City in the summer, the residents there know they are an invaluable resource to the community.
So when Bill Kehner Jr. read about the depletion of the Fraternal Order of Police Survivors' Fund in the wake of the unimaginable chain of Philadelphia police officer deaths in the last two years, the 27-year-old year-round Sea Isle resident felt compelled to help.
"All kinds of hard-working Philadelphia police officers and citizens vacation here and they bring the business that takes care of us," Kehner said. "So, it's only right that we take care of them."
From 3 to 7 p.m. on June 14, Kehner will host "Salute to the Fallen," a benefit for the Police Survivors' Fund at LaCosta Lounge, 4000 Landis Ave., where he works as a bartender.
Fellow year-round Sea Isle City resident Theresa McCarthy was able to share with Kehner what the fund means to those who have lost a loved one on the force.
McCarthy's son, William McCarthy, a member of Philadelphia's mounted police unit, was killed along with his horse, Skipper, when the two were struck by a drunk driver on Broad Street following a Grateful Dead concert at the Spectrum on Sept. 22, 1987.
"The survivor's fund provides aid, comfort and support for the families," McCarthy said, whose son was 31 when he was killed. He left behind four children ranging in age from eight years to one month. "It's wonderful because there is a fraternalism and camaraderie with police that extends into their families.
"I love that. I love being a part of that," she added.
FOP Treasurer John Ruan said it's not unusual as of late for fundraisers to be held outside the city.
"We're running 10 to 15 events every weekend. It's an incredible outpour," he said.
"But we have a long way to go as far as being able to handle not only any future tragedies but to take care of the seven families in the last two years."
The event is $30 and will include draft beer, wine, soda, a buffet and a silent auction. Live entertainment will also be provided by The Insiders and DJ Jerry Blavat.
Special room rates are available at the Coast Motel in Sea Isle City.