Police Officer Jesse Hartnett, his left arm encased in a cast with metal pins protruding, shook hands with his good hand as well-wishers lined up throughout the FOP lodge Thursday night. Behind him, union officials hoisted a sign that read: "There's a lot of heart in Hartnett."
"He's in good spirits - a real trouper," said Commissioner Richard Ross, who was stationed behind Hartnett's chair in the banquet hall at the Fraternal Order of Police's headquarters in the Far Northeast. "There's a lot of people who support and love Jesse Hartnett. They just keep pouring in and pouring in."
Ross said he told Hartnett that he was proud of him - and that he "didn't have to overdo it" at the celebration. The wounded officer still has a long road to recovery, with several more surgeries ahead.
Ross himself cut out early to allow the rank-and-file to have some fun outside the watchful eye of their boss.
"We're thrilled to death for Jesse," said Bob Hartnett, the officer's father. "The support he gets from our area is unbelievable."
Hartnett's mother, Theresa, said that although her son still struggles with exhaustion and pains in his arm, he "seems to get stronger every day."
Lodge 5 president John McNesby said the last several fund-raisers his union has held were to benefit the families of officers killed in the line of duty. The money raised Thursday night, McNesby said, "goes to whatever [Hartnett] wants."
Hartnett's table was well-stocked with beers, and his family and girlfriend surrounded him as benefit attendees flocked around. He was presented with an Eagles helmet and jersey with his name on it.
In the lobby, officers sold T-shirts with Hartnett's name on it and bartenders reminded attendees that Jell-O shots were $2, with all proceeds going to Hartnett.
"We're overwhelmed by the outpouring tonight," McNesby said.
The 33-year-old officer was shot three times at close range Jan. 7 in West Philadelhia by a man who strode up to Hartnett as he sat alone in his cruiser. Hartnett managed to radio for help and even chase down his fleeing attacker, using his uninjured arm to shoot Edward Archer, 30, of Yeadon, in the buttocks.
Archer, who said he did it for ISIS, is in custody on charges of attempted murder and related offenses.