AOH Division Comes to the Aid of Philly Cops
For Pete Hand and Ron Trask, the February funeral of Philadelphia Police Officer John Pawlowski was a turning poit of sorts.
Pawlowski was the fifth Philadelphia officer to die in the line of duty in a 10-month period. Hand, president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians Notre Dame Division in Swedesburg, Montgomery County, had attended all five funerals as drum major of the division’s Irish Thunder pipe band.
“Ron and I were at the (AOH) clubhouse after that last funeral,” Hand recalls. “Just being down there at all those events moved us to do something.”
The “something” turned out to be a fund drive to raise cash for the survivors fund of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 at Broad and Spring Garden. “I had heard that their fund was running low (because of so many line-of-duty deaths), and we wanted to help out.”
So Hand, Trask and a group of other Montgomery County Hibernians put their heads together and came up with the fund drive not long before St. Patrick’s Day.
The Hibernians started by collecting money at the Conshohocken St. Patrick’s Day Parade, picking up $2,100 from parade-goers. Then came the big event-Police Appreciation Day at the Hibernian Hall in Swedesburg, a well-attended bash that netted a little over $10,000.
A delegation from the AOH division presented the check to FOP Lodge 5 Tuesday night. The cops, for their part, were appreciative. “This is very substantial,” said recording secretary Jim Wheeler. “The only donation that comes close to it is (what the lodge receives from) Geno’s Steaks.”