RochesterSeptember 26, 2012
Rochester police hold fundraiser to support fallen WB officer’s family
By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer
ROCHESTER — Losing a police officer is something that can happen in any community, at any time, and for the West Bloomfield Police Department, Sept. 9 was that day.
West Bloomfield officer Patrick O’Rourke was fatally shot Sept. 9 while responding to a report of gunfire at a home in the 4000 block of Forest Edge in West Bloomfield. Ricky Coley, 50, of West Bloomfield shot the officer, police said. After a standoff that lasted approximately 20 hours, police discovered that Coley also was dead, and an autopsy concluded that the death was caused by a gunshot to his mouth.
Rochester Police Chief Steve Schettenhelm said in an email that O’Rourke’s death hit close to home.
“He was handling a call that all officers have taken before. You look at how the future for his family changed in an instant,” he said.
According to police, O’Rourke, 39, served West Bloomfield for 12 years and had won a Lifesaving Award, three Unit Commendations and three Certificates of Merit. He is survived by his wife and four children.
In an effort to provide assistance to the O’Rourke family, the Rochester Police Department is partnering with Ponds and Beyond Landscaping to present the Family Fun Day and Fall Garden Stroll fundraiser 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 6 at Long Meadow Elementary School and nearby on Allston Drive in Rochester Hills.
“If it had been a Rochester officer, other officers would have been there for their family, as well. When you consider all those factors, it becomes all the more important to do whatever we can to support his family. No matter the color of the uniform or the department we work for, we all try to support one another in a time of need,” Schettenhelm said in an email.
The idea for the fundraiser came from Ponds and Beyond owner Bobbi Fedricks, whose son, Jeffrey Firman, is a Rochester police officer. Fedricks is coordinating the event in cooperation with Schettenhelm, the Rochester Key Club and Rochester teacher Julie Rains, whose husband, Tyler, is a Rochester police officer.
“We might not be from West Bloomfield, but if it happened in our community, we know that people from the surrounding communities would have our back,” Fedricks said.
The Family Fun Day portion of the event, held at Long Meadow Elementary School, will feature activities for all ages. Local police and fire departments will display cruisers and trucks, and there will be clowns and balloons, a pie-eating contest, face painting, games, a tug of war and more. Hot dogs, cider, doughnuts and cookies will be available for purchase. T-shirts, provided by West Bloomfield police and honoring O’Rourke, will be sold to benefit his family, and there will be an auction featuring items donated by local merchants.
Along with the fun and games at the school, Fedricks is inviting the public to her garden next door at 501 Allston for a $10 donation. Previously featured on the Rochester Hills Museum Garden Walk, Fedricks said, the acre of property overflows with waves of pansies, mums, kale and pumpkins — all of which will be available for purchase.
“My idea was to open up my really cool yard and show people who aren’t really avid gardeners and think (gardening season is) over (that) there are some really cool things that happen now,” she said.
Master gardeners from the Rochester Branch of the Woman’s National Farm and Garden Association will be on hand to give guided tours and answer questions.
Tickets for the event are currently on sale at the Rochester Police and Fire departments, at several merchants downtown and at the downtown Rochester Chicken Shack. Tickets will also be available the day of the event.
Fedricks said organizers are still in need of clowns to help with Family Fun Day, some face painting talent, items for the adult raffle table and prize items for the kids’ raffle.
For more information, to make a donation or to volunteer, contact Fedricks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations for the Officer Patrick O’Rourke Family Trust Fund are being accepted at www.westbloomfieldhero.com and at Bank of America locations.
Staff Writer Eric Czarnik contributed to this report.