PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — More than 100 local police officers hit the golf course Monday at South Hills Country Club. They came together to raise money for a fellow officer who was shot in the line of duty.
It’s an annual event for these guys, but this year it’s hitting even closer to home. This year’s Police Appreciation Day golf outing benefits Officer James Kuzak who was shot during a home invasion in Clairton back in April. He’s been in a wheelchair ever since.
Kuzak’s dad works at the South Hills Country Club.
“My father is the superintendent here at the country club, so I’ve grown up on this country club. So, to know the place that I know so well and have all my friends here to be able to do that and enjoy it with my father… it’s just fun. It’s amazing.” said Officer Kuzak.
Over the past three years, each of these outings has had special meaning.
In 2009, they honored the memories of the three Pittsburgh officers killed the Stanton Heights shootout. Last year, it was Penn Hills Officer Michael Crawshaw and Pennsylvania State Trooper Paul Richey, both were also killed in shootings.
“This is our third year of Police Appreciation Day. [It’s] an opportunity for us to say thank you to the police officers of the local community,” said Tim Veith, the chairman of Police Appreciation Day.
“It’s great for us to be able to get together as a law enforcement community and just remember the fallen heroes and the sacrifices that they made,” said Lt. Kevin Kraus, of Pittsburgh Police.
“We’re all friends, we don’t get to see each other that often. You know, we’re in the suburbs, we don’t get to see the city guys that much,” said Chief John Mackey, of Bethel Park Police. “It’s just nice to get everybody together.”
Normally, the outing is not a fundraiser, but those close to Officer Kuzak say he’ll need help paying for long-term care. Kuzak says he’s getting better every day and hopes to one day walk again.
“My goal is to be walking on my own by the end of the year,” he said. “I’m already walking now with braces on. They have me pedaling a bike that also has electro-stimulations on it so it causes my muscles to work twice as hard.”