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Bucks and Pucks: Penguins Help Police Raise Money to Support Survivor with Special Needs

Police officers from across the region will be at the Penguins-Hurricanes game on Tuesday night to collect donations to support the autistic son of fallen police officer John “David” Dryer.

‘Tis the season for giving, and sports fans attending the Dec. 27 Penguins game at CONSOL Energy Center can do just that.

The Western Pennsylvania Police Benevolent Foundation (WPPBF) has joined forces with the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation to conduct a collection before the Pens face off against the Hurricanes on Tuesday.

From 5 to 8 p.m., police from Washington, Allegheny, Westmoreland and Beaver counties will be stationed inside CONSOL’s gates, collecting donations for the David Dryer Memorial Fund.

The fund was set up to support the 17-year-old autistic son of Officer John “David” Dryer of the East Washington Police Department, who died in medical transit on Dec. 19 after he was shot and mortally wounded during a traffic stop.

Dryer’s partner, Officer Robert Caldwell, was also shot and injured by the same offender. He is currently recovering from serious injury to his right “gun” hand.

Tuesday night’s collection marks the second time the WPPBF has partnered with the Penguins Foundation to raise money for a fallen officer.

Fans dropped approximately $23,000 into the WPPBF’s buckets in support of Kotecki’s family, and WPPBF Secretary Andrew Volchko hopes that they’ll show similar support for Dryer’s surviving son.

In addition to teaming up with the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation for Tuesday’s fundraiser, the WPPBF has also teamed up with the Autism Center of Pittsburgh (ACP), representatives of which will join officers in their collection efforts.

ACP reps will also be on hand to answer any questions fans may have about autism and how their donations will help with care for Dryer’s son, Benjamin.

The ACP has further backed the cause by including information on the David Dryer Memorial Fund in its correspondence.

Volchko explained the added benefit of this move:

“Maybe there are some people out there who aren’t moved by the fact that we’re talking about a fallen officer,” he said. “But they may be moved by the fact that he left behind an autistic son, and that might motivate them to donate.

“No matter why they’re donating, it’s all about one thing—making sure that this man’s son gets the long-term help and financial support he needs.”

If you aren’t going to the Pens game on Tuesday, but want to donate to the David Dryer Memorial Fund, you can do so in person by stopping into any Washington Financial Bank or by sending your donation via postal mail to

  • Western Pennsylvania Police Benevolent Foundation, P.O. Box 444, South Park, PA 15129, or
  • Washington Financial Bank, 3616 Washington Road, McMurray, PA 15317.

Please make sure to indicate “David Dryer Memorial Fund” on your check or money order.

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