The Tamaqua area community is coming together to aid a local cop stricken with illness.
Officer Matt Bynon, 37, is a patient at a Philadelphia hospital where he is in the intensive care unit receiving treatment for cancer.
The condition was discovered a few weeks ago when Bynon entered Pottsville Hospital for a partial appendectomy procedure.
Medical insurance will cover only a fraction of the treatment Bynon will need. When that situation became known various parties contacted the Tamaqua Police Department to offer their services in support of the popular policeman.
Among the first to step forward to help was Tamaqua DJ Brad Murphy.
Murphy will render his services at a benefit dance for school-age children, grades four and five, to take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 7, at the Tamaqua Community Center (Mohn Building).
The Tamaqua Elks Lodge also has offered to host a fundraising dinner. Details are still being worked out. Others are asking what they can do to help.
"The community is coming together and the support means so much," said Chief Dave Mattson. "I'm thankful they're doing it."
Mattson describes Bynon as an officer who is accomplished, thorough and well-liked.
"He doesn't sit back. If he sees that something needs to be done, he does it."
In addition to his duties as a law enforcement officer and the department's TASER instructor, Bynon is a first responder volunteer and had just been promoted to captain of the Tamaqua Rescue Squad before his illness.
Bynon is a Tamaqua native and grew up in the South Ward. Members of the Tamaqua Police Department and Bynon's wife, Cheryl, are touched by the outpouring of concern for Bynon as he battles the illness.
Mattson noted that Tamaqua police will provide security for the upcoming Relay for Life to benefit the Carbon-Tamaqua Unit, American Cancer Society.
Judy Hoppes, ACS cancer control specialist, said the event will take place June 25-26 at Hometown Farmers Market. Hoppes said the ACS operates Hope Lodge in Philadelphia for the benefit of patients and family members, who are welcome to stay there free of charge when accompanied by a caregiver. A similar ACS-sponsored facility is available in Hershey as well.
"We urge people to contact us. We have services to offer but families must come to us to request it," said Hoppes, who works with the local unit as well as the Schuylkill unit and Greater Hazleton.
Hoppes said the ACS phone number is (800) 227-2345 and the phone is staffed 24/7.
Requests for more information or additional offers of assistance can be directed to the Tamaqua Police Department at (570) 668-6100.