JT Policemen's Ball raises money for Turn To Us
Olympian cheerleaders Paige Pfeifer, Dakota Cwiertniewicz and Day'Janee Beckham pull winning tickets for the Policemen's Ball basket raffle. KELLEY ANDRADE/TIMES NEWS
Jim Thorpe Memorial Hall was transformed into see of silver, blue and white Saturday night with blue flowers and white twinkling lights filling the hall for the eighth annual Policemen's Ball.
"This event takes a year in the making," said committee member Tammy Lombardo-Schatz.
Local businesses like the Jim Thorpe Market and community members supplied cupcakes and raffle items to support the police force.
"It's great to be able to help organizations in the community," Lombardo-Schatz said.
The white, blue and silver tables that filled the hall seated a mix of 200 residents and law enforcement from both local and state jurisdictions.
"It's a good night to get people together and support a great organization," said Jim Thorpe police officer Eric Schrantz.
The event, hosted by the Jim Thorpe police and the Policemen's Ball Committee, raises money for various nonprofit organizations and to support the police department. This year's recipient was Turn To Us.
"It's an honor," said Turn To Us Director Alicia Kline.
Turn To Us was formed in 2015 to bring the personal necessities of life, financial assistance and emotional support to people and families who are impacted by major and chronic illness.
"We have clients ages from 2 to 80. We deal with everything from cancer to stroke to diabetes," Kline said.
To illustrate how this organization acts like bridge between services and families in need, a Turn To Us client, Cindy Sweeney, spoke of the serious medical condition her young daughter is facing.
Diagnosed with a spinal cord tumor, Sweeney's daughter had to undergo radiation and chemotherapy along with two spinal cord resections.
"She had to learn to walk again and how to redo everything in her life," Sweeney said, wiping away tears.
"We returned to Carbon County and we had nothing."
In 2015, she was connected with Turn To Us, which provided emotional support while working on helping Sweeney get a vehicle that could accommodate her daughter's wheelchair.
"Bill and Chris from The Krysta Hankee Memorial Fund donated a minivan to us to help get her around to her appointments," Sweeney said. "I'm very grateful for Turn To Us."
Jim Thorpe Mayor Michael Sofranko commended the department and everyone involved for making the ball a memorable event for the community.
"On a consistent basis we've been able to get 200 people from around the area. It's awesome to see you out supporting the police department," Sofranko said.
Awards were handed out to area business owners Thomas Highland of Highland Beverage, Shawn Kresge of Kresge Services Inc. and Elizabeth Mulligan of The Gem Shop.
"They are huge donators every year for the last eight years," Schatz said.
"They do a good job looking out for us," Kresge said.
"I love the Jim Thorpe Police Department," Mulligan added.
Longtime District Judge Edward Lewis, who retired earlier this year, was also presented with a plaque by fellow District Judge William Kissner of Palmerton, in appreciation for his years of service to the county.
"Certainly everyone here has a level of respect… for the work you've done over the years for the citizens of Carbon County," Kissner said.
Money raised at the ball has returned to the borough and helped fund many improvements to police vehicles and equipment.
"Over the years we've completely computerized our vehicles, and it was all funded through the ball," Schatz said.
The committee also donated $500 to the Jim Thorpe High School cheerleaders. Olympian cheerleaders Day'Janee Beckham, Paige Pfeifer and Dakota Cwiertniewicz, organizing prizes and pulling winning tickets at the table.
"A lot of times people think of police as just about fighting crime, but the force is also about giving back to the community," Jim Thorpe Detective Lee Marzen said.
"When the community gets together you can't beat Jim Thorpe. This area is like family," Schatz said.