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July 3, 2013

St. Joseph County FOP donates to local deputy

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Written by: Bruce Snook
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Centreville - The Fraternal Order of Police is the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, with more than 325,000 members in more than 2,100 lodges. They are the voice of those who dedicate their lives to protecting and serving our communities.

Recently in St. Joseph County, one of their own has found himself facing a catastrophic event – a rare form of cancer causing the amputation of his left arm.

TJ Baker, Three Rivers, is a 36 year old police officer, who found himself in this situation.  A husband to Jen, and father to 4 year old Ashton, TJ worked hard mentally to keep his demeanor as optimistic as possible.

Kelly Hostetler, Jason Bingaman & Brad Balk (Click on photo to enlarge)

“We really didn’t know how I would look when – or if – I would come of out surgery at UofM Hospital,” said TJ.    This life changing event has repositioned his outlook on his entire life including his faith, family and his career.

St. Joseph County United Way, with the help of their financial and legal team, has established a TJ Baker Fund, allowing family, friends and supporters the opportunity to give to TJ to help with medical expenses.

“My new prosthetic arm will cost approximately $150,000 and we are not sure at this point how much of that will be covered by insurance”, said Baker.

Kelly Hostetler, executive director of the St. Joseph County United Way went to work along with Mary Messenger, lifelong friend of the Bakers and fellow police officers.  A golf outing has been planned to benefit TJ Baker and is being held on July 10th at Island Hills Golf Course.

Although the team roster is full, donations are still being accepted.  Pictured is St. Joseph County’s FOP President Jason Bingaman, with Sheriff Brad Balk presenting Hostetler with a $1000 donation from the local FOP Lodge.

Donations can be made to St. Joseph County United Way, PO Box 577, Centreville, MI  49032, or by dropping by their office in Centreville.

Any questions regarding the TJ Baker Fund can be answered by Hostetler at (269) 467-9099.

Source:  News release and photo from St. Joseph County United Way






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