Today, Pittsburgh Steelers' Super Bowl Quarterback and Findlay, Ohio, native Ben Roethlisberger announced the first grant of the 2015-16 season from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation at The Giving Back Fund. The Foundation will be distributing a grant to the Duxbury (Mass.) Police Department just east of Foxborough, Mass., where the Steelers will play the New England Patriots on September 10.
The Duxbury Police Department will apply the grant funds to the purchase and training of a new dog to replace K-9 Zar after his upcoming retirement. K-9 Zar has worked patrol and assisted the SWAT team for nine years.
During the 2015-16 NFL season, The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation will be distributing grants to K-9 units of police and fire departments in the cities and surrounding communities of each regular season away game for the Steelers. The Foundation will also distribute several grants to the Pittsburgh area and will consider a grant to a non-NFL market city in the United States for each playoff game in which the Steelers compete. The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation invited police and fire departments across the country to submit proposals detailing their needs.
This marks the ninth season that the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation has distributed grants to K-9 units. The mission of the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation is to support K-9 units of police and fire departments throughout the United States, with a particular emphasis on support for service dogs in Pittsburgh, Pa. Roethlisberger and the Foundation also support Make-A-Wish.
The Foundation distributed more than $130,000 in grants to K-9 units around the country during the 2014-15 NFL season and has distributed in excess of $1.3 million since 2007.
Duxbury Police Department K-9 Officer Ryan Cavicchi said, "On behalf of the Duxbury Police Department, we would like to thank the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for this generous donation. Like many other departments, we face difficult times with budget cuts, and rely heavily on donations to keep our program running. With this grant, we will be able to purchase a new K-9 to help protect our community and continue the program for years to come."
In commenting on why the mission of the foundation is so important to him, Roethlisberger said, "We're very fortunate to be in the position that we are able to help these K-9 units. The work that is performed by the dogs and their handlers as well as the bond that is formed is incredible. We're just thrilled to do our small part."
Fans of The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation can support future K-9 grants by purchasing candy on Sarris Candies' website, (www.SarrisCandiesFundraising.com) using a special purchase code (77-7777). Sarris will donate 25% of the purchase price to the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation.