Today, Pittsburgh Steelers' Super Bowl Quarterback and Findlay, OH native, Ben Roethlisberger, announced the fourth 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 Shawnee (KS) Police Department just southwest of Kansas City where the Steelers will play the Chiefs on Sunday, October 25.
With this grant, the Shawnee Police Department will expand from two to three K-9s in their unit, adding a dual purpose explosive team.
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.
Shawnee K-9 Officer Shaun Arnold said, "It's an honor to accept this generous donation from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation. I'm proud to call the City of Shawnee my home, and wake up every day with pride that I get to serve the citizens of the greater Kansas City area. I've been a K-9 handler for five years. It's a position that I have always wanted to hold, dating back to the days I served in the United States Army. I've seen our unit grow from one to two K-9 teams within the last seven years. We knew we could serve the area better with a third K-9 team. However, it is a difficult item to pass with the budget constraints every municipality faces.
"Words cannot express how thankful we are for the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation," continued Arnold.
Shawnee Chief of Police Rob Moser said, "The addition of a new canine to our unit will greatly expand the capabilities of these officers and the services they provide our citizens. We sincerely appreciate the generosity of the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation in helping keep Shawnee a safe community. Being a native of Pittsburgh and a huge Steelers fan to this day makes this grant award that much sweeter. With much gratitude to the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation, a very fortunate pup is soon going to join an award winning program here in Shawnee!"
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.