Wisconsin Sheriffs’ Group “Adopts” Union County Sheriff’s Officers Hit Hard by Super Storm Sandy

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Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich (L) presents donation checks from the Badger State Sheriffs’ Association in Wisconsin to (from 2nd L) Lt. Dave Pierro, Officer Erin Passarelli, Officer Heriberto Valdes and Officer Gaetano Bracciale. The officers’ homes were severely damaged in Super Storm Sandy. (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)

Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich (L) presents donation checks from the Badger State Sheriffs’ Association in Wisconsin to (from 2nd L) Lt. Dave Pierro, Officer Erin Passarelli, Officer Heriberto Valdes and Officer Gaetano Bracciale. The officers’ homes were severely damaged in Super Storm Sandy. (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)

UNION COUNTY — There may not be many out-of-state utility crews on local roads these days but support for those still suffering in the wake of Super Storm Sandy continues to arrive from other parts of the country.

Recently, a Wisconsin law enforcement organization sent a sizable donation to help four Union County Sheriff’s Officers whose homes were severely damaged by the devastating storm.

Through the Badger State Sheriffs’ Association’s “Sheriffs Adopting Sheriffs” program, each officer received a check for more than $9,000 for home repairs and other needs related to Sandy.

“Rarely have I seen such a response to the individual needs of officers,” said Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich, who presented the officers with the checks. “And these four people and their families truly can use the help.”

Lt. Dave Pierro, his wife and two sons are temporarily living with family after more than three feet of water poured into their Manasquan home causing extensive damage.

Officer Heriberto Valdes, his wife and their 5-year-old son had yet to move into the house they just bought in Toms River when four feet of water filled their new home destroying all appliances and furniture.

Waves pounded Officer Gaetano Bracciale’s Bayville home hard enough to cause structural damage. The house he moved into in July may be condemned and destroyed.

Sheriff’s Officer Erin Passarelli, her husband and their five children used to live in Union Beach. Their home was lifted off its foundation by a 13-foot wall of water. They lost everything.

“Thanks to this amazingly kind and generous gift from the Wisconsin Sheriffs and their staff it will be just a bit easier for these officers to start to rebuild,” said Froehlich. “It is a much needed boost for them and their families.”

The Badger State Sheriffs’ Association “adopted” the Union County Sheriff’s officers when the organization’s executive director, Dean Meyers, offered help to Sheriffs in New Jersey after Super Storm Sandy hit. Froehlich responded with the stories of his four officers forced out of their homes by the flood waters.

The Sheriffs and their individual employees from Wisconsin’s 72 counties raised more than $36,000 in donations through their “Sheriffs Adopting Sheriffs” program in less than two months.

“There really are no words for how greatly we appreciate this help for our officers,” added Froehlich. “We are thankful for people like the Sheriffs of Wisconsin and those who work with them.”


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