Giving rise to the fallen

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First Posted: 9/9/2013

Beneath the roaring planes that will constantly offer rides to event-goers, the performances by local talent, and the deliciousness that is typical fair food, there is an event that is dedicated solely to some of the most treasured members of a community: law enforcement officers.

The Airport Day fundraiser will be put on by Fallen Officers Remembered on Sept. 14 at Valley Aviation in Forty Fort, and it’s a gathering whose origins lie in an actual fallen officer and a need to honor him and his comrades as much as possible.

Fallen Officers Remembered was founded by Jaclyn Pocceschi Mosley and Gina Pocceschi Boyle in 2004. The sisters began the organization in memory of their brother, Virginia Beach Police Officer Rodney Pocceschi, who was killed in the line of duty on June 23, 2003.

Rodney was a 1988 graduate of Pittston High School and has his bachelors degree in criminal justice. He worked as a Bloomsburg University and Nescopeck police officer before transferring to Virginia in 1999 to enroll in its academy. Rodney worked as a Virginia Beach Police Officer and was promoted in 2003 to Special Operations Force before his untimely passing.

Fallen Officers Remembered began as a way to start a scholarship fund for criminal justice students in the area, but soon the sisters saw that there was a great need elsewhere.

“In 2006, through conversations with officers, we found out that there were a lot of part-time officers in our area, about 70 percent of them part-time,” Gina said. “These officers aren’t given vacation time, sick time, benefits, pensions, and their equipment. They had to purchase all their gear. We found out that officers were not wearing bulletproof vests because they could not afford the $1,000 to $1,200 cost for one. Some wore old, out of warranty, improperly fitted ones. It was after hearing that, we came forward with a program called Adopt-A-Cop. Anyone can adopt a cop by donating the total funds needed to vest an officer.”

Gina said that vest applications far exceed donations, so the organization holds events to raise funds.

“Valley Aviation is kind enough to donate their facility and all their workers for our event,” she said.

It’s now the third year for the Airport Day fundraiser, and it’s grown quite a bit.

“We started with only six vendors and are now up to 15,” Gina said. “We also have a lot of different things that go on inside the hangar, such as music and K9 demonstrations.”

There will be plenty of planes on display, but there will also be some that attendees can ride. For $20 per person, you can hop on a Cessna 172; for $175, a SNJ Navy plane; and for $60, a Huskie Tail Dragger.

There are also raffle baskets with chances for $2 each. The baskets include goods from Sweat Fitness Studio, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Avon, and Marc’s Tattooing.

Some vendors at the event include Silpada Jewelry, Scentsy, face painting, balloon making, craft vendors, and a moon bounce.