Hero of the Month – June 2017

Dave Dubiel – Retired West Hartford Police Officer

Dave is a former Police Officer and SWAT Operator with the West Hartford Police Department. While he has been faced with his toughest foe yet, he will not let brain cancer defeat or define him. Let’s show him and his family what the power of the Thin Blue Line truly is. His story and words of strength are detailed below.

Overview of Diagnosis

I was fine until February 26th, 2017 (first symptom). My 8 year-old son, Zane, had a Mite-level hockey game at the XL Center in Hartford and his team was having lunch down town (I am an Assistant Coach on his team). We were scheduled to watch the Hartford Wolfpack hockey game that evening. I was a proud dad and coach as Zane scored a breakaway goal against a very good Simsbury opponent. During lunch, I felt tingling and numbness to my entire right side. I thought my years of eating poorly and behind the steering wheel of a cruiser caught up to me; I thought I was stroking out. The symptoms subsided quickly then I thought it was a pinched nerve. I ended up having them again and went to Hartford Hospital and was admitted the weekend of March 3rd, 2017. Through many many tests, they determined it to be a brain tumor. I’m otherwise very healthy (blood pressure of a professional athlete and I don’t even have high cholesterol – go figure). The symptoms I was having were basically focal seizures. I didn’t lose any cognition, mobility, or strength, it just presented as nuisance numbness and tingling. Through many many more tests and much searching, I ended up with a neuron-surgeon and neurologist out of Boston (Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana Farber). I had surgery on April 14th, 2017 and spent a week and 1/2 in in-patient rehabilitation. I am still undergoing outpatient rehabilitation, radiation, and am involved in a very promising nationally recognized clinical trial, involving the likes of UCLA, Dana Farber, and the Cleveland Mayo Clinic.

Years and Work History

As you know, I was employed by the West Hartford Police Department from 1991-2012 and retired meritoriously at the rank of Captain. My policing journey included time well spent among the following assignments:Patrol,K9 Handler (1996-2005), SWAT (1996-2006) Motorcycle operator (2006-2012) FTO, Traffic Unit, Community Relations and Youth, Services, Support Services, Supervisor to all the above and many men and women colleagues who made me look good ? Upon retirement, I headed to a career in teaching and am currently an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Manchester Community College (full-time). I also teach part time at Central Connecticut State University and Post University.

Dave is married, wife Amy, with one step-son, Anthony, and Zane (who recently turned 9 years-old). I still have my mom and have five siblings and many nephews and nieces; my dad passed away on 2015. Anthony recently successfully defended his Ph. D from Florida State University and was hired full-time by Kansas State University as an Assistant Professor of Family Sciences. Zane wants to attend Harvard University and become a neuron-surgeon (his idea, honestly); I told him he has to finish 3rd grade first.

Philosophical Outlook

I am determined to come out of this battle stronger than when I entered. I must admit, the diagnosis has put me face-to-face with something that is among the worst fears imaginable. I really dislike the term ‘brain tumor survivor’ as this insinuates that the illness was something that was expected to defeat me. I prefer the word warrior over survivor. You and most people reading this write-up know what it’s like to be a warrior. The distinction is that the brain tumor and what remains is not something that I can physically attack (hands-fist-feet, MP5, Glock, M4 Police Carbine, Flash Bang, etc.). I have learned that a warrior takes many forms. As I walk into Dana Farber or the patient waiting room of those awaiting radiation, I see a room full of warriors. To see a 3 year-old limp along fitted with an IV port and a feeding tube led my their exhausted family members, is a sight to behold. Philosophically, I want to help them but know I must overcome my own battle fist. To that note, I try to extend a smile or some kinds words. Those folk are the true heroes. Theologically, I will tell you that there are no atheists in foxholes, there are also no atheists in MRI tubes or on radiation tables strapped to the table by a mask specially designed for their head. I trust in God and the brave people by my side from family, friends, colleagues (past and present), health care professionals, and a never ever quit mentality. When I have defeated this enemy, I will pay it forward and help those frightened folks that are recently diagnosed; I will help them muster the courage to defeat their enemy.

Currently Dave is in need of our moral, spiritual and financial support.  Our Heroes Fund will be donating $1,250 to Dave.  Please join us in helping Dave in his time of need. Any donation, large or small, would be greatly appreciated.

Donation Options

  • Send check by mail to: Our Heroes Fund PO Box 270477 West Hartford, CT 06127  (100% of donation goes to Dave. Please write “Dave Dubiel Donation” on the memo line)
  • Our Heroes Fund PayPal (2.75% of donation retained by PayPal.  Please write “Dave Dubiel Donation” in the comments.)

Hero of the Month – May 2017

Scott Johnson – New Britain Firefighter

Scott was diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer on April 30, 2015 with the possibility that it has spread to his liver. The road ahead for Scott is not going to be an easy one and he has been warned that the next 10 months will be no walk in the park. Scott will begin with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation for the next several weeks, as well as several surgeries and then finishing up with chemotherapy to make sure he is cancer free. Needless to say he will be unable to work to support his family.
Currently Scott is a firefighter with the City of New Britain, CT Fire Department and has been for over seven and a half years. He also serves in the United States Coast Guard Reserves and was, within the last year promoted to the rank of Chief Petty Officer. Scott has been a member of the Coast Guard since 1998.
We are asking, on his behalf, that anyone who has been touched by his amazing spirit and kindness pitch in whatever you can so that Scott can focus on getting well without having to worry about the financial struggle on his family. Many of you know his wife Caroline and this will not be easy on her as she takes on caring not only for their three children, but helping Scott with all that goes along with his treatment. She works full time and will be working from home as much as possible while Scott undergoes the combination of chemotherapy and radiation. The surprise family vacation they had booked to Florida is now on hold and will have to be taken at a later date, a celebration for when Scott is in remission and strong enough to travel.
Many of you have reached out and asked how you can help, this is the best possible way. Medical bills, daycare costs and home mortgage are not something this family should have to worry about while Scott is fighting this disease. This illness came out of nowhere and we want to do everything we can to make sure Scott can focus on himself. Please help us show how many amazing friends and family he has.

Our Heroes Fund will be donating $1,250 to Scott.  Please join us in helping Scott.

Donation Options

  • Send check by mail to: Our Heroes Fund PO Box 270477 West Hartford, CT 06127  (100% of donation goes to Scott. Please write “Scott Johnson Donation” on the memo line)
  • Our Heroes Fund PayPal (2.75% of donation retained by PayPal.  Please write “Scott Johnson Donation” in the comments.)
  • Scott’s Go Fund Me Page (7.9% of donation retained by GoFundMe)

Hero of the Month – April 2017

Walter Greene – CT State Trooper

On June 30, 2016, our military veteran and law enforcement brother, Walter Greene, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.  He is 1 of 67 in the US with this extremely rare form of cancer.  There are less than 100 people in the world with Kras 1 Wild Colorectal Cancer, Stage IV.  The chemotherapy he is undergoing is called Cetuximab and he is following a 5-FU Toxicity treatment method. Walter has undergone several surgeries and still requires several more chemo treatments; unfortunately, the end result is still uncertain. Since his diagnosis, Walter has not been able to work causing his medical and house bills to overwhelm him and his family.

Walter has been a Connecticut State Trooper for approximately 27 years and has dedicated 4 years to the United States Marines as a Scout Sniper.  He has trained many state and local police officers to become certified police motorcycle operators.  He has always gone the extra mile to support and train any motor cop who was looking to fulfill their dreams.  Walter is an active, talented rider and well respected in the police motorcycle community at both state and local levels.  He has helped organize many charity rides, assisted other agencies with their motorcycle needs, and has been an important part of Special Olympics.  Walter has always stepped up to the plate.

Currently Walter is in need of our moral, spiritual and financial support.  Please help pay it forward and support Walter in his time of need.  Walter is a proud United States Marine and State Trooper, who will not give up without a fight.  Let’s step up and show our appreciation and support to our military veteran and law enforcement brother.  Oohrah!
Any donation, large or small, would be greatly appreciated.

Donation Options

  • Send check by mail to: Our Heroes Fund PO Box 270477 West Hartford, CT 06127  (100% of donation goes to Walter. Please write “Walter Greene Donation” on the memo line)
  • Our Heroes Fund PayPal (2.75% of donation retained by PayPal.  Please write “Walter Greene Donation” in the comments.)
  • Walter’s Go Fund Me Page (7.9% of donation retained by GoFundMe)

About Our “Hero of the Month” Program

Our Heroes Fund is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization, created and run by a board of directors comprised of three service-connected disabled veterans, that aims to promote activities that assist in the health, welfare and operational capabilities of first responders by providing educational and training activities that improve professional proficiencies while advancing and honoring the service and sacrifice of first responders.  We can directly affect these heroes by raising funds through the heartfelt contributions of generous donors like you from across the globe.  The HERO OF THE MONTH is an opportunity for all of you to either nominate a worth recipient, or donate to that hero.  The Hero selected will embody every trait we have come to expect from the men and women who serve and protect this great nation.  Through no fault of their own, they made a sacrifice, often the ultimate sacrifice, or are experiencing a life threatening medical situation, and it is our goal at Our Heroes Fund, to make sure we help as many of them as we can.  We owe that to them.

Our Board will review all the nominees and select a Hero of the Month every month.  The Hero of the Month will then receive 100% of all funds donated and raised for them, directly to them, through Our Heroes Fund.  All a donor has to do is check the box that indicates they want to donate directly to the Hero of the Month. Donations made using a check will be 100% given to the Hero of the Month.  Donations using PayPal will result in a 2.75% charge from them, with the remaining 97.5% going directly to the Hero of the Month. It is our mission to make sure that every dollar donated to a Hero, goes to that Hero.  All donations are tax deductible.  Help us help the heroes that have given this country their all. If we don’t, who will?

To Nominate a Hero of the Month click here.