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Fundraiser: "I hate that I need to do this, because it means another officer's been injured"

Over the past two years she's gotten pretty good at organizing fundraisers for police officers. And she hates that.

BALLWIN, Mo. - A Ballwin woman says she's sick of having reasons to raise money for injured officers. But as long as they're in need, she'll be there. Now, for the third time in less than two years, she's working on a dine out event to benefit an officer and his family.

Katie Zaitz-Fink's fingers are busy these days, typing dozens of emails. Over the past two years she's gotten pretty good at organizing fundraisers for police officers. And she hates that.

“I was disappointed that this came up again and the need for this happened,” said Zaitz-Fink.

But she's become the go-to woman when it's time to rally support for injured and fallen officers.
In July 2016, she put together a dine-out event for Ballwin officer Mike Flamion. Later that year she did the same for St. Louis County officer Blake Snyder. Both men were shot in the line of duty. Combined, the two events helped raise over $200,000 for the officers and their families.

“It's truly a calling for these men and women to serve and protect. And so, I’m honored that I can do a small part to help them,” said Zaitz-Fink.

Woodsmoke BBQ in Ellisville is one of a number of restaurants already on board with a dine out event for officer Ryan O’Connor, scheduled for Wednesday Dec.20. The cause is near and dear to owner Bernadette Faasen.

“I am a wife of a St. Louis County detective. And being a police family, we know every day that it could be us one day needing the same help,” said Faasen.

The team at Woodfire will donate 25 percent of the proceeds from every plate of BBQ and every homemade pie they sell. Faasen says efforts like Zaitz-Fink's are critical at times like this.

“It really just shows the love and support and camaraderie that this community does have and the appreciation they do have for the men and women in uniform.”

Zaitz-Fink has never met Officer O'Connor or his family. But she wants them to know one thing.

“Every one of us in this community are praying for you, praying for Ryan. And ask, that's all you need to do is ask and we will be there.”

Restaurant owners wanting to participate in the dine out event for Officer O’Connor can visit the event’s Facebook page or send an email to dineout4officeroconnor@gmail.com.

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