Oak Harbor village officials and its police department are rallying residents to support one of their own during a “Cuffing Cancer for Officer Welch” Chicken BBQ Fundraising Dinner Friday, Jan. 22 from 4 – 7 p.m. at Oak Harbor High School.
A patrolman and School Resource Officer (SRO) for the Oak Harbor Police Department, Officer Loren Welch, 43, was injured in a high-speed pursuit in July. During medical tests, concerning masses were found. On Aug. 18, he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“Officer Welch is part of our family at OHPD, and our community has always been great to our department,” said Oak Harbor Chief of Police Eric Parker. “This fundraiser will help his family tremendously with medical costs.”
An Oak Harbor resident, Officer Welch has served his community as a law enforcement officer for 12 years. According to Chief Parker, he and wife, Cheyanne, have four children, and Welch recently became a grandfather. Originally from North Baltimore, Welch worked and lived in Marblehead for eight years before taking the Oak Harbor SRO position, and loves working with the kids. He privately mentors three students in school and coaches 8th grade girls’ basketball.
Welch went through an initial round of chemotherapy. Scheduled for a second, more powerful round of chemotherapy, he was recently diagnosed with pneumonia, and additional treatment may now be waylaid until his body can recover.
“It’s amazing … when something like this happens, people still want to help their neighbor,” said Welch, of the outpouring of home-cooked meals. “When you hear the word ‘cancer,’ your heart stops,” concluded Welch. “No words can express our gratitude for the overwhelming support we’ve received.”
The drive-through pickup fundraising event is sponsored by Fraternal Order of Police Associates #34 Ottawa County, partnering with the Oak Harbor Police Department. “Cuffing Cancer for Officer Welch” will feature chicken BBQ meals from BBQ Traveler. Meals are $10 picked up in the Oak Harbor High School parking lot (pool side).
Meals are ordered in advance. Tickets may be bought at the Oak Harbor Police Department, 146 N. Church St. Due to Covid protocols, call ahead 419-898-2055.