Fundraiser for Fallen Officers Draws Small Crowd, Big Hearts
Dunedin gives time, energy and money for the families of St. Petersburg's slain heroes.
Bands gave high-energy performances, despite chilly weather and a small turnout at Highlander Park on Feb. 12.
The benefit concert, "Honoring our Heroes: A Benefit for SPPD," organized by Dunedin resident Mathew Eberius, raised $440 for the families of fallen St. Petersburg Police Sgt. Tom Baitinger and K-9 Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz.
Contributors dropped cash donations in a clear box that was set at the front center of the stage. The top of the box displayed a program from the officer's memorial service next to an American flag. All donations will be deposited into The Jeffrey Yazslowitz/Thomas Baitinger Memorial Fund at Wachovia Bank.
Baitinger and Yaslowitz were killed Jan. 24 by a lone gunman hiding in the attic of a south St. Petersburg home. The officers both leave behind families. Yaslowitz is survived by his wife and three children, ages 5, 8 and 12. Baitinger, a 15-year veteran, is survived by his wife.
Eberius, a Dunedin Community Center employee and patrol volunteer with the Largo Police Department, said that he was compelled to organize the benefit concert after attending the officers' memorial service.