- Mar 10, 2023
T-Shirt Sales Raises $21,000.00 in Memory of OPP Provincial Constable Grzegorz Pierzchala to Fund ProAction Cops & Kids Programs
Family of OPP Provincial Constable Grzegorz Pierzchala with OPPA, TPA and ProAction Cops & Kids
The family of OPP Provincial Constable Grzegorz (Greg) Pierzchala joined the OPP Association Board of Directors representative, Vice President David Sabatini, representatives from the charity ProAction Cops & Kids at OPPA Head Office in Barrie, Ontario on Friday, March 10, 2023 for a cheque presentation by the OPPA to ProAction Cops & Kids in the amount of $21,000.00.
The donation is in memory of PC Pierzchala, who was killed in the line of duty responding to a call for a car in the ditch on December 27, 2022.
Close to 2,250 t-shirts were sold to colleagues and the public to raise the funds in a campaign organized by Toronto Police Service Sergeant James Makhlouf of the Public Safety Response Team (PSRT), who knew PC Pierzchala. “We trained at the same Jiu-Jitsu gym and bonded over being cops,” said Sgt. Makhlouf. “The night it happened, I could see the pain in people’s eyes at the gym and I just needed to do something so we could remember Greg.”
Sergeant. Makhlouf suggested a t-shirt campaign – selling t-shirts with Constable Pierzchala’s badge and name printed on them. T-shirt campaigns have been done in memory of other officers in the past, so Sgt. Makhlouf thought it would be a great way to remember his friend.
He reached out to Toronto Police Service 31 Division Detective Phil Bevilacqua, as Phil had experience running similar campaigns. Detective Bevilacqua jumped on the idea. He arranged the shirt design and the provider FM Promotions in Vaughan, Ontario. The company covered their production costs, and all profits were donated to ProAction Cops & Kids in the officer’s memory. “Phil just started to pump it out. I had a spark and he turned it into a fire,” said Sergeant Makhlouf.
Sergant Makhlouf contacted the OPPA to get their permission and to ask for the family’s permission to run the campaign, which they all agreed would be a wonderful tribute to PC Pierzchala. When trying to decide where to donate the proceeds raised from the T-shirt Campaign, Sgt. Makhlouf thought about who Cst. Pierzchala was.
“Greg was more than just an OPP officer. He liked the outdoors and sports, and he was a great supporter of kids. I had been working with Ruban (PC Nibruban Ganeshalingam) who runs the ProAction Snow Patrol and thought of ProAction,” said Sergeant Makhlouf. Sergeant Makhlouf suggested to VP David Sabatini, that funds raised from this campaign could support ProAction Cops & Kids. The OPPA and Cst. Pierzchala’s family thought that it was an amazing fit. T-shirts in memory of Cst. Pierzchala were available to order until Friday, February 10th 2023 and could be ordered online.
All proceeds from the campaign will support a ProAction program or programs chosen by the Pierzchala family, in a way that they feel best honours Greg and supports all the things he was passionate about.
The OPP Association and the family of PC Pierzchala all expressed their gratitude to the organizers of this campaign, and everyone who supported it.
“We thank everyone for this generosity in memory of our fallen hero. We all feel Greg’s loss and feel that this money will assist Greg’s legacy to never be forgotten,” stated VP David Sabatini.
Toronto Police Association was in attendance at the presentation representing their members, and conveyed their gratitude to all involved in the campaign.
“When a police officer dies in the line of duty, we all feel it deeply. We share in your grief and will always be there to support you,” Toronto Police Association Director Mike Harris stated to PC Pierzchala’s family.
The family and ProAction Cops & Kids are in contact to decide which programs will be funded to bring cops and kids together in skill-building and mentoring programs to create trust, respect and safer communities.