Oak Harbor “Cuffing Cancer” for local police officer

Press Staff Writer

        Oak Harbor asks residents to show support for one of their own during a “Cuffing Cancer for Officer Welch “Chicken BBQ Fundraising Dinner, to be held 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 this past July. While having tests and scans for his injuries, some concerning masses were found. On Aug. 18, he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
         “Officer Welch is part of our family, here 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 the 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 is a loving husband to his wife Cheyanne, father to four children, and recently became a grandfather.
        Originally from North Baltimore, Welch worked and lived in Marblehead for eight years, prior to moving and taking the Oak Harbor SRO position. He is in his third year working with students and, to quote Welch, he “absolutely loves working with the kids.”
        In addition to serving as an SRO, primarily at the high school, he privately mentors three students in school and coaches eighth-grade girls’ basketball.
        According to the American Cancer Society, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer which starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes. Lymphoma affects the body’s lymph system, a part of the immune system which helps fight infections and some other diseases. Welch, who was diagnosed with Lymphoma in the stomach, 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 delayed until his body can recover.
         “It’s amazing…when something like this happens, people want to help their neighbor,” Officer Welch, said of the outpouring of homecooked meals and kindnesses from the residents of Oak Harbor and surrounding areas since his diagnosis.  “When you hear the word ‘cancer,’ your heart stops,” he said. “No words can ever express our gratitude for the overwhelming support we’ve received.”
        The drive-thru pickup fundraising event is being 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, at a cost of $10 each, may be picked up in the Oak Harbor High School parking lot, pool side.
        Those interested in supporting Officer Welch are asked to order meals in advance. Tickets may be purchased at the Oak Harbor Police Department, located at 146 N. Church Street. Due to COVID-19 protocols, call ahead to the non-emergency line, 419-898-2055.

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