By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette — He is hoping against hope to return to policing the streets of the Cataract City.
And Monday, Falls Police Officer Bill Gee got some additional help in his battle with stomach cancer.
The Federal Law Enforcement Foundation and Niagara Falls Redevelopment each issued a check for $1,000 to help Gee with his medical expenses. The connection between the two organizations is Anthony Bergamo.
Bergamo, the foundation chairman is also the president and chief executive officer of NFR.
The foundation's Western New York representative, and NFR executive vice president, Roger Trevino, presented the checks to Gee on Monday afternoon at Falls Police headquarters.
"We realize you have a considerable amount of medical expenses and this is just a token to help defray those costs," Trevino said. "You put your life on the on the line (for the public) and it's a pleasure to pay that back."
Gee promised to put the $2,000 combined gift to "good use."
"All the attention (since his illness was disclosed), I'm not really comfortable with it," Gee said. "But I deeply appreciate (the help)."
The veteran officer was diagnosed about six months ago with stage four stomach cancer that was trying to spread to his bones and other parts of his body. His doctors, at the time, told him the cancer was probably "terminal."
Since then, Gee has undergone intensive chemotheraphy and his doctors say he's responded well to the treatment. So well, in fact, that he is meeting with his doctors later today to see if he may be able to return to work.
"Things have gone well," Gee said. "I'll know more (later today), but hopefully it will be very positive."
A single dad, raising two teenage sons, Gee said he's been doing his best to deal with their needs and his while also dealing with a rising mountain of medical bills. The donations from the foundation and NFR follow a pair of benefit fundraisers, including a hockey game between the Falls Police hockey team and the Buffalo Sabres Alumni.
"I got to shake hands with and visit with Danny Gare," Gee said. "He was my favorite (Sabres) player growing up. What a thrill that was for me."
Trevino said NFR Chairman Howard Milstein underwrites the administrative costs of the foundation so that every dollar that's donated can go to law enforcement or firefighters in need, like Gee.
"The foundation was originally for federal law enforcement, but was expanded to all police and firefighters after 9/11," Trevino said.