Tuesday, October 23, 2018
   
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Remembering the Fallen

Mark Voeltz is on a mission to honor lost police officers, one name at a time.

When Mark Voeltz isn’t working as the owner of Mark’s Towing in Thornwood, he’s patrolling the streets of Fishkill as a member of this Dutchess County town’s police department. It’s a difficult and demanding job, and one that Voeltz feels isn’t often given the respect and reverence it deserves.

“People don’t realize what we do and the sacrifice we make when we go out every day,” he said. “They don’t know the amount of cops that are killed every year. On average in the United States, one cop gets killed every 53 hours.”

As Voeltz took note of the rising number of police officers killed in the line of duty, he knew that he had to act. “I thought, let me do something for these cops who are getting killed,” he said. “After they’re killed and the funeral is over, no one gives them recognition anymore. They’re making the ultimate sacrifice, so let me give some recognition to these guys.”

In 2016, Voeltz purchased a 2006 Crown Victoria formerly used by the Connecticut State Police, and, with the help of volunteers, friends and family, had it decorated with the names of all the fallen police officers since 2015, along with an image of St. Michael, the Policeman’s Prayer, and images of the World Trade Center. Voeltz dubbed the project “Wheels of Honor,” and today the car makes regular appearances at law enforcement funerals, and also at parades, memorial services and fundraising events. For Voeltz, Wheels of Honor is a way to keep the names and the memories of fallen officers in people’s minds long after the last honor guard shot has been fired. “When it’s all over, two days later, the family is on their own and the recognition is over,” he said. “So I think that, with this car, and having their names on the car, they’ll always be remembered.”

Unfortunately, the original Wheels of Honor car, although it has served Voeltz honorably and well, is growing a bit tired. Purchased used in 2006, the car already had 160,000 miles on it and that number has grown considerably in just two years. As such, with the help of Club Fit, a Casino Night fundraiser is planned at Club Fit Briarcliff on October 12th. Tickets can be purchased for a minimum donation of $25 and 100% of the ticket proceeds will go to the Wheels of Honor foundation to purchase a new car.  This event is guaranteed to be filled with a night of fun, hours of “play” gambling, food samplings, music and prizes! 350 tickets will be available for sale starting on September 1st at either the Reception Desk or Service Desk, 914-762-3444.

Having the fundraiser at Club Fit is fitting for Voeltz, as he is a long-time member of the Club. In fact, he can be found there hitting the weights six days a week. “I’ve been going there for years, and it’s a great club. I usually do a lot of weights, although recently someone pushed me to try out some of the classes as well. But most of the time I’m just training with weights.” A former high school wrestler and football player, Voeltz knows the value of staying in shape. “It’s really important to stay healthy,” he noted, “especially in my line of work. You can’t afford to be out of shape when you’re a police officer.” And, when it comes to staying healthy, Voeltz says that Club Fit meets all his needs. “It has everything you could want,” he said “It’s clean, the staff are all professionals. It’s just a great place.”

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