Police/Fighterfighters face off for friend

Christian Suess, a patrol officer, hits a kill against the fire department’s team during the Copperas Cove Police Department vs. Copperas Cove Fire Department volleyball game Saturday at S.C. Lee Junior High School. Both departments planned the fundraising event to help police Sgt. Kevin Keller pay medical expenses he incurred with a recent illness.

Kevin Keller stood in the stands and looked down as Copperas Cove firefighters and police officers sent spikes and lobs across the volleyball court.

The police sergeant had organized many charity events, but never thought one day he would be on the receiving end.

Police officers and firefighters faced off across the net Saturday at S.C. Lee Junior High School in Copperas Cove to raise funds for Keller, who recently experienced health problems and growing medical bills.

“I received a phone call while in the hospital after my third surgery and was notified that this was being put together for me and my family,” said Keller, who has dealt with his medical issues for the past six months. “I am just touched by it all. … I have been in many of these and helped coordinate many of these and we do it for different charities and different causes … and I am just touched they are willing to do it for my benefit.”

The police department won the match and also took a 2-1 lead in their yearly series. The two departments plan to finish the yearly competition with basketball.

This game, though, had deeper meaning with both departments using the match to help Keller pay medical expenses he incurred with his recent illness.

“We are just trying to help raise money to help him and his family,” said Cpl. Kevin Miller, who helped organize the event. “We had a wonderful turnout. We had to re-order shirts twice. So many people have asked what they can do to help.”

Keller has been with the police department for 12 years and serves as its public information officer. He replaced Copperas Cove police Lt. Danny Austin, who died of cancer in April 2011.

Since then, Keller has been instrumental in organizing Cove events like National Night Out and the Citizens Police Academy.

Both events raise awareness about crime prevention and educate the public about local law enforcement.

“I am truly humbled and truly blessed,” Keller said. “I have a great group of people I work with at the police department and the fire department and the city, This is something that was not expected.

“You never think these might benefit you, but that is what the community is for, and I appreciate their support.”

Contact Nick Talbot at ntalbot@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7569

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