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    N.J. Officer with Cancer Has Many Supporters, Needs More

    The Express-Times

    Fellow officers, friends help. Clinton Township's Michael Hafke served in Iraq with National Guard.

    Clinton Township policeman Michael Hafke has dedicated his life to serving others.

    He is a longtime member of the Army National Guard and returned from deployment in Iraq at the beginning of the year.

    Within the last week he was diagnosed with bone cancer. Now others are rallying around him.

    "It's a blow to everybody," said Clinton Township Sgt. Matthew McGill said. "We're going to do everything we can."

    McGill said the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 182 is planning a host of fundraising events to help Hafke and his family deal with medical bills. A golf outing sponsored by the FOP raised $5,000 for the family, he said.

    The union is planning other fundraisers, including a dinner and a 5-K run, and hopes to hold one event each month, McGill said.

    Hafke, 38, has three teenaged children.

    He is undergoing treatment in Hunterdon Medical Center, including a 10-day round of radiation, McGill said. The disease is attacking three of his vertebrae and doctors said it is spreading, McGill said.

    Hafke had been coping with back pain, but the recent diagnosis stunned everyone who knows the health-conscious, athletic officer and soldier, McGill said.

    Hafke has been a member of the Police Department since 1990, and returned to the force in February after about 18 months in Iraq, Lt. Ryan Melsky said. There he trained Iraqi police officers in Tikrit.

    Township Mayor Nick Corcodilos said he was saddened to learn of Hafke's illness and encourages the community to offer their prayers and support.

    "He is a much admired police officer who has demonstrated dedication to his work not only in Clinton Township, but by serving in Iraq," Corcodilos said.

    Hafke teaches a law enforcement class a few times a year in at North Hunterdon High School. He is a member of the state Traffic Officers' Association and active in his church.

    "He has a lot of contacts and a lot of friends throughout Hunterdon County and New Jersey," Melsky said.

    He also has "the most remarkable sense of humor," Melsky said.

    Master Sgt. Ben Carroccetto, of the 42nd Infantry Division Support Command unit of the National Guard, said other guardsmen were devastated to learn of Hafke's situation.

    "I think he is a great soldier, he did his job well, and I'm proud of him," Carroccetto said. "We usually stick together as a team, as comrades, and do our job to the best of our ability -- he did so as another member of the unit."

    There are are ongoing fundraisers to offset Officer Hafke's medical expenses not covered by his insurance. He was diagnosed approximately five weeks ago (the above article is from August 26, 2006). The website has more information about him and his family. http://www.michaelhafke.org
    Last edited by Buttercup; 09-27-06 at 02:44 PM. Reason: spelling



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