Kaley Bastine is a passionate supporter of police officers and spent her 10th birthday raising money for The New Kensington Police Department’s K-9 unit in honor of a fallen officer.
Kaley has supported law enforcement by holding fundraising events since she was 4 years old, but it wasn’t until Officer Brian Shaw of the New Kensington Police Department was shot and killed that she realized how meaningful her efforts were.
Since then, Kaley has organized several bake sales, lemonade stands and car washes to raise money for police to purchase new equipment and training.
Through her efforts, Kaley has raised over $20,000 for the Harrison Township Police Department to buy bulletproof vests and a K-9.
For her first double-digit birthday, Kaley decided to raise money for a K-9 and its handler at the New Kensington Police Department.
“I’ve been wanting to do another fundraiser, so I picked it on my birthday,” Kaley said.
The event was hosted at Voodoo Brewery and included live music, food trucks, a 50-50 raffle and basket raffles, as well as a dunk tank.
The event was a bit more complicated than her previous fundraisers, which mostly involved selling food or drinks, but Kaley’s mom said it wasn’t too stressful.
“It wasn’t stressful at all,” Kaley’s mother said. “I called everyone and told them what she wanted to do, and I had no issues getting anybody to help out for this. I just want to thank everyone who came and supported my daughter on her birthday. It means a lot to us.”
Kaley and her family raised a total of almost $4,000 through the event. Over the years, she and her family have raised over $40,000 for law enforcement.
Kaley’s mother was proud of her daughter for the work her daughter put in.
“Instead of presents, she wanted to do a fundraiser. To see this in today’s world, a young kid wanting to do this on her birthday to take time out instead of having a big 10th birthday, and to bring the community together for police officers, it’s amazing. I’m very emotional with this. As a mother, I’m very proud of my daughter.”
The proceeds will go to help the department’s K-9 Max, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois, and his handler Officer Jerry Hobeck.
Hobeck was grateful for Kaley’s efforts and said the money would go toward K-9 training.
“I’m just happy to be here,” Hobeck said. “I can’t express my gratitude enough for Kaley running a fundraiser for us. The fundraisers help us for equipment, and it helps pay for our training. We go to a special training group four hours every week.”
The department paid around $20,000 for Max through an anonymous private donation, according to Chief Bob Deringer. Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck then provided $50,000 to purchase a specially-outfitted SUV for the pair.
Hobeck, who became a K-9 officer after joining the narcotics division, said the annual upkeep for Max is around $1,800 for food and training, in addition to around $3,000 he contributed himself for a variety of canine equipment.
“It’s a great crime deterrent,” Hobeck said of K-9s. “You can’t run from the dog. You can’t hide from him. He’s going to find you, and there’s nothing you’re going to hide that he’s not going to be able to find. It just puts us a step above all the criminal activity. It gives us the upper hand.”
Max will be the department’s second K-9, along with another Belgian Malinois named Deuce, who was acquired through donations from the Shaw Foundation.
Kaley has also received donations from large donors like The Walmart Foundation to go toward local police.