Sunday, December 26, 2021

First Responders Show Support for Police Sgt. Battling Cancer

First responders from Schuylkill, Columbia, Northumberland, and Luzerne responded to a Ringtown Thursday evening to show support for a fellow member in law enforcement.

Sgt. Matt Dillman, of the Hegins Township Police and North Schuylkill Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 25 President, was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  

Sgt. Dillman is well known throughout the community due to working throughout the area for several law enforcement agencies including the police departments in Ashland, Mount Carmel, Butler Township, Girardville, Hegins Township, and with the Schuylkill County Sheriff's Office.  He has also worked for several state agencies including the Office of the Attorney General, Bureau of Narcotics Investigations, the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force.  He is also a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard.

Once word got out of Sgt. Dillman's diagnosis, the first responder community jumped into action and several fundraisers were scheduled.

Since his diagnosis, Sgt. Dillman has been traveling from the Ringtown area to New Jersey on a weekly basis for his treatments.

As Christmas approached, his friends and colleagues wanted to do something special for his family, especially for Sgt. Dillman's daughter Kennedy.

Two weeks ago, the North Schuylkill Fraternal Order of Police sent a letter to all the first responder agencies in the Schuylkill County area asking them to participate in a First Responders Parade.

All the agencies were asked to a bring a gift card to donate to the family, then Santa would present Sgt. Dillman, his wife Brandy, daughter Kennedy, and mom Anna with a poster frame full of the gift cards.  The Ringtown Valley Fire Company offered their engine bay as a spot for the family to stay warm and watch the parade.

At 5:30pm, on Thursday (Christmas Eve Eve), the fire company sounded their alarm to signify the start of the parade.

Over 75 apparatus, police vehicles, and ambulances participated and led Santa to the fire company where he met with the family.   The parade itself lasted over 10 minutes as everyone drove by and offered a wave and show their support.

"I'd like to thank all the organizations that were here today.  My family and I are very grateful.  I'd love to name and thank all the organizations that have helped but there is just so many.  It's overwhelming the support we have received." said Sgt. Dillman after the parade.