SHEFFIELD — Children running lemonade stands is a long-standing summer tradition, but the one at the intersection of Colorado Avenue and East River Road is not your average lemonade stand.
Three local students — Trista Rowe, 7, Natalie Brown, 7, and Timothy Rowe, 11 — decided to set up camp Friday at the Sheffield police station to get some cash, but not for them.
Instead, the kids raised money for Amherst police Officer Eugene Ptacek, who was shot while on duty as a member of the Lorain County SWAT team during a Sheffield Lake standoff May 31.
“I heard he got shot and wanted to do this for him and his family,” Trista said. “I wanted to help him, and I want him to get better.”
Natalie said with Ptacek being in the hospital, the kids thought he might need some extra cash and the lemonade stand seemed like a great way to do that.
Timothy said he knew the officer and his family are going to be having a hard time financially because of his hospital stay.
“I feel bad for what happened to Officer Ptacek, and I want to be able to help him through the hard times,” he said. “And I think it’s going very well.”
Trista and Timothy’s mother, Stacy Francis, said the kids set a goal of $1,500 and blew that away; after about three hours they had raised roughly $3,700. They ended the five-hour stint with more than $4,460.
“I’m just extremely proud,” she said. “They went above and beyond for 7- and 11-year-olds. We hope he gets well soon and that we get to meet him when he’s feeling better.”
Natalie’s uncle, Brian Powers, said the idea started with the children, but when the parents got involved, it turned into a real operation with people coming to pay money for drinks or baked goods, some of which were donated, or just to give a few extra dollars.
Amherst police Lt. Mark Cawthon said the lemonade stand was an overwhelming sign of support and for school-aged students to get these kinds of donations is “just awesome.”
“We appreciate all of this support as we’re working through what happened,” he said. “He’s still in serious condition at (MetroHealth Medical Center) in Cleveland.”
Sheffield Mayor John Hunter said the lemonade stand was at his village’s police station because he’s had a good relationship with the girls’ Girls Scout troop in the past and when they reached out to see if they could use the space, he couldn’t say no.
“It’s good to be giving back,” he said. “We’re all first responders, and it easily could have been one of my officers that had been shot. You can have the best equipment in the world, but you can’t predict the future.”
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