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Idaho Falls Spud Kings player fundraises for police during hockey season

Photo: Idaho Falls Lodge 6 Fraternal Order of Police President Bart Whiting, left, and Idaho Falls Spud Kings hockey player Ty Walker. Both of them are holding up a Walker jersey. Video: Hear from Walker on why he does so much to support the police. | Jordan Wood, EastIdahoNews.com
IDAHO FALLS — Both on and off the ice, hockey player Ty Walker does what he can to help support local police.
The 18-year-old Idaho Falls Spud Kings player from South Carolina has grown up supporting police ever since he can remember.
“I was raised into it by my family. They’ve always (supported) military, firefighters, and police because they are out there every day,” Walker said. “We donate to them all the time.”
Walker has enjoyed living in eastern Idaho since he joined the team this season and loves the community.
He came up with an idea to back the blue by teaming up with the Idaho Falls Lodge 6 Fraternal Order of Police.
“I am trying to bring awareness to the community of Idaho Falls and the people in blue just to support them because they go out every day without their families and keep us safe while we are with our families safe,” he said.

Ty Walker at one of his hockey games. | Courtesy Grand Peaks Media

What is the FOP?
Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President Bart Whiting says the nonprofit has been around since 1996. Whiting is a patrol officer with the Idaho Falls Police Department and has been in law enforcement for almost 25 years.
He says the FOP takes care of the Idaho Falls Police Department officers and their families. The organization relies on donations from individuals and businesses in the community.
“We do several fundraisers throughout the year, and since February of 2020, we have spent over $30,000 just in copays alone for officers and their families,” Whiting said.
Some of the fundraisers in the past include the Policeman’s Ball, which happens every October. He added there are gun raffles, too.
Ty Walker and the FOP team up
Whiting is constantly trying to think of ways to raise money for the organization, and then, one day, he got a call.
“I got a phone call from the Walkers and Ty and using his platform as a hockey player to help us raise money for the FOP and our mental health fund,” he said.
Whiting told EastIdahoNews.com that the biggest program for the foundation is the mental health program.
“The average officer will see over 200 traumatic events in their career… It affects the officers and their mental health, so what we do is pay for copays for the officers and their spouses and kids because there’s a spillover effect,” Whiting said.
He said the traumas that officers witness out on the streets can sometimes be taken home with them and affect their families.

This is what the jersey looks like for the fundraiser. | Courtesy FOP

The fundraiser
Since Dec. 9, at every Spud Kings home game, the Mountain America Center has given the FOP several tables to set up the fundraiser.
“We raffle a couple of special edition jerseys that support law enforcement, and we sell the tickets for a dollar apiece,” Whiting said. “They raffle off two jerseys in the third period and an additional jersey for every score that Ty makes.”
The jerseys have Walker’s name along with his number on it, which is 24. It has the FOP logo, Idaho Falls Police patch, and Spud Kings logo.
About $8,000 has been raised so far.
“It feels great,” Walker said. “They do so much for the community. I was like, ‘Why not give back to them?’ I think it’s a great community and safe because of the police.”

A fundraising table at one of the Spud Kings games. | Courtesy photo

Teton Toyota Truck
Additionally, Walker has partnered with Teton Toyota. General Manager Travis Zmak said they let Walker drive a 2022 Toyota Tundra that promotes the fundraiser. It has also been present at Spud Kings games. Click here to see a video of the truck.
A Venmo code on the back of the truck lets people scan it, donate money, and support law enforcement.
“We all need the police at one point or a time,” Zmak said. “I think making sure they can have the access to the healthcare that they need from the mental health aspect is really important.”
Zmak told EastIdahoNews.com that he thinks Walker is having a good impact on the community.
“Ty is a really nice kid, and he is coming up in the hockey world. I think taking a situation where he is a little more in the public eye and using it for good… How do you argue with that?” Zmak said.

The Teton Toyota truck. | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com
Thankful for the support
Whiting says he is thankful for all the help to the FOP.
“It’s been a huge blessing that a young man like Ty would be willing to use his platform to help the police department and our program,” Whiting said. “I think it’s important to back the blue because we do all we can and sacrifice time with our loved ones … to help out and keep our community safe.”
There are nine more home games for the Spud Kings this season, which means more opportunities to donate. If people can’t attend the games, you can donate through Venmo to @IdahoFallsFOP-Foundation.

The post Idaho Falls Spud Kings player fundraises for police during hockey season appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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