T-Shirt Fundraiser Helps Fallen Hero's Family

Palmer Township firefighters raise money during community days this weekend.

The line before the booth with the blue tent said it all, "The community cares about the men in blue."

Even before Palmer Township Community Days kicked off Thursday night, lines were forming to buy T-shirts in tribute to fallen Freemansburg police officer.

Perhaps the lines had something to do with Palmer's tie to Officer Lasso -- his brother, Joe, is a lieutenant in the township fire department.

Danielle Mancino was trying to keep track of shirt sales. The shirts, which cost between $20 and $22, feature Lasso's name spread over a wing with " listed below.

"We were very close," she said of Lasso. "I just want to show my support."

Township supervisors chairman Dave Colver explained how the T-shirt idea got started. "A bunch of buddies from the fire department got together to do this," he said. "I think that anything that happens like this, we see communities come out in support of one another."

Mike Mancino, the fire department's trustees chairman, said he and fire Capt. Mike Simko and Lts. Kenny McPherson and Emilio Dinisi decided to do something to help Lasso's family. "It's a great way to get his wife and kids and immediate family money quickly," Mancino said.

Lasso's wife and two children live in South Bethlehem.

Mancino got 1,000 T-shirts, 5,000 decals and 1,000 wristbands to sell.

"The shirts will probably be gone tomorrow," he said. "I'll get another 1,000 T-shirts if I need them."

Palmer Township Community Days continue through Sunday.

Mancino said the fire department went to Lasso's funeral Tuesday.

"It's been really tough," he said. "But I'm glad to see all of the support we're getting."

Pauline Schuyler was one of the people who came out Thursday night to buy T-shirts.

Schuyler, who purchased two, said she knew Lasso.

"I'm an EMT and we had an accident. I was directing traffic and he came to help me," she said. "I knew his family really well. I'd see him and he'd wave to me.

"I'm shocked," Schuyler continued. "Every time I see the news or read the newspaper about him, I just want to cry. He's going to be missed."

Lasso was buried in a ceremony featuring hundreds of police officers from the Lehigh Valley and beyond.

He was shot and killed responding to a call about a disturbance in Freemansburg last week at 440 New St., the home of George Hitcho Jr., who is charged in the case.

Lasso was reportedly being attacked by two dogs in Hitcho’s yard and pointed a stun gun at them before he was killed.

Lasso was ordered to “shoot the dogs” before Hitcho allegedly pulled out a shotgun and fired the fatal shot to the officer’s head.


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