The Annual Hero Thrill Show

September 18, 2012 7:12:56 AM PDT
Philadelphians expect their police and firefighters to protect them, but who protects their families when someone with a badge is killed or paralyzed in the line of duty?

In some part, you do, thanks to the Hero Thrill Show and the scholarships it provides.

Fund president James Binns took charge of the program when it was in danger of going out of business a few years ago.

Last year, he attracted 40,000 people to the Wells Fargo Center parking lot and he hopes to top that record Saturday.

His goal is to raise at least $400,000 to pay the college education costs of fallen police and firefighters. Binns, who's also a well-known attorney and active on the professional boxing scene, is devoted to police and fire causes.

He gets to know the survivors of deceased officers. He knows where their children are attending school. He stays in touch. He even knows individual grades.

While many other cities have been in touch about the Hero Thrill Show and its scholarships, Binns says no one else has followed through and replicated the program.

Saturday's show will be particularly emotional because the Police Motorcycle Drill Team...a long fan favorite...was led by Officer Brian Lorenzo, who died in a crash with a drunk driver earlier this year.

The drill team will be there Saturday, as will firefighters performing simulated rescues, the police bomb squad, and K-9 officers and their dogs from throughout the tri-state region.

Binns is committed to honoring badge-wearing heroes throughout the year. He launched a program placing memorial plaques at sites where heroes lost their lives. He's on a personal crusade to secure new motorcycles to replace aging units. And when he's not promoting the Hero Thrill Show, he's working other programs like the Weight Watchers-funded Battle of the Badges weight-loss competition to raise funds to help families.

If you want to attend this year's show, you can just show up at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday. Official hours are 12:00 Noon to 5:00pm.

You may also buy tickets at any police or fire station in the city, online via ComcasTix, or go to the show's official website, Hero Thrill Show, where you'll also find entertaining videos and a place where you can click and make a donation any day of the year.


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