Philadelphia's annual Thrill Show benefits families of fallen heroes

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Members of the Highway Patrol Drill Team wowed the crowd Saturday with daring formations and balancing acts during the 61st Hero Thrill Show. (WPVI)

Members of the Highway Patrol Drill Team wowed the crowd Saturday with daring formations and balancing acts during the 61st Hero Thrill Show.

Among the spectators was 6-year-old Johnny Pawlowski.

While Johnny is a fan of the show, his mother loves the cause behind it. Her husband, Officer John Pawlowski, was killed in the line of duty in 2009.

"They're going to pay for my son to go to college someday, which is a huge burden off my shoulders," said Kimberly Pawlowski McFillin. "It's wonderful what they do."

Nicole Skerski, a sophomore at LaSalle, is a current scholarship recipient. Her father, Officer Gary Skerski, was killed when Nicole was 10 years old.

"I think it's awesome that all the police officers come out and help - and firefighters - because if something ever happens to one of them, it's their families that will be receiving the wonderful donations," said Skerski.

The drill instructor James Trainor said in preparation for the show, they practice everything on foot before they get on a motorcycle. It's hours and hours of practice, but they also said it's a lot of fun.

"There's no better audience than the kids and they love you. You go out there and ride around and wave, and they think you're great," said Trainor. "So really we're a bunch of hams when it comes to that."

During the show, K-9 officers showed off their attack and obedience skills, and firefighters held rescue and safety demonstrations.

Organizers said since 2006 the event has raised more than $2 million in scholarship funds for the children of fallen officers and firefighters.

"It reminds them that we're always here for them. That we haven't forgotten. That whether it's five years, ten years, we'll always be there for them," said Commissioner Derrick Sawyer of the Philadelphia Fire Department.

For more information and tickets, visit the Philadelphia's Hero Thrill Show website.

Related Topics:
familyphiladelphia policemotorcycleschildrenheroscholarshipphilly newswells fargoSouth Philadelphia
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