Under Every Helmet and Hat is a Child Who Needs Us!

For families that need assistance, know that the Bo Tkach Under the Helmet and Hat Foundation and the Krysta Hankee Memorial Fund are there to help.

That was the message signaled by representatives of the two nonprofit organizations’ members on Wednesday when they met in Palmerton to share ideas and resources about how each of them can continue their mission of helping others, much like the late Bo Tkach and Krysta Hankee did.

Tkach, a son of Jim and Sandi Tkach, then of Slatington, was a scholar-athlete who graduated in 2001 from Northern Lehigh High School and went on to become a stellar athlete at Wilkes University.

After years of struggling with an obsessive-compulsive disorder, he took his own life in 2007.

Hankee, a daughter of Bill and Chris Hankee of Germansville, excelled in academics and athletics before graduating in 2003 from Northwestern Lehigh High School, then attending American University, Washington, D.C., where she was a Patriot League Scholar Athlete, before graduating from New York University in 2007. She died tragically in 2007, a few days after being stricken while exercising in a gym in New York City.

In the aftermath of the loss of these two young lives, the parents and friends of Bo and Krysta formed foundations whose objectives are to assist others — the Tkach fund being primarily to assist adolescents to be treated for mental health disorders, as well as offering scholarships, athletic assistance and other forms of help, and the Hankee fund primarily to help families with medical transportation and other critical needs and educational grants, while promoting organ, eye and tissue donations.

Wednesday’s meeting of the two boards’ representatives was actually a continuation of a get-together the Hankees had with the Tkach foundation board members last week.

“We talked about how the objectives of both organizations are so much alike,” said Bill O’Gurek, treasurer of the Bo Tkach Foundation. “What we do, and what the Hankee fund does, is aspire to make the lives of people better.”

The shared mission and partnership prompted the Tkach foundation to make a $2,000 donation to the Hankee fund, which created the “Miles That Matter” program to provide support for transportation and to address critical needs within the community.

Bill Hankee said the fund in memory of his daughter is the result of partnerships of over 30 agencies and businesses in and around the Lehigh Valley and Carbon County area. It purchases Giant gift cards through the store’s “Cash for Causes” program. They distribute the gift cards that can be used for food or fuel.

“We’re proud that the Bo Tkach Foundation has decided to help with the Krysta Hankee Miles That Matter program,” said Frank Hager, foundation member. “It’s our way of assisting the fund in helping those in need with special services within the local communities. Both foundations are intent on helping those who might not otherwise be able to afford what is needed.”

“We wish to thank the Bo Tkach Foundation for its generous support of our gas gift card program,” Bill Hankee said on behalf of he and his wife. “This $2,000 donation will provide over 18,000 miles of driving for families traveling to address a critical need within the family. We take pride in what we do in memory of our daughter, Krysta, and are equally proud of the Tkach family and friends for remembering Bo in a special way.”

In addition to the gift card program, the Krysta Hankee Memorial Fund makes monetary awards to students at Lehigh Carbon Community College and Northwestern Lehigh High School who demonstrate a high degree of scholastic achievement and community service in an effort to develop strong leadership skills.

Since Krysta decided in high school to become an organ donor, the fund encourages participation in the “Gift of Life” program.

“We would ask everyone to take the time to discover the great need for these Gifts of Life,” Chris Hankee said. “We are very proud of Krysta for giving the last measure of what she had to offer in her final moments. We are comforted knowing that some small part of her giving nature lives on.”

As for the Tkach Foundation, O’Gurek said its members are continuing their commitment to providing the funds people and/or families need for professional treatment that they might otherwise not have available to them.

In addition, the foundation will once again provide scholarships to every high school in Carbon County, as well as Northern Lehigh and Northwestern Lehigh high schools, and has also voted to help families in need by providing funds to local food shelters.

For more information on the two funds, go to www.botkach.com or www.krystahankeememorialfund.org.

Article source: www.tnonline.com