Peace Officers Lend A Helping Hand To Camp Quality - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/7/06-Tyler

Peace Officers Lend A Helping Hand To Camp Quality

Every year, dozens of children with cancer, get to come to East Texas and enjoy a week of summer camp. It's a program called Camp Quality. It's an expensive venture to take on, and the camp relies heavily on donations. A group of law enforcement officers called the Blue Knights decided to pitch in and help out.

The Blue Knights are a nationwide group of peace officers, who also share a love for motorcycles.
Ken Whizzer is the Vice President of the Rio Grande Chapter, that encompasses Arkansas, Texas and Mexico. "It's the freedom, and the camaraderie with the other police officers that we ride with," said Whizzer.

Worldwide, the Blue Knights are 50,000 members strong, with 1,200 members here in Texas. They ride around the country, enjoying the open road, and they raise money for different charities at the same time.

"Part of being a police officer is giving back to the community, and doing what we can to support them. Doing things like what we're doing here today, supporting Camp Quality," said Smith County Chapter president Wade Kimble.

"Any child who has been diagnosed with cancer, they are welcome. We have quite a few that come form the Houston area. We have several that come from the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and we have several from right here in East Texas," said Camp Quality volunteer Bob Uzzell.

The kids do traditional camp activities like swimming in the lake, and a taking a ropes course that tests their courage. Because the campers are also cancer patients, there are additional costs that go along with Camp Quality.

"We have a full time medical staff which includes two to three full-time nurses. Each child has one person that's assigned to that child 24 hours a day while they're at camp," said Uzzell.

It will take $35,000 to host the 30 campers expected this year. Today, the Blue Knights donated more than $1,000 to help out.

"To be able to give them one week a year out of their life, when they're dealing with such a tragic disease... Knowing that you're a part of that just brings a smile to your face," said Kimble.

After they made the donation, the officers cranked up their engines, then headed for a long ride through the Smith County Hills.

Lindsay Wilcox reporting, lwilcox@kltv.com

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