Officer Dan McCune has only been with the a few months, but already he feels at home.
That’s partly because of the response he’s gotten from the community to a fundraiser he’s organizing to help his parents with their mounting medical bills.
“It’s been unbelievable,” said McCune, who worked for 14 years for the Ferguson Police Department. “Every business I’ve been to has just rallied around me. It just reaffirmed that I made the right move by coming to Kirkwood. I love Kirkwood.”
McCune, 39, grew up in Florissant with an older brother and younger sister. Their parents, Rodger and Susan McCune, moved to the Lake of the Ozarks area after the kids were grown and were living out their retirement dreams.
But last summer, six months after Rodger McCune suffered a debilitating heart attack, doctors discovered that the melanoma Susan McCune had beat some 10 years earlier had returned and was now attacking her liver, lungs and brain, McCune said.
Last week, doctors told the family that the cancer had not responded to a second round of chemotherapy and radiation and in fact was growing aggressively, Dan McCune said. Now he just wants to make his mom’s final days as comfortable as possible and create good memories for her.
“My mom’s a wonderful woman,” he said. “She has been a Christian her whole life, a practicing Catholic. Her faith hasn’t wavered through any of this. She’s just an amazing woman. This is the least I can do for what she did for me.”
McCune said the couple had to sell their dream home at the lake and are moving in with him. He and his girlfriend are buying a home in Wildwood, putting off wedding plans and stretching themselves financially to be able to accommodate his parents.
“Everything is coming down real hard on them both at once,” he said. “They’re sinking fast financially. We told my mom, ‘You and Dad will always have a roof over your heads.’ That really put her mind at ease.”
McCune said his mother had been his father’s full-time caregiver since his heart attack. Dan McCune said he wanted to reassure her that he would continue to care for his dad at home.
The financial and emotional toll has been great on the family, McCune said.
“I just want to create as many good memories for her as possible,” McCune said. “My main goal is to make her life happy and comfortable until the end.”
When McCune started thinking of ways to help his parents, he came up with the idea of a trivia night fundraiser.
The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 13 at the . He told his parents it was an award ceremony honoring him. But he hopes their hearts will be warmed by a surprise outpouring of support from a community that has quickly become close to their son’s heart.
“None of these business owners knew me,” McCune said of the shops and restaurants providing donations for the event. “I’ve only been with the police department for three months. It’s been unbelievable.”
McCune said prizes and auction items, including rounds of golf at , and country clubs, will be part of the festivities. Local restaurants, including , , and , are providing beer and snacks.
What’s left is to fill the tables. Fellow police officers and family members are signed up, but there are still plenty of spots, he said.
To register for a table or make a donation to the Susan McCune trust fund, contact Amanda Everett at Amanda_everett@ymail.com. For more information, see the attached flier.