Law enforcement and first responders from the Panhandle are joining forces to help raise funds for a local deputy who has been fighting for his life.
Scotts Bluff County Deputy Josh Ruzicka has been critically ill for several weeks and has been hospitalized in Loveland, Colorado.
“He is recovering from a major surgery,” explains friend and co-worker Deputy Travis Petersen. “He had some issues with his pancreas, so he faces a big battle before he can get well and return to Scottsbluff.”
Petersen says Josh and his wife just had a baby girl about six weeks ago, and he has four children altogether. With mounting medical expenses and paid time off from work gone, Petersen wanted to do something to help the Ruzicka family out.
“We had an initial meeting, just passing around ideas… and it just kind of took off.”
The fundraiser- “We’ve Got Your Six, Ruzicka!” will be a benefit held at the Scotts Bluff County Fairgrounds on Friday, October 30th. It will feature a cornhole tournament and silent auction.
“The community has done fantastic as far as donations for the silent auction,” explains Petersen. He says that there are several firearms that have been donated, gift cards from local businesses, gift baskets, and more.
“So we’re going to offer a lot of things to people, and that’s what it is for- to make money and help these medical challenges and expenses that are coming up.”
The cost per team for the cornhole tournament is $100, and tickets can be purchased by clicking here: Additionally, people who are not participating in the tournament can still attend for a $20 admission fee- which includes a ticket for a free beverage from Flyover Brewing Company, who will be on hand Friday evening.
If you are unable to attend but would like to help out, a fund has been set up at Platte Valley Bank locations. Petersen says folks can also drop off donations at the Sheriff’s Department.
“He’s a combat Marine Corp veteran, a Deputy Sheriff, a paramedic and former volunteer firefighter,” says Petersen. ” We are trying to help a guy who has spent most of his adult life serving his country and community.”
The benefit runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and will feature both a live and silent auction, food vendors, cash bar, t-shirt sales.
Organizers say the event has been approved by Panhandle Public Health District, and masks and social distancing are encouraged.