INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police is asking for help from the public to help a retired police officer dealing with unimaginable family tragedy.
After more than 30 years of patrolling Indianapolis' streets, Frank Wefler retired to Las Vegas, but instead of enjoying the warmth and sunshine, he has dealt with a series of serious medical problems.
Within a few months, Wefler has had two heart attacks and three strokes, the last one leaving him unable to speak to his three children and wife, Carol.
"It isn't uncommon for officers and firefighters … to have heart attacks and strokes not long after they retire," said FOP President Bill Owensby. "It was really a perilous position for him to be in for quite a while. He rallied from that with his wife at his side."
When she finally left his side to have her own health checked, the family was hit with another medical emergency.
"So she goes to the hospital and finds out she has stage four cancer in four different major organs, so her prognosis is grim," Owensby said. "She has since come to Indianapolis to be with her children and to get medical attention."
Doctors have given Wefler's wife just one week to live. Supporters said Wefler's police pension won't cover the cost of a medical flight to be by her side, an expense of $15,000 to $20,000.
Now, there's a cooperative effort involving the FOP and Mayor Greg Ballard's office to get the former officer, also a Vietnam veteran, home.
"As a veterans' service officer, I hear a lot of stories every day, and I deal with a lot of problems," said Russ Eaglin. "This is by far a family crisis."
"We want to provide for him. We want the community to help provide for him and get him back here and let him enjoy what time he's got," Owensby said. "It's a terrible setback when you think that you're going to live another 20 or 30 years in retirement and enjoy life."
Supporters are hoping to raise thousands of dollars to reunite the Weflers in their last days. Donations can be made to:
Police Department Credit Union 1502 E. Washington St. Indianapolis, IN 46201