Police mourn beloved officer

The Phil­adelphia po­lice com­munity is mourn­ing the un­ex­pec­ted death of an of­ficer who not only served the city through her job, but helped raise hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars for char­it­ies.

Of­ficer Michelle Win­kis of the 26th dis­trict passed away last Sat­urday less than a week after she was stricken by a sud­den ill­ness. The former Michelle Soltys, a 42-year-old moth­er of three, served 23 years in the po­lice de­part­ment. In ad­di­tion to her du­ties as a patrol cop, the 1989 North­east High School gradu­ate served as a board mem­ber and primary fun­draiser for the non-profit Phil­adelphia Po­lice and Fire Foot­ball Club, also known as the Blue Flame. In that ca­pa­city, she had helped the club con­trib­ute more than $250,000 to vari­ous char­it­ies since its 2003 found­ing.

Win­kis re­mained on act­ive duty and in­volved in the club un­til she be­came ill days be­fore her death. She was one of the or­gan­izers of Monday’s tail­gate party fun­draiser at the Fraternal Or­der of Po­lice Lodge 5 dur­ing the Phil­adelphia Eagles’ sea­son-open­ing game. The event raised money for the Po­lice Sur­viv­ors’ Fund and the newly formed Po­lice Sports As­so­ci­ation.

Co-work­ers and friends have or­gan­ized a be­ne­fit for Win­kis’ chil­dren this Thursday, Sept. 12, from 6 to 10 p.m. at FOP Lodge 5, 11630 Car­oline Road. Con­tri­bu­tions to the Win­kis Chil­dren Me­mori­al Fund may be sent in care of the Po­lice and Fire Fed­er­al Cred­it Uni­on, 901 Arch St., Phil­adelphia, PA 19107.

“She did so much for so many. Let’s step up and give something back. Rest in peace, Michelle,” said Lodge 5 Pres­id­ent John McNesby.

View­ings for Win­kis will be held to­night, Wed­nes­day, Sept. 11, from 5 to 8 p.m., and on Thursday, Sept. 12, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at Life Cel­eb­ra­tions by Givn­ish, 10975 Academy Road. A fu­ner­al Mass will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Anne’s Church, 2328 E. Le­high Ave. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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