PITTSBURGH (4/17/09)--Since three Pittsburgh police officers were fatally shot on April 4, a fund opened by Greater Pittsburgh Police FCU for the victims' families has raised more than $200,000 so far--and generated hundreds of poignant letters. The total doesn't include funds raised at a Penguins game and a Pirates opener. Since the shootings, said Sandy Lazzara, CEO of the $45 million asset credit union, mail carriers have often walked into the credit union and dropped several brick-sized packages of letters on the front counter (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review April 15). The letters, with gifts, cash and checks written out to the Fallen Heroes Fund, started pouring in soon after police officers Eric Kelly, Stephen J. Mayhle and Paul J. Sciullo II were shot in Stanton Heights. Kelly and Sciullo were members of the credit union (See News Now April 8). The letters surprised, shocked, flabbergasted, and pleased Lazzara, she told the newspaper, because police usually aren't seen as heroes. "Our last president told me, "People are always happy to see a firefighter, but they're never happy to see a police officer." The letters come from mostly Western Pennsylvania. But donations have arrived from California, Colorado, Missouri and Texas. Most of them are short. "Thank you," said one. "God Bless you all," said another. Others are longer. One letter was from a couple whose son-in-law is in law enforcement. They knew the dedication and commitment officers make daily, they said. While some checks were for hundreds, others varied. One man couldn't afford to send cash, so he sent Pirates tickets instead. Another contributed money, saying he wanted to send more but he'd been fired from his job. A child sent $5. Another person sent $3, wishing it could be more. The letters are being saved in a large cardboard box. The police have talked about binding the letters into three massive books and presenting them to the families, the article said.