Court officer Mike McTiernan was walking to work at the Erie County Courthouse shortly after 7 a.m. Dec. 3 when a car hit him on Bingham Street downtown near the Church Street entrance to the Niagara Thruway, seriously injuring his legs and shoulder.
Since he was not on the job when he was hit, he is not eligible to receive on-duty injury benefits and has exhausted all his leave time, forcing him and his family to rely on state disability as their sole source of income during what is expected to be at least a two-year recovery.
His co-workers, with the assistance of the 100 Club of Buffalo, have organized a benefit to help the 47-year-old officer; his wife, Tiffany; and their three sons – Brandon, 16; Michael, 11; and Matthew, 8.
It will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday in Pettibones Grille overlooking Coca-Cola Field, home of the Buffalo Bisons. The team has donated the restaurant, kitchen and staff for the night.
The event includes food, beer, wine, soft drinks and a cash bar for other drinks, as well as door prizes such as a TV, grill and other items.
Among the more than 50 items donated for auction are a Buffalo Sabres package with two center-ice tickets for six games plus a Sabres jersey and stick autographed by Cody Hodgson and Marcus Foligno; a Buffalo Bills autographed jersey and football package; spa packages; and a night-out package including a hotel, a limousine and dinner at a restaurant.
The event also will feature live music by the Fascinators.
Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased on the donations page on the 100 Club of Buffalo website (www.100clubbuffalo.org), from a court officer or at the door. More than 300 tickets have been sold so far, according to Frank E. Broderick, the club’s executive director.
Donations to the McTiernans also can be made on the 100 Club donations page. Donations have ranged from $25 to $250.
McTiernan described himself as “completely humbled” by the benefit. “I did not expect it,” he said, adding that he didn’t ask for it. “I’m so grateful that I have friends and want to thank everyone involved in the benefit for doing this for myself and my family.”
McTiernan will be at the benefit.
The veteran lawman, who has served 18 years as an Erie County sheriff’s deputy and New York State court officer, described the crash that resulted in numerous surgeries and put him in a wheelchair for at least a year.
He was halfway across Bingham when a car turning from Church onto Bingham hit him.
Two motorists got out of their cars and pulled him to the curb. He said he couldn’t move because of his injuries.
He said the driver who hit him didn’t stop immediately but got out of her car a short distance away, came to him and apologized, saying she hadn’t seen him. The driver was not charged.
McTiernan was taken to Erie County Medical Center where he was hospitalized for 3½ weeks, then transferred to a Wheatfield nursing home, where he spent three weeks.
He returned home after he was able to get the equipment he needed, including a hospital bed, wheelchair and supplies to make his home handicapped-accessible.
He said he is undergoing aquatic therapy two to three times a week and doing exercises at home for his injured legs and shoulder.
McTiernan said he loves his job and hopes to return to work but doesn’t know if and when that will happen, adding that he should have a clearer idea in December, one year after he was hit.