The Harford County Sheriff’s Office sergeant who suffered a stroke last year and retired from service with the agency this fall will benefit from several new sources of assistance after The Dagger told his story.
Former Sgt. Noel Raufaste will receive free sessions of physical therapy at Ultimate Health in Bel Air, a donation arranged by Deputy First Class John Ryan. In addition, former Sheriff’s Office deputy Marc Eaton has kicked off a fundraising effort to help meet some of Raufaste’s medical costs.
“Noel is a great worker, always been a great police officer,” said Ryan, who is running for sheriff in next year’s election. “After I read the article, I reached out to a few friends to get him some help.”
Raufaste was on patrol in Rock Spring on May 10, 2012, when he suffered a stroke and remained undiscovered in his vehicle for several hours. As detailed in a November feature by The Dagger, Raufaste rallied from a bleak initial prognosis but, after more than a year and with the input of medical experts, Sheriff Jesse Bane determined he would not be able to resume his duties as a law enforcement officer. Raufaste accepted a medical retirement through a state pension plan which provided 40 percent of his pay, approximately $2,500 per month.
To further assist Raufaste, Eaton created the Signal 13 Fund, which takes its name from the radio code for “officer needs assistance.” Online on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Signal13fund, Eaton said donations will support Raufaste’s co-pay and prescription medical expenses. He said the fund will support only Raufaste for now, but may be expanded at a future date for other EMS, fire, and police personnel in need.
“I’ve been where they are,” Eaton said. “When I got retired, I had nothing. I don’t want to see anyone else go through that.”
Ryan said his status as a challenger against the two-term incumbent Bane did not play a role in his helping Raufaste.
“People know me, know that if they need help, I try to help them,” he said. “When it came to Noel, I didn’t think of what I was doing first.”