- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

PERRYOPOLIS, Pa. (AP) - The owner of 84 Lumber Co. is buying and renovating a home for the widow and 16-month-old son of a western Pennsylvania police officer killed in a crash in December.

Maggie Hardy Magerko said she felt moved to buy the home because the widow, Dawn Champion, and her husband, Richard, were military veterans before he died Dec. 14 while an officer in Perryopolis.

Champion was just 35 when he began driving after a suspected speeder and collided with another vehicle that turned left in front of him. That driver died of his injuries 12 days later.

After seeing accounts of Champion’s “service to our country and community, I felt it was very appropriate to do what I could do to ensure that Dawn and her son have a safe and secure home in which to live and relieve her of the burden of having to be concerned with a mortgage and repair and remodeling costs,” Magerko said.

Magerko lives in nearby Rostraver Township, and her husband is a former state police trooper and Marine.

“I remember many sleepless nights waiting for my husband to come home. So when I see the connection of law enforcement, I want to do something,” Magerko said.

Magerko has yet to meet Dawn Champion, who Magerko said remains unavailable to the news media. “It’s too fresh,” Magerko said, “but I want to meet her.”

Magerko’s father, Joe Hardy, founded the lumber firm. He built the posh Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in neighboring Fayette County with part of his fortune and is a well-known philanthropist.

Magerko has continued that tradition and, in recent years, has bought a home for an elderly couple who lost theirs in a Butler County fire two years ago, and a wheelchair accessible vehicle for Clairton police Officer James Kuzak, who was shot and paralyzed while responding to a home invasion in April 2011.

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