Brian Kelly @ brpkelly

(KMOX)-The organizer of a recent effort to help wounded Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is calling the event a “huge success”.

Kathie Zaitz-Fink tells KMOX that with all but four of the 67 restaurants that took part in the Dine Out for Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor fundraiser reporting, they’ve raised almost $51,000. She says when all the numbers are in from the December 20 event, they will likely top $52,000.

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“Hopefully this little bit of money that we were able to raise,” says Zaitz-Fink, “will help him and his family through these next couple of months of some tough times that I’m sure they’re going to go through until we can get Ryan fully healed and back to his sweet family.”

Last week, O’Connor’s family reported that Ryan, who was shot in the head by a burglary suspect on December 5, had opened his eyes and was breathing on his own.  The suspect killed himself.

Zaitz-Fink, who has organized dine-out events for other wounded officers, says the response to the O’Connor effort was on par with the others, with restaurants from throughout the region taking part. “It was simply a matter of this is a local, this is a hero that needs us and there were no boundaries. People stepped up throughout the entire city, county, everyone stepped up to really help.”

Over $30,000 of the funds have been turned over to Shield of Hope, which will pass it along to the O’Connors. “They can do as they need,” Zaitz-Fink says. “Pay medical bills. Whatever it is the family needs right now, that’s what this money is for. To help them. To help Ryan.”

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