SPRINGFIELD TWP.  More than 200 spaghetti seekers invaded Springfield High School in mid June, not for the purpose of looking for a good meal, but more so to honor and help out one of Springfield's finest, police Officer Mike McQuillen.

For those who know McQuillen, they know what a wonderful man and officer he is. His tall stature and soldier-like demeanor could be intimidating to those who were doing something wrong, but when he was seen passing out turkey dinners and helping to organize Shop With A Cop, people saw McQuillen as the gentle and kind officer.

He is a loved police officer and that was proven when the community raised $4,600 to help McQuillen, who has been in the hospital continuously since August 2016 battling medical issues, which, in turn, has created large medical bills. Those attending and those organizing the dinner were there to give back to McQuillen a small piece of what he has given to Springfield Township and the village of Lakemore.

The dinner was sponsored by Springlake Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 157 and planned by Officer Billie Laurenti and Springfield residents Kellie Chapman and Nancy Rodrigues. Laurenti said the three of them met regularly to go over the preparations for the dinner as it was important to them to help McQuillen and his family.

McQuillen and his wife, Paula, have been married 20 years. He has two daughters from a previous marriage, Toni (McQuillen) Destaffino and Cassie (McQuillen) Eddy, and a step son, Joe Vlier.

He joined the US Army in December 1976 and was in the 82nd Airborne Infantry Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. In 1996, he pulled out of the recruiting duty to join the Summit County Police Academy. He then retired from the Army in 1997. McQuillen and Laurenti were sworn in together September 11, 1997, as township police officers.

Friends gathered at the dinner to enjoy plates of spaghetti, salads, rolls and delicious deserts. Many gave of their time and talents and donated to the event. Police Sgt. Joe Gaffney and Laurenti donated some raffle baskets, and Laurenti said the community pitched in and donated everything they needed. Marshallville Packing donated hamburger for the meat sauce, Ideal Bakery donated dinner rolls, Giant Eagle donated 25 pounds of spaghetti and four volunteers - Cindi Estes, Alice Weiland, Julie Angerstein and Lisa Zachocki - to help with the meal. Springfield High School donated the cafeteria and kitchen.

Chapman and Rodrigues were instrumental in the planning, food and donating items for the meal, raffle baskets and decorations. Laurenti also said that Gwen Stafford, who worked with Springfield Police and now is with the Lakemore department; Elizabeth Ray a high school cafeteria employee; Donna Rini from Lakemore Lions Club; and Jill Cramer helped with the meal as well. Others who were important to the dinner were Danny Chapman, Deb (Bittner) Pastor, Chris Bolyard and Heather Anderson. FOP members Dan Wagner, Sgt. Brian Troyer, Douglas Arnold, Frank Blasdel, Ed Wilson, Gaffney, Sam Ray and Volunteer Auxiliary Springfield Police Bob Krohmer. Laurenti said she is sure there are others that should be thanked for their help and donations.

Former Springfield Police captain and current Lakemore Police Chief Ken Ray said that McQuillen was an ideal officer. Anything he needed done, "Mike would do it."