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State Trooper and Little League Coach Makes Ultimate Sacrifice

Pennsylvania State police Corporal Joe Pokorny Jr. was a volunteer and coach in the Moon Township, Pa., Little League.
(Photo courtesy Pennsylvania State Police)

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Jan. 10, 2005) – The Pennsylvania State Police and Little League International have enjoyed a productive partnership for several years, as both organizations strive to protect and serve the children of the Commonwealth, its residents and visitors from around the world who travel to Williamsport for the annual Little League Baseball World Series.

Pennsylvania State Police Corporal Joseph Pokorny Jr. was one of many state police officers from around the country who has served as a Little League volunteer. Corporal Pokorny donated his time to the Moon Township Little League and was a member of the coaching staff for the league’s Little League Baseball International Tournament team that reached the championship game of the 2001 Pennsylvania state tournament.

On Monday, Dec. 13, Trooper Pokorny, 45, was shot and killed during a traffic stop while on patrol in Carnegie, Moon Township, located five miles southwest of Pittsburgh, Pa.

“Little League International expresses it sincerest condolences to the Pokorny family in this time of loss, and re-affirms its respect, admiration and appreciation for the Pennsylvania State Police as well as all those who work in law enforcement,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “Little League International receives outstanding support each year at the Little League Baseball World Series from the Pennsylvania State Police, and we join Corporal Pokorny’s fellow troopers in mourning his loss.”

Several hundred representatives of Pennsylvania law enforcement, and officers from state trooper barracks throughout the country, attended Corporal Pokorny’s funeral on Dec. 16.

“I first met Joe through Little League,” Joe DeAngelis, manager of the 2001 Pennsylvania runner-up Moon Township Little League Major Division team, said. “Joe and I coached Little League together for six years, and I know he enjoyed being a role model and giving his time to the organization.”

Trooper Pokorny volunteered in the Moon Little League for several years, coaching his two children, Jake and Ali, from Tee Ball through Major Division. He served as third base coach for the team that lost that year to Pennsylvania champion, State College.

“Everyone wants to win, but for Joe the emphasis was always on the learning process and giving your best,” Mr. DeAngelis, a member of the Moon Township Little League board of directors for eight years, said. “Joe was a knowledgeable coach, a good teacher, enjoyed being around kids and never lost his composure. He was the epitome of a Little League coach.”

A graduate of Center Area High School in 1978, Trooper Pokorny began his career in law enforcement in 1983. He was a 22-year veteran, and held the position of patrol unit supervisor with the Moon Township barracks at the time of his death. During his career, he also worked as an undercover narcotics investigator and as a vice unit supervisor.

“If you talked to any of the kids who played for him, I believe they all would say that they’d say we had a great experience,” Mr. DeAngelis said. “Joe was well respected and a fun guy to be around.”

Trooper Pokorny is survived by his son, Joseph “Jake” Pokorny, 17, and daughter, Alexandre “Ali” Pokorny, both of Moon, brother, Frank Pokorny and sister, Laura Hill, and his parents Florence and Joseph R. Pokorny of Beaver County, Pa.