A GoFundMe account and blood drive have been organized for Steve Stier, a longtime resident of Isle of Capri and a Collier County Sheriff’s officer who has been stricken with cancer.
Officer Bill Pschigoda, who served with Stier at the Collier County Sheriff’s office, is spearheading the efforts.
Attempts to connect with Pschigoda for information about the blood drive were unsuccessful at press time. The Coastal Breeze News suggests you check for blood drive details at the GoFundMe account that Pschigoda is administering.
Pschigoda had this to say about Stier on the GoFundMe account he set up for Stier that’s titled “Help a Hero.”
“Steve Stier is a native to SW Florida,” Bill Pschigoda wrote on the GoFundMe account. “He began his career as a law enforcement officer with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office in July of 1978 and retired as a Sergeant in March of 2005. During the time Steve served, the county was desolate compared to what it is now. The era of the 1980s began to unravel into a story of thrills and adventures when shrimp boats filled full of hundreds of bales of marijuana and hundreds of kilos of cocaine was not uncommon to find in the waters off of Marco Island, Isles of Capri, Goodland and Everglades City.
“Other days it wasn’t uncommon for an officer to come across a small aircraft landing on an abandoned road and offloading smuggled bales of marijuana and kilos of cocaine into a waiting truck.
“I know this sounds like the TV series ‘Miami Vice’ without the violent shootouts that you see on television, but the cat and mouse game involving the drug smugglers and the deputy sheriffs was very real for Steve and the small force of deputy sheriffs that kept the Collier County residents safe at that time.
“Steve’s dream was to buy a sailboat and travel to various islands after his retirement. Unfortunately, time travels by very quickly and dreams get put on hold.
“Just prior to the holiday season of 2020, Steve’s wife Kristine took Steve to the emergency room after Steve began to display symptoms of having COVID. A short time after taking the test for the dreaded disease, Steve and Kristine were told by the attending physician that he didn’t have the illness. He has cancer.
“Steve continues to bravely battle the deadly disease, but his body is being stubborn by not accepting some of the medications needed to treat the illness.
“With Steve totally unable to work at this point, Steve’s family is currently struggling to make simple ends meet. Simple ends that we sometimes take for granted. Electric bills, water bills, mortgage payments, car payments, gas for the car to travel daily to the hospital to be by Steve’s side. And this doesn’t even touch the medical care that Steve has already been provided nor the extra care that he will need help with in the future.
“Steve has already served his community and served it well. Not only with the years of local drug smuggling but by keeping track of residents that he had grown to know and protect that got caught in any of the dangerous hurricanes or tropical storms that damaged our county and threatened the lives of those who reluctantly reused to leave.
“Steve and his family now need our help in his time of need. The cancer continues to travel at a quick pace through Steve’s tired body. Right now he needs our love, compassion, support and prayers.
“If you are able to help Steve and his family monetarily during this crisis we would be forever grateful.
“Since part of Steve’s current medical treatment is to have blood transfusions quite often, I will be putting together two local blood drives to assist. I, along with other members in our local community, will get the dates and times out to everyone as soon as we know.
“Steve is a hero,” Pschigoda concluded, “Let’s give ‘OUR’ hero some help.”
Keith Pershing, owner of Island Automotive, has been friends with Stier since high school. He has also employed Stier part-time. He and his team at Island Automotive are firmly in Stier’s corner during his illness.
“I’ve known Steve Stier since high school at Naples high and then later at Lely high,” Keith Pershing said. “As locals, our paths would occasionally cross over the years.
“Shortly after his retirement, Steve and I crossed paths in the Marco Ace Hardware across the street from Island Automotive. As we chatted and caught up on a couple years of time, I discovered that Steve was retired and had time to relax and go fishing. At the time I was in need of some part-time help, mostly for an occasional trip to Naples parts stores and warehouses.
“I suggested that a part-time job would help financially support his fishing habit. After all, the boat needs gas, fishing poles need bait, and occasionally the fishermen may require a beer. After a little while the parts running task grew smaller and his duties in summer auto care grew bigger.
“For years now, Steve’s big smile and big beard has been an important part of the Island Automotive team. As evidence that he has been here for a while his beard was red when he started and now could be better described as Santa Claus white.
“Every time Steve walks into the office his big smile brightens the day. Always in a good mood. Always happy. One could not help but have a better day once he was here.
“We pray for Steve’s speedy recovery. We look forward to his smiling face walking through the front door and asking ‘What you got for me to do today?’”