CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Jeff Ruby wants to help the families of the fallen Westerville police officers.
The restaurateur announced Tuesday he is turning over 100 percent of all purchases made March 4 at each of his Jeff Ruby's Steakhouses in Columbus and Cincinnati in Ohio, Louisville in Kentucky and Nashville in Tennessee to a fund set up in the names of the "brave" officers' families.
Westerville Officer Eric Joering, 39, and Officer Anthony Morelli, 54, died in the line of duty Saturday when they responded to a 911 hang-up call involving potential domestic abuse. Both were immediately met with gunfire and shot, the police chief has said.
Officer Joering left behind a wife and four daughters, and Officer Morelli had a wife and two children.
"Along with the rest of the nation, we were heartbroken to learn of this tragedy," Ruby said. "These heroes made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our community, basically responding to what they thought was a call for help."
This is the latest community outreach from Ruby and his family. They have frequently helped families of fallen law enforcement officers and others over the past several years.
In 2015, they leveraged the popularity of their Cincinnati restaurants to collect donations for the young family of Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim, who was gunned down in the line of duty in what Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters has described as "an ambush."
The Ruby family capped the effort with a special prix fixe dinner held in the Kim's honor where all proceeds went directly to them.
"We're fortunate to have businesses in communities like Columbus where people like these gentlemen serve with such selflessness," Ruby said in a prepared statement this week.
"We know that our guests and friends in Nashville, Louisville, and Cincinnati will be honored to step up and help support these two great families in Columbus."
Jeff Ruby also has donated reward money to try to help law enforcement solve crimes and quietly gone out of his way to help victims of crimes. I
n December 2010, for instance, he helped a single mother who worked as an IHOP waitress and her two small children, then 2 and 8, after thieves broke into their North Fairmount apartment on two separate occasions, stealing everything from Christmas gifts to candy and change from piggy banks.
Reservations for the special Sunday Dinners are expected to fill quickly and are available by visiting jeffruby.com or by calling:
- Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, Columbus: 614-686-7800
- Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, Cincinnati: 513-784-1200
- Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, Louisville: 502-584-0102
- Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, Nashville: 615-434-4300
In Cincinnati, the fundraiser is only being held at Ruby's restaurant on Walnut Street in downtown Cincinnati. His other local eateries, Jeff Ruby's Carlo & Johnny in Montgomery and Jeff Ruby's Precinct in Columbia Tusculum, are not included.