Blue pumpkins are back to benefit BPD K-9 unit and honor memory of Lt. Lehner


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — You can support the Buffalo Police K-9 unit and honor the memory of Lt. Craig Lehner this weekend by buying a blue pumpkin in South Buffalo.

Allison Milligan started selling the pumpkins in 2017 after Lehner went missing in the Niagara River. And over the past three years, she’s raised $20,000. All the money raised in that first year went to Lehner’s family. And since then, the money has gone toward the BPD K-9 unit, which Lt. Lehner was apart of and passionate about.

You can pick up a pumpkin from Milligan’s house at 118 W. Woodside Ave, Buffalo on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The times are as follows:

  • Friday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Sunday 9 a.m. until sold out

All proceeds this weekend will go to the K9 unit.

“My husband served in the National Guard with Craig; I actually never had the honor of meeting him,” Milligan said. “But when he went missing, everybody in the community wanted to do something, so I just had this idea to paint blue pumpkins, (and) bring them down to the river. Friends and families brought them home and put them on their porch to show support, then it just took off every year. People just wanted to keep coming back to get their pumpkins, so they can be apart of something that is so tragic, but also support law enforcement and his honor.”

The K-9 unit will be at Milligan’s house this weekend, so you can go and meet one of your favorite dogs. There will also be a craft table with items you can buy, and a 50/50 raffle. Milligan said social distancing measures will be in place.

And if you don’t feel comfortable leaving your car, there will be a drive-up area, where someone will bring a pumpkin right to your car.

The event is happening rain or shine.

The following people and businesses helped donate the money and pumpkins for the event:

  • Harris Farms, Gasport
  • Desi’s Produce at the Clinton Bailey Farmer’s Market
  • South Buffalo Moose Lodge, Buffalo
  • Councilman Chris Scanlon
  • Hector’s Hardware, Clinton Street in Buffalo
  • Home Deport, Milestrip in Blasdell
  • Mineo’s South Pizzeria, Buffalo
  • Van Buren Farms, Akron
  • Pat’s Submarines, Lackawanna
  • Market in the Square, West Seneca

Kelsey Anderson is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of her work here.

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