Wellness center named for Withrow

Ben Withrow, 13, on the leg press machine in the Withrow Wellness Center, located inside the Mt. Lebanon Public Safety Building. The center was renamed in honor of Ben’s father, Officer Jerrod Withrow, who passed away from colon cancer on June 11, 2021.

Ask anyone who knew Mt. Lebanon Police Officer Jerrod Withrow and they will tell you fitness was his passion. He worked out two or three times a day, no matter what day of the week, or what time of day. It was a big part of his life.

Sadly, he would never know the fitness center at Mt. Lebanon’s Public Safety Center would be named after him one day.

Officer Jerrod Withrow

Withrow was 43 when he died of colon cancer in June, 2021. He spent more than 20 years in law enforcement, holding positions with the Idaho State Police and the Spokane County 911 Center, where he met his wife, Lisa. He was a Pittsburgh city patrolman from 2011 to 2014, when he joined the Mt. Lebanon Police Department. Withrow was a member of the South Hills Critical Incident Response Team that was recognized for its response to the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in 2018.

According to Withrow’s mother, Gail, he wanted to be a police officer his whole life and knew he had to work for it. Fitness was a way for him to push himself.

Gail and Jerrod’s father, Randy, were among the family members and dozens of friends and fellow first responders on hand for the dedication of the Withrow Wellness Center on November 8. It was clear Withrow made an impression on everyone there. Attendees shared hugs and handshakes, as well as a few tears.

“It’s incredibly moving to see this many people … to see this many lives impacted, it’s hard to not just feel super proud,” said Withrow’s younger sister, Jamie Spotts.

Randy Withrow touches the photo of his son, Officer Jerrod Withow, inside the Withrow Wellness Center located inside the Mt. Lebanon Public Safety Building.

“He was just an amazing person. You met him, you never forgot him,” said Withrow’s wife, Lisa. “Caring, outgoing, charismatic. He loved people, he loved being around everybody. He was extroverted and loved his job, absolutely loved it.” She knew the dedication of the Withrow Wellness Center was coming, “but seeing it makes it overwhelming.”

Withrow was an inspiration to those around him during his fight with cancer, never giving up hope and motivating everyone to stay strong.

It was his fellow officers who started a grassroots effort to honor him the best way they could.

The framed uniform and the “Withrow Strong 1192” logo on the wellness center wall say it all. Withrow’s badge number was 1192. “I think it’s important to honor Jerrod’s legacy and dedication to fitness,” said Acting Police Chief Jason Haberman.

“It’s pretty awesome that his legacy goes on,” said Gail Withrow. Randy Withrow added, “He cared for everybody.”

Spotts reflected, “He just had that way of making you feel special and you wanted to be better when you were with him.”

Photography by John Schisler