As of Friday, Texas has lost nine police officers in the line of duty since January. Nationwide, 67 officers have lost their lives, and 23 firefighters have been killed serving others.
Lamar County is home to an organization to help first responder families in case one of our proudly serving community members pays the ultimate price while serving our area.
100 Club of Lamar County Board President Amanda Willows said even though several first responders have benefits covering situations, including in the case their lives are taken, it could take months or even more than a year before families receive any assistance.
“We help take care of them until that assistance arrives,” Willows said.
Willows said the ultimate goal of the 100 Club of Lamar County is to help the first responder’s family within 48 hours – help pay rent, mortgage, car payments, child care, food, fuel, “or any other expenses that arrive for them immediately after the unthinkable happens.
“For some families, the first responder is their only means of support,” she said. “Also, most volunteer firefighters have no coverage if they are killed in the line of duty. They risk their lives for us. We want to give back to them.”
As a retired law enforcement officer herself, and president of the Lamar County Adopt-A-Cop program, Willows said the 100 Club of Lamar County “means so much to me – more than words can express.
“It reassures those who risk so much for us that we will be here for their families if tragedy happens,” Willows said. “Their families shouldn’t have to worry about trying to make it if they lose their loved one while they are protecting us. It’s an absolute honor to be a part of this organization.”
Willows said the 100 Club covers all first responders in Lamar County.
“This includes law enforcement, EMS, Fire (paid and volunteer), detention officers, and dispatchers,” Willows said. “If a first responder is killed in the line of duty, the 100 Club provides their dependents with a rapid payment of $10,000 to help with living expenses as they face such a tragic loss.”
For anyone looking to become a member of the 100 Club of Lamar County, click here.
On the organization’s site, they can find information about different levels of membership, such as annual or lifetime – annual memberships can also be renewed on the site. With a membership, they will receive a decal to place on their car or on their place of business.
Donations directly to the organization can be made at Lamar National Bank, 201 S. Collegiate in Paris.
– About the 100 Club of Lamar County –
The original 100 Club began in Houston, Texas, where five men – Leopold Meyer, Ray Elliott, R.H. Abercrombie, William Smith, and Jim West – noticed a need in supporting families of Houston police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. The five men reached out to 100 others, motivating them to donate $100 each toward this mission. As of today, the Houston 100 Club houses 30,000 members.
Willows said Bob Hundley, former Paris Police Chief, has witnessed the difficulties families face when their first responder’s life is lost in the line of duty. Hundley reached out to a group in the area – Amanda Willows, Stephen Gerrald (the first President), Josh Bray, Toni McDowra, Jimmy Steed, Gary Savage, and Gary Brown – told them about Houston’s 100 Club and July 2017 the 100 Club of Lamar County was born.
“By bringing it to Lamar County, we are able to ensure the first responders in our county and their families are taken care of quickly,” Willows said. “Members and donors can be sure that their donations will take care of those who serve our communities.”
As of today, the 100 Club of Lamar County’s board consists of Board President Amanda Willows, Jimmy Steed (VP), Toni McDowra (Sec), Casey Ressler (treasurer), Stephen Gerrald, Steve Martin, Cindy Ruthart, Melba Harris, and “we’re excited to announce appointing Bob Hundley and Johnny Williams to the board.”