100 Clubs help families of fallen: organizations provide support and financial gifts.
|Article Type:||Cover story|
Self-help groups (Services)
Victims of crimes (Family)
|Publication:||Name: The Forensic Examiner Publisher: American College of Forensic Examiners Audience: Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Law; Science and technology Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 American College of Forensic Examiners ISSN: 1084-5569|
|Issue:||Date: Spring, 2008 Source Volume: 17 Source Issue: 1|
|Topic:||Event Code: 360 Services information|
|Product:||Product Code: 8380000 Nonprofit Institutions; 8300000 Social Services & Nonprofit Institutns NAICS Code: 813 Religious, Grantmaking, Civic, Professional, and Similar Organizations; 624 Social Assistance SIC Code: 8300 SOCIAL SERVICES|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States|
Police officers, fire fighters, and other public servants seldom
receive salaries that recognize and fully reward the contributions they
make. Their jobs often carry high risks, and too many make the ultimate
sacrifice as they work to protect and serve others.
When a chaplain carries out the most dreaded duty and knocks on a front door to deliver terrible news, a family is left reeling. The line-of-duty death of a spouse, a father, or a mother, is a blow to the gut that few can comprehend.
The good news is that families of the fallen have a great resource for support in many communities across the country. Service organizations known as "100 Clubs" have been raising money and providing help to grieving families for more than 50 years. But the bad news is that many public safety servants work in communities that have no such resource. Beside their personal loss, they must deal with the loss of income from a family member killed in the line of duty. Bills can start to mount up, adding financial stress to the unfathomable emotional strain that grips families.
Forensic professionals who work closely with law enforcement officers and public safety workers are among those most affected by line-of-duty deaths, and many will want to know how to provide help to families in need. In areas served by 100 Clubs, helping is made easy by the organization. Anyone not residing in an area served by a 100 Club has the option of starting an organization, just as the original clubs were founded.
100 Clubs Arise From Family Needs
More than a half-century ago, the Saturday Evening Post reported on the formation of the first 100 Club. The Post article, "The Bluecoats' Best Friends" states that a Detroit businessman, Bill Packer, who owned the largest Plymouth dealership in the world, came up with the idea for the organization.
The Post reported that Packer's friend, a police sergeant, had been seriously wounded in a shooting. As his friend lingered between life and death, Packer came to realize that officers often faced danger. He knew that his friend's family would be financially devastated by the loss of his income. His friend recovered, but later Packer heard the story of a Detroit officer who was killed while making a routine arrest. The officer's wife had just sold her small beauty parlor business because she was expecting the couple's second child.
Packer relied on what he knew best and took an entrepreneurial approach to forming an association of business leaders who would join together to provide financial assistance to the family. He wrote to 100 of Detroit's elite businessmen and enlisted the aid of a local newspaper columnist.
The idea was to raise enough funds to pay off all of the family's bills, and to provide enough financial support to get the family back on its feet. With the generous contributions, the family's house was more than paid for, with enough money left over to supplement the $170 a month pension the widow received.
Then another Detroit officer died in the line of duty, and the businessmen got together again to provide a helping hand.
Packer saw the need for a permanent and more formal organization, and he helped found the "100 Club" in 1952. Soon more business leaders began to flock to such a worthy cause, and the ranks surpassed 200, then 300.
Unfortunately, it didn't take long for the organization's services to be needed. A motorcycle patrolman died in an accident in a Detroit intersection. The 100 Club responded immediately, giving the officer's widow $7,500 to pay off the mortgage on the family home (adjusted for inflation, that's more than $56,000 today).
Soon the 100 Club gained notoriety through media reports such as the 1956 article in the Saturday Evening Post. Other communities began to copy the success, and the entrepreneurial associations sprang up in many larger cities.
100 Clubs Today
Today 100 Clubs number more than 100, and they extend from coast to coast. Some clubs, such as the Phoenix 100 Club, serve their entire state. Most serve specific communities.
The largest and second-oldest 100 Club is Houston's, which boasts more than 27,000 members.
Rick Hartley has directed Houston's 100 Club for 14 years and has personally delivered checks and encouragement to many families. He said recently from his Houston office that in an average year three Houston-area public safety workers, including law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and paramedics, die in the line of duty. In 2007, the number was five.
Hartley explained how the process works. "First, there has to be a line-of-duty death," he said. "And there have to be dependents of the officer or fire fighter who was killed in the line of duty. The first thing we do, within 24 to 48 hours, is to get them a check for $10,000 to help with any of their immediate financial needs."
"Then when the time is better, and some of the trauma and tragedy has subsided, we will go and meet with the surviving spouse and make a complete needs assessment ... sadly, there are usually a few youngsters under the age of 12. We take all that under consideration with a goal of trying to eliminate their debt--pay off their mortgage, pay off their vehicle, notes, credit card debt, anything that's outstanding."
The 100 Club doesn't stop there, often going on to pay for the education of the children through college or trade school. The total gifts to a single family average $300,000, Hartley said. The organization will step in and help out even years after the loved one's death, based on needs of individual families.
Families get federal and state funds after a line-of-duty death, but that often is not enough to pay all the bills and pay for the family's living expenses.
About two-thirds of the membership of the Houston 100 Club is comprised of members who donate $100 a year to the organization. The other third is made up of life members who donated $1,000 to the cause.
Helping families of fallen heroes is a rewarding job, Hartley said. He particularly remembers the case of a Houston officer's widow, who was stricken with multiple sclerosis. The 100 Club bought the woman a new house and filled it full of handicapped-accessible equipment.
Families are often overwhelmed by the support they get from the 100 Club. Many family members have gone on to join the organization so they can help other families cope with their losses.
"It's very rewarding work," Hartley said of his job.
Most 100 Clubs are much smaller than the Houston organization. For instance, the Greene County 100 Club based in Springfield, Missouri, formed recently with a mission to provide aid to families of police officers and firefighters who are killed in the line of duty.
Police and fire fatalities are rare in Greene County, with years often separating the on-duty loss of public safety personnel.
John Rush, president of the organization, said that the hardest tasks in forming the group involved finding insurance and filling out all the paperwork and meeting requirements to be recognized as a tax-exempt 5013c organization.
After many months of organizing, the group officially formed in June of 2007 and was quickly faced by the loss of a police officer in a traffic accident.
"We heard of the officer's death around 4 in the morning, and by 8 o'clock we had a check in the hands of the widow," Rush said.
The organization currently provides $5,000 checks to families.
Although losing fire fighters and police is a rare occurrence, the Greene County 100 Club is raising funds with the goal of being able to respond should a tragedy strike that produces multiple casualties.
More 100 Clubs Needed
The website of the Chicago 100 Club has a directory of 100 Clubs across the nation. According to that listing, there are no clubs serving Alabama, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, or Wyoming.
Many 100 Clubs serve only specific communities, so large portions of many of the remaining states are not served by clubs, either.
There is no national organization that unites the individual clubs, Hartley said. A few years ago a national meeting was held in an effort to foster sharing of information and ideas, but only about 30 clubs sent representatives.
The only things needed to bring 100 Clubs to more areas are people who care and the entrepreneurial spirit to organize a group where none existed before.
Hartley said he would be happy to provide information to anyone who wants to establish a 100 Club in an unserved community. The Houston 100 Club has information packets that can help organizers get started.
There will, unfortunately, always be families in need, but whether they get help from organizations such as 100 Clubs depends on luck and geography. People willing to step forward and establish new clubs can improve the odds and make the lives of more families a little easier after they have experienced the worst losses imaginable.
100 Clubs in the United States
The 100 Club of Arkansas
100 Club of Arizona
The Martin C. Kauffman One
Hundred Club of Alameda Co.
The Hundred Club of Contra Costa County
The Hundred Club of Los Angeles
The Hundred Club of Palm Springs
The One Hundred Club of Santa Clara County
The Hundred Club of Colorado Springs
email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hundred Club of Denver
The Hundred Club of Durango
The Hundred Club of Connecticut, Inc.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
The Hundred Club of Broward County, Inc.
The Collier County One Hundred Club
The Hundred Club of Indian
River County, Inc.
The 200 Club of Jacksonville. Inc.
Lee County Hundred Club
The Manatee County Hundred Club
100 Club of Martin County
The Two Hundred Club of Greater Miami, Inc
The One Hundred Club of Monroe County
Committee of One Hundred, Orange County
At time of a LOD death, $5,000.00
to surviving spouse
The Osceola County
Hundred Club, Inc.
Sarasota County Hundred Club
The Hundred Club of South
Palm Beach County
The 100 Club of St. Lucie County
Port St. Lucie
The 300 Club of Atlanta, Inc.
The 200 Club of the Coastal Empire
The Shield Club (Macon and Bibb Counties)
The 100 Club of Rabun County
P.O. BOX 18
The 100 Club of Chicago--The Hundred Club of Cook County
The Hundred Club of DuPage County
The Hundred Club of East Central Illinois, Inc.
The Hundred Club of Jo Daviess County
The Hundred Club of Kankakee County
The One Hundred Club of Lake County
The Hundred Club of Will County
The Hundred Club of Indianapolis
The One Hundred Club of Eastern Kentucky, Inc
1-606 324 6905
Bluecoats of Louisville. Inc
The 100 Club of Lafayette Inc
The One Hundred Cub of Anne Arundel County, Inc.
The Hundred Club of Mass. Inc.
The Hundred Club of Detroit
Hundred Club of Flint
The William S. Martens Hundred Club Fund of Grand Rapids Community Foundation
The Hundred Club of Lansing
The One Hundred Club of Saginaw
1-989 792 7777
Washtenaw One Hundred, Inc.
Minnesota 100 Club
The Backstoppers Inc.--Police Officer, Firefighter Fund of St. Louis
10411 Clayton Rd., Ste. A5
Greene County 100 Club
The Masters (Missouri State Highway Patrol Benevolent Fund), Inc.
SAFE (Surviving Spouse and Family Endowment Fund)
3109 Main Street Ste. 201
The Hundred Club of Montana
100 Club of Omaha Fund of the Metropolitan Police and Fire Foundation of Omaha
The Hundred Club of New Hampshire
The 200 Club of Bergen County
200 Club of Burlington County
Camden County Hero Scholarship Fund
Cape May & Atlantic Counties 200 Club
200 Club of Essex County
P. O. Box 32249
200 Club of Hudson County
200 Club of Hunterdon County, NJ. Inc.
The 200 Club of Middlesex County
200 Club of Monmouth County
The 200 Club of Morris County
200 Club of Ocean County
Pt. Pleasant Beach
Passaic County 200 Club
The 200 Club of Somerset County
1-906-526 2565 x-206
The Two Hundred Club of Union County
200 Club of Warren County
The 100 Club of Buffalo
Silver Shield Foundation
The Hundred Club of Westchester Inc.
Bluecoats. Inc. (Cleveland)
The Hundred Club of Dayton
Geauga Bluecoats, Incorporated
The Hillcrest 100, Inc
Lake County Blue Coats Inc
Bluecoats of Medina County, Inc.
Stark County Bluecoats
State Troopers of Ohio
1-216-267-7100, Ext. 216
Bluecoats, Inc. of Summit County
Hero Scholarship Fund of Philadelphia
100 Club of Rhode Island, Inc.
The 100 Club of Memphis
The Hundred Club of Nashville
The Hundred Club of Alvin
100 Club of Aransas County
100 Club of Brazoria County
The 100 Club of Central Texas *
100 Club of Central Texas
The 100 Club of Comal County
The Dallas Blue Foundation
Hundred Club of Denton, TX
Support Our Shields 1-SOS
Hundred Club of Gillespie County
The 100 Club
Mr. C. F. Kendall II
Hill Country 100 Club
The 100 Club of Jefferson & Hardin Counties
The 100 Club of Matagorda County
100 Club of Pearland
The Hundred Club of San Antonio
The Victoria 100 Club
The Hundred Club of Wharton County, Inc.
The Hundred Club of Wichita Falls
The Hundred Club of South Carolina, Inc.
The 100 Club of Greater Greenville
Mr. Philip J. Carlton
The One Hundred Club Fund The Spartanburg County Foundation
Blue Coats Foundation, Inc.
INFORMATION COURTESY 100 CLUB OF CHICAGO
By John Lechliter, Editor in Chief
|Gale Copyright:||Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.|