TYLER - No one is completely prepared when death happens, but this is not especially true for law enforcement personnel and those connected anywhere in the network.
Enter the East Texas 100 Club, a recently formed foundation, to aid in helping the families of the fallen.
“We are a benevolent foundation. We cover line of duty deaths for public safety,” said Mount Pleasant Chief of Police Wayne Isbell, “In 2019, we only covered law enforcement. The board foundation has expanded that now for 2020 we cover all public safety.”
The program is going to include federal personnel, sheriff’s deputies and jailers, detention officers and prison guards, and fire officials.
“East Texas has not had the type of support that our large regional metroplex areas have had.” Isbell said.
The club met Thursday afternoon at the Tyler police station to make the announcement.
Two years ago, through the East Texas Police Chief’s Association, the East Texas 100 Club was born. Isbell was the club’s first president.
Henderson’s own Bonnie Geddie is the 2020 president of the citizen-led board.
Isbell struck at the heart of the issue when he said, “The purpose of this organization is to provide immediate financial relief to the family when there’s a line-of-duty death of public safety officials.”
Henderson and Rusk County officials were in attendance as well.
Henderson Police Chief Chad Taylor said he was looking forward to the expansion.
“I’m excited about the 100 Club Of East Texas providing Line of Duty death or catastrophic injury benefits not only to our police officers but also our firemen and jailers and detention officers,” he said. “This is security for first responders and their families, that if the unexpected happens the families of those first responders will receive immediate financial assistance from the East Texas 100 Club.”
Henderson’s Fire Chief, Rusty Chote, also had glowing comments. “I first heard about the 100 Club a few years ago at the Texas Fire Chiefs Conference,” Chote said. “A fire chief in another part of the state gave a presentation about a Line of Duty Death of one of his firefighters that occurred at a warehouse fire. The fire chief gave some details on how the 100 Club in his region came in and gave financial assistance the family of the fallen firefighter.”
“That fire chief stated that if we didn’t have a 100 Club in our area that we needed to look at forming one,” Chote said.
“I’m excited that the East Texas 100 Club has been formed to assist first responders families in the event of a line of duty death or catastrophic injury. All the funds that are raised for the East Texas 100 Club, stays in our regions 20 county area,” he said.
The East Texas 100 Club is a non-profit and relies on fundraising activities to accomplish its mission.
Rusk County Sheriff, Jeff Price, welcomed the addition of other law enforcement individuals.
“This is a good organization, and it’s there for a good reason,” Price said. “We hope we never have to utilize what it’s there for. It’s also good to bring on fire, jail and correction officials. We’re all out there on the front lines together.”
The 20-county region covered by the club includes: Anderson, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Delta, Franklin, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Marion, Morris, Panola, Rains, Red River, Rusk, Smith, Titus, Upshur and Wood counties.