100 Club of Arizona ready to help officers' families

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100 Club of Arizona By Catherine Holland 100 Club of Arizona By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- When tragedy strikes Arizona's first responders the way it did Monday afternoon, the community comes together to support those most affected by turning to the 100 Club of Arizona.

"We stand ready to support the families," Sharon Knutson-Felix, executive director of the 100 Club of Arizona said. "We appreciate the donations so that we can respond to whatever their need might be."

Though you might not hear about the 100 Club of Arizona until an incident like Monday's deadly shooting, the organization is always working in the background.

"Every single day, we're sending checks out, whether it's our scholarship program, safety equipment or [assistance for] those that are injured," Knutson-Felix said. "Some of our officers and firefighters are injured and are off work for an extended period of time. Their spouses, their parents might have to quit their job to help take care of them. So, we're there for them on an ongoing basis."

The 100 Club of Arizona has a single goal, and that it to provide "financial assistance to families of public safety officers and firefighters who are seriously injured or killed in the line of duty." The organization has been "standing behind the men and women who stand behind the badge since 1968."

"We're honored to be able to serve them and stand ready for them," Knutson-Felix said.

A nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, the 100 Club raises money through dues from its more than 2,000 members, charitable campaigns, endowments and donations.

3TV is hosting one of those charitable campaigns -- a telethon on Tuesday. The phone bank will be open 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.-10:30 p.m. The phone number is 602-207-3663.

For more information about the 100 Club of Arizona or to make a donation, go to 100Club.org. Donations to the 100 Club may also be made through the Arizona Federal Credit Union by calling 602-683-1148 or by calling the 100 Club office at 602-485-0100.

History of helping when needed

The concept of the 100 Club was born in Detroit in 1952 when a young officer was shot and killed.

"Moved by the situation, William M. Packer, who was the largest Pontiac Dealer in the nation and a friend of the police commissioner, wrote to 100 of his friends encouraging them to donate to a fund for the fallen officer," reads the 100 Club's website. "He received a 100 percent response rate. Packer and the commissioner met with the expectant widow, reviewed her finances and arranged to pay off the mortgage on their recently purchased home, pay all the bills, set up an education account for the yet unborn child and deposited $7,000 in the widow’s checking account."

The 100 Club came to Phoenix when a young Phoenix officer was killed in the line of duty in 1965. It was started by people who knew about the Detroit 100 Club. One of the first members of the Phoenix organization was Frank Haze Burch, the son of the first Phoenix police officers killed in the line of duty. That was in 1924; Burch was 5 years old.

The 100 Club of Arizona, which has made a name for itself over the years, became an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 1968.

Originally started for the families of police officers killed in the line of duty, the 100 Club has since expanded to help firefighters, law-enforcement officers and public-safety officers throughout the state, providing whatever it is that families and survivors need.

"The Club has even paid for a fallen officer's mother's yard to be mowed for several years, until her death, because the officer had always mowed her lawn," according to the organizations website.

By 2010, the 100 Club had distributed more than $5 million in benefits through its various programs.

Another way to help: Phoenix Law Enforcement Association benefit barbecue

The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) is hosting a barbecue Thursday to benefit the family of John Hobbs, the officer shot and killed in the line of duty, and that of another officer who was wounded in the same shootout. (That officer's name is not being released at the request of his family.)

Where: PLEA (Phoenix Law Enforcement Association) Garage, 1102 W. Adams, Phoenix

When: Thursday, March 6th, 2014. Lunch will be served 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Dinner will be available 4 p.m.-8 p.m.

Why: To raise money for the families of both officers.

How: Through donations at the event. 100 percent of all funds raised will be donated to the two families.