“In 2016, the state of Texas led the nation in officer deaths,” according to Paris Police Chief, Bob Hundley. “Losing anyone to an untimely death is tragic, but our public servants, including fire and EMS personnel, are on the front lines to provide as much protection to our citizens as possible. These men and women face those who would do them hard and return every day, every shift, to do their duty again.”
With these thoughts in mind, Hundley pulled together a group, including the Reno Police Department, the Paris Fire Department, Lamar County Sheriff’s Department, Paris EMS, and local volunteer fire departments to start a local 100 Club in Lamar County. Several community leaders were asked to serve as an advisory board for the administration of the organization and to help recruit members.
The 100 Club concept began in 1953 in Houston, Texas. Five men, Leopold Meyer, Ray Elliot, RH Abercrombie, William Smith, and Jim West worked to recruit 100 people to donate $100 each to help dependents of Houston Police Officers who were killed in the line of duty. In 2001, those benefits were expanded to include firefighters killed in the line of duty. By 2016, 31 additional counties were added to the 100 Club Inc. with more than 31,900 members. The benefits in that area now include scholarships, equipment, and much more to support the first responders in that area.
The 100 Club of Lamar County benefits any Peace Officer, Emergency Medical Services Personnel, County Jailer and/or Firefighter (including official volunteer firefighters) killed in the line of duty and their family with a benefit of $10,000, to be paid as soon as possible after a line-of-duty death.
There are several state and local programs available beyond this benefit that would cover more long-term costs, but the concept behind this organization is to initially help with those immediate needs that many may have, especially those with young children and limited incomes.
“The 100 Club is something we hope to never use but allows reassurance for first responders that their family and loved ones will be looked after in the event of the unthinkable,” said Chief Hundley.
A basic annual membership comes with two vehicle decals at $100 a year. There are also life memberships and corporate membership options available.
For more information about the 100 Club of Lamar County, you can call 903-737-4213 or visit the100clublamarcounty.org.