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100 Club of Arizona reaches out in the worst of circumstances

Lisa Irish/The Daily Courier
Prescott Police Lt. Tim Fletcher is thankful for the financial assistance his family received from the 100 Club of Arizona after he was injured in 2001 in the line of duty.

When Lt. Tim Fletcher of the Prescott Police Department and another officer were seriously injured on Dec. 21, 2001, the 100 Club of Arizona came to their aid.

"While responding to a domestic violence call, I and another officer were shot several times by a suspect," Fletcher said. "I and the other officer were both flown to a Phoenix-area hospital, and while we were in the hospital, a representative of the 100 Club of Arizona heard of our situation, came to the hospital, handed each of us a benefit check, then turned around and left."

Anyone who purchases tickets to this Saturday's Arizona Sundogs game through participating police and fire agencies can support this charitable nonprofit as it continues to help first responders in their time of need.

Since 1968, the 100 Club of Arizona has helped more than 1,100 public safety agencies, police officers, firefighters, paramedics and their families through financial assistance, emotional support, training, safety equipment stipends, and scholarships, said Ciara Franklin, marketing and media manager for the 100 Club of Arizona. In the past 10 years, the 100 Club of Arizona, which relies on memberships and fundraisers, has given away nearly $4.6 million, Franklin said.

Franklin said that within 24 hours of an officer, firefighter or paramedic being injured, the 100 Club of Arizona will present the family with a check to help the family get through their difficult time.

"It was a huge peace of mind to know that things could still continue to get paid," Fletcher said.

The 100 Club of Arizona has also helped the families of Prescott Valley police officers injured in the line of duty, said Sgt. Brandon Bonney, spokesman for the Prescott Valley Police Department. Franklin noted they recently helped Katie Callaghan, whose husband Brian Callaghan was one of three Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Detention Officers who died in a collision this past August.

"Some families may need help with bills, yard work or jobs around the house," Franklin said. "Some widows do not have a job, and that support is critical for them as they determine what to do next."

Fletcher said the 100 Club of Arizona "never asked for anything in return. They continue to provide support for officers and firefighters injured in the line of duty."

Shane Ferarro, vice president of communications for the Arizona Sundogs, said the club decided to pay tribute to police officers, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders at Saturday's game against the Mississippi RiverKings, which they are calling "A Salute to Heroes."

During pregame introductions, Arizona Department of Public Safety officers will rappel down ropes with a Sundogs flag, state flag and game puck to the ice, and will present colors during the singing of the National Anthem. A police officer and firefighter of the year will also be recognized.

"We're expecting it to be on of our bigger nights this year," Ferarro said. "We're excited and hope that translates to our fans."

Those who can't make the game can take part in a free public safety event from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday in the Tim's Toyota Center parking lot where public safety vehicles will be on display. At the event, people can learn more about search and rescue, vehicle extraction, K9s, vehicle identification number etching, proper fire extinguisher use, and carseat safety.

People can also see demonstrations by and speak with members of the 100 Club of Arizona, Prescott Police Department, Prescott Valley Police Department, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, Yavapai-Prescott Tribal Police Department, Yavapai Search and Rescue, Central Yavapai Fire District and the Prescott and Mayer Fire Departments.

The 100 Club of Arizona started as a local organization in the Valley, expanded statewide in 2001 and has grown significantly in the past 10 years, Franklin said.

One of their newest efforts, the Suicide Awareness Program, began in 2010 and is training leaders in public safety about signs a person is considering suicide and how to prevent such tragedies, Franklin said.

"Public safety officers see things in their line of work that they may not want to talk about, but they affect them deeply," Franklin said. "We also provide spousal training on how to deal with these issues."

Since 2007, the 100 Club of Arizona has awarded 87 young people with $294,000 in scholarships for college education, Franklin said.

The group also granted $714,000 to public safety agencies to buy safety equipment and pay for training through the Safety Enchancement Stipend program since 2004, helping agencies during tough economic times, Franklin said.


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