TEXARKANA, Texas. (KTAL/KMSS) — The ArkLaTex 100 Club awarded more than $40,000 in grants to ten police and fire agencies in Bowie and Miller Counties at their recent board meeting.
“When a police officer or firefighter dies in the line of duty, we respond to the family with financial assistance as quickly as possible,” said ArkLaTex 100 Club Board President Kelley Crisp. “We are fortunate to have funds leftover that allow us to provide these grants for local police and fire agencies.”
At the meeting, the ArkLaTex 100 Club awarded the following grants:
- $3,000 to the New Boston Police Dept for purchase of a K-9 and handler training.
- $1,600 to the DeKalb Volunteer Fire Dept for structural fire helmets and safety vests.
- $3,000 to the Maud Volunteer Fire Dept for bunker gear$3,000 to the Pleasant Grove Volunteer Fire Dept for a thermal imaging camera.
- $7,000 to the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office for maintenance and repairs to its helicopter.
- $3,000 to the Miller County Office of Emergency Management for repair to its emergency response trailer.
- $3,000 to the Texarkana Arkansas Fire Dept for rescue helmets, a gas detector, safety belts, and more.
- $6,650 to the Miller County Sheriff’s Office for Level IV plates for vests.
- $3,000 to C-5 Volunteer Fire Dept for gear-washing equipment to protect firefighters from cancer-causing agents.
- $6,747 to the Texarkana Texas Police Department for light rifle plates that can be worn with regular body armor and can be worn for an entire shift.
The mission of the ArkLaTex 100 Club is to raise funds for the dependents of local first responders who are lost in the line of duty. Remaining funds are available as grants to local fire and police agencies to purchase unbudgeted but necessary life-saving equipment and training.
“We want to protect these officers,” Crisp said. “We want them to know, especially in today’s climate, that we appreciate what they do and there are people here that support them.”
The ArkLaTex 100 Club generates funds through an annual membership drive and a “Pull for Heroes” Sporting Clay Tournament held in March of each year.
The club is currently promoting its membership drive through the month of September.
“Following the model of other 100 Clubs across the nation, our membership costs $100,” Crisp said. “Memberships are vital to our organization. Without the funds we generate through memberships, we wouldn’t be able to support the families of fallen officers or provide these much-needed grant funds to local agencies.”
Funds raised this September will be available throughout the year to aid the families of first responders killed in the line of duty. The remaining funds will be available to local agencies during the next grant cycle.
The club will accept grant applications in June and July of 2020.
“During my law enforcement career, I have never known of another nonprofit organization who raises funds to assist local law enforcement and firefighters,” said Chief Deputy of the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office, Jeff Neal. “The ArkLaTex 100 Club has been very generous to the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office. With their grants, we have been able to purchase equipment vital to keeping our deputies safe.”
Neal says the grant the BCSO received this year will be used to keep their helicopter operationally sound.
“We use this helicopter to search for missing persons as well as stolen property,” said Neal. “When we have a missing person, time is of the utmost importance. That is why we believe it is important to have this resource here locally in Texarkana. It allows us to search a large area is a short amount of time. It is also able to fly over areas that cannot be searched by deputies on the ground. We have also been able to assist surrounding agencies with searches when the helicopter was not in use by Bowie County.”
Since the club was founded in 2016, the group has awarded more than $321,000 in grant funds to area agencies.