HOUSTON – Here to help the families of Sergeant Ramon Gutierrez and Corporal Charles Galloway is the 100 Club.
Founded in Houston, the 100 Club has been honoring the sacrifice since 1953. Today, it consists of more than 30,000 members. You might have seen the colorful membership decals on cars around the Houston area.
To date, the 100 Club has assisted more than 200 families of fallen heroes, has given more than $24 million in financial support to dependents and purchased more than $14 million worth of life-protecting equipment for local law enforcement agencies.
William Skeen is the executive director of the 100 Club.
“We started out only assisting Houston police officers, but the need and the idea for more grew from that, and then we started covering every peace officer and firefighter,” Skeen said.
Skeen is a retired Texas Game Warden of 26 years. He is proud to lead the 100 Club that supports his more than 35,000 members of his law enforcement family throughout Texas.
“Today, we cover 32 counties around Houston. What we do when there is an officer of firefighter killed in the line of duty, what we do is provide a $20K check to the dependent family of those officers or firefighters and that $20K is just an initial gift from the 100 Club,” explained Skeen.
A few weeks following the death of the law enforcement officer or firefighter, Skeen meets with the dependents of the fallen hero to assess their financial needs.
“We look at mortgages, car payments, credit cards, we set aside college fund for the kids,” Skeen said these relationships can last decades. “We are dealing with families now that lost a loved one 20 years ago.”
The year 2022 is off to a grim start. Within the first month of this year, the 100 Club has helped as many families as it did for all of 2021.
“So in 2020, we lost six officers in line of duty. Last year we lost three, and here we are in the first month of January and we already lost three. Texas is usually number one or two in the nation for line of duty deaths for folks. It’s a scary trend and I don’t want to see it continue,” explained Skeen.
Skeen said this is a calling for him.
“Again, during my law enforcement career, I knew that if I did everything right and it was a tragic day for me and something happened to me, I knew the back of my mind, my two children, my son, my daughter and wife would be taken care of, so there is some comfort in knowing that.”
To learn more about the 100 Club, click here.