The Arklatex 100 Club awarded more than $40,000 in grants for life-saving equipment and expenses to ten police and fire agencies in Bowie and Miller Counties at their recent board meeting.

“We want to protect these officers,” said Ark-La-Tex 100 Club Board President Kelley Crisp. “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 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.

"When a police officer or firefighter dies in the line of duty, we respond to the family with financial assistance as quickly as possible," Crisp said. "We are fortunate to have funds left over that allow us to provide these grants for local police and fire agencies."

According to the Press Release, the ArkLaTex 100 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 repairs 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 Arklatex 100 Club generates funds through an annual membership drive and an annual 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. 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 Jeff Neal, Chief Deputy with the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office. “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 said 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,” Neal said. “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.

The club’s other fundraiser, the Pull for Heroes Sporting Clay tournament, is scheduled for March 7, 2020. Proceeds from the membership drive and the Pull for Heroes tournament will be used to provide support for the families of police and firefighters who die in the line of duty. Any funds left over are used to award grants to local police and fire agencies.

To join the ArkLaTex 100 Club or learn more about its mission, please visit thearklatex100club.org, or visit them on Facebook.