Ted Simons: The 100 Club is an organization that helps families of firefighters, police officers and other emergency first responders who lost their lives in the line of duty. Claire Franklin is here to talk about the organization and specifically the club's efforts to assist the families of the 19 firefighters killed in the Yarnell hill fire. Thank you for joining us. You must be awfully busy right now.
Ciara Franklin: We're so busy, Ted, but it's been so great. The community support, the outreach, businesses from across the nation are coming to us wanting to help. It's just overwhelming in a good way.
Ted Simons: Let's talk about the organization. What is the 100 Club?
Ciara Franklin: It stands behind the men and women who stand behind the badge. Since 1968 we have been there for our Phoenix families when an officer is killed in the line of duty. Since almost 12 years ago we expanded to include firefighters appear are statewide now. We're there in cases of line of duty deaths, non-line of duty deaths, line of duty injury, scholarships, safety equipment, anything we can do to enhance the safety and welfare of those behind the badge.
Ted Simons: More specifically how does the club help the families of the first responders? What's actually done?
Ciara Franklin: First and foremost 24 to 48 hours where there was a check. In line of duty, $15,000 immediately. We have the funds ready and available because usually it takes some time for the benefits to kick in through the cities and federal and life insurance, so we're there with that immediate relief to pay the bills on the table, to help with funeral arrangements, pretty much anything we can do we're there for. Then off line the duty that's $5,000.
Ted Simons: Money, resources. Advice? Moral support?
Ciara Franklin: The emotional support, we're just there when the family wants us. We don't want to attack them with information, but when they want to talk to us we're there. We have survivors, a team of survivors who have lost their husbands and wives and children. They can provide just a little insight of what to expect, just to let them know we're there for them.
Ted Simons: How do you figure out what a family might need? The family is obviously thrown for a complete loop. They may not know what they need. How do you figure it out?
Ciara Franklin: Every family is different. Some families have children. Some don't. Some are married. Some weren't. Some were the only wage earners. Other people's spouses do have a job. Every family is a little different. I think the families don't even know what they need. We're just there to tell them yes we can do that. Don't worry about your grandma in California or somebody in Hawaii. We'll bring them here. Wherever they are we'll bring them here for the funerals. We just don't want them to have any worry. It's just enough worry and grief as it is.
Ted Simons: The help starts pretty much within 48 hours. How long does that assistance continue?
Ciara Franklin: Until forever. Forever. We're going to be there for them forever. One thing is that each family will be invited back to the national memorial, so there's a national firefighter memorial in Denver and a police memorial in D.C. We want to help them get there too. They have a year of memorials ahead of them, sometimes a year and a half, that they are going to state memorials, city memorials, national memorials, the 100 Club memorial. It's going to be a long year. We'll thereby after that too. We have a scholarship program for their children.
Ted Simons: The 100 Club has been around for quite a while of Dow did it start?
Ciara Franklin: It started in Michigan when a local businessman asked 100 friends to donate $100 to help care for a young police officer's widow. It was brought here including some of Arizona's finest businessmen. They came together and wanted to do same concept. Today we don't require you to pay $100. We have different types of memberships but the club has carried on. It's been 45 years. We are the only statewide 100 Club organization out there.
Ted Simons: Who runs the club?
Ciara Franklin: We have one executive director who lost her husband in 1989, and the club knocked on her door within the first hours. At that time it was a $4,000 check. She couldn't believe she was going to the bank to deposit money because she had lost somebody and there were organizations to help her. Years prior she had lost her son when he was six-year-old old in 1983, and she always recalled going to the bank to take out a loan to pay for his funeral. She stayed with the club, came on board after 9/11, and has done remarkable things. We have a small staff of six full-time employees.
Ted Simons: You have how many members now?
Ciara Franklin: Over 3,000 members. So many supporters and sponsors that don't become a member technically but are still supporting us.
Ted Simons: If someone wants to donate, do they have to become a member? How do they assist and in what ways can they assist?
Ciara Franklin: We have so many ways to assist. Membership is not required. Donations are always a big thing because we are contribution based. We're solely based on contribution and membership. Volunteer hours are great. Organizations who can come together and have a volunteer program. Of course sharing our mission. We have a great Facebook page where people can connect with us and figure out what's going on in their communities this. Week we have a ton of events and fund-raising things going on in memory of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
Ted Simons: Let's talk about this particular tragedy because it's one thing to have one. 19 people. Talk about the challenges of figuring out what needed to be done.
Ciara Franklin: It was overwhelming and remarkable just seeing how the club was put into action. We rarely pay 10 deaths in one year. We recently lost three in May with the Phoenix officer and firefighter and DPS officer. So no one was expecting this, but when I first read the news I was like, no. This can't be. This can't be happening. I didn't believe it. I really woke up next morning thinking it was a nightmare. What was so great is we had those funds available. We had the money. We had to move some things around, but to pay $15,000 to each of those families. We delivered checks all last week. We have been in Prescott, we have helping the command center, the chaos. It's chaos. So they needed printers. They needed things to run their command center so they could plan the funerals and the memorial today. The club helped with all of that.
Ted Simons: It might be as much as we're going to go get a printer as opposed to we're going to buy one?
Ciara Franklin: We went to staples and bought three printers and paid for it. Markers, anything they might need. There was a team of hundreds of firefighters working to get all of this organized.
Ted Simons: If someone wants to help and assist the 100 Club, what can they do?
Ciara Franklin: The best place is 100club.org. There's ways to donate on the front page. We have several ways. You can call our office of course if you have questions, but 100club.org.
Ted Simons: Also the best place to get more information about the organization.
Ciara Franklin: Definitely.
Ted Simons: We have talked about so much about the families and folks in Prescott, obviously that's where the focus is, for the club, how much regrouping, how much do you sit back and start again?
Ciara Franklin: Well, at the end of this month we're paying out $177,000 in scholarships. So we want to get regrouped quickly to get those checks out. That's just the first semester for this year. Next semester will be an additional 177. We're needing that support definitely, but we were so happy to help those kids.
Ted Simons: We're glad we could get you on the program to learn more about the club. Continued success with the organization. You're doing great work.
Ciara Franklin: Thank you for having us.