100 Club rescues those who rescue us
When Phoenix Police Officer Nick Erfle was shot in the line of duty last September, the 100 Club of Arizona provided immediate financial and emotional relief.
Erfle, 33, was shot and killed in central Phoenix. The officer had been trying to arrest a suspect when the two struggled and the suspect pulled his gun and shot Erfle.
Sharon Knutson-Felix, married to David Felix, deputy director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), is executive director of this organization serving those who serve and protect our public safety.
The 100 Club offers support to families of fallen officers and firefighters.
The concept of the 100 Club was born in Detroit in 1952, following the fatal shooting of a young Detroit officer.
In 1965, a young Phoenix officer was killed in the line-of-duty. Several acquaintances with knowledge of the Detroit 100 Club got together and started the Phoenix 100 Club, which was officially organized in 1968.
Sharon was led to join the Club after she experienced the deaths of her six-year-old son and her police officer husband.
In order to share with others how she went through and survived the grief process and found love and joy again, she wrote the book Gifts My Father Gave Me, Finding Joy After Tragedy.
She is a certified law enforcement instructor and serves on the state Critical Incident Stress Team. She is past president of the Arizona chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS).
Knutson-Felix has received awards for her dedication in helping survivors and families of law enforcement. She adds that the Club has expanded its scope to include federal and tribal police.
“Sharon has a unique understanding of those who serve and the daily challenges they face — as well as insight into anybody who has lost a loved one,” says Sarah Hallett, a clinical psychologist with the Oro Valley Police.
Knutson-Felix says the first thing the 100 Club does is to deliver a check to the family for $15,000 within a few days after an officer or firefighter has fallen.
That money can be used to fly family members in for funeral, food or to even pay the mortgage.
From there, the group serves as a shoulder for the families to lean on and they even help the children of these officers with scholarships.
In 2007, the group donated nearly $500,000 in aid.
They accept donations through their Web site, www.100club.org