Non-profit helps families of 1st responders killed in line of duty

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Police, firefighters, and paramedics risk their lives every day to help save your lives.  Now a new group is trying help them, by providing for the families left behind when an emergency worker is killed in the line of duty.

Officer Spencer Guerry was killed in the line of duty 17 years ago, and his death hit  close to home for the man who hired him.

"You pin a badge on someone who was killed in the line of duty; it's not unlike a fellow who leads his troops into war. Those are your people. When you lose one of them, it hurts you. It's been on my heart for some time to see if we couldn't organize an effort," 911 Club founder Don Campagna said.

Former Georgetown Police Chief Don Campagna has been working on  a new project to help families like Guerry's after losing a loved one in the line of duty. For the past year Campagna has worked to start up the statewide "911 Club."

The organization says it will provide surviving family members with $10,000 of monetary support, advisory support from an attorney and financial expert, and a grief counselor, and it is all to help the family through their loss.

"From now on when someone from South Carolina is killed, we're going to be there for them. It's a membership based organization. People in the community are invited to join, and membership fees are what will help us help the family," Campagna said.

Through membership and fundraising, the organization will serve first responder families including police, fire, and EMS.

According to the 911 Club, statewide statistics show that on average four first responders are killed each year while in the line of duty. The 911 Club is working in partnership with 100 Piggly Wiggly stores statewide accepting donations at register all week long.

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