Cleveland 100 plans its annual meeting, awards program Sept. 28

By BRIAN GRAVES Staff Writer
Posted 8/26/17

Those who make sacrificing for others a way of life will once again receive their due as Cleveland 100’s Annual Meeting and Awards event has been scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 28, 6 to 8 p.m. at …

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Cleveland 100 plans its annual meeting, awards program Sept. 28

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Those who make sacrificing for others a way of life will once again receive their due as Cleveland 100’s Annual Meeting and Awards event has been scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 28, 6 to 8 p.m. at Cleveland Country Club.

This year marks the 21st year of the organization, founded in 1996 as a nonprofit organization to lend immediate financial assistance to families of fallen first responders, who fell in the line of duty.

Founded by Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland and the late Courtney McGrady, retired AFT agent, the group has assisted three local families of first responders: Bradley County Volunteer Fireman Sgt. Scott M. Berry who died Dec. 17, 1997; Cleveland Police Lt. Kenneth Simpson, Jan. 24, 2008; and Cleveland Police Officer Justin Maples, May 20, 2012.

Cleveland 100 President Brenda Lawson said anytime a first responder dies in the line of duty, she and Mayor Rowland immediately reach out to the family to help with any needs.

“It may require us paying for the funeral, bringing loved ones into town for the funeral, helping with personal family needs and/or putting money into reserve for education of surviving young children,” Lawson said. “It strictly depends on the needs of the family at that time.”

She noted it is the “goal of Cleveland 100 to give our first responders some comfort in knowing their families will be taken care of should tragedy strike.”

Lawson said the initial purpose of Cleveland 100 was to provide immediate financial assistance and it is funded with $100 individual membership dues and $1,000 corporate dues annually.

“As our organization grew, other needs became apparent,” she said. “We added scholarship monies not only for children of fallen first responders, but also for our working first responders who may need additional educational and/or training for their jobs.”

“Today, through partnership with Cleveland State Community College, we have emergency services personnel getting more education and training, thanks to these dollars,” Lawson said.

She said the annual event is “another way we try to let our emergency services personnel and their families know we appreciate their dedication to protection and safety of our citizens.”

“They are unsung heroes. Often there are circumstances surrounding cases he public never hear,” Lawson said. “Each year the different agencies go through their files and give us information about first responders who may have gone above and beyond the line of duty during the past year. These are nominated and our Cleveland 100 board votes to give out Professional Service, Community Service and Commendations to these men and women.”

She said one award is called the Courtney & Betty McGrady Award (named after the co-founder and his wife, both deceased).

This award is held for exceptional acts of bravery during the year “and we don’t give this award every year, so it is a special recognition and considered our highest honor.”

The 2017 Annual Meeting & Awards Dinner will be attended by about 300 people, including community supporters, Cleveland 100 Board, Advisory Board and first responders nominated for the honors.

Lawson explained no money is used from membership dues, which is held for family assistance, but instead the banquet is strictly financed by donations through table sponsors and individuals each year.

“We maintain separate accounts for our awards and scholarships and keep the $100 individual and $1,000 corporate dues in accounts drawing interest and used only when needed for families of our fallen community heroes,” Lawson said.

She noted beneficiary forms are kept securely on each emergency services man or woman in Cleveland and Bradley County.

“We always hope we are never called into action, but when and if we are, we have beneficiary forms with the first responders’ wishes and we have funds ready to assist the dependents and families of our fallen hero,” Lawson said.

Cleveland 100 board officers include Lawson, president; Joe Wilson, vice president; Zandra Welch, secretary; and Kelvin Bishop, treasurer. Board members include: Angie Underwood, Stephen Crass, Jeff Cunningham, Dave Gilbert, John Holden, Janey Patten, Drew Robinson, Tom Rowland and Scott Taylor.

Lawson, Rowland, Gilbert, Robinson, Taylor, Holden,and Patten are all charter members of the organization.

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