100 Club invites Orange Countians, jail looks to cut costs
The 100 Club of Hardin and Jefferson Counties – a private organization that benefits families of peace officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty – may soon change names.
Rod Carroll with the organization told county commissioners in special session Monday, donations are being accepted in Orange County to raise $50,000 or enough for one family.
About $10,000 has been raised so far including a $1,000 lifetime membership from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
“Hopefully that has started a trickle down effect as the word gets more and more out there,” Carroll said.
“I’ve known about the 100 Club for many years,” Sheriff Keith Merritt said. “I fully support it. It’s one of the clubs and organizations that, unfortunately I wish we didn’t have to have.”
Once the Orange County goal is reached, the group will likely change its name to the Southeast Texas 100 Club, Carroll said.
Annual fees for the group are $100. Firefighters and law enforcement officers pay $25 annually or $250 for lifetime status. Corporate memberships start at $1,500.
“Basically if someone is killed in the line of duty, we’re here,” Carroll said. The group is confined to firefighters and peace officers, although is considering adding EMS workers, he said.
Benefit funds often get to families within the first 24 hours of a death, he said.
Officers killed do not have to be members for their loved ones to receive services.
Most recently, the 100 Club provided funds to the estate of Beaumont Officer Lisa Beaulieu, struck by a car in 2007 while directing traffic.
Starting in 1988 with Paul Hulsey Jr., the 100 Club has contributed to the estates of Michael Pauling, Conrad Gernale, Wesley Wagstaff and Michael Lane. The organization relies mostly on donations, however, raises other funds through charitable events such as shooting competitions and golf tournaments.
The 100 Club also provides memorial plaques honoring fallen officers. To contribute, or for more information about the group, call (409) 893-5444 or go to www.100clubsetx.com.
In county business Monday, Merritt told commissioners that, while several jails across the state have ventured into private vending options for inmate meals, he wondered if Orange County might do the same.
“We’re just basically looking to see if [a supplier would bring] a cost savings if they can provide things cheaper than what we are,” Merritt said. Food would still be cooked using the jail’s kitchen facilities.
“Because [outside groups] operate throughout the state,” he said, “the idea is they would be able to buy in a lot ‘bulker’ quantity than what we can.”
Capt. Don Harmon, jail administrator, said an outside organization would not affect workforce numbers.
“[Another group] would either accept our workers into their own program, or reimburse the county for those employees and maintain them as county employees until which time we’d lose them through attrition or whatever,” Harmon said. “With a vendor providing these services we would no longer have to deal with situations like somebody calling in sick.”
The jail is legally required to provide at least 2,800 calories each day per inmate, Merritt said. Meals now cost the sheriff’s office about $1.57 per plate, Harmon said.
In other business, Flood Plain Coordinator Lisa Roberts asked the court if it wasn’t time to reinstate permit fees, which were waived after Hurricane Ike. Commissioner Beamon Minton recommended holding off until at least the end of the year.
“A lot of people haven’t started rebuilding yet,” said Judge Carl Thibodeaux.
Jefferson County and most area cities have reinstated their fees, Roberts told the court.
“That’s fine,” Thibodeaux said. “If they want to charge their people, that’s fine.”
He added that Orange County does charge fees if someone buys their FEMA trailer.