The 100 Club of Southeast Texas has a long history of honoring police and other first responders, and on Feb. 13 at a meeting of the board of directors of the 100 Club, the Beaumont Police Department and Chief James Singletary returned the recognition by honoring three-time 100 Club President Jon Reaud for his numerous contributions to BPD and the community.
At the Feb. 13 gathering, Chief Singletary presented Reaud, the immediate past president of the 100 Club of Southeast Texas, with a plaque of appreciation from the department for the service, leadership and vision he provided the 100 Club during his term as president.
“He helped drum up support for the Beaumont Police Department and for me,” Singletary said of Reaud during the Feb. 13 presentation. “I will be eternally grateful for his support, and going out there and beating our drums for us and showing the citizens that we are committed to them.”
He also credited Reaud for establishing a strong bond between the 100 Club and local law enforcement, saying Reaud took “initiative to restore and revitalize relationships between local law enforcement and the 100 Club.”
The 100 Club of Southeast Texas was founded by a concerned group of area businessmen and private citizens after the death of Beaumont Police Officer Paul Hulsey, shot to death in the line of duty on March 22, 1988.
Officer Hulsey died at age 29, leaving behind a wife and two young daughters. Hulsey was the victim of a gunshot wound received at a Beaumont motel while investigating a stolen car. Serial killer Michael Lee Lockhart, 28, of Toledo, Ohio, was convicted of capital murder in the trial that followed.
According to the 100 Club’s website, Hulsey’s death provided the catalyst for a group of business leaders to take action. At a news conference on March 26, 1988, the club’s first board chairman Wayne Reaud, Jon Reaud’s brother, announced the formation of The 100 Club of Jefferson County. The club’s purpose was to operate a trust fund primarily as a means of assisting the spouse and dependent children of officers killed in the line of duty.
In a press release from BPD announcing Jon Reaud’s award, the department acknowledged its appreciation for the 100 Club.
“We owe such a debt of gratitude to our local 100 Club of Southeast Texas,” a statement from the Beaumont Police Department reads. “Since its inception, the 100 Club has always stepped up to support the families of our fallen brothers and sisters. Our department sincerely appreciates this nonprofit organization and their efforts to support the surviving spouses and dependent children of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.”
Jon Reaud said his family has been involved with the 100 Club since its inception and through its evolution. The expanding nonprofit organization, first founded as the 100 Club of Jefferson County but currently known as the 100 Club of Southeast Texas, now serves three counties, Jefferson, Hardin and Orange, and as of 2006, provides assistance to families of fallen firefighters as well as those of fallen peace officers. Although fallen first responders are entitled to death benefits from their respective agencies, an unexpected death can leave families in a lurch, suddenly with no income and desperately in need of money to cover funeral and household expenses.
“It can take four to six months for families of first responders to receive any money from death benefits or life insurance in some cases,” Reaud explained. “Within between 24 and 48 hours of death, we (the 100 Club) give them the money they need.”
All 100 Club board members and administrators are volunteers, so all money raised goes to the beneficiaries of the club. Reaud, who is not only an active member of the 100 Club but is also on the BPD community advisory committee, said when he became president of the 100 Club, his goal was to bring the organization from $500,000 to $1 million in funds to benefit families of first responders. In May 2013, he realized that goal. Through the 100 Club’s annual Southeast Texas Motorcop Rodeo fundraiser, contributions raised by local peace officers and firefighters, membership dues and Reaud’s establishment of corporate memberships, the 100 Club became a $1 million club.
Reaud said he was “surprised and appreciative” of the award presented to him by BPD’s leader. While Chief Singletary had high praise for Reaud’s accomplishments with the 100 Club of Southeast Texas and for his efforts to support law enforcement throughout the community, Reaud commended the chief for his and BPD’s support of the organization.
“I appreciate the support of the Beaumont Police Department and Jimmy Singletary,” Reaud said in an interview. “He has really played a big part in facilitating the relationship between police and the 100 Club. He made a commitment to support the 100 Club, and he has stood by that commitment. He has made a big difference here in Beaumont since he took over as chief. I want the citizens of Beaumont to know we have the best police department in the state, hands down. They have supported us 110 percent, and we want to show them equal support.”
To support the 100 Club of Southeast Texas and first responders in the tri-county region of Jefferson, Hardin and Orange, visit the 100 Club website at 100clubsetx.com or call (409) 893-5444 for membership details. Support packages at varying levels are available.