2016 called upon the strength of the Foundation more than ever before. These are the families we responded to this year, Dallas Police Sergeant Michael Smith, Officer Michael Krol, Officer Patrick Zamarripa, Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens, DART Officer Brent Thompson, SMU Officer Mark McCullers, and Corrections Officer Mari Johnson. With the tragedy in Dallas, the Foundation has now responded to 45 families in the 20 counties we serve. Across the country, we have seen large numbers of officers attacked, shot and killed because of the unrest this country is experiencing with law enforcement. The Foundation was not quite sure how the community would respond based on prior incidents. To our surprise, the community responded. We posted the information on our website asking for donations and the money began to come in from all over the country as well as from companies we had never heard of. Then, our radio station partner, 105.3 the Fan called and said they had an idea for a fundraiser. They had less than a week to put it together, but Gavin Spittle, Ben Rodgers and Skin Wade along with several other radio personalities brought together sports stars from all the local sports franchises and with the help of a local restaurant, we raised over $275,000.00 in one day. The agreement was that all monies raised at this event would go to help not only the families of fallen, but also help the wounded. It was an unbelievable and heartfelt night.
What has happened since?
Monies continued to come in, along with new companies asking to become partners. New to the Foundation are Subway and Albertsons. The North Texas Chevy dealers contacted us as well and raised their sponsorship for 2016. Walmart continues to be a large and important part of our organization and our success. I would like to personally thank those stores which assisted in providing food and supplies for the departments that were affected from the events on July 7th.
Lakewood Brewery has been amazing. They have stepped up in so many ways for fallen officers and firefighters. They have allowed us to name a beer (All Call), which has become very successful, to donating beer to many events, and now placing the name of the fallen officer/firefighter on the bottom of the cans as the dates come on or about their anniversary date. Thank you Lakewood Brewery.
Members of Garland and Irving PD came to the rescue. With the passing of Officer Mark Dahl, his wife was left with not only dealing with his death, but also the day of the event, a large gust of wind came thru her neighborhood knocking down her ½ acre fence. Several members of the two departments' friends and families came together and in two days completely rebuilt her a new fence. The true meaning of the brotherhood that day.
Boxing, Largest crowd to date, with almost 5,000 in attendance. Golf tournament was another great success to the point that we are looking to expand to the Tarrant County area for a second tournament in 2017. Cross Fit Competition: New for 2017 hosted by the Grand Prairie Police Department coming in May.
On behalf of all the board members of Guns and Hoses Foundation, we wish you a safe new year.
Lt. Dave Swavey
Guns and Hoses Foundation of North Texas