Collier 100 Club assists first responders in times of need

·2 min read

Whenever a natural disaster or other emergency occurs in Southwest Florida, our first responders are there on the front lines serving courageously to ensure our personal safety and security.

Russell Budd
Russell Budd

But who is there for those first responders?

That is the mission of the Collier 100 Club. Founded in 1985, the Collier 100 Club is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to financially assist first responders and their families in times of tragedy.

As we approach the half-year mark since Hurricane Ian devastated our community, we are reminded that there are many law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMS personnel and other first responders who are still trying to put their lives together and recover from the aftermath of this historic storm.

The Collier 100 Club originally was incorporated to provide support for the families of fallen officers. 100 Clubs have existed for many years all over the country with the goal of providing immediate financial support to families of fallen officers. In 1983, the Florida Highway Patrol commanding officer met with then Collier County Sheriff Aubrey Rogers and his staff to discuss the need for such a club here.

A pilot committee was formed which invited a handful of other leaders to join. Over time, the Collier 100 Club broadened its mission to include all first responders serving in Collier County. That includes not only the Sheriff’s Office, local police and fire departments, and emergency medical services, but also Florida Wildlife officers and any state or federal law enforcement personnel assigned to Collier County.

Recently, the organization’s Board of Directors further expanded the mission “To financially assist first responders and their families in times of tragedy.” This was to acknowledge that many financial burdens were placed on first responders by tragedies other than line of death duties such as natural disasters.

To disburse the funds, the Collier 100 Club must first receive a written request from an agency’s commanders outlining the need. The goal, most importantly, is to provide these funds to the first responder or their family within 24 hours. It has long been known that the need for financial relief is immediate and before other forms of support, like personal insurance, become available.

When a first responder faces a tragedy, they or their families often are faced with financial burdens they cannot meet. Immediately following Hurricane Ian, the Collier 100 Club distributed $1,000 assistance checks to more than 50 deserving first responders. Additional grants have since been distributed and it is estimated that by the end of this month, more than $300,000 in total aid will have been distributed.

These funds have helped first responders and their families with such basic needs as rent, rebuilding, clothing and just putting food on the table for their families.

But the need continues.

The Collier 100 Club raises funds through annual memberships and generous donations throughout the year from the community. If you would like to join the cause, please visit

(Russell A. Budd is the Founder of PBS Contractors in Naples and President of the Collier 100 Club.)

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Collier 100 Club assists first responders in times of need