|THE CHALLENGE WE FACE
Jonathan Manley and I are best friends who share a lust for new experiences and a passion for bicycling, traveling and adventure. We have imagineered a daring plan to raise $50,000 for a noble charity: the 100 Club of Arizona.
Starting November 15th, 2008, we are embarking on a bicycle adventure that we have come to term “Hero’s Quest 2008”, or more succinctly, “HQ8”.
We have sold off all our material possessions, put our careers on hold, and strapped our few remaining belongings to our bicycles; these will serve as our mobile homes for at least three and a half months of our lives.
Each carrying dozens of pounds of gear on our bicycles, we will be analogous to human pack mules. We will be bicycling from Phoenix, Arizona to our ultimate destination: Panama City, Panama. We will be venturing through eight countries, covering over 3,500 miles, spanning the entire length of Central America. We will face unknown territory and immense challenges; quite parallel to the life of a police officer or fire fighter, facing the unknown in an effort to help others.
We will ride through desert, mountains, rainforests and along the coast. We will explore Arizona, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. We will sleep in the homes of locals and under the stars. We will update you via an online journal, providing stories and photos, every pedal stroke of the way.
This is a self funded adventure; we have saved every penny we’ve earned the past year to make this ride a reality. We have given up every creature comfort we had for this worthwhile cause. We ask you, from the comfort of your home, to merely show your support and make a donation today. We also ask that you spread the word of our adventure to others; feel free to forward this newsletter on to anyone who might be interested! If nothing else, you can at least be entertained by our trials and tribulations on the road, which will be published in our online journal!
To learn more about our ride, please visit our official website at www.herosquest2008.com.
WHY THE 100 CLUB OF ARIZONA?
I was hired by the Phoenix Police Department in 2006 and attended the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy (ALEA) as a member of Class 420. I made a lot of friends there, from many different departments, who went on to become police officers across the State of Arizona.
I ultimately made the decision to leave the Academy when offered a suprise publishing deal for my computer game "Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine".
I wanted to show my support to my fellow recruits of Class 420, and was certain to show up on Graduation Day to celebrate their new careers as police officers.
While I was at the Academy on Graduation Day, the 100 Club of Arizona came in to give a speech about their charitable efforts and its services. This non-profit organization provides immediate financial assistance to the families of police officers, fire fighters and EMTs seriously injured or killed in the line-of-duty. For those of you who don’t know, my father died of cancer when I was 10 years old. My mom, sisters and I were lucky to have the support of relatives and friends; in a way, the 100 Club provides that same sort of support during tragic times—a cause I could definitely stand behind.
I remember in the Academy, reading the obituaries of fallen police officers around the country. The reality was not sugar coated; we knew we were getting into a dangerous profession where we may have to make the ultimate sacrifice while protecting others.
At graduation, it became all the more real. My classmates were going to be out on the mean streets, and there was a chance any of them could become casualties. I made a donation to the 100 Club that day in support of my classmates and their families. Even after that, I still wished there was more I could do.
OFFICER GEORGE CORTEZ WAS KILLED IN THE LINE-OF-DUTY
While visiting California a few months later, I received a text message from a Maryvale police officer stating that one of his coworkers had just been shot and killed while responding to a call. I wondered if it was one of my classmates and was very worried.
My sister saw my worry and explained to me that there was nothing I could do, so I needed to let it go. I began wondering if there WAS something I could do—some tangible effort I could make to help.
I did find out that all of my classmates were fine. It was Officer George Cortez who was killed. Here’s the story:
“Officer George Cortez was shot and killed after responding to a cash-checking store to investigate reports of a forgery-in-progress.
At approximately 8:30 pm, Officer Cortez responded to a call that a man and woman were passing forged checks at a check-cashing business on 83rd Avenue, near Encanto Boulevard. Officer Cortez entered the business and was placing the male suspect in handcuffs when he drew a gun and shot Officer Cortez several times.
Officer Cortez was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital where he died from his injuries.
The suspects fled the scene, but were apprehended the next day. They were charged with capital first-degree murder, burglary and forgery.
Officer Cortez had served with the Phoenix Police Department for two years and as detention officer with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department for two years. He is survived by his wife, two sons, and parents.”
I realized though, it didn’t make a difference that I didn’t know George—he was still a father of two little boys, a husband, a friend, and someone doing his best to make the community a safer place. I wanted to do what I could to help his family, and families like his, who were forced to live without their loved one.
It was at this time that I decided I wanted to ally with the 100 Club of Arizona. I wanted to create a charity event to raise money, with all proceeds going to the 100 Club, so they could continue offering their services to families in need.
OFFICER NICK ERFLE WAS KILLEN IN THE LINE-OF-DUTY
I put the finishing touches on our charity bicycle ride proposal which I came to term: Hero’s Quest 2008. I was very nervous dropping it in the outgoing mail slot, knowing it would soon be in the hands of the Executive Director of the 100 Club of Arizona. We were committing to something huge—if they said yes, it meant we would be spending months of our lives riding across an unfamiliar region, facing many unknown challenges! If they said no, we would have spent months of planning in vain.
I went to bed.
I awoke the following morning to hear that another Phoenix Police officer, Nick Erfle, had been shot and killed. Here’s the story:
“Officer Nick Erfle was shot after he and his partner approached three people for jaywalking and obstructing traffic on 24th Street, one block north of Thomas Road.
One man gave a fictitious name that had a misdemeanor warrant and as they attempted to take him into custody, the suspect drew a weapon and shot Officer Erfle in the face. He was rushed to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center where he died from his injuries an hour later.
The suspect then carjacked a vehicle and took the driver hostage. About an hour later, an unmarked special assignments unit spotted a car and suspect matching the carjacked vehicle's description.
They began surveillance and managed to box in the vehicle at 27th Avenue and McDowell Road. The suspect pointed his gun at the hostage and he was shot and killed by an officer. The suspect was later identified as having a felony record.
The driver of the vehicle was not injured.
Officer Erfle had served with the Phoenix Police Department for 8 years. He is survived by his wife and two children.”
The officer had been a classmate and good friend of another officer I knew. He was quite devastated, as was the community.
I received an email from the 100 Club asking me to be patient in reviewing my charity bicycle ride proposal, as they were working hard to provide support to Nick’s family; I realized at this time, my charity of choice was the right one to ally with. I was proud and grateful of the support they were offering to a family in need; I wanted to help them continue in this mission.
HISTORY OF THE THE 100 CLUB OF ARIZONA
The concept of the 100 Club was born in Detroit in 1952 following the fatal shooting of a young Detroit officer. A gentleman by the name of William M. Packer, who was the largest Pontiac Dealer in the nation and a friend of the Police Commissioner, wrote to 100 of his friends encouraging them to donate to a fund for the fallen officer. The response was 100%. Packer and the Commissioner met with the expectant widow, reviewed her finances and arranged to pay off the mortgage on their recently purchased home, pay all the bills, set up an education account for the yet unborn child and deposited $7,000 in the widow’s checking account.
In 1965, a young Phoenix officer was killed in the line-of-duty. Several acquaintances with knowledge of the Detroit 100 Club got together and started the Phoenix 100 Club, which was officially organized in 1968. One of the earliest members was Frank Haze Burch. Frank's father was the first Phoenix police officer killed in the line-of-duty in 1924 when Frank was just five years old.
The charter mission of the 100 Club was to come to the immediate financial aid of the family of an officer who gave his or her life in the line-of-duty. The 100 Club expanded its mission to include firefighters and county, state and federal public safety officers in Arizona. In 1994, the 100 Club elected to provide immediate financial assistance to firefighters and law enforcement officers seriously injured in the line-of-duty in addition to the families of officers’ who died in the line-of-duty. In 1997, Native American reservation tribal firefighters and law enforcement officers where added as recipients. Today, the 100 Club of Arizona is there for all firefighters, correctional and law enforcement officers at local, county, tribal, state and federal levels serving and protecting the citizens of Arizona.
The 100 Club members realize that money can never make up for the loss of or disability of a loved one, but it can be helpful in covering immediate expenses. In addition, the 100 Club has a committee of experts, a Professional Advisory Team including members of the fallen officer's agency, CPAs, attorneys, trust officers, brokers, financial consultants, insurance consultants and employee benefits consultants. This team, at the survivor's request, will advise and counsel families in a wide range of areas without cost or obligation.
The 100 Club - Providing Assistance At A Moments Notice: When tragedy strikes, the effects are swift and devastating. The 100 Club recognizes the need to respond immediately with support and understanding. Whatever the need - financial, advisory or moral support, the 100 Club is there to ease the pain of the family of a firefighter, law enforcement or correctional officer injured or killed in the line-of-duty.
THE DIRECT IMPACT YOUR DONATION WILL MAKE
You may wonder how your donation is going to help. Let me explain:
When an officer or firefighter is injured or killed in the line-of-duty, the 100 Club of Arizona shows up on the family’s doorstep with immediate financial assistance to help them through the tragedy.
- $15,000 is provided to the families of officers/firefighters killed in the line-of-duty. This immediate financial support will help the family survive while developing a new plan to get by without their loved one.
- Up to $18,000 is provided for officers/firefighters who are seriously injured in the line-of-duty. This can help while they are out of work, and to help with the rehabilitation process.
- $5,000 is provided to the families of officers/firefighters who die while off duty, but while employed by a qualified agency.
(The above benefits are extended to public safety officers/firefighters called into active military duty).
Other Programs or Affiliates of the 100 Club include:
Safety Enhancement Stipends (SES): Quarterly awards to qualified agencies to purchase equipment to enhance the safety of their officers/firefighters.
Professional Advisory Team (PAT): Assistance to officers/firefighters and their families who suffer a life-altering event.
Helping E mergency Response Officer and Survivors (H.E.R.O.S): Bringing community businesses and organization’s resources together to address the needs of public safety family.
Wills for Heroes (WFH): A partnership between the 100 Club of Arizona and WFH Foundation to provide free wills for first responders.
As you can see, the $50,000 we are aiming to raise can help about three families and provide funds for these additional programs that the 100 Club of Arizona offers. Last year alone, 5 officers were killed in the line-of-duty in Arizona. That does not include officers who were seriously injured. Your donations will help.
PLEASE DONATE ONLINE TODAY!