WEBSTER COUNTY, Mo. – A new nonprofit in Webster County is looking to assist families of fallen officers and firefighters.
Teresa Housholder, vice president of the Webster County 100 Club, says residents of her county have seen the result of two firefighters and a deputy who suffered untimely deaths, adding it was time to see better support for the families of such fallen heroes.
“Based upon those, we decided it was time for Webster County to have a 100 Club,” Housholder told The Heartlander. “Unfortunately, although your world stops when you lose a loved one, the rest of the world doesn’t stop. You’ve still got to deal with paying that mortgage, keeping that roof over your head, keeping food on the table and everything else. It can become very overwhelming, especially if the loved one you lost was the primary breadwinner and now you’ve lost a major source of income.”
The region currently has four other 100 Clubs in place in Taney, Christian, Greene and Stone counties. The Webster County chapter became the newest addition in January.
Webster County contains six law enforcement agencies and at least nine fire departments serving nearly 40,000 citizens.
The county is bordered by six counties, including several bordering towns. Keith Housholder, president of Webster County 100, says some organizations are working together to ensure responders can be covered by a 100 Club within their county until new chapters have become more financially independent.
“Rogersville, Missouri – about half the city is in Webster County and the other half is between Christian and Greene Counties,” Housholder explained. “There are going to be times that Rogersville PD is going to assist with Webster County PD inside Webster (County) or vice versa.”
Housholder says Greene County’s 100 Club was instrumental in providing its bylaws so he could come up with his own bylaws for Webster County’s.
“Everybody believes this is not a competition. We all believe in supporting each other. Greene County was extremely helpful with me getting mine up and operating. We are glad to assist in any other counties that want to do the program. I’ll line them up with everything we did and let them figure out how they are going to do theirs,” the president said.
Other 100 Club chapters have been known to assist families of officers or firefighters who have been injured in the line of duty, but the president of Webster County 100 Club says his group will focus on the fallen until more funding becomes available in the future.
The president of the club says donated money will never be used for political or religious issues. The Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) currently handles donations to Webster County 100 Club, as well as the distribution process. Housholder says the use of an organization such as CFO ensures trust for anyone interested in donating.
“There is no way in this process for anybody to abuse the fund. We wanted this to be very strict and transparent in a way that people can trust the process, and it’s gonna get to the right people.”
The Webster County 100 Club is headed by President Keith Housholder, Vice President Teresa Housholder and their son Christopher, who works as secretary and treasurer for the club.