The 2014 Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon for Cleveland 100 has been scheduled for May 22 at Mountain View Inn.
Nominations are now being processed from area emergency service agencies for the men and women who will be honored at the annual awards event.
Brenda Lawson, Cleveland 100 president, said the board met a few weeks ago and set the date and began advising various agencies to send in nominations. “Nomination forms were placed in the hands of all of our emergency services agencies,” she said. “Deadline for nominations was April 25; however if there is a department that failed to get their nominations in, they need to contact our offices as soon as possible at 423-476-2140 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org,” she said.
Since its inception in 1996, Cleveland 100 has had a mission to provide immediate financial assistance for families of police, fire, rescue and ambulance personnel who lose their lives in the line of duty.
Founded by Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland and the late AFT Agent Courtney McGrady, Cleveland 100 has been called to action three times in its 18-year history. Shortly after its inception, in 1997, Bradley County volunteer fireman Sgt. Scott M. Berry died in a crash while en route to a fire call. In 2008, Cleveland Police Department Lt. Kenneth Simpson died after a full day of activities on duty, then in 2012, officer Justin Maples of the Cleveland Police Department was killed in a patrol car crash.
“Each time, Cleveland 100 has offered immediate financial assistance and support to the families of our emergency service responders, helping with immediate needs or funeral finances,” explained Lawson. “No one is ever prepared when something like this occurs,” she said, “and often there are immediate needs. That’s why we are here. We want the families of our emergency services personnel to find comfort in knowing we are here by their side if tragedy occurs. We have had many first responders tell us this is a source of comfort for them — to know their families will not be alone in time of tragedy.”
Cleveland 100 is a nonprofit charitable organization incorporated under the laws of the state of Tennessee. Membership is maintained by individuals who pay $100 a year and by corporations which give $1,000 a year. Monies are invested in case emergencies arise, assuring Cleveland 100 is prepared and ready to serve when needed.
Another important component of Cleveland 100 is a scholarship endowment program begun after the sudden death in 2003 of co-founder McGrady. The scholarship was established by Lawson.
“Since the scholarship was set up in 2004, we have had 10 people receive financial assistance to further their studies,” said Rowland. “Courtney McGrady Scholarships are made available to emergency services personnel who desire to further their education. It also provides monies for technician programs or for continuing education for any first responder. High school graduates whose career goals are in the first responder fields are also provided scholarships. And of course children of fallen first responders are offered financial assistance, particularly if they are pursuing careers in the field of emergency services.
Rowland said recipients in the past have included police officers, deputies, firefighters, rescue personnel and high school graduates.
“It has been a variety of men and women whose goal is to further their education in their profession. Cleveland State Community College has been great to administer the scholarships through the years. In addition to this scholarship, they have other monies keynoted for emergency services. So we hope no one is turned away if they qualify and desire to study in the first responder fields,” Rowland said.
Each year during the Awards Luncheon, awards are given in two categories: dedicated professional and community service. A special award which now is called the Courtney & Betty McGrady Award goes to a professional and/or agency that has exhibited bravery and valor, courage and tenacity, outstanding dedication to profession, saving lives and demonstrating exemplary behavior during performance of duties.
Lawson noted the award “is not given every year, because of the requirements. But in the past few years we have had some outstanding men and women take home this prestigious honor. We weigh each and every nominee on the basis of dedicated professionalism and community service.”
Tickets for the event are being distributed through the various emergency services agencies and being paid through sponsorships of corporate tables at the annual event, thus there are no ticket sales.