Grundy County Heroes & Helpers hosted their first benefit Saturday evening, June 29 at the Cardinal Transport in Coal City.
The benefit raised funds for their first give back to the community event, Shop with a Hero, that will take place Dec. 14, 2019 in Morris. Shop with a Hero will match a local hero; Sheriff, Police, Fire, and EMS with a child from Grundy County ages 5-15 to shop for necessities such as clothes, socks, and shoes. The children will then be treated to a magical Christmas event where they will be able to shop for brand new, unopened toys that have been donated by heroes and helpers throughout the community from now until the December event.
Heroes and Helpers treated their guests to a fun and festive time with entertainment provided by the Windy City Dueling Pianos and a generously donated dinner by Geo’s Pizza of Coal City. The event was open to the public with guests given the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets to raise funds while also being given the chance to take home over 40 different basket items and gift certificates that were generously donated by several local Grundy County businesses and individuals from the community. Included in the evening was a 50/50 raffle with 6,200 dollars total raised, with half going to raffle winner Julia Morrissy of Morris and the other half going to Heroes and Helpers.
Wendy Briley, one of four committee members, thanked guests for attending while also sharing their mission of enhancing the lives of children in Grundy County. She invited folks to participate in their next event; Christmas in July Toy Drive, taking place on Sunday, July 21 at Walmart in Morris.
“Throughout the different roles we each serve in our individual employment and participation in our community alongside the experiences that we hear from our local heroes, several of which are our husbands that come home with stories of such need, we knew that we had the desire and capacity to help bring change, hope and relief to many children and their families. Bringing Christmas joy and magic to children experiencing loss, trauma and poverty is just our first efforts,” said Briley.
Briley introduced Joshua Jahn, a public speaker and Dwight Fire Lieutenant, to speak to the audience. Jahn briefly spoke of the loss of his wife and two small children 11 years ago to a drunk driver that occurred in Grundy County. In the years since he has dedicated himself to empowering young and old alike to make choices for good. Last year he hosted a toy drive in November in memory of Mandy, Ryan and Kaitlyn.
“After learning more about Heroes and Helpers mission and realizing their first big give back was a Christmas toy event, I knew it was a perfect organization to partner with for our second annual toy drive in my late wife and children’s memory,” said Jahn. “The more we are able to work together, the more good we can do.”
Several first responder organizations were invited to attend the event as a result of generous table donations from Bob’s Advanced Auto and Tri State Asphalt. First responder personnel in attendance; Coal City Police Department, Dwight Fire Protection District, Grundy County Dispatchers, Grundy County Sheriff’s Department, Minooka Police Department, and Verona Fire Department.
Grundy County Heroes and Helpers is a non-profit Grundy County Sheriff Police Foundation volunteer committee whose mission is to help enhance the lives of children throughout Grundy County. On the committee; Wendy Briley, Executive Secretary for the Chief of Investigations & Intelligence, Illinois Department of Corrections; Melanie Elias, Lisbon Grade School Superintendent; Cortney Clampitt, Brandt Printing; and Lori Werden, Grundy County Treasurer. For more information on how to get involved please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.