Get Your Steps in for a Good Cause This Weekend
It’s a tragedy that happens all too often in Massachusetts: service members losing their lives in the line of duty, leaving loved ones behind. It can often take weeks or months for the state bureaucracy to process a decedent’s benefits, pensions, and so forth—creating a painful waiting period for the family. On top of grief, mortgage payments and everyday expenses can suddenly feel overwhelming and insurmountable.
Founded in 1959, the 100 Club supports family members of Massachusetts police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty, providing both emotional and financial support. Immediately after a death, the organization donates a $10,000 check to a service member’s family so they are able to make ends meet before more formal benefits vest. But the 100 Club is about much more than just money: “We’re a companionship organization,” says the organization’s newly installed president, Peter Smyth. “We’re a community. We stay with the widows, make sure they’re taken care of and that they know we’re there.”
Of course, the organization can’t do it alone—and this week, it’s asking for your help. Through March 29, the Boston Bruins are holding their annual BFit Virtual Step Challenge in support of the 100 Club. Participants are invited to download the BFit app to count their steps, with prizes going to the teams and individuals who clock the highest number of steps. Last year the event raised more than $600,000 for the families of fallen first responders—and this year, Smyth anticipates it’ll raise even more.
Smyth—who for 30 years served as chairman and CEO of Greater Media, which owned a range of radio stations and newspapers from Boston to Detroit—sees the 100 Club’s partnership with the Bruins as just the beginning of his efforts to raise awareness of the organization. “I have to thank the Bruins because they have been unbelievable to us,” he says. “But ultimately I want to do something with the Red Sox, I’d love to develop a road race for the organization, and different types of events that are family-centric… We all have to give back, we all have to work together as one community, and I want to try to be a part of that dialogue.”