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Giving The 100 Club 100 percent

When first responders need help, Alamo Heights businessman is there

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ALAMO HEIGHTS — First responders protect and serve the community, but when they need help, their loved ones can always count on The 100 Club of San Antonio and its president, Richard A. Miller.

Adjacent to Miller’s business in Alamo Heights is the headquarters of The 100 Club, a nonprofit offering financial assistance to families of fallen law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical service personnel.

“It is an honor to serve in this position and witness firsthand the compassion and kindness that makes San Antonio and Bexar County one of the best places to live,”  Miller said.

The Navy veteran’s volunteerism has even led to national recognition. The San Antonio FBI office nominated Miller for the prestigious Director’s Community Leadership Award, which he received in May at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., from Director Christopher A. Wray.

In the end, though, Miller said the real heroes are the men and women behind the badge who are committed to protecting the community.

Miller was introduced to The 100 Club by longtime San Antonio businessman and Pizza Hut franchiser Jack Richmond, who was serving as president in 2007.

Miller was elected president in 2010 and again in 2012. In 2014, he was asked by the board to remain as the top officer in the position. Miller has almost 40 years of business experience, primarily in the investment field.

Miller’s leadership, said chairman and local attorney Matthew Brysacz, has made possible additional programs providing much-needed coping and counseling resources for family members of first responders killed in the line of duty.

Additional services for public safety agencies can include teaching life-saving tactical skills; enhanced first aid training; protecting one’s weapon in altercations; and verbal de-escalation techniques.

The club mainly operates using contributions and volunteers.

A vehicle displaying a 100 Club decal on its windshield usually means it belongs to someone who has made the donations and extra training possible, said Alamo Heights Fire & EMS Chief Michael Gdovin.

“The 100 Club reinforces that we do not have a thankless job,” Gdovin said. “The decals are a simple reminder that someone is there for first responders on our worst day.”

Alamo Heights Police Chief Richard Pruitt first became aware of The 100 Club in 1985 after fellow officer Lt. John Frisco of the Windcrest Police Department was killed trying to foil a vehicle burglary.

“In the days following his death, the Windcrest Police Department was contacted by representatives of The 100 Club who started the process of building accounts for Lt. Frisco’s four surviving children,” Pruitt said. The checks helped fund their education.

“I remember each time one of them was presented with their individual checks in the years following and what that recognition in honor of their father’s sacrifice meant to them.”

Over time, Pruitt said, The 100 Club has expanded its support to officers and firefighters who have been critically injured during their duties.

“I recognize and appreciate all the hard work and dedication of Richard Miller and the many tireless supporters within the 100 Club organization that make everything possible,” the chief added.

During National Police Week, May 12-18, The 100 Club took part in various ceremonies to recognize the ultimate sacrifice paid by public-safety personnel, including at the San Antonio Police Department Training Academy on the South Side.

The club supports first responders in the 28 municipalities in Bexar County; police employed by school districts and universities; and state and federal law enforcement based in the county.

“That’s why we say thank you to the citizens of San Antonio and Bexar County for making the 100 Club possible,” Miller said.

The club started in San Antonio in 1973, but the national origin dates to 1957 Detroit when auto magnate William Packard sought donations after a law-enforcement officer gave his life in the line of duty.

Packard is said to have penned 100 letters asking friends to donate money to support the officer’s survivors. When another officer died on duty, Packard repeated the gesture, creating The 100 Club.

The 100 Club is “a quiet but well-known organization” across Bexar County and people “are aware of what we do,” Brysacz said, adding folks are quick to offer help, donate or ask about volunteer opportunities.

As for his award from the FBI, Miller said it was an humbling experience to be in the company of so many community leaders from across the country. He credits his success to the work of others.

“To see my name inscribed on the award is certainly motivation to serve in even greater capacities, but I believe it is a better testament to the combined talents of those who I have the honor of working with to enrich our community,” he said. “We live in a special place filled with talented and amazing people. I consider myself blessed to have the opportunity to contribute in the ways that I can.”

To learn more about the group, visit https://www.100clubsa.org/.

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