From (past) President Don Theile, in the club newsletter dated June, 2006.
The concept of the ‘Hundred Club’ started in Detroit, Michigan in 1950. Following the fatal shooting of a young Detroit police officer, a person by the name of William Packer (The largest Pontiac dealer in the nation at the time), who was a friend of the Police Commissioner, wrote to 100 of his friends to encourage them to donate funds to the family of the fallen officer. The response was 100%.
Packer and the Commissioner met with the widow, who was pregnant. They reviewed her finances and arranged to pay off the mortgage on the home and all of her bills. An education fund was set up for the unborn child and $7,000 was deposited in a checking account for the family. Packer and his friends incorporated The Hundred Club of Detroit. Since it’s founding, the Detroit Hundred Club has helped 262 widows and families and disbursed nearly $5 million in benefits and education assistance.
Some 56 years later, there are 121 active Hundred Clubs throughout the nation. Some of the larger clubs may represent an entire state and have over 20,000 members while smaller clubs may have several hundred members.
In 1984, then Contra Costa County Sheriff, Richard Rainey wanted to have a Hundred Club in the county. Donald Schliesser stepped in and formed The One Hundred Club of Contra Costa County. Attending the strategy meeting in Walnut Creek were Ken Behring, Ken Hoffmann, Joe Vrankovich, Lee Shaklee, Bob Thayer, Gerry Fitzpatrick, Don Schliesser, and Sheriff Rainey. Each decided to fund the One Hundred Club by donating $1,000 and solicitude friends and acquaintances to join and donate as well. Many people stepped forward with Lifetime Memberships, while others did work or provided expertise at no cost. By 2003, the membership grew to 415 members and then to 581 members by 2006. As of today, we have over 800 members. The One Hundred Club of Contra Costa County has helped five families of officers killed in the line of duty.
The One Hundred Club provided $20,000 to the surviving spouse within 48 hours after the death, to help the needs of the family. Longer term, the Club helps the surviving children with scholarships when appropriate. Presently, (in 2006) there are two in college (Christina and Jessica Giacomelli). To date, The One Hundred Club of Contra Costa County has been there to assist the survivors of police officers and firefighters who have died in the line of duty.