Eagles support families of the fallen

Courtesy photo Wellington police chief Tim Barfield and Lt. Jeff Shelton present Wellington Eagles president Chuck Gilles with a plaque of appreciation Tuesday, June 7 for the Eagles’ donation to the Lorain County Blue Foundation’s Honor Our Heroes program.

A $1,000 donation earned the Wellington Eagles a plaque of appreciation from the Lorain County Blue Foundation.

Lorain County Blue is an organization comprised of law enforcement agencies in the county and was created to help officers who were fatally wounded or critically injured in the line of duty.

The large donation was for the organization’s “Honor Our Heroes” program, which aims to assist the families of officers killed or injured on the job.

Wellington police chief Tim Barfield and Lt. Jeff Shelton presented Eagles president Chuck Gilles with the plaque last Tuesday night.

“Since the Eagles in Wellington donated it, (Lorain County Blue) voted to have Wellington PD give them the plaque,” Shelton said.

Tim Smith, long-time member of the Eagles, said the organization had no idea it was going to receive an award.

He said the Eagles donate money to various causes, but have donated to the Wellington police department recently by helping officeres purchase new badges and hosting the inaugural policeman’s ball.

“We raise our funds mostly through charitable games,” Smith said. “We have things like tickets, video raffle machines, and our patrons like those kind of games and that’s how we raise our charity money.”

Shelton said $1,000 goes a long way to help families that have lost loved ones. “Or even if they’re in the hospital and they’re off work, we can get money together for groceries for the family right away and help them with any bills that they have,” he said.

Lorain County Blue provides families of first responders with a $4,000 death benefit when a line of duty death occurs, according to its website.

Shelton is grateful for the Eagles’ contribution and is glad he was one of the officers presenting the award.

“It made us proud that our organization stepped up and did that for Lorain County Blue and it makes you proud to be a police officer here,” he said.

The Eagles are very supportive of the police, firefighters, EMS, and military, the lieutenant said.

“What’s nice is the Eagles contribute to everybody down here,” he said. “It’s just nice having a group of people that care and whether it’s us or just a normal family here in town that need help they step up and do what they have to do.”

The Eagles’ motto is “people helping people,” and Shelton said that’s exactly what they do.

Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 400-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.