SARATOGA SPRINGS — Throughout years of working with law enforcement, Daniel De Federicis of the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) has noticed officers treat each other like family. Now, his organization has found a way to help the families of officers during the hardest times in their lives.
The PBA formed the Family Assistance Fund, a nonprofit charitable organization created to provide assistance to law enforcement officials and their families who face financial difficulties after unforeseen events such as natural disasters, death or illness.
The Family Assistance Fund is modeled after a similar program called Signal 30 for New York State Troopers, said De Federicis, PBA Executive Director and Counsel.
“There are a lot of wonderful people out there that want to help out police officers in their time of need, but a lot of the unions did not have charitable arms.”
So the troopers created their own in 2002 and then the PBA followed suit 16 years later. Since its inception, the Family Assistance Fund has helped eight families in a variety of situations across the state.
Most recently, the organization raised about $9,000 for the family of John Hoague-Rivette, the son of an officer in the Capital Region, who has been battling an aggressive form of brain cancer, said Faith Walker, the director of operations for the PBA.
The family has been able to use the money to offset the costs of the boy’s treatment and associated travel expenses.
“Really we leave it up to the family to spend in any way they need to so they can spend time caring for the child instead of stressing over the bills,” Walker said.
Families can use the funds for whatever they like, not just medical expenses.
For instance, one officer was caring for both of her parents, when her house burned to the ground while she was at work. Fortunately, everyone was able to escape and was safe, but she was left without a home, and expenses to pay for hotels, food and clothing. The fund helped provided money to help her get through those initial expenses.
Another situation was when an officer’s adult daughter died. She was a single mother of three and the children were left to officer to take care of. It was right before the start of a new school year and he was relieved to have the money from the fund to help with the cost of school supplies and clothing for the start of a new school year for the three children.
The charity recently had its inaugural fundraiser at the Saratoga Automobile Museum, which raised $30,000. Jennifer DesChamps, an executive assistant for the PBA, said she intend for the event to take place annually.
She added that there are also fundraising efforts throughout the year to meet the needs of individual families in need.
“We do that through word of mouth or email and our webpage and those smaller fundraisers are generally specific to a family and folks that are friends of that family or in that community will donate toward that individual,” DesChamps said.
Both DesChamps and Walker said they were humbled to be a part of an organization that helps families in a time of need.
“Our officers became so near and dear to my heart throughout my time at the PBA, there wasn’t a moment of hesitation when I heard I could be a part of this,” Walker said.
To make a donation to the Police Benevolent Association of New York State’s Family Assistance Fund, please go to https://www.pbanys.org