Posted by Doreen Higgins on Aug 14, 2017
Mark Dana spoke to us on Wednesday of an organization that he is passionate about. It is the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire, of which he is the President, which takes care of the families of those killed or injured in the course of their work “taking care of us.”
 
Mark and his wife came to Savannah in 1995, starting a career in law enforcement. He is now the Director of the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department’s Police Reserve Officer Program and an Honorary Captain with the Savannah Fire and Emergency Services Department. He recently was inducted into the First Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment as an Honorary Ranger.

The 200 Club of the Coastal Empire was established 16 years ago; it is a 501© organization which provides assistance to the family members of those fallen or injured – first responders – in 18 Georgia counties and 2 South Carolina counties. The first responders are police officers, EMS, fire fighters, those people who are the first on the scene when there is dire peril and whose lives are at immediate risk. The objective of the 200 Club is to provide significant financial assistance to surviving family members of those first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty. To date $1.2 million has been disbursed to such beneficiaries.

Mark told us of the stress of being in law enforcement, and the need for support for these families who are bereaved. The club members sit down immediately with these family members to figure out what is needed; many of the fallen officers are the principal, or the only, source of income, and family needs are pressing. In addition to meeting immediate financial needs the club offers a 100% paid-for college education to the surviving spouse and children. The benefits offered are at the sole discretion of the directors of the club.

The 200 Club is modeled on the first such club, the 100 Club started in Detroit in 1952. The principal and largest Pontiac dealer in the city, Bill Packer, asked one hundred of his friends to help the family of a police officer who had lost his life in the course of duty. The concept has spread and now many such clubs exist. They are funded through tax-deductible memberships; all members are volunteers, and all monies collected are disbursed to families. Mark told us that they do a few fundraisers – golf in September, BBQ in Ellis Square in October, a “Savannah Mile” along River Street, and an association with the Savannah Bananas. Anyone interested can become a member. “We care for those who care for us,” Mark told us, to offer recognition for acts of valor and to offer thanks to those who put their lives on the line for us. More info? Contact www.twohundredclub.org
 
Below is a photo of President Toni with Mark Dana.