Get Behind The Badge was established in 2001 after the tragic line of duty death of Whitehall Officer Terry McDowell. During the violent attack of Officer McDowell, his partner Eric Brill was also shot and subsequently lost his eye. Officer Brill was unable to return to work as a law enforcement officer. Several weeks later on 9/11, New York City was attacked and dealt a very tragic loss of many lives including those of the first responders (police and fire personnel). These incidents and the line of duty deaths and critical injuries of several other Central Ohio first responders raised the awareness that we needed a charity to raise funds to assist the families of these fallen and injured heroes.
Our Founder and Surviving Spouse - Angela McDowell, sought to build something so that no other surviving families would have to endure the financial hardships she encountered during Terry's death. Thus, Get Behind The Badge was established. During the tragic incident of Officer McDowell, the crucial response from Whitehall Fire Department was one of the factors in the survival of Officer Brill. Their heroic efforts to remove Officer Brill from a hostile environment were instrumental in saving his life. With the teamwork of both safety services it was recognized that Get Behind The Badge needed to include Fire personnel within their realm of responsibility.
Since 2001, we have held many annual charity fundraisers to assist us with our mission of providing immediate financial assistance to the families of those law enforcement/fire fighter personnel who have been killed and/or critically wounded on or off duty. Along with the help of private donors, the communities we protect and other businesses that sponsor our events, we are able to reach out to those families to provide support financially and emotionally.
The difference with our organization compared to others is that our board members are not compensated for our involvement with the organization. We do what we do based upon our hearts and the responsibilities we have to care for our own. Our Board members understand first hand the tragedies of first responders and the results of critical line of duty incidents. We thank you for your support as we continue our goal of "Helping Our First Responders"!