Last Updated on July 18, 2023 by Luke Feldbrugge
The Clackamas County Peace Officers Benevolent Foundation is dedicated to the Clackamas County law enforcement community by providing encouragement, information, companionship, support, assistance and aid to help them and their families during times of personal or family crises; especially when injured or killed in the line of duty. They also coordinate acts of charity and good will in the community, educate the public about the profession of law enforcement and general community safety, and they also support programs that help children and youth who are in need, or at risk.
Clackamas County Peace Officers Benevolent Foundation Interview with Angela Harren
The Homes for Heroes Foundation awarded the Clackamas County Peace Officers Benevolent Foundation, Officer Emergency Fund a $10,000 hero grant to assist in their mission to support our law enforcement heroes. This Homes for Heroes Foundation grant is part of the Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving, providing assistance for heroes facing a housing crisis or in need of urgent financial assistance.
Homes for Heroes Partnership and Marketing Specialist, Angela Harren, speaks with members of the Clackamas County Peace Officers’ Benevolent Foundation and a recipient of the support they provide law enforcement. The organization was nominated for the grant by Nathan Westerlund, a Homes for Heroes mortgage specialist. You can watch the full interview here or read the transcript of the interview below.
Angela: Hello and thanks, everyone, for joining us today. I’m Angela Harren, representing the Homes for Heroes Foundation. I’m joined today by:
- Shaun Davis, Clackamas County Peace Officers Benevolent Foundation and Captain of the Oregon City Police Department
- Nathan Westerlund, Homes for Heroes Mortgage Specialist with NEXA Mortgage
- Chaplain Mike Vermes, Clackama County Peace Officers Benevolent Foundation.
- Kevin Bigler, Clackamas County Deputy, with his daughter, Abigail
It’s my honor to be here with each of you today as part of the Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving and the Homes for Heroes Foundation which provides grants to nonprofits whose missions are to help heroes in dire need.
Shaun, Nathan and I are happy to present this $10,000 Home for Heroes Foundation grant to the Clackamas County Police Officers’ Benevolent Foundation.
Let’s take a moment to talk about the Clackamas County Peace Officers Benevolent Foundation and its Mission of service. Chaplain Vermes, can you tell us a little about how the Clackamas County Peace Officers’ Benevolent Foundation came to be?
Mike: Yeah, it actually started, I believe, about two decades ago. And it was started really from the grass roots of those in law enforcement.
It was law enforcement officers who decided to give out of their own funds to help their fellow brothers and sisters from the agencies in Clackamas County, for both the sworn and non-sworn. It was able to help and encourage where needed, not only to provide information and encouragement, but also if there was a financial need from either a critical incident, a mass casualty event, a line of duty injury or death, and also a sickness or injury that would happen outside of work that would hinder an officer or their family or non-sworn family members.
It has branched out to also assist those within our community who are in contact with law enforcement. So, for instance, we had a mass casualty event that happened several years back and we were able to help, not only those families that lost family members in that event, but also those that were directly involved who also sustained injuries.
We worked with not only the community, but also organizations and businesses to support them financially, as many did not have insurance or the ability to cover some of the costs; not only funeral costs, but also to help pay for injuries that occurred during that event.
In 2013, we lost an officer in the line of duty here at the Oregon City Police Department. And we were able to, as an association, be able to not only help with funding, but also be able to care for the family with another nonprofit that helps with family members and families of those who’ve lost their life in the line of duty.
And we also, as an organization, have continued to care for our officers, officers that end up having a family member or injury that are both in the line of duty or offline, and those who had a sickness or injury. Because there are numerous costs that insurance doesn’t cover.
It’s those costs, when insurance is gone and FMLA has run out, and you’re getting down and things just seem bigger and more overwhelming. And one of the families that we have assisted said that they would be willing to be here today just to be able to share a little bit of their story about the help and benefit the Benevolent Association has provided them.
And so I’m gonna introduce to you one of my favorite deputies in the world, and that’s Kevin Biegler, to share a little bit about his story, but also his daughter, Abigail’s story.
Kevin: Hello, this is my daughter, Abigail. In the fall of 2019, we became aware that my daughter had a cavernous angioma, which is a blood clot in her spine. She was having problems walking and had some weakness on the right side of her body. So we took her in and an MRI was done, and we discovered this rare disease in her spine. We found a surgeon that was at Stanford University in California that specialized in the removal of this blood clot. So we began our trip to Northern California.
The Benevolent Foundation provided us with funding for airplane travel and also hotels. We were in the San Francisco area for about three weeks, and they provided funding to help with expenses.
Unfortunately, about a year and a half later, after we got back, she got another cavernous angioma in her spinal cord. We had to go back down to Stanford University to get another surgery done. And the Benevolence helped us out a second time with airplane travel and hotels.
Mike: And really what happens, like with the Biglers, is financial hardships that occur. And, that’s one of the benefits that the foundation does. It’s helping our heroes stay afoot, and really to stay on the road, and to be able to care for their families so they can be whole; kind of head, heart and hand, so to speak.
We also support an organization called the West Coast Post-Trauma Retreat, and that is you can find that out through several different sites like the First Responder Support Network. And really the First Responder Support Network started a program to be able to help those first responders, and that’s everybody from dispatch to fire to police, to be able to come into the most care and health that they possibly can, so that they can have a fruitful, long lasting career.
And so our organization wants to partner, and to be able to care for our first responders, especially here in Clackamas County. And so we’re a real grassroots benevolent association. Most of our funding comes in from officers themselves and their families, and then some outside help. We really desire nothing more than to be able to care for our community and to make sure that it’s long lasting, because that’s really where care really happens.
It’s that long lasting peace, to be able to know that not only does your organization want to care for you and give you the best support that they possibly can; but also know that their brothers and sisters will help provide assistance and care, especially when they need it most.
So that’s what we’re about as an organization and we can’t thank you all enough for your help and to be able to continue to do this because like everything; everything costs money and it seems to be one of those burdens. But with that burden is a blessing because we’ve been able to see it really impact lives to be able to pay for things like transportation down to Stanford hospital and hotels. It’s funny to think that an air flight, two meals, a hotel room and a warm place to sleep can be a real benefit to a family in need. Because it’s one thing to have insurance, but I’m sure Kevin can say it’s also the bills that come after, that can continue. Some of those things are just not covered by insurance. But if we can help with that, and help be a bridge so that they can stay in health and also in service, that’s what we’re about.
So thank you for your help in helping us help others.
Angela: Well, Chaplain Vermes, you’ve really made my job as an interviewer easy today by answering basically any question I could possibly come up with.
It seems like you guys really do a great job in supporting your law enforcement community there. Nathan, I do have a question for you. Can you explain your why behind making this nomination for the Homes for Heroes Foundation?
Nathan: Yeah, well, I’m glad I heard that story because my “why”, maybe Kevin and Abigail and the rest of you don’t know, but I’ve had three liver transplants and one kidney transplant as well.
In the early 1980s, I had to fly down to Dallas, TX (Go Cowboys), and my parents had to deal with hardships, traveling costs and all that stuff. So I know. And then actually, as of 2012, I had my kidney transplant because of complications from taking the medication for my liver transplants. So I know firsthand what those cost, what those implications are.
But, why I got involved is for a lot of the people around us right here and just the organization itself, the Officer Mulligan Golf Tournament, Shop with a Cop. I’ve really seen the impact on the community with the kids, especially in December. And, they’re going around filling up, basically a shopping cart full of presents, and they’re all psyched! And then the Officer Mulligan Golf Tournament; talk about making “giving back” a really, really fun experience. I mean, they absolutely do a wonderful job putting things together, they’re just absolutely a great foundation. We’re trying to get everyone to give back to the community, and I’m trying to give back to this organization. So that’s really been my way.
Angela: I mean, everything that you guys stand for is really amazing.
I just want to thank Deputy Biegler and Abigail. Thank you so much for joining us today and thank you for your service. If you would like to learn more about the Clackamas County Peace Officers Benevolent Foundation, you can all visit the link that we have shared in the profile here. And when you visit them, you can also donate by clicking on the donation tab.
The Clackamas County Peace Officers Benevolent Foundation is a wonderful nonprofit supporting our heroes in need in Oregon. And I want to thank you all for joining me today. For those of you tuning in, thank you for joining us to hear more about the great work that the Clackamas County Peace Officers Benevolent Foundation does, and to show us a little love, please Like, Share or leave us a comment.
Be sure to join us for future episodes to hear more about the nonprofits we partner with nationwide to help our heroes in dire need. I hope everyone has a great rest of your day and remember to take a moment to say thank you to a hero today!
Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving
Grants from the Homes for Heroes Foundation are made possible by the Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving and its network of real estate and mortgage professionals. Homes for Heroes, Inc. is committed to providing savings to community heroes; such as firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, military (active duty, reserves and veterans), healthcare professionals and teachers.
To expand its Circle of Giving, Homes for Heroes, Inc., donates a portion of its earnings to the Homes for Heroes Foundation. So, every time a hero buys or sells a home using the Homes for Heroes program, they are helping other heroes in the community facing a housing crisis or in need of urgent financial assistance.
If you are interested in learning more about how Homes for Heroes can guide you through the home buying, selling or refinancing process AND save you an average of $3,000 after closing, simply sign up to speak with a member of their team. They will follow up with you to answer all of your questions. When you tell them you’re feeling ready to speak with their local specialists in your area about home buying, selling, or refinancing, they will connect you with their local specialists to begin the process.
Simply visit the Homes for Heroes Foundation page if you’re interested in learning more about where it has awarded recent grants to hero organizations throughout the country, how much they’ve awarded to date, and how it all works.
If you’re interested in supporting and donating to the Homes for Heroes Foundation to assist heroes in need, please visit their donation page to submit your contribution via PayPal. And, thank you for your interest and support.
Thank you for watching another Homes for Heroes Foundation grant video about the impact it is making nationally and in local hero communities, along with hero supporting nonprofits who use the grant dollars they receive to assist the heroes they serve.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the Homes for Heroes YouTube channel to get notified of the new hero grants awarded by the Homes for Heroes foundation.