Public safety personnel spend a majority of their lives helping others. But when one of them needs assistance, it isn’t always available.
That’s why the Roswell Fire and Police Foundation serves a crucial purpose.
Sometimes, when members of the city’s emergency services are injured, it seriously disrupts normal family activities and creates financial instability. The foundation’s mission is to help those employees and their families in their time of need.
On Jan. 18, the foundation’s annual charity gala is scheduled at the Roswell Mill. The funds raised will be used to assist some of the injured men and women who protect and serve.
The gala has evolved since Roswell Deputy Fire Chief Tony Papoutsis and two of his departmental colleagues started the Roswell Firefighters Foundation in 2003. Back then, the nonprofit was organized to help a firefighter badly injured in a motor vehicle accident.
“The initial fundraiser was a Firemen’s Ball held at Naylor Hall where we collected $12,000 for the firefighter and his family,” Papoutsis said. “We incorporated in early 2004 and set up a board of directors which consisted of firefighters, firefighter spouses and a police officer.”
Papoutsis said the foundation has since exceeded $100,000 in goods, services and paying bills for those that needed help. “And because all of our board members volunteer our administrative costs are around 5 percent so 95 percent of all the money we receive goes directly towards helping Roswell’s public safety employees.”
Papoutsis gave several examples of how the foundation has aided those personnel over the years. In one, a Roswell public safety employee was injured off duty and could not work his part-time job. He requested assistance from the Roswell Fire and Police Foundation.
“We paid his utility bills, apartment rent and his car payment for one month until he was able to get back to work,” Papoutsis said.
A Roswell public safety employee’s parent had cancer but did not have medical insurance. A request was made to the foundation, which was able to pay two mortgage payments to get them current on their house note.
A Roswell public safety employee was injured on duty, which placed a strain on the household’s normal routine. The foundation was able to set up a maid service, lawn care service and an account at a local business that makes dinners to go. It relieved the spouse of those duties so she could have the time to take the kids to and from their extracurricular activities.
“Many employees also helped by arranging rides to and from doctor appointments and physical therapy so the spouse didn’t have to take time off work,” Papoutsis said.
This year’s gala, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., will be a black tie optional event with a buffet style dinner and open bar. Entertainment will be provided by the band Yacht Rock.
Individual tickets are $150 per person with first come, first served seating. Corporate sponsorship packages are also available starting at $1,500 and increasing to $2,500 for progressive levels of advertisement during the event. The base package includes 10 tickets and a reserved table for all 10 guests.
For more information and e-ticket sales, visit www.roswellfpf.org or call (678) 756-2878.