The Abilene Police Foundation will be hosting its first ever Sporting Clay Classic fundraiser at Abilene Clay Sports in April, and several Wylie residents are doing their part to help make the event a success.
Wylie residents Joy and Steve Ellinger, Chris and Linda Love, Stacey Yates, Rebecca Eidson and Nancy Smith are serving on a committee with other Abilene residents to coordinate the event.
“These guys put their lives on the line every day,” Linda said. “This is a way we can give back.”
The Abilene Police Foundation was announced in January and is designed to provide financial assistance with medical expenses for members of the Abilene Police Department or their families, as well as funding for special projects and equipment that the board believes is above the city’s responsibility.
Joy Ellinger was the driving force behind the creation of the Foundation.
“Our son Logan is a police officer in Midland,” Joy said. “We have a heart for the men and women who serve in our police force any where.”
Joy said she was a part of the local Citizens Police Academy, and when funding was cut for that project last March, the idea of a foundation was born.
“We were looking for a way to fund the academy,” she said. “We thought a better solution would be something more permanent.”
Joy went to Lakewood near Austin to study their foundation and then sought the support of other graduates of the Citizens Police Academy. She proposed the idea at a reunion this fall and got positive feedback.
“The response was overwhelming,” she said. “No one told me no. It has been a great experience.”
Stacey Yates, whose daughter Rebecca is a Wylie 8th-grader, was also part of the academy and stepped up to be on the foundation board.
“It was a great way to get plugged in to the community,” she said.
Rebecca Eidson used to work for the Abilene Police Department in the 9-1-1 system, so the cause was close to her heart. She and her husband, James, who is the former district attorney, have two children who are Wylie graduates, Sam (’06) and Ali (’08).
Chris and Linda Love are the parents of three Wylie graduates, Melissa (’07), Heather (’10) and Craig (’15). Melissa is married to an Abilene police officer.
“This was something we wanted to do,” Chris said. “It’s giving back.”
Ironically, the Wylie Class of ’07 has numerous connections to the police department. Not only do the Ellingers and Loves have children in that class, but Nancy Smith’s son, Matt, is an Abilene police officer and a ’07 Wylie graduate, and he said APD police officer Cory Davis is also an ’07 graduate.
Already the Foundation has proven its worth. The group teamed with Abilene Teachers Federal Credit Union to fund a new K-9 police dog, and the Foundation also raised funds to pay for police officer David Varner’s funeral. Varner passed away recently after a battle with cancer.
“Those are the kinds of expenses the Foundation was created to help with,” Stacey said.
The Blues & Twos Sporting Clay Classic will be the group’s first fundraiser, and the planning committee is hoping the community will step up to support the effort.
“We have to have about 100 shooters,” Joy said. “It will be a great way for people to become involved and to meet some of the officers.”
To find out how you can register for the shoot and support the Abilene Police Foundation, go to the foundation’s website at www.abilenepolicefoundation.org or search for Abilene Police Foundation on Facebook. The event will also include a raffle, and ticket information will be available on the website or Facebook.