100 Club of Chicago supports families of first responders who died in line of duty, including coronavirus fatalities

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Eight local first responders have lost their lives due to complications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That's eight families left devastated by the loss of their loved ones.

"It's definitely a challenging time watching our community go through this," said Caitlyn Brennan, CEO, 100 Club of Chicago.

It's in these challenging times that the 100 Club of Chicago goes to work. They provide emotional and financial support for the families of first responders who die in the line of duty.

RELATED: Chicago police officer dies after contracting COVID-19

Brennan became the CEO on March 31.

"Financially, $50,000 goes to the families at the time of a line-of-duty death. We also assist all dependent children and dependent spouses with higher education expenses as well," Brennan said.

And even though they may come after weeks in a hospital, COVID-19 fatalities are line-of-duty deaths. And the families have a need for support that is entirely new.

"I think that's a whole other layer of grief and emotion that goes into knowing that your person, your hero is struggling and you can't be there with them," Brennan said.

There are no set rules as to how the 100 Club meets with those families. It's case-by-case, determined by the individual police department, all in adherence with CDC guidelines.

"This is what we do and this is what we're here to do is to help these families and we're going to continue to do that," Brennan said.

All this in the age of social distance.

"I've promised lots of hugs and comforting times when this is hopefully over, but that's definitely been a challenge," Brennan said.

It's a challenge they've been meeting for 50 years now.

The 100 Club of Chicago assists police families in Cook, Lake and McHenry Counties. So far they've committed $400,000 to the families of officers who were victims of COVID-19.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.