By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6
UNDATED -- Financial help went to the families of two sheriff's deputies killed in the line of duty in Seminole County. Each family received a $2,000 check from the Oklahoma Officer Down Foundation on Wednesday.
The fund was created in 2007 after Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics agents got into a shoot-out with suspects. One agent was paralyzed and another severely injured and they realized those families would need financial help.
The gifts this week are the first time the fund offered that help.
Seminole County Sheriff's Deputy Marvin Williams was married 24 years and had four children and grandchildren. Deputy Chase Whitebird was helping raise his two younger brothers after their mother died two years ago. The men were shot and killed while serving a warrant on July 26th.
Now, Marvin's widow is raising kids alone and Chase's grandparents, who raised Chase since he was six months old, are taking care of his teenage brothers.
The presentation not only warms their hearts, but also offers some much needed help.
"Chase and Marvin's pay wasn't great, but they loved serving their community and this will help greatly," said Marvin's widow, Madonna Williams.
"All of this takes a great deal of relief off my husband and I. We run a dairy farm and there are always needs. We are so very grateful," said Chase's grandmother Ruby Bevelhymer.
Both families appreciate the support they've received from the community and around the world, letters from as far away as Canada and Iraq.
Like many people, they didn't know the non-profit fund existed. It was created by OBN agents, whose faces we can't show because they work undercover. They've held endless fundraisers and just last week were surprised by a $7,500 donation from the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Tulsa.
The whole focus is to help Oklahoma officers and their families in a time of need.
"If you ever go through something like that, you have unexpected expenses. We're trying to fill the gas as best we can," said Jerry Walls with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.
The families, who couldn't let the agents leave without a word of prayer, say they'll never forget the generous gesture.
"We are so grateful and very humbled, very humbled," said Chase's grandmother Ruby Bevelhymer.
The fund will gladly accept donations. They can be mailed to the Oklahoma Officer Down Foundation at the OK Bureau of Narcotics headquarters, 440 N.E. 39th Street Oklahoma City, OK 73105. You may also call 800-522-8031.
Unfortunately, as anyone in law enforcement will tell you, there will be more families who need this help in the future.