ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — First responders put their lives on the line every time they go out on a call. A local group is making sure their families get the support they need.

First responders filled Franchesco’s restaurant on Thursday night, all for a fundraiser benefitting 100 Club of Illinois. They partnered with Safer Citizens of Winnebago County to put on the event.

Winnebago County Sheriff, Gary Caruana says, “Why are we here? It’s not just about raising money, yes, it is raising money, but it’s more than that. It’s about engaging in the community.”

According to Sheriff Caruana, 100 club of Illinois started in the Chicagoland area before expanding it’s reach.           

“I saw the model, I said, ‘This is something I would like to engage with for our law enforcement and first responders, fire, EMS, to help them in situations of need,’” Caruana adds.

The club provides support and resources to families of first responders killed in the line of duty or active duty first responders.

Art Thompson of Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois says it’s an extremely beneficial organization.

“Sadly, when we had a line of duty death in December, the 100 Club of Illinois was first on the scene. They couldn’t have been more helpful. And they helped in ways not just helping the family in the grieving department,” says Thompson.

For McHenry County Undersheriff Robb Tadelman, having someone in his corner means a lot.

Tadelman states, “It’s nice to know that there are people out there that do support us and the community is there to be there in the hardest of times. We’re responsible for helping people in the hardest of times and its hard sometimes for us to actually rely on someone else to help us out when we really need it.”

The 100 Club of Illinois and Safer Citizens of Winnebago County are always accepting donations.