In the wake of a tragic accident that took the life of a city of Houston worker while he was cleaning a storm-sewer system near downtown Houston last Thursday, the Houston Employee Relief Organization (HERO) is seeking contributions to a fund that helps the families of municipal employees killed in the line of duty.
The incident involving Charles Williams Sr., a city Public Works and Engineering Department equipment worker, occurred May 31. Williams, 75, had been with the city since 1994. He is survived by his widow, Lue Williams, and sons, Charles Williams Jr. and Lenore Williams.
At an emergency meeting Friday, HERO’s board of directors decided to immediately give $5,000 from its Survivors’ Fund to Lue Williams to assist with urgent financial needs. “HERO will also assess what additional financial support may be provided to the family,” said Peck Boswell, chairman of the board.
HERO was established as a 501(c)(3) charity in 2007 to provide needed benefits to dependents of Houston municipal employees who suffer a line-of-duty death. It is patterned after The 100 Club, which provides funding assistance to survivors of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty. HERO extends similar help to families of all other city employees who lose lives in the line of duty.
Vice Chairman Omar Reid, who is the city’s Human Resources director, anticipates more Houstonians will join HERO’s effort.
“Our prayers should continue to be with the family. I think many residents want to help the families of our city employees killed in the line of duty,” he said. “But no amount of money can bring back our employees. These donations hopefully help with some of the families’ immediate needs and say, ‘We remember your service.’”
Contributions can be made online through PayPal at hmefcu.org or houstonhero.org, or by check mailed to HERO Survivors’ Fund, c/o Houston Municipal Employees Federal Credit Union, 608 E. Tidwell, Houston, TX 77022-1820. City employees can also donate by direct deposit from their paycheck by signing up for the contribution during the city’s Combined Municipal Campaign in October. Donation is tax-deductible and 100 percent of the Survivor’s Fund is dedicated to the families of municipal employees who suffer a line-of-duty death.