Fundraisers provide financial bridge for families of fallen - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Fundraisers provide financial bridge for families of fallen

Phoenix police detective Mike Wilcox says all the money raised at Friday's event will go to the families of Daryl Raetz and Bradley Harper. (Source: CBS 5 News) Phoenix police detective Mike Wilcox says all the money raised at Friday's event will go to the families of Daryl Raetz and Bradley Harper. (Source: CBS 5 News)
This is the 21st such event. "Unfortunately, these happen more often than they should," Wilcox says. (Source: CBS 5 News) This is the 21st such event. "Unfortunately, these happen more often than they should," Wilcox says. (Source: CBS 5 News)
All the food and raffle prizes are donated, and Phoenix police provide the manpower for such events. (Source: CBS 5 News) All the food and raffle prizes are donated, and Phoenix police provide the manpower for such events. (Source: CBS 5 News)
(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Providing financial help for families of fallen police officers, firefighters and military personnel is something Phoenix Police Detective Mike Wilcox said is the "right thing to do."

The Phoenix Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 2 and the Phoenix police and fire departments gathered Friday in putting on a day-long feast to raise money for the families of Phoenix Officer Daryl Raetz and Phoenix Firefighter Bradley Harper, who both died in the line of duty May 19.

The number of fundraisers has grown over the years, Wilcox said, adding Friday's event was the 21st. They have been held for families of the military, too.

"We've been able to give a significant amount of money to different families," Wilcox said while standing in front of a placard with the names of Raetz and Harper. "Unfortunately, these happen more often than they should."

Wilcox said these fundraisers provide a financial bridge for families who might not see the benefits they are owed kick in right away. The money often helps in making car or mortgage payments and just buying groceries.

Raetz, 29, an Iraqi war veteran, died from injuries suffered in a hit-and-run crash. He is survived by his wife and a 5-year-old daughter.

Harper died after he was crushed between two fire vehicles at a mulch fire Saturday. He is survived by his wife, Lena.

Wilcox praised Phoenix residents for their support.

"The public supports the police department all the time, but when something like this happens, they really show their support for us and families of fallen officers by coming out and eating, buying raffle tickets," he said.

He said the majority of the money they raise comes from the public.

"We're lucky that way," he said.

Wilcox said raffle donations, such as golf packages and jewelry, come from all over. He said police just put on the event and "hope somebody shows."

"Everything we get - food, raffle prizes - is donated," he said, so all the proceeds can go directly to the families.

Friday's fundraiser was to conclude with a dinner until 9 p.m.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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