HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Greater PineBelt Community Foundation, alongside several officers from the surrounding area, announced the start of two memorial funds set up in honor of fallen Officers Tate and Deen.
One fund is for scholarships and one fund is for financial hardship for immediate family members of a Law Enforcement Officer who have been injured or killed in the line of duty.
"The main intent is to help those families immediately; The Tate family, the Deen family, with any financial assistance we can give in scholarship and in hardship," said David Fortenberry, President of the Board. "Second is going forward, we will leave a legacy for these guys. We want to memorialize them for generations to come where the money we're raising will help fallen officers or injured officers going forward."
An anonymous donor set up the Benjamin J. Deen and Liquori Tate Memorial Scholarship Fund. This fund was set up to give scholarships to the immediate family of Law Enforcement Officers who have been injured or killed in the line of duty (or the injured officer him or herself). Recipients must reside in the Pine Belt area and can go to any Community College, College, University or Police Academy. This will be an endowed fund that will give annual scholarships forever.
"I know my community, I know what my community will do, and we want to have a position to be able to honor not only these men, but honor their families not just today, but for a lifetime," said Board Member Robert Cornett. "We will never let this lie and go to sleep. They will always be remembered."
In addition, a second fund has been set up at the Foundation called the Benjamin J. Deen and Liquori Tate Hardship Memorial Fund. This Fund was set up for families of Law Enforcement Officers in the Pine Belt area who have been slain or injured in the line of duty creating a financial hardship to the family. Grants from this fund will be decided upon by a grant selection committee.
"The thing about this community though, is when tragedy hits, this community comes together," said Robert St. John, fundraising chair. "I've seen no coming together as much as what we've seen over the last few days. The outpouring of love and support has really made me proud to live here in Hattiesburg."
Two Grant Selection Committees comprised of community leaders and PineBelt Foundation Board Members are being formed. These committees will have oversight of the grant selection and distribution process.
To donate to either of these funds, please write a check to The Greater PineBelt Community Foundation and in the memo line put "Deen / Tate Scholarship" or "Deen / Tate Hardship." Please send checks to 1507 Hardy Street, Suite 208, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.
If no particular destination for the donation is noted, the donation will be evenly split for both funds.