Behind The Badge Charities, Inc. was founded on January 5, 2011. Tragically, the creation of the charity occurred the day after the line of duty death of Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office Deputy John "J.D." Norsworthy, who passed away on January 4, 2011 as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident on December 27, 2010.
Founded in 2011 after the death of Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office Deputy J.D. Norsworthy from injuries sustained in the line of duty, Behind the Badge Charities assists first responders when their income and/or benefits are insufficient to meet their needs and the needs of their families as the result of illness, injury or death.
“Deputies at the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office recognized in 2010 that there was no local charitable organization to assist financially in cases of injury or illness,” said Ben Simpson, Board President for Behind the Badge Charities. “These colleagues began the process to create Behind the Badge Charities.”
On December 27, 2010, Deputy Norsworthy suffered severe injuries from an on-duty car crash while responding to a call and died on January 4, 2011. The very next day, the State of Texas officially recognized Behind the Badge Charities' formation under its original name of the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Employees Charitable Foundation.
“The name was soon changed to Behind the Badge Charities,” Simpson said. “They wanted to make it clear to all Fort Bend County first responders that the charity was not only formed to support Sheriff's Office employees.”
Today, the organization provides financial assistance to all public safety professionals, including peace officers, fire fighters, local correctional officers, emergency medical technicians, probation officers and 9-1-1 emergency communications professionals serving with local governmental or volunteer emergency services organizations within Fort Bend County.
Behind the Badge Charities operates a "10-33" Responder Assistance Fund that provides need-based grants to individual first responders who have suffered injury, serious illness or another disaster that traditional insurance or other assistance has not covered.
“We currently serve 25 to 30 first responders and/or their families annually and have the ability to serve up to 50 annually,” Simpson said.
The non-profit has also provided more than 400 college scholarships to the children of current or retired first responders.
Donations and volunteers fuel Behind the Badge Charities and make it possible for them to operate these much-needed programs. Volunteers are always welcome.
“Behind the Badge Charities is most in need of volunteers preparing for and hosting our annual gala that falls on the Saturday before Valentine’s Day each year,” Simpson said. “However, we also need assistance for outreach to make our Fort Bend County first responders more aware of the support we provide to them.”