Reed Trickett remembers, at age 15, sitting with his father on a silent bulldozer at the construction site for the family's new Trickett Honda dealership north of Nashville.
"Do you know one of the best things about getting into this new business?" Bill Trickett asked his teenage son. "It's that we're going to be able to help people who need help," the son recalls him saying.
Now 55, Reed Trickett is in charge of the store his late father built and also running The 100 Club, a low-profile, nonprofit foundation Bill Trickett started in 1979. Inspired by charitable groups in a few other cities at the time, Trickett's club quietly steps into tragedies involving local policemen, firefighters and paramedics and pays their debts in the event of their death.
The club has gathered 800 members who donate $100 a year to a fund that currently stands at around $2 million. The club lies dormant most of the time -- fortunately -- but springs into action when an officer or emergency worker is killed.
Reed Trickett was named "president for life" in 2005. Since then the group has paid off home loans, credit cards, auto loans and funeral expenses.
Two years ago, after Nashville policewoman Danita Marsh -- a single mom -- was shot eight times during a domestic disturbance call, leaving her alive but paralyzed, Trickett led The 100 Club to build her a new home. The $400,000 result is a wheelchair-friendly four-bedroom house for the officer, her son and her mother. The club worked with the police force to bring in donations and contractors to help.
Trickett appealed to a local elevator contractor to agree to install a home elevator at cost. Trickett's appeal to a local furniture store allowed the injured officer to furnish the house for free.
"We're involved in a lot of different things in the community, but this is the activity I'm proudest of," Trickett says. "I try to run it like my dad is watching over my shoulder.
"There's no such thing as routine danger for these folks. I hope it brings them a little comfort to know that, if something ever happens to them, somebody's got their back."