Its something the families of firefighters and police deal with daily, the possibility of losing a loved one in the line duty.

When that happens, life goes on and the bills can pile up.

One group in our area works to give back money, and so much more.

$1.2 million.

That’s how much money the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire has handed out to families of fallen officers, deputies and firefighters in the last 12 years.

But for the club it’s not about the money, its about the families who have experienced an incredible loss.

“When she hung up she said, he was killed,” remembers Felicia Collins. “And I just lost it of course.”

12 years later, Felicia Collins remembers the moment she found out her husband Melvin, a Brunswick Police Officer was shot and killed.

“It was kind of like having an out of body experience,” said Felicia. “Like I was looking at it from a distance. I’m here.. But i’m not really here.”

Melvin, a Brunswick Police Officer, was off duty in 2003 when he was shot and killed fighting off robbers at a convenience store.

“He died doing what he wanted to do,” explained Felicia. “That was his passion. That’s what he wanted.”

After that, Felicia just wanted to shut out the world.

“It was a struggle,” said Collins. “Just let me sleep forever. But I can’t. My girls need me.”

That included bills to be paid, a life to continue after her husband was laid to rest.

That’s when Felicia met members of the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire who handed her a check.

“He also said they would never leave me,” said Felicia. “And I said yeah Ok. Everyone else is gone. We will see how long they stay there. But they have been.”

Mother’s Day flowers, Christmas Presents every year, and more. Thousands in school tuition for her two daughters, and even college tuition for felicia herself.

“Even though I am not in contact with them every single day or every other week or whatever,” explains Felicia. “I know that they are there. They do care. That its an extended family.”

A family Felicia sees once a year at the Savannah Mile.

Its a race for some, like firefighters and soldiers who run in full gear. For Felicia its about the Honor Guard and memory walk for those missing their heroes.

“I can also see the faces of the 200 Club people and the faces I see say love. Its love,” said Felicia. “He hasn’t been forgotten. And I always thought he would be. And they haven’t forgotten him. And I love that.”

If you would like to help families like the Collins, you can still sign up for the Savannah Mile.

The 10th Anniversary run is this Saturday, starting at 8:30am at Forsyth Park, and its only $25 to join.

For More information, just log on to:

All proceeds go to officers and firefighters families in the 20 counties the club serves.