Deputy Fred Hilaire and his family were involved in a tragic fatal car accident in 2018. Mounting bills added to an already stressful and sad time.
“The insurance helped a lot, but we still have copays and other bills we had to pay out of pocket,” Hilaire said.
The Seminole County Sheriff’s Foundation, a 501C3 which had just started up, stepped in to help pay off Hilaire’s bills.
A house on first street in DeLand was built by the foundation from the ground up. On Wednesday, a ribbon cutting was held at what they call their first “Hero Home.”
The house sold for $250,000. All that money goes to the foundation.
Don Prewitt, chairman of the foundation, said that money will help a lot of first responders, and the help is almost immediate.
“We had an employee that had a son and he needed a lung transplant and he was $5,000 short on the surgery,” Prewitt said. “We just showed up with a check and gave it to him. So that’s what we do.”
Sheriff Denis Lemma said the foundation is a reassurance for the 1,400 members and their extended families.
“I get chills in my body just thinking about how they have changed our members’ lives in just a vote and being there,” he said.