Supporting fallen first responders as simple as buying a Minnesota 100 license plate

Supporting fallen first responders as simple as buying a Minnesota 100 license plate

Supporting fallen first responders as simple as buying a Minnesota 100 license plate

There are many ways to support the families of the two police officers and a firefighter/paramedic killed in the line of duty last weekend, but one of the most unique could be buying a specialty license plate from an organization that helps families of fallen first responders.

“We are 100% supportive of our law enforcement, but we support first responders across the board,” says Lanee Noble, president of the Minnesota 100 Club.

The organization has been around since 1972 in the aftermath of a police officer’s death in the line of duty. “Five business leaders were sitting around and they each decided they could give 100 bucks to help this family and then they decided to form a nonprofit called the 100 Club.”

For many years, they raised money through traditional but low-key ways. They solicited donations from individuals and community organizations.

“The old premise was that we kind of kept it quiet to raise funds among a group of individuals and didn’t really promote what we were doing very much,” Noble said.

That all changed when they approached the Minnesota Legislature in 2019 with the idea of “Minnesota 100 Club” — specialty license plates with $40 of the sale of each plate going to financial support for fallen first responders, including law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics and corrections officers.

The plates were approved in 2021 and more than 7,000 of the plates have been sold with no advertising or publicity, just word of mouth. Until now.

The plates have raised so much money that the grant amounts have grown from $2,500 to $50,000 per family of fallen first responders. The Minnesota 100 Club board has already approved $50,000 grants to each of the three families impacted by the shootings in Burnsville.

“These are people that risk their lives in the line of duty to help families and they don’t make a substantial amount of money to have savings,” says Minnesota 100 Club board member Gloria Freeman. Her father is a retired police officer in Indiana who has been concerned about public attitudes toward police.

“The climate right now is not always the greatest, but I think it’s important to support the people who risk their lives for us.”

You can purchase the Minnesota 100 Club license plates from the Minnesota Department of Vehicle Services any time and have them personalized or get a regular tag number. They look similar to the new “blackout” plates the state is selling, except the MN 100 plates have a subtle American flag in the background with the club logo and the words “Supporting First Responders.”

The additional proceeds go to families of fallen first responders, while the blackout plate proceeds go to the state coffers.

“We’re just here protecting people who are protecting us and our tagline is “protect the protectors” and it has been since 1972,” says Noble.