What started as a fund-raiser and community awareness event in Columbia has transformed into a multiple-city effort and an outpouring of support for the Officer Down Fund and the Columbia Police Department.
Columbia College will host the Hilary Scott Band benefit concert on Saturday to raise money and awareness for the fund. It’s also meant to strengthen solidarity between the community and the Police Department.
Tim Fancher, a sociology student at Columbia College and coordinator of the event, came up with the idea after Officer Molly Bowden was shot Jan. 10 in the line of duty.
She died Feb. 10 of cranial meningitis related to the injuries.
“A lot of people were not aware of the Officer Down Fund before this tragedy so we are raising awareness,” Fancher said.
“Also, officers never hear thanks, so we are trying to show appreciation.”
Fancher, a fan and friend of folk-rock singer Hilary Scott, contacted Scott and her husband, Michael, about the idea and received an immediate response.
“They were very excited from the beginning; it was so perfect in so many ways,” Fancher said. “She had some prior obligations when we were picking a weekend for the concert, but one thing she said was, ‘We’ll find a way. We’re going to make this happen.’”
Scott, who has two brothers-in-law who are officers in Illinois, said Bowden’s story resonated with her and is a reason she wants to do the concert.
“I lost my own brother when he was about Molly’s age, so I empathize with her family and friends’ pain,” Scott said. “I love playing music and contributing my time whenever I possibly can, so there was no question I would do this concert.”
The performance will include new material from the band and has grown so large in scale that extra lights and sound equipment will be brought in.
“The band and I have raised money to pay out-of-pocket expenses for Nelson Sound and Audio, such as equipment insurance and travel costs,” Fancher said. “Nelson is bringing a tremendous amount of equipment, which must be insured; however, they are donating approximately $4,000 worth of time.”
The Crossing Church in Columbia has helped raise money for the event, and after Scott called her brother-in-law in Chicago, the Orland Park Police Department agreed to contribute as well. Because of these donations and those from fans of the Hilary Scott Band, 100 percent of ticket sales will go to the fund.
“My sister and brother-in-law are driving down with several other people just to see the show,” Scott said.
“I’ve been amazed at the police solidarity and camaraderie.”
Scott’s record label, Belltown Records in Seattle, has been donating one dollar from each of her CDs bought during February to the Officer Down Fund.
“Hilary will also sell CDs at the concert, and for every CD sold, one dollar will go to the fund,” Fancher said.
In addition to the musical entertainment, Columbia police Chief Randy Boehm will introduce the performance, thank the community and recognize officers on the force.
The concert is one of several recent events organized to benefit the Officer Down Fund.
Last week, a barbecue raised about $24,000, in addition to the more than $100,000 that had already been raised.
Scott said the band and the participating organizations appreciate all that is being done to help reach the fund-raising goal of $10,000.
“We truly want this to be a celebration of Molly’s life, a show of appreciation for our law enforcement community, and a time for the community to come together and reflect on how precious life is,” Scott said.
“We even hope to provide a bit of comfort and hope.”