Mark Hummeldorf was only 33 years old when he passed away suddenly on Nov. 22, 2017. A veteran and purple heart recipient, he continued in public service as a firefighter/paramedic with Savannah Fire & Rescue and then back to working with the Marine Corp, this time as a civilian at Parris Island. He and his wife of ten years, Angie, became wonderful members of the Richmond Hill community and Mark also became a volunteer firefighter in Bryan County. Angie and Mark were raising their son Chase, now 9 years old, and looking forward to the birth of their soon-to-be baby girl, Emerson Marky, now 5 years old, who never met her father.
A true love story, Angie met Mark when she was in college and he was stationed in North Carolina. Together they met the challenges of a long-distance relationship while Mark went through boot camp, was deployed to Iraq where he fought in the Battle of Fallujah and served his country in multiple, valiant ways. Upon his discharge, they married and soon made the move south, first to South Carolina and then to settle in Richmond Hill. Angie has been a PE teacher in our schools, first in Richmond Hill High School and now at the Primary School.
When the tragedy occurred, Angie explains how the support of the community and the 200 Club became “her village” and helped give her the strength to carry on and raise her young family, honoring Mark and the love they shared everyday. She says, “I cannot express my emotions strongly enough when I say how much it means to our family and how much the leaders of the 200 Club, Mark and Frances Dana, have done for us.”
Angie wants everyone to know about the incredible work the 200 Club does, not only in Bryan County but in 19 other counties throughout the Coastal Empire in Georgia and South Carolina. This nonprofit organization has provided over $3.8 million to support over 100 families of fallen and critically injured first responders in the 20 counties the 200 Club serves. The organization is appealing for people to donate, become a member, volunteer and make bequests to help them continue in their mission to provide for our fallen heroes’ families. Organizing a fundraising event or purchasing Boston Butts in their twice-yearly events, offer different ways to raise awareness and provide vital funds for ongoing support of families in our community.
The 200 Club is a 501(c) (3) organization who “cares for those who care for us” by providing for the surviving spouses and dependents of first responders who have lost their lives or sustain critical injuries in the line of duty. The 200 Club provides significant financial assistance to the surviving family members and provides a fully paid college education – including tuition, room and board, textbooks, and a computer – to a fallen first responder’s children and spouse. Angie elaborates on the significance of this; “we are now a single income family, so the financial support and knowing that the opportunity of a funded college education is there for my children saves so much worry and stress.” She continues, “the loss of a father and for my daughter a father who she never knew, is so hard for my children. It is the most amazing feeling for us all to know that although my husband is not here to provide directly for them, his legacy means that the 200 Club will step in and support them financially is incredibly important”.
The 200 Club make lifelong commitments to the families who have endured and survived these losses and are there “today, tomorrow and always”. However, it is more than the financial support that counts for these families, “we are a 200 Club family, and we develop close relationships with families who have also gone through what nobody ever wants to endure. We have each other to lean on,” Angie says. Holidays and Mother’s Day can be especially hard after the loss of a spouse and father and the 200 Club sends food and Mother’s Day flowers to remind the families that they are cared about and supported. Angie comments, “when the flowers arrive in the mail on Mother’s Day, my children are too young to buy these themselves, but they feel their father is looking out for them and that the flowers are from them to me. Words cannot express how much what the 200 Club does for our family means to us.”
As a selfless, compassionate and kind person, it is no surprise that Mark was involved with the 200 Club before he passed away. Through his friend Chief Deputy Gary Taylor, who lives in Richmond Hill and works in law enforcement, Mark was introduced to the work of this nonprofit organization in our community. Angie and her children always participate in the annual ‘200 Club Run for Heroes’ to raise funds and awareness for the organization and to bring together families of fallen heroes. “We participate in the memory walk with other families and the 200 Club is honoring Mark’s legacy and keeping his memory alive,” says Angie. As Mark ran marathons and supported veterans and first responders, Angie has set up their own charity, #HonorMark to carry on this local hero’s legacy of service and sacrifice by giving back to the community he served through charitable donations. This and his loving widow and brave children ensure that his joyful, heroic, kind, and loving soul will never be forgotten.