A bartender donated all of her tips from a 12-hour shift to the Jacob Pickett Response Organization march 4.

Heather Richardson toiled behind the Lebanon Buffalo Wild Wings bar and served customers at tables from 10:30 a.m. until after midnight, for $250 in tips to help a law enforcement family in need.

Other servers also donated their tips. Their donations were part of the restaurant’s fundraiser for the non-profit organization that helps law enforcement families in times of need in honor of Pickett, who was fatally shot while on duty March 2, 2018.

The outpouring of help from the community was so great afterward that his widow, Jennifer, learned that even small gestures add up to ease burdens.

She and friends launched the non-profit Jacob Pickett Response Organization in January.

“Our mission is to help with the financial tolls brought on by life’s traumatic events for other law enforcement families,” Jen said.

Travis Wright, BW3 assistant manager, said a portion of all food sales from 6-9 p.m. that day, $250 total, will also go to the organization.

Boone Beverage donated a keg of Triton Beer, brewed in Indianapolis, that brought in $172 for the fundraiser.

Wright is a member of the Elks Club, which gave $1,500, along with the Eagles Club, which gave $1,000 to Jen, who was at the restaurant March 4 evening.

BW3 encourages managers to sponsor two community fundraisers per month, and Wright loves being what he calls “the middle man” for BW3 with the community and area organizations. Previous BW3 fundraisers have benefited Lebanon and Western Boone proms and athletic teams, Habitat for Humanity, Champion Gym and more.

“I love Lebanon,” Wright said. “It’s where I grew up, and I went to Western Boone, and I want to give back.”

The Jones Group, which is based in La Porte and owns 34 BW3 restaurants, will also make an undisclosed donation.

To apply for a fundraiser at BW3, visit the website at https://ewrf.buffalowildwings.com/.

Wright organized this week’s fundraiser ahead of the second annual Jacob Pickett Memorial Day Saturday at the Boone County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Events will be similar to last year’s remembrance day, but “last year’s was more about honoring Jake and bringing some closure and just bringing the community together,” Jen said. “This one will again be honoring Jake, but also we will unveil the organization and support the Farinella family and take the darkness of that senseless tragedy and turn it into something good.

“I want people to come to the event. I want them to check us out online and on Facebook. What I really want people to know, from my personal experience, is that every little bit of help – no matter how small – means a lot. The organization is to facilitate and to pull us all together to make a difference, whether that’s simply sharing posts of Facebook, ordering a T-shirt … every little bit helps.”

Saturday’s proceeds will benefit the Farinella family. Jen’s friend, Amanda Farinella, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in October.

Amanda’s husband, Joe Farinella, and Jake were sworn in together as Tipton County Sheriff’s Deputies in 2013 before Jake joined the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, and Joe and Jake worked together. Both were K9 officers.

Maria Flora writes for The Lebanon Reporter. Email her at maria.flora@reporter.net.

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