Novaceks, friends respond to tragedy
Amado Martinez was spending the evening with Blake Novacek, at the Joshua home of Amy and Jay Novacek. The phone rang and it wasn't good news.
He was told his godfather, Officer Patrick Zamarrapa, had been killed in a murderous attack on police in Dallas. A dozen police officers had been wounded, but Amado's godfather had been killed.
"I woke Jay to tell him," Amy said. "We knew we had to do something."
While reacting and grieving with Amado, the scale of the attack quickly became evident to the Novaceks.
"It was bigger than one family," Amy said. "We needed to do something to take care of all the families involved."
DFW Strong was born from their response. They turned to a few friends supportive of law enforcement, and a plan began to develop.
"We've been working behind the scene 24/7 since July 7 to make a significant response," Amy said.
One she turned to was Mel Birdwell, the wife of Texas Sen. Brian Birdwell. The family is no stranger to tragedy. Brian was a lieutenant colonel serving in the Pentagon on 9/11 when a plane was flown into the outer ring. He survived, but 125 others did not.
"It's an honor to be a part of DFW Strong," Mel said. "What we are doing is nothing in comparison to those men and women who protect and serve us every single day, but if we can make even a small difference in the lives of the fallen and wounded then let's all dig deep into our pockets and support this great event."
The response began with a "blue bucket" donation drive at Chick-Fil-A and Our Place restaurants throughout the western portion of North Texas, including in Burleson. It has expanded to other "blue bucket" businesses.
DFW Strong's major fundraising event, including live music, celebrity chefs, silent auction, food trucks and celebrities, will be 3-10 p.m. July 24 at Dallas' American Airlines Center. More details and ticket sales will be announced HERE.
"Everyone has been amazing at how we have come together," Amy said. "That's just the way we are in Texas. I believe that's what makes Texans different."
All proceeds from the event will be donated to the families of the fallen officers. DFW Strong announced Friday it had partnered with the Chisholm Trail 100 Club, an organization that provides a line of duty death benefit to emergency responders in Johnson and Somervell Counties.
Donations made through either organization are tax-deductible. Donations can be made at DFW Strong or the Chisholm Trail 100 Club, or at P.O. Box 332, Burleson, TX 76097. Both organizations may also be found on Facebook.
"We're doing this to help bring people together," Amy said. "We're all the same and we want the same thing in the end."
She added a challenge. The business collecting the most "blue bucket" donations will get an autographed Jay Novacek football and a visit from the three-time Super Bowl champion and five-time all-pro tight end.
"We've always been staunch supporters of the military, always been staunch supporters of law enforcement," Jay told CowboysHQ. "There's going to be a point in time where we have to make a decision to allow law enforcement to do their job and duty, or they pull back. If we force them to pull back that will not be good."