CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - Two checks were presented to a family representative of Deputy Nick Tullier and his family on Friday, in the hopes of helping him buy a handicap-accessible van.
The van is needed because Nick and his fiancée, Danielle, just moved out of the rehab facility in Galveston to an apartment in Houston, Texas. Nick will be going to outpatient therapy at TIRR Memorial Hermann. The Tulliers plan to rent a van for the next month to get Nick from Galveston to Houston, but they need one long-term.
That's where the community stepped up. Over the past few weeks, several organizations came together first with a luncheon at the Oakpoint Shopping Center in Central. Cast Iron Assistance is a group who simply loves to cook and they made thousands of plates of food for the event. Then there was another fundraiser on December 2 that also raised a significant amount of money.
"We believe we sold 5,000 plates," said Stephen Ashford with Cast Iron Assistance. "This would not be possible without you, without you showing up and buying plates. Know you're a part of this. You're a huge part of this that allowed us to raise these funds for Deputy Tullier today."
Some people even donated and did not take a plate of food.
"The check amount here is $45,500 and it's rising as we speak," said Pat Englade, who started Capital Area Law Enforcement Foundation (CALEF).
Plus, a group called Team BlueLine out of Atlanta, Georgia added to the pot sending a separate check for $25,000. "They too saw a need and wanted to help us present something to the Tullier family in order to buy this van," said Englade.
"This is going to be such a wonderful surprise for them. Now they'll be able to get the van they need to transport Nick back to and from therapy or to take him on outings," said Sheri Kirley, a family friend of the Tulliers.
Kirley says a handicap-accessible van will cost $100,000, but the $70,000 raised will be a huge help towards purchasing one. CALEF presented the Tullier family with a thin blue line flag on Friday as well.
"We present this flag to the Tullier family. On the bottom it says 'Protect our Protectors' and there's no better protector than Nick, so we present this to you guys," said Englade.
Nick and Danielle will be able to move into a home for the first time since he was shot just in time for Christmas, and it won't be a hospital setting. "Right here at Christmas time, we're going to have a dream come true at a Christmas event like this," said Englade.
It's a Christmas miracle for a miracle in progress.
Anyone wishing to send Christmas cards to Deputy Tullier may do so at the following address:
11991 S Main St.
Houston, TX 77035