Deputy Jason Lawson of the Collin County Sheriff's Department knew something had to be done when he realized there was no official way of helping a fellow coworker in a time of need.
In early 2017 Lawson took a firm interest in starting a fund for sheriff's employees. It's something he first did in his home state of Minnesota where he was also in law enforcement.
"The hardest thing we're gonna find with this nonprofit is people asking for help," Lawson said.
Lawson started a non-profit called the The Sheriff Fund.
Anybody can contribute to the fund, and it is designed to help a sheriff's department employee in a time of need.
Kristi Kendall, a corrections officer, is one of a handful of recipients from The Sheriff Fund. Her daughter Abigail died in a multi-vehicle accident less than a year ago along Highway 121.
"I won't ever forget her. Moving on from her is not possible," cried Kendall.
The amount of financial help the fund provided for the Kendall couple was minimal, but it was also in its infancy. Kendall recalls that the social and emotional support the family received made the biggest difference for the family. Kendall says it reinforced the notion that law enforcement is a tight-knit community.
"You don't have to ask [for help], they're there," Kendall said.
Sheriff Jim Skinner remembers the day Lawson walked into his office with a proposal for the non-profit.
"It's always about the other people, it's never about himself," Sheriff Skinner said.
As president of the non-profit, Deputy Lawson saw it gaining traction. Employees were contributing and families like the Kendalls were getting help with bills.
But one month after starting up the fund, Lawson had his own medical scare.
"Something just didn't feel right. I wasn't sure what it was, I just felt off," Lawson said.
Lawson tells WFAA that his first seizure happened when he was home alone. He would have dozens of seizures after that. He says his balance was off and his memory faded. He would be transferred to several hospitals over the course of weeks. It was clear it was something neurological, but doctors still cannot pinpoint what is causing Lawson's symptoms.
"It's like he wasn't there. It wasn't really him," Jason's wife Emily said.
Jason would be a prime beneficiary of the fund. However, a clause that he wrote himself precluded him from "receiving at any time the net earnings."
"It basically states that anybody that's a board member cannot accept proceeds from The Sheriff Fund," he said.
It is a bylaw he wrote himself to be more transparent. People told him to resign just to qualify.
"...perhaps explore an exception? He wouldn't have it," recalled Sheriff Skinner.
Jason and his wife knew all along the fund wasn't an option. It does not stop the medical bills from coming or erasing their savings.
"Those rules were in place for a reason and I agreed with them," Emily said.
There is a separate effort underway through the department to help Jason financially, and a GoFundMe page has been set up.
Lawson says he experiences symptoms from time to time but says it is manageable now. He is back on patrol working a normal shift. And while he's working his shift, he's also working on the fund that he created for everyone else.