FORT WORTH (CBS 11 News) – The City of Fort Worth took away DD Willingham’s gun, and they could take away her job — all because she has a terminal illness.
What’s more, Willingham is only months away from retirement with full pension and medical benefits, hitting her 25 years of service in September.
Now supporters are trying to raise enough money to allow her to essentially buy an early retirement, since she is too sick to work.
The city, however, says it is merely supporting a policy that employees can only spend a limited amount of time on limited duty.
Officials told her this week that her six months of limited duty was up — but doctors won’t let her go back to full-time duty due to the lung cancer.
Now her peers are doing all they can to raise funds for her to “buy” retirement.
On Friday, there was a lunch and a raffle. On Sunday, there was a bowling tournament at Don Carter Cityview.
More than 200 officers and their families came out to support Willingham, and were able to raise more than $4,000.
There’s also an online donation taking place on GoFundMe.com called “Support Officer DD Willingham.”
The goal is so raise more than $30,000. So far, the online site says more than $10,000 has been raised by nearly 150 people as of 9 p.m. Sunday.
A few of the donators claim to be from across the country.
Willingham has helped others for nearly a quarter of a century, and her peers say that’s enough.
Sgt. Roy Hudson calls her a superb officer.
“She gives a thousand percent, even through her illness she comes in every single say and gives a thousand percent,” Hudson said.
Some of Willingham’s friends say they wonder if the cancer is due to a chemical exposure that happened on-the-job, while she blocked a street in 2004.
Fort Worth tells CBS 11 News that they are working with Willingham on all her options.
On Friday, Chief Halstead personally returned her gun.
Family says Willingham is overwhelmed by the support she continues to receive.
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