“This is who we’re fighting for," said co-worker, Detective Charla Smith. "She has held her head high with disease and everything, smiling, encouraging other people, saying God is going to get me through.”
Willingham, who joined the department in 1990, has been forced to take leave because of a city policy.
Now, fellow officers are helping her pay forward some $32,000 into the retirement fund, which would allow her to retire early but still receive full benefits.
“The problem is she needs to get to (retirement) to have her health care taken care of,” said Richard Van Houten, president of the Fort Worth Police Officers’ Association. “Obviously, in her condition, health care is extremely important.”
It's a complicated issue, but Staff writer Deanna Boyd takes a look at it in this report.
-- Bill Miller