JAVELAN Service Dogs Give A New Outlook On Life.

Our JAVELAN Team recently visited the Beemer American Legion where they received a very generous donation of $10,000. Reporter Ashley Gaughan of the West Point News wrote the following article and with permission, we are sharing her story.

JAVELAN Service Dogs Give Veterans & Retired First Responders A New Outlook On Life.

Many veterans and first responders will testify that their JAVELAN service dog has significantly changed their life for the better. JAVELAN is a program of the non-profit First Responders Foundation based in Omaha. The acronym stands for “Jack Assisting Veterans Enjoy Life AgaiN.” Jack was the first service dog in the program when it started six years ago.

JAVELAN Director Mike Kraus, cofounder Bob Dean, and his service dog, Duke, visited the Beemer American Legion in February to share the countless ways the JAVELAN program can benefit veterans and retired first responders. Whether mobility disabilities such as paralysis, MS, stroke, amputations, being diagnosed with PTSD, TBI, or physical disability, or requiring a diabetic or seizure alert dog, a JAVELAN dog can help provide services regarding any of these conditions.

Sharing His Story

Shane was one veteran who shared his story about his JAVELAN dog, MAT, through a video testimonial provided at the Beemer American Legion presentation. Shane worked in the Justice Department for 28 years and during his career he had been shot three times—the final time being the most harmful.

To help him overcome PTSD, Shane was connected with JAVELAN and was set up for the training program. Shane and his daughter awaited eagerly to receive MAT, Shane’s new service dog. However, during that time, Shane’s daughter was tragically killed.

When Shane did receive MAT, his service dog was able to help him not only address his needs regarding PTSD but also helped comfort him in the midst of losing his daughter.

Shane shared how MAT can sense when he has anxiety or isn’t sleeping, and is a constant companion and a comfort to him. “I cannot say where I’d be today without MAT in my life,” Shane said.

Continue reading “JAVELAN Service Dogs Give A New Outlook On Life.”

Guns & Hoses Hockey Challenge – this Sunday!

 Sunday is the big day –
Guns & Hoses Hockey Challenge ON ICE!
Baxter Arena March 19, at 3 PM

Come watch local police and firefighters compete in the Guns & Hoses Hockey Challenge for a good cause, to support the First Responders Foundation!

Bring the family out to cheer on our First Responders and enjoy an epic event with lots of fun scheduled on AND off the ice! There will be a Kid Zone, cool first responder vehicles, K9s, vendors, a Chuck-A-Puck break activity, awesome raffles, and more! 

Need Tickets?
The box office opens at 12:00 on Sunday
or click here to purchase now!

  • Baxter Arena has a Clear Bag Policy & concessions are credit card ONLY.
  • Bring cash! Raffle tickets and chuck-a-pucks will be available for purchase in the main concourse.
  • Look for directional signage – fans are encouraged to sit behind the team they’re rooting for!
  • Make signs to cheer on your favorite team or player!


Meet the 2023 FIRE TEAM – TEAM RED

Team Red includes firefighters from Omaha, Council Bluffs, Offutt, Lincoln, Waterloo, and Grand Island, and has a combined 269 years of service.

  • # 27 – (Captain) Derek Panneton  – Omaha Fire Department
  • #6 – (Asst Captain) Chris Sorensen – Council Bluffs Fire Department
  • #1 – (Asst Captain) Allen Weberg – Omaha Fire Department
  • #71 – Zach Mass – Omaha Fire Department
  • #69 – TJ Wurth – Omaha Fire Department
  • #39 – Matt Hill – Omaha Fire Department
  • #18 – TJ Korpela – Omaha Fire Department
  • #12 – Kevin Meschede  – Omaha Fire Department
  • #21 – Pat Driscoll – Omaha Fire Department
  • #8 – Jon Kava – Omaha Fire Department
  • #7 – Scott Fitzpatrick – Omaha Fire Department
  • #14 – Ryan Hoffman – Offutt Air Force Base Fire Department
  • #15 – Josh Ballain– Council Bluffs Fire Department
  • #5 – Chad Wheeler – Council Bluffs Fire Department
  • #23 – Neal Hoevet  – Council Bluffs Fire Department
  • #9 – Nick Mckenzie – Omaha Fire Department
  • #10 – Ryan Cyboron  – Grand Island Fire Department
  • #29 – Alex Duling  Eppley Fire Department
  • #37 – Brady Krajeski  Ralston Fire Department
  • #47 – Mike Morton Jr Waterloo Fire Department
  • Jordan Wright Lincoln Fire Department


Team Blue includes law enforcement from 8 different metro-area agencies, and has a combined 188 of years of service.

  • #13 – Anthony DeSciscio (Captain) – Omaha Police Department
  • #92 – Jason Miller – Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office
  • #64 – Benjamin Nguyen – Nebraska State Patrol
  • #24 – Ryan Fitz – Omaha Police Department
  • #6 – Tom Shaffer  – Omaha Police Department
  • #18 – Brett WAGNER  – Omaha Police Department
  • #50 – Nick Palmer – Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office
  • #17 – Mike Borman – Nebraska State Probation
  • #34 – Brandon Shelton – MCC Police Department
  • #29 – Mark Kable – Morgantown Police Department  
  • #90 – Jacob Mikesell – Sarpy County Sheriff’s Probation 
  • #21 – James Grasmick – Omaha Police Department 
  • #43 – Brandom Ozuman – Omaha Police Department 
  • #44 – Jon Sears – Lincoln Police Department 
  • #11 – Bill Stenneche – Douglas County Corrections 
  • #2 – Pat Scheifla – Douglas County Corrections 
  • #16 – Matt Backora – Omaha Police Department

Thank you to our Guns & Hoses Premier Sponsors.

NE Chapter of the Eastern Star supports JAVELAN

The JAVELAN program of the First Responders Foundation would like to sincerely thank the NE Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star for the very generous gift of – drum roll please …….$22,845! That will make a huge difference in the lives of veterans and retired first responders in need of service dogs.

Each year the Grand Matron and Grand Patron of the Order of the Eastern Star raise money for a non-profit organization of their choice. Dottie Arent, Grand Matron and David Wetrosky, Grand Patron of the 2021/2022 session selected JAVELAN for their yearly project. The organization has donated funds to JAVELAN for a few years but this year JAVELAN was the special focused project. Funds were raised throughout the year and the first $10,558.15 was raised!

Each year all the individual Chapters of the Order of the Eastern Star come together for a Grand Chapter Meeting. At the meeting this year Mike Kraus, Director of the JAVELAN program was presented with the $10,558.15. They held a silent auction at the meeting to raise additional funds for JAVELAN.

Recently, Mike Kraus and Patrice Monnier, First Responders Foundation’s Director of Social Media, meet with Dottie and David along with Jan Thomas, Grand Secretary of Eastern Star at the Grand Chapter Headquarters in Lincoln NE. At that time JAVELAN was surprised with the second check from the silent auction in the amount of $12,287. Dottie and David would like to thank the membership for being so generous and supportive of the JAVELAN program and for their assistance in helping those needing a service dog.

The NE Chapter has made service dog projects and organizations their focus for fundraising. We can’t thank them enough for the donation to JAVELAN and their continued support of the program. This donation will support more than four JAVELAN Teams! For more information on the JAVELAN Program or if you or someone you know needs a service dog click here.

The Order of the Eastern Star is an international fraternal order comprised of both women and men with religious convictions and high spiritual and moral values.

Click here to watch the video of Mike Kraus receiving the donation at the Grand Chapter meeting. 


Teaching Mental & Physical Wellness in Spencer, IA

The First Responders Foundation recently provided free Behavioral Health and Physical health classes in Spencer, IA.

Jason Workman, Director of Behavioral Health shared, “Really enjoyed training with the First Responders and spouses in Spencer IA this week. It was a great time with Fire, police, and Sheriff’s Offices from surrounding communities attending resiliency training and Spouses benefited from their own workshop.”

Enjoy this article from The Spencer Reporter.

[pdf-embedder url=”https://firstrespondersfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Mental-and-physical-wellness-_-The-Daily-Reporter.pdf” title=”Mental and physical wellness _ The Daily Reporter”]

Jim Cahill, is All About Serving and Protecting and Honoring Others Who Do The Same.

The First Responders Foundation is honored to be inducting Jim Cahill into the Ancient Society of St. Florian and St. Michael at the 6th Annual 9/11 Luncheon of Honor on September 9, 2022. 

Jim Cahill has served in the armed forces and as a first responder and now spends much of his time honoring and respecting those groups and their families both on and off the job. The First Responders Foundation is proud to partner with Jim to fulfill the mission of the Foundation to serve and honor all our First Responders, Veterans and their families, build appreciation and respect for their work, and enhance public safety.

Jim served in the Air Force, as a Bellevue Police Office and is now Corporate Security Manager for NFM

Jim Cahill was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1980 he enlisted in the United States Air Force where he served during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Returning stateside Jim was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base.  After leaving the Air Force he joined the Bellevue, NE Police Department and served from 1994 – 1999.  Jim then began a career with Nebraska Furniture Mart where he is now NFM’s Corporate Security Manager overseeing security and loss prevention operations in all of their states.

Continue reading “Jim Cahill, is All About Serving and Protecting and Honoring Others Who Do The Same.”

Nationwide Ride

Nationwide Ride

The Nationwide Ride is a two-person charity cycling event that kicks off on July 5th on Good Morning America.  The coast-to-coast ride spans over 3,500 miles and directly benefits the First Responders Foundation and 7 other worthy social impact organizations.

The ride starts in New York City and ends in Pacific City, Oregon at the end of August. 

The riders, John Bladholm and Chris Ray are riding to provide a way for citizens of our nation and the generous partners and sponsors of the Nationwide Ride to give back to the country. 

John says, “This has been a difficult year for so many, yet hope and gratitude remain strong in my heart.  This ride will hopefully strengthen my faith that our country is still full of good people wanting to help each other.”  John is a Partner of Green Barn Events and is the Co-Founder of the Nationwide Ride.  Green Barn Events is a Pacific Northwest event management company with a focus on nonprofit fundraising.

The Nationwide Ride consists of seven cycling stages. 

Each stage is approximately 500 miles and is supported by a generous sponsor that benefits one of the eight nonprofit organizations.  The First Responders Foundation sincerely thanks 7-Eleven for being the sponsor of the FRF stage. Each stage will highlight one of the nonprofits and the supporting sponsor. 

The First Responders Foundation will be highlighted during stage three where the riders will be traveling between Minneapolis, MN, and Joliet, IL. Along the entire 3,500 miles, 85 miles a day for 45 days, John and Chris will be joined by celebrities, athletes, sponsors, and special guests.

To make a donation to the Nationwide Ride on behalf of the First Responders Foundation click here.  If you would prefer text-to-donate text the word “ride” to 402-518-5110.

For more information on the Nationwide ride, the stages, the route, and on the other nonprofit organization click here.

First Responders Foundation Support

With the support of sponsors and volunteers,100% of every dollar donated during the ride will go directly to the benefiting organization.  Donations will be accepted via text-to-give or online. The goal is to generate a total of $500,000 for the nonprofit foundations.

Along with the First Responders Foundation proceeds will benefit the Fire Family Foundation. Black & Gold NW (USO, Special Operations Warriors Foundation and The Green Beret Foundation), The Sam Day Foundation (Pediatric Cancer Research), Feeding America, the Harrington Family Foundation, and The Maurice Lucas Foundation.

John states, “The Nationwide Ride allows us to partner with like-minded sponsors to support the foundations in need of financial support.  We have worked with each of our chosen foundations, some of them for decades.  We support them, we believe in their mission and we are invested in their success.

Special thanks go out to the generous sponsors of the Nationwide Ride:

  • Bandit Wines, Pacific Bells, 7-Eleven
  • Trinchero Wineries
  • Sutter Home Family Vineyards
  • Sparkling Ice
  • Nabisco
  • Safeway/Albertsons
  • Dark Horse Comics
  • Les Schwab
  • Pelican Brewing
  • TriCor Technologies
  • Castelli, Brown Foreman
  • LinkUs
  • Oregon Fruit Company
  • Clif Bar, Andino Coffee
  • ABC Roofing
  • SOS Hydration

The Nationwide Ride is hosted by Green Barn Events out of Portland Oregon led by Athena Willems. Green Barn Events hosts hundreds of events each year specializing in nonprofit events and raising money for important causes.

The First Responders Foundation thanks all at Green Barn Events for organizing this special event that will help fulfill our mission to honor and serve first responders, veterans, and their families.

To follow the ride click here visit the Facebook Page.

Twenty Impacts in 2020

The First Responders Foundation’s mission is to serve and honor all our First Responders, Veterans, and their families, build appreciation and respect for their work and enhance public safety.  On that journey this year, the Foundation has impacted first responders and their families in many ways. Below is a list of twenty impacts in 2020!

We thank the private citizens, the organization, and the businesses who have supported the Foundation this year making it possible to make a difference in the lives of first responders and their families.

Without Guns and Hoses and our Annual 9/11 Luncheon of Honor, our yearly fundraising events, this year has been particularly difficult as it has been for many social impact organizations.  Your support has been and is now appreciated more than you will ever know, and allow us to continue our vital programming.

Continue reading “Twenty Impacts in 2020”

Trucking Hand Sanitizer Across Nebraska

Make a needed product and give it to those in need? Sounds easy, right?

Below you will find more information and the helping hands in Trucking Hand Sanitizer Across Nebraska.

(Update as of May 14th.  All requests for hand sanitizer are now going direct to Patriarch Distillers.  Please email David at dyoung@svspirits.com )

David Young and Jeff Hadden Patriarch DistillersJeff Hadden, Founder and President, and David M. Young, VP of Strategy and Spirits Evangelist, from Patriarch Distillers/Soldier Valley 6, in LaVista, NE, just wanted to help out during the pandemic and produce hand sanitizer for those who were working so hard to keep our community safe. They made the decision to stop producing spirits at their business and begin making hand sanitizer full time.

Things started out fine, but as the need grew, David and Jeff were inundated with phone calls, emails, and even in-person visits to their facility for hand sanitizer. They needed some help. “Our project for good had become overwhelming,” said Jeff.

Continue reading “Trucking Hand Sanitizer Across Nebraska”

Bellevue Fire Department COVID-19 Has Changed Things

From Temperatures, to Drive-by Birthday Celebrations, COVID-19 has changed things for the Bellevue Fire Department.

(As of Sun. April 5th the Bellevue Fire Department has transported one person who has tested positive for COVID-19.)

Shari Lentsch is proud of the way the personnel at the Bellevue Fire Department (BFD) are all working together during these unprecedented times. As first responders deal with COVID-19 in the Bellevue area, Shari who is the Supervisor of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for the BFD, knows that they are positively impacting public safety response, and utilizing containment and mitigation initiatives.

Continue reading “Bellevue Fire Department COVID-19 Has Changed Things”

Congratulations to the 2019 ASIS Law Enforcement & Security Awards Winners!

The First Responders Foundation would like to congratulate all of the 2019 ASIS Law Enforcement & Security Awards Winners.  Their hard work and dedication to our community are much appreciated.  It was an honor to take part in recognizing them for the work they do day in and day out.

Continue reading “Congratulations to the 2019 ASIS Law Enforcement & Security Awards Winners!”