New Director of JAVELAN, Welcoming Mike Kraus

The First Responders Foundation is honored to welcome Mike Kraus as the new Director of JAVELAN. The JAVELAN Program provides funding for service dogs and dog training for military veterans and retired first responders.

Mike has a deep, visceral and untamed love for his country and for those who defend her on a daily basis.

September 11, 2001 impacted every American in a unique, different way, and the same can be said for Mike Kraus. Just in 5th grade, the live videos, images and comments he heard that day wouldn’t be felt until years later until he learned why billions of people around the world love the United States of America, and why billions of other people hate the U.S.A. – because of the freedoms we have been given by God and secured by the men and women of our armed forces. It is because of this reason Mike has felt a deep, visceral and untamed love for his country and for those who defend her on a daily basis.

Jack Assisting Veterans Enjoy Life AgaiN (JAVELAN) is a niche program, founded by passionate Veterans and civilians alike, whose mission is to “enrich the lives of lives of first responders and Veterans, by enabling independence and life-changing support” and because of this commitment to our Nation’s Heroes, Mike appreciates this program.

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Being Open About Mental Health Issues

I am so very thankful for the First Responder Foundation and the platform they gave me to tell my story. Helping First Responders By Being Open About Trials & Troubles was the first blog post written by Police Officer Stephen.

After that article was posted, my wife and I were given the opportunity to go on two separate podcasts, and the number of messages I received was astounding. The number one question I got, however, was “How can I help”? So that got me thinking. What can we do to help our brothers and sisters to be open about mental health issues?

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Honoring the Omaha Police Officers Association

The First Responders Foundation is honored to be inducting the Omaha Police Officers Association into the Ancient Society of St. Florian and St. Michael at the 5th Annual 9/11 Luncheon of Honor on September 10, 2021. 

The Ancient Order of Saint Florian and Saint Michael is a society made up of members of the community who have provided long-term and exceptional service to first responders and their families through their enduring and exceptional acts of financial giving or acts of selfless volunteerism, and those who have made a great impact in the community.

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Honoring Omaha Professional Fire Fighters Association, IAFF 385

The First Responders Foundation is honored to be inducting the Omaha Professional Fire Fighters Association, IAFF 385 into the Ancient Society of St. Florian and St. Michael at the 5th Annual 9/11 Luncheon of Honor on September 10, 2021. 

The Ancient Order of Saint Florian and Saint Michael is a society made up of members of the community who have provided long-term and exceptional service to first responders and their families, through their enduring and exceptional acts of financial giving or acts of selfless volunteerism, and those who have made a great impact in the community.

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The American Legion Riders Post 374 Supports JAVELAN in Significant Ways

The First Responders Foundation is honored to be inducting The American Legion Riders Post 374 Millard NE into the Ancient Society of St. Florian and St. Michael at the 5th Annual 9/11 Luncheon of Honor on September 10, 2021. 

Each year the First Responders Foundation selects community members and/or organizations to induct into the Ancient Order of Saint Florian and Saint Michael. This honor is reserved for those who have provided long-term and exceptional service to first responders, veterans, and their families through their enduring and exceptional acts of financial giving or acts of selfless volunteerism. 

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Helping First Responders By Being Open About Trials and Troubles

In his own words from Police Officer Stephen:

And I thought to myself that if any of those people had been open about their trials and troubles, it would have made this journey so much easier for me….

When I was a small child I looked at police officers as heroes. Strong men and women that were always there when we needed them. I remember living in an apartment as a small child, and this one officer used to run radar right by my building. Spent countless days talking to him, bringing him some of my Halloween candy, asking a million and one questions. I was that annoying kid. But God, they were superheroes. 

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Giving Back to the Community is Important to the Bremer’s

The First Responders Foundation is honored to be inducting Debbie and Jeff Bremer into the Ancient Society of St. Florian and St. Michael at the 5th Annual 9/11 Luncheon of Honor on September 10, 2021. 

The Ancient Order of Saint Florian and Saint Michael is a society made up of members of the community who have provided long-term and exceptional service to first responders, veterans, and their families through their enduring and exceptional acts of financial giving or acts of selfless volunteerism. The Bremer’s have been extremely supportive of the Foundation for many years. Debbie serves on the Board of Directors and is currently Vice Chairman of the Board.

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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.

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