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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Spotlight on Leah Harms, Behavioral Health Clinician & Physical Wellness Coordinator

Leah Harms has been a member of the First Responders Support Team (FRST) since 2019 when she attended training for therapists who were interested in working with first responders. Growing up with a father who served as a firefighter in Lincoln, she says that the first-responder culture is something that has always been familiar to her, and it is a niche that has interested her professionally for a long time. Leah is also the fiancé of a Council Bluffs, IA firefighter.

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Deputy Tony Ramaeker – Scheels Home Town Hero

Congratulations to Deputy Tony Ramaeker! Scheels and American Heroes Outdoors have teamed up to capture and share stories of real heroes living in local communities. Officer Tony Ramaeker is a first responder at the Douglas County Sheriffs Office and is a local metro area hero. The First Responders Foundation is proud to announce that Deputy Ramaeker was recently named a Scheels Home Town Hero and was honored at the Scheels store at Village Pointe in Omaha on March 31st.

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New Board Treasurer, Mike Corrigan

The First Responders Foundation welcomes Mike Corrigan, to the Board of Directors, as the new treasurer of the board. Mike is the VP Commercial Relationship Manager with Access Bank. Mike has been with Access for five years and works with new and existing commercial businesses. The Foundation has been banking with Access for more than a year and finds them extremely helpful and engaging. The Foundation is pleased to have Mike’s expertise on the board and looks forward to working with him for more than one reason. Mike is uniquely qualified for this position because not only does he bring financial expertise to the board, he is also a first responder.

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Awards of Excellence Recipients Connor and Tony Rinn

Meet Awards of Excellence winners, Connor and Tony Rinn.  These brothers are students at Midland University in Fremont, NE.  Tony is pursuing a degree in Secondary Education and Connor is majoring in Criminal Justice

The Awards of Excellence are given to high school seniors who demonstrate good character, balanced achievement, and outstanding commitment to the community.  These students are also children of local first responders.  The Rinn brothers’ father, Bill Rinn is a Captain with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

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Hannah and the Tri-County Fire Corps

Hello, my name is Hannah.  I am currently enrolled at Metro Community College working towards a Fire Science degree.

About two years ago I took a career academy through MCC for Fire Science.  During the academy I learned about the Tri-County Fire Explorers program.  My instructors at MCC told me being involved in the program was a great opportunity.  At that time I did not know for sure if I wanted to be a firefighter.  I knew the program would allow me to get my foot in the door and I knew I would learn a lot.
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Suz and Ginger

“Ginger gave me my life back” was how Suz explained her relationship with her service dog.

Suz knew that something had to change.  She was not doing activities that she loved.  She was not enjoying life.  And then came to Ginger!

Suz joined the Navy after college.  She started with the reserves, and then joined the Navy and attended Bootcamp in Orlando, FL.  She was stationed in San Diego, CA.  One night while she was on duty she was bitten by a black widow.  Unfortunately, the bite was misdiagnosed and treated as a cactus prick, and the venom from the black widow went through her system.

Suz spent two years in the hospital, had twelve surgeries, and multiple times doctors thought they would have to take her leg.  Fortunately, her leg was saved.  She still gets steroid shots and has residual pain but she has full use of her leg.

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