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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Honoring A Hero

Congratulations to Ken Kanger our most recent inductee into the National Society of St. Florian and St. Michael.

Today we honor Deputy Chief Ken Kanger. Deputy Chief Ken Kanger began his work with the Omaha Police Department in 1997 as a Police Officer. He has worked in the Uniform Patrol Bureau in the Northwest and Northeast Precincts, as well as the Criminal Investigations Bureau in the Special Victims Unit, Homicide Unit and Narcotics Unit.

He was promoted to Sergeant in 2007 and assigned as a supervisor in the Northeast Precinct of the Uniform Patrol Bureau, and then was assigned to the Homicide Unit of the Criminal Investigations Bureau.  He was promoted to Lieutenant in 2010 and assigned to the Crime Analysis Unit. In 2012, he was assigned to the Gang Unit where he saw the opportunity to work with youth through intervention and prevention to keep kids from becoming involved in criminal activity or becoming victims of violence.

He was promoted to Captain in 2017 and was assigned to command the Special Operations Section of the Criminal Investigations Bureau, which includes both the Gang and Narcotics Units. He now serves in the role of Deputy Chief, overseeing the entire Criminal Investigations Bureau.

Deputy Chief Kanger sees the potential in the youth of our community. He strongly believes in the message set by Inky Johnson, a former college football player who was injured and turned his injury into motivation for himself and others. Johnson tells people to “empty the bucket”, to give everything you’ve got. You can see Deputy Chief Kanger spreading this message in our community.

Deputy Chief Kanger serves our community on the baseball field as a volunteer coach for PACE (Police Athletics for Community Engagement).  He strives to give our youth an outlet for success through positive interactions and activities.  He has helped establish and participates in a growing initiative called Operation NETS (Neighborhood Engagement Through Sports) which replaces torn neighborhood basketball nets with new ones and provides new sports equipment to at risk youth.  He is also a coach through Operation NETS.  It is reported he builds relationships with kids and the community.  He truly cares for people and his actions speak volumes.  Just spend a few minutes with Deputy Chief Kanger and you will see it for yourself.

Deputy Chief Kanger received the Metropolitan Chief’s Association Leadership Award and the Kerrie Orozco Award for Community Service in 2017. He was the Crime Stoppers Jack Swanson – Lloyd Grimm Officer of the Year in 2003.  He’s also involved with Gesu Housing, Abide, Coalition RX and he is a consistent presence at Omaha 360.

Deputy Chief Kanger was nominated by a kind citizen who wanted to see him recognized for his commitment to public safety and bettering the community.

Deputy Chief Kanger subscribes to one motto, “Life has no remote. Get up and change it yourself”.

We thank Deputy Chief Kanger for his dedicated service to the city of Omaha and for making a difference in the lives of so many in our community.  Again, congratulations Ken!

Nominate your hero to receive this outstanding recognition. Nominees receive a Personalized Certificate and a two-sided Saint Florian and Saint Michael Challenge Coin in a showcase box. Click here to learn more.

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Noelle, Awards of Excellence Recipient, Follows Her Firefighter Father’s Example

We congratulate Noelle Philippi for being selected as a First Responders Foundation Awards of Excellence 2020 recipients.  Noelle is graduating from Ralston High School. 

The Awards of Excellence are presented to children of first responders who demonstrate a commitment to the community and volunteerism, have good character, and balanced achievements in their lives.

Below is part of an essay that Noelle submitted for the award.

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Hand Sanitizer brings Patriarch Distillers & the First Responders Foundation Together

Patriarch Distillers Inc. is distributing hand sanitizers for first responders and health care workers in cooperation with the First Responders Foundation.

Patriarch Distillers/Soldier Valley Spirits is a small craft distillery that has changed production over from spirit-based consumables to a hand sanitizer during the pandemic. They hope the hand cleaning application will help slow down the COVID- 19 virus.

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Gary Steiner – New Board President

The First Responders Foundation is pleased to announce Gary Steiner, as Chairman of the Board in 2020.  Gary will be instrumental in helping the Foundation fulfill its mission to serve and honor all our First Responders and their families, build appreciation and respect for their work, and to enhance public safety.

Gary formed Steiner Consulting, Inc. in 2014 after 20 years of nonprofit management and fundraising work. His firm works with mid-sized nonprofits to develop visionary plans and to secure the resources needed to turn those visions into realities.

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Awards of Excellence Recipient, Kylie Tierney

Meet Kylie Tierney!  Kylie is a recipient of the First Responders Foundation Awards of Excellence 2019!  Kylie is a freshman at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa and she is currently pursuing a Pre-Veterinarian path.

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. That is what made Kylie eligible for the award. Kylie’s mom, Lt. Darci Tierney, recently retired from the Omaha Police Department after 25 years of outstanding service to the community.

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FRF Director of Development, Jodi Teal

The First Responders Foundation is pleased to officially announce the addition of Jodi Teal as the Director of Development. Jodi joins the Foundation with 15 years of nonprofit experience and is assisting with moving the Foundation toward the vision of providing a direct impact on the mental and emotional wellbeing of first responders. In her previous position, as Development Director at Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy, she served in various positions including donor relations, grant writer, event manager, fundraising, and was the liaison to outside funding opportunities in the community. Jodi has presented on fundraising, grant writing, and capacity building topics at regional and state conferences.

Jodi earned her degree in Human Resources and Family Science from University of Nebraska at Omaha and post-baccalaureate Certificate of Paralegal Studies from College of St. Mary. She completed UNO’s Certificate in Fundraising Management and Strong Nonprofit Program from the Fremont Area Community Foundation. Jodi believes in the positive nature of therapies received beyond the clinical setting. She maintains her certification as an equine specialist in Mental Health and Learning and a therapeutic riding instructor certification through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. She is currently a Board of Director member for the Little Giants Foundation.

Born and raised in Omaha, Jodi is proud to support first responders.  The Foundation is excited to have her as part of the team.  Welcome, Jodi!

Honoring Jerry Hoberman – Co-founder of the First Responders Foundation

Honoring Jerry HobermanThe First Responders Foundation is proud to honor Jerry Hoberman by inducting him into the Ancient Order of Saint Florian and Saint Michael Society.

Saint Michael, the protector is the patron saint of police and Saint Florian is the patron saint of firefighters.  The First Responders Foundation recognizes Jerry Hoberman for supporting first responders and the First Responders Foundation.

Jerry Hoberman and Ray Somberg Co-founded the First Responders Foundation in 2009.  We are thankful for both Jerry and Ray.  This year at the Third Annual 9/11 Luncheon of Honor we will be recognizing Jerry for all he has done for First Responders.  Leading up to starting the Foundation Jerry had an opportunity to spend some time with individuals from the Omaha Fire Department and the Omaha Police Department.  Here are some reflections from Jerry.

My reflections of First Responders
by Jerry Hoberman – Co Founder of the First Responders Foundation

My neighbor John Stolinski is a Omaha firefighter. In visiting with John, I was impressed by his, as well as his fellow firefighters, dedication and caring for the citizens of our city who found themselves in need of medical attention or rescue.

I had the privilege of participating in a “practice burn” of a building. As i watched the flames curl up the wall and envelope the ceiling, as I experienced the intense heat, as the protective gear I wore became enveloped in smoke so dense I could n to see my hand in front of my face…. panic took over! All I could think was….. I HAVE TO GET OUT!

Firefighter Dan Stolinski, who was assigned to keeping me unharmed, instructed me to crawl on all fours as he lead me out of the building. When I reached the fresh air, I thought about the First Responders who risk their lives by going into burning buildings to save ours. It gave me a lasting appreciation of their courage and dedication.

I was paired with Omaha Police Officer Nyugen to go on a “Ride Along” in the late hours of the night. My heart was racing and my anxiety maxed out as I watched Office Nyugen pull over a suspected drug dealer. I sat in the cruiser as I observed him cautiously approaching the driver’s door…. never knowing what to expect, as he proceeded with the arrest.

Another call came in and we were dispatched to a domestic violence incident where a man drove his key fob into the head of his girlfriend. As we took off, all I could think about were the stories of officers who were wounded or killed responding to routine domestic violence calls.

We count on First Responders to care for us….. to protect us. These exceptional men and women, on a daily basis, put their lives in jeopardy to protect ours.

My lifelong friend, Ray Somberg had similar experiences, and together, we founded the “Firefighter & Police Appreciation Foundation” later renamed “The First Responders Foundation”

All of us at the First Responders Foundation are grateful to Jerry and Ray for starting the foundation that for 10 years has been serving and appreciating First Responders and their families.

We are very proud to be honoring Jerry Hoberman at the Third Annual 9/11 Luncheon of Honor, for all he has done for First Responders and the Foundation.

Jerry started Tires, Incorporated in 1969 and worked there until he sold the business in 1998. He is the past chairman of Del Nat. a national tire association. He is currently on the board of the Holland Foundation.  Jerry is retired.

Jerry and his wife, Cookie, just celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary.  They have three daughters, Jennifer lives in Omaha, and Robin and Lisa both reside in Chicago.  They also have and are very proud of their “FFG”, five fabulous grandchildren.

Jerry, we thank you!

Tribute Lap at I-80 Speedway This Week Will Honor Fallen First Responders

This Friday at 7pm, there will be a special tribute to fallen Officer Kerrie Orozco & Deputy Mark Burbridge at the I-80 Speedway, featuring driver Jim Cahill doing a reverse tribute lap in his car (pictured below) followed by the Omaha Police Dept., Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Dept., Douglas County Sheriff’s Dept., Ralston Police Dept., Bellevue Police Dept., La Vista Police dept., Papillion Police Dept., and the Council Bluffs Police Dept.

Cahill’s race car is wrapped in graphics as a tribute to Deputy Mark Burbridge.

The First Responders Foundation will also be on hand to participate in the tribute lap and raise money to support area first responders.

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