“It was hard to tell the difference between the fireworks in the neighborhood and the flashing lights of the approaching rescue squad.”
We had just finished dinner. The kids were scrambling to find shoes and run outside for the start of sparklers and the highly anticipated fireworks. It all changed in an instant. I will never forget the cry from my sister’s voice, “Call 911, Devin’s having a seizure.”
The First Responders Foundation was presented a check this morning for $4846 from the Omaha Area Board of Realtors and Affiliates. The OABR hosted their Annual Golf Tournament on August 26, 2019 designating the First Responders Foundation as the beneficiary. The Foundation thanks the OABR for the generous gift that will help fund the many programs that support First Responders and their families in the greater Omaha area. The Foundation sends a special thank you to Chris Myers for setting up the $5 Cheat Fore Charity on his Graphite Lock sponsored hole. Chris is also a first responder, serving the Boystown Fire Department, and we thank him for his service. It was a great tournament held at the Oak Hills Golf Course at 12323 Golfing Green Dr. in Omaha. Mary Rosenthal, VP of the First Responders Foundation represented the Foundation along with members of the Omaha Police and Omaha Fire Department. Jodi Teal, Director of Development, and Mary shared information with all the golfer about the Foundation. It was a fun day for a great cause.
The Omaha Area Board of Realtors advocates for realtors and the rights of all real estate owners. The OABR is recognized as the primary advocate for the rights of real estate owners in the Greater Omaha market area, and is viewed by members as a professional association that is essential to the success of their business. For more information visit https://www.omaharealtors.com/
Pictured above from left to right:Jan Eggenberg, Affliate President 2020, Jodi Teal, Director of Development FRF, Patrice Monnier, Ex. Assist. and Social Media Director FRF, Mary Rosenthal, FRF VP, and Summer Franco, OABR Golf Tournament Event Chairperson.
Thank you to all who attended the FRF Third Annual 9/11 Luncheon of Honor. What a wonderful event and way to honor and remember First Responders, and those who support First Responders and the First Responders Foundation.
Special thanks to keynote speaker Secretary Chuck Hagel for sharing his insight on 9/11. Congratulations to our honorees, First Responders Foundation Co-founder Jerry Hoberman, Robert Nelson, Charles Sederstrom, Mike Fahey, Mayor Jean Stothert, and Sec. Chuck Hagel. The MC, Al Batschelet, FRF President & CEO shared details about the foundations programs, events, and fundraising efforts.
Making the event extra special was the Central High School Singers rendition of the National Anthem and the Presentation of the Colors by the OPD Honor Guard and Pipe and Drums. Thank you to our sponsors, First National Bank, Valmont, OPPD, Nebraska Medicine, WoodmenLife, Holland Foundation.
To lean more about the sponsors, bios for each of the honorees, and more pictures from the luncheon click here.
The First Responders Foundation is proud to announce that Secretary Chuck Hagel will be the keynote speaker at the foundations Third Annual 9/11 Luncheon of Honor on September 11, 2019. Sec. Hagel was the 24th Secretary of Defense of the United States and he served two terms in the United States Senate representing the great state of Nebraska.
The luncheon being held at the Hilton Omaha will honor those who have made a difference in the lives of first responders and the First Responders Foundation, including Secretary Hagel.
We thank Secretary Hagel for joining us and we invite the public to join us too. Limited tickets are still available to the luncheon that directly supports first responders in the greater Omaha area.
Today is PTSD Awareness Day 2019. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event or events.
Omaha Firefighter Donnie Dodge was reading an article about PTSD in early 2019 expecting to take away a piece of knowledge to help his friends. But here is what Donny says he found. “I found just the opposite. What I found was an article that was all about me. I had every one of the signs. That sparked my realization that I needed professional assistance. I did the hardest thing I’ve ever done, I asked for help. I admitted that I could not fix what was wrong with me without help.
The First Responders Foundation FRST Team (First Responders Support Team) supports the emotional and mental well-being of First Responders and their families. FRST Programs are available for ALL First Responders (paid and volunteer) and all services are confidential.
If you would like to speak to a member of the FRST Team or would like more information regarding FRST, contact the team at FRST@firstrespondersomaha.org, call 402-218-1218, or visit FRST.
It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help, it’s a sign of strength. To read more about Donnie’s story and how the First Responders Foundation helped him click here.
To read the article that Donnie was reading, click here.
First Responders Foundation Receives $7,681 from Taco John’s!
Taco John’s has a history of supporting first responders and today they came through in a big way! First Responders Foundation was the recipient of a check for $7,681.
Bremer Restaurant Management which owns ten Taco John’s in the metro area, Columbus, Fremont, and Council Bluffs, made the donation at Omaha Fire Station 78. Over the last two years the Bremer’s have been collecting money on behalf of the First Responders Foundation. Every day throughout the year at each Taco John’s location there is a money box where customers can drop in lose change or more to support the foundation.
During the holidays customers had the opportunity to donate $1 to the foundation and add their name to a paper wreath that would be hung on the wall. Debbie and Jeff Bremer have been overwhelmed by the generosity of customers in support of first responders.
“First Responders are always there when we need them in tragic situations, and it is very humbling to give back to them,” commented Debbie. The check presentation was made at Fire Station 78 where Debbie’s brother in law, Jeff Rockwell, is a firefighter. It is a family affair as Jeff’s wife, Lori, works for Bremer Restaurant Management. The whole family holds first responders near and dear to their hearts and are so appreciative of what they mean to the community.
For the last five years Debbie has been on the Board of Directors of the First Responders foundation. She feels this is a way she can give back to the community and show her support of first responders. This is what led the company to begin collecting money for the foundation.
Al Batschelet, President and CEO of FRF, and Jim Hanson, FRF Board Chairman, accepted the check on behalf of the foundation. Al said, “The foundation is really proud to support our first responders. They are the ones that we call on, on our worst day. There are there for you. They are people of courage and commitment that are an integral part of our community, and we are proud to support them and help them in their mission.”
The donation was very timely as the foundation is expanding the FRST (First Responders Support Team) Program. The FRST Program which supports both the mental and physical wellbeing of the first responder is the number one prior of the foundation. This donation will go a long way in helping to expand the FRST Program, which is available for all police and fire (paid and volunteer) in the metro area.
“First Responders give everyday, and their families give everyday too in the background, and sometimes that might go unnoticed. We want to be there to support them in any way possible,” said Bremer.
The Bremer’s want to thank Taco John’s customers for making this day possible.
On June 6th, the First Responders Foundation celebrated the 10th year of providing Appreciation Lunches to first responders. Once a year the First Responders Foundation partners with local business’ to provide lunches for first responders in the metro area. This is a small way that the foundation can thank and acknowledge first responders for the dedication and support they show the community 365 days a year.
This year we were proud to partner with Chick-fil-A of Greater Omaha who provided a wrap, bag of chips, and a cookie for law enforcement officers. Over 600 meals were provided. Omaha Steaks provided steak for the firefighters to cook for themselves at the fire stations. Water was provided by Nebraska Furniture Mart who also helped deliver the meals. A donation was made to help with other costs by C&A Industries.
Volunteers helped pack and deliver the meals. There were more volunteers than could be accommodated as people are more than happy to show appreciation to our local first responders and heroes. One volunteer commented how wonderful it was to see the smiles on the first responders faces when the meals are delivered and how thankful they are to be appreciated.
The food was delivered to Omaha Police and Fire Stations, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, and the Douglas County 911 Center. Each year the First Responders Foundation provides more meals than the year before, and expands the reach and the thanks, farther into the community.
School children decorated the lunch bags from Ezra, Standing Bear, Picotte, Joslyn, and Sunny Slope Elementary Schools. The bags were elaborate and heartfelt and were very meaningful to the first responders.
It is a wonderful day for the first responders and the community. We are fortunate in the metro area to have such dedicated men and women who are willing to serve and protect our citizens. It is a great way for the First Responders Foundation to continue the mission to serve and honor all our First Responders and their families, build appreciation and respect for their work and enhance public safety.
We won’t give you a Blow-By-Blow description of the Fighter Weigh-In last Friday night, but let’s just say we didn’t Pull Any Punches! It was an All Out Fantastic Evening at the Thunderhead Brewing Taproom! It was a great time mingling with the Guns & Hoses fighters. The Dire Lion Grille & Chippy food truck provided delicious fish or chicken and chips, and we had festive entertainment from the Polka Police. The fighters were introduced, weighed, shook hands, and now they are ready for the Main Event – Guns N Hoses 2019 THIS Friday April, 26th!
Big thanks to Jay Miralles, one of our event producers, for bringing his podcast Friday night. Check it out and hear about the event from several different fighters and other event personnel. The Connection #13 with Jay Miralles: Guns and Hoses Boxing Challenge http://bit.ly/2XFb5Jf
The First Responders Foundation was privileged to be part of a group of first responders and community volunteers who were recognized at the Nebraska Spring Football Game. FRF CEO Al Batschelet and VP Mary Rosenthal along with Omaha Police Deputy Chief Ken Kanger and Omaha Fire Department Chief Dan Olsen were there representing first responders in the Omaha metro area. More than 250 people, many of whom helped during the recent and tragic flooding, walked out of the Nebraska Tunnel and formed an extended tunnel for the Nebraska players. Several videos were played while the first responders entered the field. What a special moment. What a special community dedicated to caring for one another. This is the community we are so proud to serve. Being there for the Huskers to exit the tunnel was exciting too! We thank the University of NE-Lincoln for their support.
The Awards of Excellence recipients received their $500 Scholarships at a reception on April 11th at Champions Run. The recipients, who are children of first responders in the metro area, demonstrated commitment to community and volunteerism, have good character and have balanced achievements in their lives. The First Responders Foundation was proud of honor the students and their families.
Awards of Excellence Scholarships were made possible thanks to the following donors who fully-funded one or more of the awards: Farmers Insurance, Jim Killips, Carol Stolp, Mary Rosenthal, Ray Somberg, Terry Headley, Tom Holland, Keith Basham, Susan Wier, Chuck Sederstrom, Bob Nelson, Al & Teri Batschelet.
The Awards of Excellence Reception was supported by Nelson Murphy Insurance & Investments, and Farmers Insurance.