Supportive Hands and Voices

“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.”

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Thank you Taco John’s

The First Responders Foundation Council Bluffs Chapter sends a huge thank you to Debbie & Jeff Bremer, and Taco John’s, for the generous donation to the First Responders Foundation Council Bluffs Chapter! Bremer Restaurant Management which owns ten Taco John’s in Council Bluffs, and Omaha, Columbus, and Fremont, NE has been collecting donations at their Taco John’s for many years. Every day there is a money box at each Taco John’s location where customers can drop in loose change or more, to support local first responders.

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Pottawattamie Gives! May 20, 2020

The First Responders Foundation Council Bluffs Chapter is participating in Pottawattamie Gives! This is a 24 hour online fundraising event that showcases the region’s spirit of generosity, increases awareness about local nonprofits/social impact organizations, and celebrates the collective effort it takes to make the Council Bluffs – Omaha area great.

This is a wonderful opportunity to make donations to the First Responders Foundation Council Bluffs chapter where you money can be stretched! Every unique donation, every hour for 24 hours, increases our chance of winning prize money. Most importantly this is a way to impact local first responders in Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County.

Pottawattamie Gives! is held in conjunction with Omaha Gives! As a chapter of the First Responders Foundation all donations will go through the main Foundations Omaha Gives! profile. However, all donations received from Iowa will be designated to the Council Bluffs Chapter.

Consider donating on May 20th or you can schedule your gift today! Click here for more information and to donate.

Thank you!

Press Conference Announcing the First Responders Foundation Council Bluffs Chapter

Friday, December 20th at 9:00a.m. at the Council Bluffs Police Department, 1 Ezra Jackson Way, Council Bluffs, IA. Police Chief Timothy Carmody, Fire Chief Justin James, Chairman of the Council Bluffs Chapter Leria Bray, and Chairman of the First Responders Foundation Jim Hanson, will make remarks about the new chapter. 

The First Responders Foundation is proud to announce the first chapter of the Foundation, The First Responders Foundation Council Bluffs Chapter. The First Responders Foundation Council Bluffs Chapter will support first responders in the Council Bluffs, IA area. By joining the First Responders Foundation, the Council Bluffs Chapter will have access to all the programs and services that the Foundation has to offer while tailoring the programs and events to the local community. 

First Responder Foundation Council Bluffs Chapter Board of Directors saw the need and had the desire to make a difference for first responders in the Council Bluffs area. These dedicated pillars of the community are Chairman of the Board of Directors Leria Bray, Real Estate Professional with NP Dodge; Secretary Vince Rew, Dir. of Marketing and PR at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital; and Treasurer James Watson, Attorney, Law Firm Watson and Ryan, PLC. 

Support from the Council Bluffs Police and Fire Chiefs Fire Chief Justin James and Police Chief Timothy Carmody fully support the new Council Bluffs Chapter and foresee vast benefits for their departments, families, and citizens of the community with the partnership. 

Programming, Events and Fundraising The Council Bluffs Chapter will hold unique programming and events needed and desired within the police and fire departments and the community. The Chapter will also participate in Foundation events. Fundraising and donations given to the Council Bluffs Chapter will be used solely for Council Bluffs. 

Mission The mission of the Council Bluffs Chapter is to serve and honor all our First Responders and their families, build appreciation and respect for their work, and enhance public safety. 

For more information on the First Responders Foundation Council Bluffs Chapter, visit the official chapter website at: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram 

PRESS INQUIRIES & INTERVIEWS Patrice Monnier | Social Media Director | 402-917-7136

The Council Bluffs Kennel Club Makes a Donation to the CBPD K-9 Unit.

The Council Bluffs Kennel Club made a generous donation to the Council Bluffs Police Department’s K-9 Unit. The Club donated $10,250 toward one of the department’s new K-9’s, and bought a safety vest for another one of the K-9 Partners. They also donated oxygen masks for the Council Bluffs Fire Department to use when saving pets at fire scenes. “It is a good feeling when we can help,” said Janell O’Connor, treasurer with the Council Bluffs Kennel Club.

To thank the Kennel Club, the Council Bluffs Police Department K-9 Unit held two demonstrations showing the skills of the K-9’s.  The demonstrations were given on Nov. 24th, at the Mid-America Center Annual Council Bluffs Kennel Club Dog Show. Over 600 adult dogs and puppies, from all over the county competed in the event. Many of the people competing were preparing for the famous, Westminster Kennel Club, dog show that will be held in February 2020, at Madison Square Gardens in New York City.

During the police K-9 training demonstrations, Police Officer McClure demonstrated how his K-9 Partner, Ares, alerts at an object containing a drug order. Once found, as a reward, Ares is allowed to play with the object that contains a drug order. Play is one of the ways the officers train the dogs to keep them sharp and ready for the real world, Sgt. Albers, Supervisor of the K-9 Unit, told those in attendance.

The K-9 Unit relies on donations to keep this vital program going. Both the Police Department and the Fire Department sincerely thank the Kennel Club, and everyone who donates to the program.

If you would like help with this program click here to make a donation.

The Council Bluffs Chapter of the First Responders Foundation

Council Bluffs community members appreciate the dedication and commitment of the Council Bluffs Police and Fire Departments, and were looking for ways to support them and show their appreciation.  Thus the beginning of the new chapter of the First Responders Foundation.

With support from the Police Chief, Tim Carmody, and the Fire Chief, Justin James, concerned citizens began looking for ways to support their local first responders.  Time and time again they were seeing the impact that the First Responders Foundation was having on the first responders in the greater Omaha area. After meeting with FRF CEO & President, Al Batschelet, the decision was made to start a chapter in Council Bluffs.

The First Responders Foundation’s mission is to serve and honor all our First Responders and their families, build appreciation and respect for their work, and enhance public safety.  This is done by providing programs, services, and events that contribute to making first responders, mentally and emotionally sound, physically fit, and financially secure. All of the facets of the Foundation will be available to the Council Bluffs Chapter.  The Council Bluffs Chapter will have local events and programs as well, and any monies raised for the Council Bluffs Chapter will stay in Council Bluffs. 

Serving as the first Board of Directors are Vince Rew (Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital, Director of Marketing & PR), James Watson (Attorney at the Law Firm of Watson and Ryan), Leria Bray (Real Estate Professional with NP Dodge), and Mick McKinley (Iowa Rotary Club State Governor, Retired Banker, and U.S. Army Veteran).  Serving as Ex-Officio Board Members representing the Police and Fire Departments are Police Capt. Scott Milner, and Fire Assistant Chief Chris Sorensen.

All involved are enthusiastic and encouraged about the new chapter and the impact it will have on the first responders and the citizens of Council Bluffs, IA.

Thank you Omaha Area Board of Realtors!

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

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.

For more pictures from the OABR Golf Tournament visit the FRF Facebook Page.

Thank you for all who attended The Third Annual 9/11 Luncheon of Honor

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.

Secretary Chuck Hagel will be the keynote speaker at the 9/11 Luncheon of Honor

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.

More information on Secretary Hagel.

To purchase tickets to the 9/11 Luncheon of Honor click here.

Today is PTSD Awareness Day

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, 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.

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