Meet Cari and Daisy – JAVELAN’S 100th Team!

Cari Woelich and Daisy recently graduated from the JAVELAN Program, a program of the First Responders Foundation that trains service dogs for veterans and retired first responders.

Cari is so thankful to the JAVELAN Program and says that “Daisy gave her, her life back”! Cari and 2-year-old Labradoodle, Daisy, are the 100th Team that has graduated from the JAVELAN Program.

“We knew there was a need, but we had no idea how great a need”.

Tim McAlpine, former JAVELAN Director and one of the program founders said, “We knew there was a need, but we had no idea how great a need”. Cari didn’t realize she needed Daisy. She was used to her life and the way she was living. She said she was almost agoraphobic, anxious about being in a place or 

Danielle, Cari and Daisy, Mike, Tim and Mary McAlpine with General Patton

situation where escape is difficult. All of this was due to injuries sustained while serving in the military.

Cari joined the U.S. Air Force on May 30, 2000.  Cari, an Air Force Staff Sgt., was injured on the border of Iraq and Kuwait. Her injuries caused permanent damage to both of her knees, her spinal column, and her wrist and also caused hearing loss along with migraine headaches. Cari was medically retired in June of 2007 due to PTSD from the incident and she has been declared 100% permanently disabled.

Pictured here from left to right is Danielle Markins, trainer, with her dog ZZ, Cari and Daisy, Mike Kraus, Dir. of the JAVELAN Program, Tim McAlpine, former Dir. of the JAVELAN Program with his dog, General Patton & his wife Mary McAlpine.

After retiring, Cari didn’t go many places. When she did venture outside she took her oldest son, Alex, with her.  They would go to the store and Cari would sit in the car and tell her son what to buy. She didn’t realize how limiting her situation was to her life or her son’s life as she had become accustomed to it. Alex, whom Cari describes as a “great kid” did not mind helping with whatever his mom needed.

Continue reading “Meet Cari and Daisy – JAVELAN’S 100th Team!”

Teaching Mental & Physical Wellness in Spencer, IA

The First Responders Foundation recently provided free Behavioral Health and Physical health classes in Spencer, IA.

Jason Workman, Director of Behavioral Health shared, “Really enjoyed training with the First Responders and spouses in Spencer IA this week. It was a great time with Fire, police, and Sheriff’s Offices from surrounding communities attending resiliency training and Spouses benefited from their own workshop.”

Enjoy this article from The Spencer Reporter.

Unique L.E. Team Spends Days & Some Nights in High School. 

Oakley with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) is a “Single Purpose” K9. He and his handler Deputy Ken Paulison spend their days at Elkhorn North High School. Oakley and Deputy Paulison assist the teachers and the administration as needed at the school. Deputy Paulison handles any criminal needs on campus but states that most situations can be handled by the administration. As a team, they play an even more important role, one that Oakley doesn’t even know about, and that is “therapy dog” team for the staff and students. It is not uncommon to see a crowd of students sitting on the floor around Oakley, with him lying on his back or side taking in all the attention. Deputy Pauilson loves to see the students smile and laugh while interacting with Oakley

Continue reading “Unique L.E. Team Spends Days & Some Nights in High School. “

Mason Ingram, 2021 Awards of Excellence Recipient, Becoming A Firefighter.

Mason Ingram was a recipient of the Awards of Excellence in 2021. We sat down with Mason to see how his first year out of high school is going and how the Awards of Excellence helped him get started with his future plans.

For as long as he can remember, Mason has wanted to be a firefighter.

For as long as he can remember, Mason has wanted to be a firefighter. His grandfather was a volunteer firefighter for Papillion while his father was younger and now his father is an Omaha Firefighter. Mason used his Award of Excellence to continue his pursuit of the Fire Services.

Just this past spring Mason completed his Firefighter 1 Certification and he is also now officially an EMT after completing his course this past fall. He is taking classes at Metro Community College on three of the campuses in the metro area. Along with fire classes, he is taking his general eds. He got a jump start on the process by taking classes in high school at Bellevue West for college credit. He is about halfway through the classes he can take at Metro before transferring to a 4-year college.  Mason anticipates he will attend UNO in the future where he will pursue a degree in Emergency Management or Fire Protection.

Mason participated in the Tri-County Fire Explorers program that the First Responders Foundation supports.

Continue reading “Mason Ingram, 2021 Awards of Excellence Recipient, Becoming A Firefighter.”

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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#GivingTuesday Zoom Meeting Happy Hour

The First Responders Foundation Council Bluffs Chapter is hosting a #GivingTuesday712 Happy Hour Zoom Meeting on December 1st from 6PM-7PM. Grab yourself some snacks and a beverage and join a Zoom meeting with board members of the Council Bluffs Chapter.

Learn about the new chapter and find out how you can help

Learn what the chapter is doing to help first responders and their families in the Council Bluffs area, hear about upcoming events and programs, and find out how you can volunteer. The Council Bluffs Chapter is very new so you will get in on the ground floor and your help is essential to building and helping with the success of the Chapter. For Zoom login information contact Leria Bray, Chapter Chairperson at


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.