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.
Mike strives daily for excellence
Mike has spent his entire career in the healthcare industry: at the bedside, in the board rooms and as his workplace representative in the communities he partners with, and it is because of these diverse experiences he excels at strengthening relationships with everyone he meets. Driven by a deep desire for achievement, Mike strives daily for excellence in every project, meeting and nonprofit board of directors he is a part of.
Mike personally guarantees he will do everything he can to further the mission of the Foundation and the goals for the JAVELAN Program.
Graduating from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2013 with honors, Mike completed his Masters of Business Administration in May of 2020 with a 4.0 GPA– at a time when the future of in-person learning was essentially eliminated. Because of his continual push for success, Mike sets the bar for his personal, work and relationship goals very high, and those who know him best would concur. Representing one of the region’s largest health systems, Mike has increased its community impact to nearly $100 million pre-pandemic, demonstrating the significant efforts he undertakes to ensure the communities’ needs are being meet and solved. It is because of this commitment to his community, and love for his country and her defenders, Mike has been voted as the new Director of JAVELAN, a position he takes extremely seriously with a humble perspective, and personal guarantee he will do everything he can to further its mission.
Read below a letter from Mike Kraus:
Good afternoon, JAVELAN program members, First Responders Foundation Staff and Board Members, and our Nation’s Heroes,
First, I want to thank each of you for the partnership, support and vote of confidence you have given me to lead JAVELAN into the next phase of its very bright future. Your unanimous vote of approval, trust and vocal support mean more than words can describe, especially for an outsider like myself.
Second, I want to thank Tim McAlpine, Bob Dean and Danielle Owens for their unwavering commitment to JAVELAN’s operational growth, and the successful, impactful differences we have made in so many Veteran’s and First Responder’s lives.
As we embark on the next phase of growth, I wanted to share my vision for the future, as well as my leadership philosophies that I believe will make us a regional powerhouse and gold standard in the service dog industry:
- Transparency: central to our mission, we will be as transparent as possible amongst ourselves and our partners in the communities we serve
- Throughout the decision-making, financial reporting, and strategic planning processes
- In meeting agendas, minutes and conversation
- Accountability: we will hold ourselves and each other accountable
- Efficiency and timeliness of deliverables and specific tasks are expected in all occasions
- When we commit, we will deliver
- Delegation & Collaboration: we will share the workload in a fair manner
- Collaborative spirit amongst ourselves, our colleagues throughout the FRF, and out in our diverse, wide-ranging network of communities
- Communicate all anticipated needs, whether realized or not, related to implementing our efforts to program members – we are in this together
- Vision for JAVELAN:
- Expand market presence & service area
- Offer JAVELAN/FRF-branded equipment and educational materials to program participants at orientation and throughout the training process
- Continue to update, revise and implement our policies and procedures to reflect the industry’s best practices as appropriate to our program
- Reinforce beneficial historical partnerships as well as initiate new collaborative efforts across diverse communities, geographic areas and business focuses
- Recruit new program members to spread accountability and to ensure we are inclusive of fresh perspectives and expertise
- Enhance social and local media presence in collaboration with FRF
- And most importantly, continue to serve our nation’s heroes with dedicated, professional and customized training to give them a second chance to live their best, most successful lives, each and every day
We have come quite a long way in our short 5 years, but we have expertly positioned ourselves for nothing but accelerated growth for the next 5 years and beyond, and with your commitment, enthusiasm and partnership, I believe we can elevate our efforts to the next level.
One thing I ask of you is to push me, and one another, to achieve what we set-out to do, each and every day: our work may be difficult at times and oftentimes stressful, but we can accomplish even the loftiest goals by simply relying on each other. Know that as JAVELAN’s Director, the single focus I will have is to serve you, and our Heroes, with gratitude, compassion and grit – just as they serve all of us every day.
Again, thank you for your vote of confidence. Now let’s get to work!