First Responders Foundation Announces Retirement of President and Executive Director Ray Somberg and the Appointment of Major General Al Batschelet as President and CEO

The First Responders Foundation is formally announcing the retirement of co-founder and President and Executive Director Ray Somberg. Ray and longtime friend Jerry Hoberman founded the 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2008 in an effort to enhance public safety and build community appreciation and respect for our first responders.

Under Ray’s leadership, the First Responders Foundation has donated more than 1.5 million dollars for much needed equipment and support for Omaha’s police and fire departments.

“The First Responders Foundation provides so much more than financial resources for our police and fire departments. It creates community pride, gratitude and public awareness of the risks police officers and firefighters take every day,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “The Foundation started as a way to thank our first responders. Now it’s our turn to thank Ray for his lifelong dedication to Omaha and support of public safety.”

The foundation is pleased to announce that Major General Al Batschelet has agreed to accept the position vacated by Somberg and will take over executive responsibilities immediately.

“We are thrilled to welcome Al, who brings a wealth of strategic planning and organizational skills and whose life’s work and experience aligns with our mission,” said Jim Hanson, Jr., Chairman of the Board. “While it will be difficult to replace Ray, we believe that Al is the perfect fit to lead the foundation into the future.”

MG Batschelet had a 33-year career in the US Army and retired as a Major General. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in history and political science from Iowa State University and three military master degrees. Al has been a motivational leader, a creative thinker and consensus builder in organizations ranging in size from several hundred to over 100,000. Most recently, he was the Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base. There Al was directly responsible for the supervision of more than 4,000 military and civilian staff personnel in 10 operating units.

The First Responders Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that partners directly with Omaha’s police and fire departments and unions to provide meaningful resources and vital equipment and create programs and events that make a positive impact on the community.

PRESS INQUIRIES & INTERVIEWS
Jim Hanson, Jr. | 402.657.9022 | jim@intouchcommunications.com


2017 Awards of Excellence Recipients Announced

We are proud and excited to announce the winners of our inaugural “Awards of Excellence” program, which go to high school seniors who are children of our First Responders and have demonstrated commitment to community.

The Awards of Excellence are made possible by our Booster Club. 

The following are the 2017 Winners:

Melanie Doyle, Bellevue West High School
Katlyn Holaday, Cam High School (Iowa)
Kaitlynn Johnson, Millard West High School
Brenden O’Brien, Lewis Central High School
Katharine Moore, Duchesne Academy
Victor Salerno, Glenwood Community High School
Baily OBorny, Bennington High School
Madison Swanson, Mercy High School
Elizabeth Rockwell, Millard NorthHigh School
Brooklyn Housh, Millard West High School

We appreciate the hard work and dedication exhibited by all applicants and wish everyone continued success in all future endeavors.

To support this program and the First Responders Foundation into the future, we invite you to become a member of the Booster Club! Receive a free gift with your $40 membership.


Taco Johns Donates $7,000 to First Responders Foundation

Thank you to Taco John’s Restaurants for the kind donation to The First Responders Foundation!

Pictured (left to right):

Larry Pace
Scott McLaughlin
Ray Somberg
Bruce Newton
Jeff Bremer
Andrew Luethge
Debbie Bremer
Lori Rockwell
Jeff Rockwell
John Stolinski


Taco Johns to Offer First Responders 50% Entire Meal on 9/11!

Wow! Big thanks to Taco John’s (and owners Jeff and Debbie Bremer) for hosting this special for first responders and their families on Sunday, September 11, 2016.

First responders: make sure to swing by a Taco John’s and pick up your discounted meal!

Sept 11 Taco Johns


“Omaha Together” Event on 15th Anniversary of 9/11 Will Remember Lives Lost in Terror Attacks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The First Responders Foundation is a nonprofit that works to enhance public safety in our community by providing resources to police officers and firefighters and to show appreciation for their dedicated service.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of 9/11. In partnership with Stinson Park, the First Responders Foundation is presenting Omaha Together, a day-long event to honor the lives lost on September, 11, 2001.

We invite you to join us on Sunday, September 11 at Stinson Park for Omaha’s official day of remembrance. The day will begin with the 3rd Annual Minute of Silence Ceremony. Immediately following will be a day of free family activities to encourage Omahans to come together in honor of the lives lost, reunite as a community, and show appreciation for our first responders.

9:11-9:12am: Minute of Silence Ceremony
9:00am-1:00pm: Farmer’s Market
9:00am-9:00pm: Kids Activities
5:00pm: World Record-Breaking Swing Dance & Tribute Video
6:00pm: Live Concert
9:11pm: Special Tribute

To learn more about the First Responders Foundation, view the press kit.  For more information about the event, visit the official Omaha Together Facebook page.

event

PRESS INQUIRIES

Jim Hanson
First Responders Foundation
402.218.1205
jim@intouchcommunications.com

Bridget Fitzpatrick
Omaha Police Department
402.510.0796
bridget.fitzpatrick@cityofomaha.org


Looking Back: National Police Week Trip to Honor Kerrie Orozco

dc2Practicing hour after hour and day after day. There was to be no room for error and their mission was accomplished. Who are they? They are the men and women of the Omaha Police Honor Guard and Pipe & Drums and they were on full display in Washington DC for National Police Week.

For them, this year was special. This year they were in DC to represent one of their own, fallen Officer Kerrie Orozco, EOW May 20, 2015. The OPD Honor Guard and Pipes and Drums were given special duties this trip. They were chosen for an elite ceremony at the Pentagon. They would carry the United States Honor Flag to the Pentagon Police to fly at the Pentagon in Kerrie’s Honor. The flag would fly on the same flag pole that remembers those killed on Sept 11, 2001. Later in the week, the Honor Guard was also chosen to present a wreath with Kerrie’s name on it at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

dc1Two sacred places, two sacred ceremonies with an Honor Guard and Pipes and Drums group that allowed no room for error. They would be the best of the best representing Officer Kerrie Orozco and the dignity of the entire Omaha Police Department. This task they did not fail, in fact, they excelled.

It’s hard to find the words to describe what it feels like to be in DC with tens of thousands of officers all in their dress uniforms. To look at them and know they were there because, like Omaha, they lost one of their own.

But DC wasn’t about sadness. It was about remembrance and honor and making sure the world knows these officers gave their all. It was about giving all of the fallen officers the respect that they so rightly deserved. It was about forming bonds that may last a lifetime. It was a brotherhood and sisterhood in an exclusive club that no one really wanted to join. It was about sharing in each other’s pain and moving forward.

The week was about honor and respect and our foundation was privileged to be a part of such a dignified week. It was our duty to bring the message of Support Blue to the men and women who protect us and let them know we have their back. We support them for the job that they do. We will continue to spread the Support Blue message wherever we can and encourage others to do the same.


Law Enforcement Golf Tournament to Benefit First Responders Foundation!

Calling all law enforcement officers!

On May 20, 2016, the 55th Security Forces Squadron will be holding the 6th Annual Police Week Golf Tournament at Fox Run in Council Bluffs. This event is open to all Law Enforcement Agencies around Omaha and teams are first come, first serve. Funds from perks purchased to assist you in play will be donated to the First Responders Foundation.

There will also be a 2016 Chevy vehicle up for grabs for those who make the hole-in-one on a designated par three. Additionally, there will be prizes ranging from golf balls, to bags, to full sets of clubs at designated longest drive and closest to the pin holes. Also gift cards from various companies.

There will also be free food grilled up and free drinks, excluding alcohol, available.

Sign up for a good time and for a good cause with your fellow Brothers and Sisters in Blue!

Download Flyer & Register »

 


First Responders Foundation Participating in Omaha Gives!

The First Responders Foundation is excited to be participating in Omaha Gives, a 24-hour online giving event organized by the Omaha Community Foundation to grow philanthropy and inspire the community to come together to contribute as many charitable dollars as possible within the allotted time to support the work of local nonprofit organizations.

You Can Help Support Our Mission

1) Donate

frfogprofPlease consider a donation of $10 or more to help us thank Omaha’s first responders by providing materials and equipment and funding other initiatives that support the police and fire departments. We work directly with each chief to fulfill wish lists and prioritize resources so your donation goes where it is needed most.

Omaha Gives culminates on May 25, 2016, but you can schedule your donation now. Every donation is important and helps increase our chances of taking home extra incentives such as participation prizes and hourly giveaways. Thank you for supporting Omaha’s first responders!

Donate Now

2) Thank a Hero!

THANKAHEROFirst responders embody the very definition of heroism by putting their lives on the line for us each and every day. Police officers and firefighters are the first people on the scene when an emergency strikes. These brave men and women run towards dangerous situations to save and protect the people of our community.

Do you have a police officer or firefighter in your family or circle of friends that you admire for their dedication and want to thank for their service? Has your life been touched or saved by a first responder? Participate in our #ThankAHero campaign by nominating a first responder to be publicly thanked on our website and social media during the month of May! We will be sharing nominations in conjunction with Omaha Gives, telling your stories, and thanking these real heroes for making a difference every day.

Nominate a Hero

3) Be a Social Media Advocate

You can help spread our message and inform others about the work that we are doing to help our local first responders by sharing our Omaha Gives Facebook posts and tweets!

Follow the First Responders Foundation:

facebook twitter


Honor Your Heroes by Donating Blood

A big thank you to the American Red Cross for organizing the “Honor Your Heroes” blood drives in honor of first responders! By giving blood at one of the following drives, you are supporting the First Responders Foundation’s mission and saying “thank you” to our heroes in red and blue.

May 3 – La Vista Community Center – 1pm – 7pm
8116 Parkview Blvd. – La Vista

Make an Appointment

 

May 5 – Bellevue Christian Center – 1pm – 7pm
1400 Harvell Drive – Bellevue

Make an Appointment

 

May 6 – Sarpy County Courthouse – 8am – 2pm
(Probation Office) 1261 Golden Gate Drive – Papillion

Make an Appointment

 

All presenting donors will receive a Red Cross t-shirt!

Download Flyer

We have launched our new store!

shirtsThe First Responders Foundation is excited to announce that we have launched our new online store! You can now purchase foundation merchandise all in one place. We have rolled out cool new foundation shirts, new #SupportBlue shirts, and all the original #SupportBlue products. Check back often, because we are also working on creating a ‪#‎SupportRed‬ line to support our firefighters!

Be one of the first 25 people to order a t-shirt and get a free #SupportBlue window cling! Just enter “FreeCling” at check-out. Your high quality cling can endure the outside elements, making it perfect for a vehicle or outdoor window.

Let our first responders know that you appreciate what they do and that they have supporters everywhere and make a purchase today!

Shop Now