Jerry Hoberman and Ray Somberg Co-founded the First Responders Foundation in 2009. We are thankful for both Jerry and Ray. This year at the Third Annual 9/11 Luncheon of Honor we will be recognizing Jerry for all he has done for First Responders. Leading up to starting the Foundation Jerry had an opportunity to spend some time with individuals from the Omaha Fire Department and the Omaha Police Department. Here are some reflections from Jerry.
My reflections of First Responders
by Jerry Hoberman – Co Founder of the First Responders Foundation
My neighbor John Stolinski is a Omaha firefighter. In visiting with John, I was impressed by his, as well as his fellow firefighters, dedication and caring for the citizens of our city who found themselves in need of medical attention or rescue.
I had the privilege of participating in a “practice burn” of a building. As i watched the flames curl up the wall and envelope the ceiling, as I experienced the intense heat, as the protective gear I wore became enveloped in smoke so dense I could n to see my hand in front of my face…. panic took over! All I could think was….. I HAVE TO GET OUT!
Firefighter Dan Stolinski, who was assigned to keeping me unharmed, instructed me to crawl on all fours as he lead me out of the building. When I reached the fresh air, I thought about the First Responders who risk their lives by going into burning buildings to save ours. It gave me a lasting appreciation of their courage and dedication.
I was paired with Omaha Police Officer Nyugen to go on a “Ride Along” in the late hours of the night. My heart was racing and my anxiety maxed out as I watched Office Nyugen pull over a suspected drug dealer. I sat in the cruiser as I observed him cautiously approaching the driver’s door…. never knowing what to expect, as he proceeded with the arrest.
Another call came in and we were dispatched to a domestic violence incident where a man drove his key fob into the head of his girlfriend. As we took off, all I could think about were the stories of officers who were wounded or killed responding to routine domestic violence calls.
We count on First Responders to care for us….. to protect us. These exceptional men and women, on a daily basis, put their lives in jeopardy to protect ours.
My lifelong friend, Ray Somberg had similar experiences, and together, we founded the “Firefighter & Police Appreciation Foundation” later renamed “The First Responders Foundation”
All of us at the First Responders Foundation are grateful to Jerry and Ray for starting the foundation that for 10 years has been serving and appreciating First Responders and their families.
We are very proud to be honoring Jerry Hoberman at the Third Annual 9/11 Luncheon of Honor, for all he has done for First Responders and the Foundation.
Jerry started Tires, Incorporated in 1969 and worked there until he sold the business in 1998. He is the past chairman of Del Nat. a national tire association. He is currently on the board of the Holland Foundation. Jerry is retired.
Jerry and his wife, Cookie, just celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary. They have three daughters, Jennifer lives in Omaha, and Robin and Lisa both reside in Chicago. They also have and are very proud of their “FFG”, five fabulous grandchildren.
Jerry, we thank you!