Be Prepared Not Scared

Are you and your family prepared in the event of a disaster? Where do you go? Do you have enough supplies? How do you locate family and friends afterwards? September is National Emergency Preparedness Month. The First Responders Foundation and many others are joining Congressman Don Bacon at a free public event where you will learn the answers to these questions, and many more. Emergency Preparedness organizations and agencies will share information about how you and your family can prepare for and recover from an #emergency or disaster.

For more information visit:   http://ow.ly/Iz3e50w7l0M

 

 


Guns & Hoses 2020!

Mark your calendars for April 17, 2020! We are excited to announce the date for Guns & Hoses 2020! Friday, April 17th at Baxter Arena is the big day for the Red vs. Blue, Fire vs. Police, Guns N Hoses Boxing Challenge 2020!

Who will take home the prize? Will the Police WIN Again or will Fire take the PRIZE?! Tickets go on sale December 2nd. To learn more, visit gunsnhosesomaha.com. Make sure to like & follow the official Guns & Hoses social media as we are planning several specials and giveaways during the holiday season!

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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.


Honoring Jerry Hoberman – Co-founder of the First Responders Foundation

Honoring Jerry HobermanJerry 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!


7th Annual Operation Free Ride Rodeo!

All First Responders and Military are invited to the 7th Annual Operation Free Ride Rodeo! September 21st from 10am-2pm at Victory Riding Academy, 4534 Madison St. Enjoy complimentary horseback rides, horsemanship experience, free food, games and entertainment. There will also be activity booths to learn more about horses in a fun, expo setting. This is event is hosted by Victory Riding Academy, First Responders Foundation and Horses4Heroes to thank our First Responders and the Military for the sacrifices made, by the individuals and families, to keep our communities and country safe.

To register and for more information please visit www.victoryride.org or contact Tony at tony@victoryride.org. Pre-registration is encouraged. This special event is to honor First Responders and Military members and is not open to the public.


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 FRST@firstrespondersomaha.org, 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 click here


Guns N Hoses! June 28, 2019

Guns N Hoses – Another red vs blue competition!

Mark your calendars for the June 28th Salute to First Responders Night and Whelen, Fire, Safety, and Police Night.

During intermission of the NASCAR Whelen Racing Series there will be two feature heats each with 2 police officers and 2 firefighters. The top 4 from those heats will race for the championship.

Racing for the Red Team:
Brad Lucas from the Omaha Fire Department
Matt Meyer from the Omaha Fire Department
Dustin Wyman for the Omaha Fire Department
Pat Wolf from the Omaha Fire Depaartment
The Captain of the Red Team in First Responders Foundation Vice President Mary Rosenthal.

Racing for the Blue Team:
Larry Schwartz from the Bellevue Police Department
Adam Smith from the Red Oak, IA Police Department
Dave Volenec from the Omaha Police Department
Matt Baughman from the Omaha Police Department and Pilot for Able 1
The Captain of the Blue Team is Jim Cahill Director of Security at NE Furniture Mart.

Who will make it to the finish line first!  Come out and cheer on your TEAM!

There will be a reverse tribute lap before the race honoring all fallen first responders. Law enforcement and fire vehicles will take part in this lap. The OPD helicopter will also be overhead depending on weather and their availability. The National Anthem will be sung by David Volenec, one of the racers. At the end of the tribute lap and the national anthem, the OPD helicopter will do a flyover, stop, and bow to the crowd. The helicopter is scheduled to come back again during the races at intermission.

This event is a fundraiser for First Responders foundation. The money raised will go to the FRST Program (First Responders Foundation – First Responders Support Team) in honor of Jeremy Knott, OFD. 

FRF will have merchandise for sale and other fun ways to support the foundation.  Donations and purchases will help the First Responders Foundation continue to offer the programs and services that help first responders and their families in the metro area.

FREE Tickets for all First Responders.  Contact Mary Rosenthal at mary@firstrespondersomaha.org.  Tickets must be obtained prior to the event.

To purchase tickets visit https:http://www.i-80speedway.com/i80/events/nascar-weekly-points-night-7/

The racing will start at 7:10pm but come early to see the police and fire practice rounds and other fun activities prior to the race!


Thank you Taco John’s!

First Responders Foundation Receives $7,681 from Taco John’s!

Taco John’s has a history of supporting first responders and today they came through in a big way! First Responders Foundation was the recipient of a check for $7,681.

Bremer Restaurant Management which owns ten Taco John’s in the metro area, Columbus, Fremont, and Council Bluffs, made the donation at Omaha Fire Station 78. Over the last two years the Bremer’s have been collecting money on behalf of the First Responders Foundation. Every day throughout the year at each Taco John’s location there is a money box where customers can drop in lose change or more to support the foundation.
During the holidays customers had the opportunity to donate $1 to the foundation and add their name to a paper wreath that would be hung on the wall. Debbie and Jeff Bremer have been overwhelmed by the generosity of customers in support of first responders.

“First Responders are always there when we need them in tragic situations, and it is very humbling to give back to them,” commented Debbie. The check presentation was made at Fire Station 78 where Debbie’s brother in law, Jeff Rockwell, is a firefighter. It is a family affair as Jeff’s wife, Lori, works for Bremer Restaurant Management. The whole family holds first responders near and dear to their hearts and are so appreciative of what they mean to the community.

For the last five years Debbie has been on the Board of Directors of the First Responders foundation. She feels this is a way she can give back to the community and show her support of first responders. This is what led the company to begin collecting money for the foundation.

Al Batschelet, President and CEO of FRF, and Jim Hanson, FRF Board Chairman, accepted the check on behalf of the foundation. Al said, “The foundation is really proud to support our first responders. They are the ones that we call on, on our worst day. There are there for you. They are people of courage and commitment that are an integral part of our community, and we are proud to support them and help them in their mission.”

The donation was very timely as the foundation is expanding the FRST (First Responders Support Team) Program. The FRST Program which supports both the mental and physical wellbeing of the first responder is the number one prior of the foundation. This donation will go a long way in helping to expand the FRST Program, which is available for all police and fire (paid and volunteer) in the metro area.

“First Responders give everyday, and their families give everyday too in the background, and sometimes that might go unnoticed. We want to be there to support them in any way possible,” said Bremer.

The Bremer’s want to thank Taco John’s customers for making this day possible.


10th Annual Appreciation Lunches

On June 6th, the First Responders Foundation celebrated the 10th year of providing Appreciation Lunches to first responders. Once a year the First Responders Foundation partners with local business’ to provide lunches for first responders in the metro area. This is a small way that the foundation can thank and acknowledge first responders for the dedication and support they show the community 365 days a year.

This year we were proud to partner with Chick-fil-A of Greater Omaha who provided a wrap, bag of chips, and a cookie for law enforcement officers. Over 600 meals were provided. Omaha Steaks provided steak for the firefighters to cook for themselves at the fire stations. Water was provided by Nebraska Furniture Mart who also helped deliver the meals. A donation was made to help with other costs by C&A Industries.

Volunteers helped pack and deliver the meals. There were more volunteers than could be accommodated as people are more than happy to show appreciation to our local first responders and heroes. One volunteer commented how wonderful it was to see the smiles on the first responders faces when the meals are delivered and how thankful they are to be appreciated.

The food was delivered to Omaha Police and Fire Stations, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, and the Douglas County 911 Center. Each year the First Responders Foundation provides more meals than the year before, and expands the reach and the thanks, farther into the community.

School children decorated the lunch bags from Ezra, Standing Bear, Picotte, Joslyn, and Sunny Slope Elementary Schools. The bags were elaborate and heartfelt and were very meaningful to the first responders.

It is a wonderful day for the first responders and the community. We are fortunate in the metro area to have such dedicated men and women who are willing to serve and protect our citizens.  It is a great way for the First Responders Foundation to continue the mission to serve and honor all our First Responders and their families, build appreciation and respect for their work and enhance public safety.