Noelle, Awards of Excellence Recipient, Follows Her Firefighter Father’s Example

We congratulate Noelle Philippi for being selected as a First Responders Foundation Awards of Excellence 2020 recipients.  Noelle is graduating from Ralston High School. 

The Awards of Excellence are presented to children of first responders who demonstrate a commitment to the community and volunteerism, have good character, and balanced achievements in their lives.

Below is part of an essay that Noelle submitted for the award.

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Awards of Excellence Recipient, Kylie Tierney

Meet Kylie Tierney!  Kylie is a recipient of the First Responders Foundation Awards of Excellence 2019!  Kylie is a freshman at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa and she is currently pursuing a Pre-Veterinarian path.

The Awards of Excellence are given to high school seniors who demonstrate good character, balanced achievement, and outstanding commitment to the community.  These students are also children of local first responders. That is what made Kylie eligible for the award. Kylie’s mom, Lt. Darci Tierney, recently retired from the Omaha Police Department after 25 years of outstanding service to the community.

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Congratulations to the graduates of the Tri-County Fire Corps Exploring Program

The First Responders Foundation congratulates the students who graduated from the Tri-County Fire Corps Exploring Program on Sunday, November 18th.

The First Responders Foundation is proud to support this program that introduces 16-19 year olds to fire services. The young people received approximately 40 hours of training spread over ten weekend mornings. The classes were taught by firefighters from local fire departments and used fire department training facilities and equipment.

The program concluded with a graduation ceremony where each student received two certificates, one for CPR and one for Stop the Bleed. The graduation ceremony took place at the Bennington Fire and Rescue.

For more details visit:

Congratulations to the Tri-County Fire Corps Graduates

Congratulations to the graduates of the Tri-County Fire Corps Exploring Program

The First Responders Foundation congratulates the students who graduated from the Tri-County Fire Corps Exploring Program on Sunday, November 17th.

The Tri-County Fire Corps Exploring Program is a cooperative effort of the greater Omaha area fire departments, Metro Community College and the First Responders Foundation, in a public-private partnership. This program provides a unique opportunity for 16-19 year old youth to learn the skills necessary for a career in firefighting.

For more information and photos visit:


Jay Miralles, FRF Volunteer of the Year!

Congratulations to Jay Miralles the First Responders Foundation Volunteer of the Year!

The First Responders Foundation thanks Jay Miralles for all he does to help make the annual Police vs. Fire boxing event Gun & Hoses a success.  Jay says he volunteers to help because he wants to give back to first responders in the metro area for all they do for us and he wants the night to make them feel appreciated.  We appreciate you Jay and all your hard work!

For a Q & A with Jay visit:

For more information about Guns & Hoses, visit

Jay is pictured here with Gina Mowat, First Responders Foundation Director of Events.

JAVELAN receives a Helping Heroes Grant from the Petco Foundation

Monday was a great day for First Responders Foundation’s JAVELAN program . The Petco Foundation awarded JAVELAN a $2500 Helping Heroes grant, on October 21, 2019 for service dog training.

Executive Director of the JAVELAN program, Tim McAlpine accompanied by Golden Retriever, General Patton, and his wife Mary, along with Patrice Monnier, of the First Responders Foundation accepted the check from Petco.  The team of handler, Larry Mattson, and his service dog, Sadie, a 90lb King Silver German Shepherd, who will benefit from the grant were at Petco to show their appreciation, as was Russ Dillion from Dillon Dog Training. The check was presented by Matthew Weida, Store Leader, and Shirley Woolsoncroft, Service Experience Leader, from the 13660 W Maple Rd. Petco, and Shawna Weida, Store Leader, from the 7110 Dodge St. Petco.  When Petco guests donate at the register, this act of generosity allows the Petco Foundation to do big things.  To date, since 2012 the Petco Foundation has invested more than $14 million to support the life-changing work of the Helping Heroes service dog program and more than $260 million over all in support of organizations dedicated to creating a better world for pets and the people who love them.

Larry, who is a Marine veteran, has been working with Sadie for five months.  Larry’s exact words are “Sadie has changed my life”.  Larry suffers from PTSD with anxiety and depression and has severe knee and back issues.  He also has high blood pressure and Sadie is trained to alert him when his blood pressure goes above 130/60.  A special twist to the relationship with Larry and JAVELAN is that Larry met with JAVELAN on official business as the NE State President of the Fraternal Order of Eagles.  Larry met to discuss the Eagles raising funds for JAVELAN to help veterans.  During the meeting Tim asked Larry if he had ever thought about a service dog for himself.  Larry said yes, but due to the cost, and so many other veterans having a greater need, it was out of the question.  Tim strongly encouraged Larry to apply to JAVELAN, and now Larry and Sadie are a team.  Russ Dillon who contracts with JAVELAN to train the handlers and the dogs, shared some of the exciting details as to how Larry and Sadie became a team.  Sadie had been part of another service dog program but the home where she was living had another dog who was extremely aggressive towards Sadie.  The owners contacted Russ and said they needed to find a new home for Sadie immediately.  Russ called Larry, who had been accepted into the JAVELAN program by this time, and asked if he could come to Omaha from Kearney “now”, to meet Sadie. Larry and Sadie met and the connection was fantastic.  Unique to JAVELAN is that Russ teaches the handler to train the dog while the dog and handler live together and get to know each other, the dogs are not given to the recipients trained.  This reduces the cost by tens of thousands of dollars and helps strengthen the bond between human and canine.  Another unique feature is that the JAVELAN program continues to work with the team in the future as needs arise. Larry would benefit greatly from balance help.  Once Sadie is mature enough, at approximately 2 years old, she will be fitted with a custom-made stability vest.  The vest and handle will allow Larry to use Sadie’s help for balance while walking, standing up, sitting down, and more. Russ will work with Larry at that time to teach Sadie what she needs to help Larry with balance.  The Helping Heroes grant will help with this training.  In the future if Larry would develop another need, such as diabetes, Russ would be able to help train Sadie to alert for that as well.  JAVELAN is a program for the life of the dog, and when needed will help with a new dog – funding, training, and support.

Helping with the training gives the handler great comfort and also purpose. Many who suffer from PTSD need a purpose.  Helping to train the dog, which takes a few hours each day, gives the handler a job to do, a reason to get up each morning, and “someone” who needs them and loves them.  As in the case of Larry the dogs of JAVELAN, are often rescue dogs, from various situations.  The dogs and the handler are both rescued!

For more information on JAVELAN visit  To apply for a service dog and funding contact

Again, a heartfelt and sincere thank you to the Petco Foundation for the Heartland Heroes grant to JAVELAN and the First Responders Foundation.

For more information on the Petco Foundation click here

Pictured from left to right Patrice Monnier, Shawna Weida, Russ Dillion, Larry Mattson, Shirley Woolsoncroft, Mary McAlpine, General Patton, Tim McAlpine.  In front Matthew Weida shaking hands with Sadie.

FNB Employee Chooses to Support First Responders with Employee-Directed Donation!

We’d like to thank Diann Swigart at First National Bank of Omaha who recently received a $500 employee-directed donation and chose to support the First Responders Foundation! She also organized a team of 6 volunteers to deliver 480 sack lunches to first responders as part of our Annual Appreciation Lunches.

Thank you Diann and her team for supporting first responders and the men and women who put their lives on the line every day.

First Responder Appreciation Lunches!

Every year we look forward to the day we bring lunches to the Omaha Police Department and Omaha Fire Department to show them how much we appreciate their dedicated service!  Last Thursday was the 8th annual First Responders Appreciation Day, and volunteers delivered over 900 lunches (in colorful bags decorated by schoolchildren) to area first responders.

Special thanks to our Board, Arby’s, Rotella’s Italian Bakery Inc, Omaha Steaks, Ideal Pure Water, C&A Industries, and all our volunteers and friends at First National Bank of Omaha for helping out by packing and delivering lunches!

Read the WOWT article.

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


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.



Jim Hanson
First Responders Foundation

Bridget Fitzpatrick
Omaha Police Department