How Can I Help & Support Police/First Responders?

This has been an inspirational week at the First Responders Foundation.  There have been countless calls and emails from concerned citizens asking, how can I help?

  • How can I help support the police and first responders in the metro area?
  • Can I show support and appreciation for all they are doing to protect our rights and for the safety of our community?

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The Distance Project

While out shopping for necessities over the last few weeks, Luke Steiner made an observation.  He noticed that many people were not following the new social guidelines to stay 6 feet apart.  Even in stores that were attempting to make it easy, it was obvious to Luke it was not getting done.  Luke was shopping at Trader Joes where only 35 people are allowed in the store at a time.  “I was doing my best to stay away from people, but others were not following the guidelines to stay 6 feet apart like you think everyone would,”  Luke said.

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2018 Awards of Excellence Ceremony

We are proud and excited to announce the recipients of the 2018 Awards of Excellence, 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.

Police Recipients

  • Izabela Gonzalez, Skutt Catholic High School
  • Kacie Shields, Millard West High School
  • Kayle Byrd, Bellevue West High School
  • Reed Fitzke, Fremont High School
  • Sierra Morris, Elkhorn South High School

Fire Recipients

  • Ashlyn Dippel, Fort Calhoun High School
  • Daniel Kirchofer, Creighton Preparatory
  • Delaney Doyle, Bellevue West High School
  • Holly Komenda, Raymond Central High School
  • Josie Andersen, Papillion La Vista High School

The recipients were recognized at a ceremony at Champions Run on April 26th.

FRF Proud Sponsor of Firefighter Training Program for Youth

The Tri-County Fire Corps Exploring Program is a 10-week training program that gives young people a sense of what it’s like to be a firefighter. The program celebrated its first graduation earlier this month.

Youth participants receive instruction in CPR/AED, fire extinguishers, ropes and knots, hose rolls, search and rescue, ladders, hazmat awareness, and ventilation.

We are a proud sponsor of this effort that pulls together paid & volunteer fire departments in a joint training program – the first of it’s kind.

We Installed 323 Alarms for Homes in Need!

On Saturday, May 12 in Bellevue, First Responders Foundation in partnership with the American Red Cross were able to install 323 alarms and made 70 homes safer! We also sent volunteers to help.

Detectors are essential for your family’s safety – but not every home is equipped with these life-saving devices. Even if they are, the batteries may be missing or dead. Other homes may have a smoke detector but not a carbon monoxide detector, which is the only way to be alerted if the odorless, invisible, and lethal gas is seeping into an unventilated home.

Learn more and request a detector here.

Operation Smoke Detector Program Will Be at Christmas in the Village!

christmasHave you heard of the Operation Smoke Detector Program? This program is free and is designed to save lives in the event of a fire or a carbon monoxide leak in your home. Statistics show that in a fire, households that have a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm are much more likely to be awakened by the alarm and get out of the house in time to save themselves and their families.

Carbon monoxide is a deadly odorless gas emitted from a malfunctioning furnace. Without a carbon monoxide detector, there is no way to recognize the deadly gas until danger symptoms begin occurring in the body and many times it is too late for the victim to realize what is happening.

Our foundation along with the Omaha Fire Department and the Red Cross have teamed together to make sure that no family in Omaha will be left without a smoke/carbon monoxide detector in their home. So far this year the Operation Smoke Detector Program has installed 1250 detectors all at no charge to the resident!

Join Us at Christmas in the Village!

Our foundation will be at Christmas in the Village on December 5th from 12pm-5pm at 24th & Lake St. Please look for our booth. We will be partnering with the Omaha Fire Department and the Nebraska/SW Iowa Red Cross to be offering free smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. These detectors come with 10 year batteries!

Look for our booth and sign up to get one of these detectors installed absolutely free.

Can’t Make It? Request Your Detector

If you or someone you know, needs a fire/carbon monoxide detector for their home, please sign up below or call the Omaha Fire Department at 402-444-3570 to schedule your installation.

This winter give your family the “Gift of Safety.” It won’t cost you anything and it will give you the peace of mind to know that you are helping to keep your family safe.

Request Your Detector Join Facebook Event


Is #SupportBlue helping or hurting police/community relationship?

Originally published by Brandon McDermott, KVNO News


Omaha, NE – A campaign called Support Blue started late last year in Omaha as a way to bring support for law enforcement together. Following the death of Omaha police officer Kerrie Orozco in May the campaign ramped up and has even seen interest in neighboring cities, like Chicago. KVNO reports on why the Support Blue campaign started and if it’s helpful in bringing people together or if it could be divisive.

The Support Blue campaign started in Omaha following the murder of two New York City police officers in December of 2014. Investigators said the execution style killings were in revenge of the Eric Garner death at the hands of NYC police earlier in the year.

The Support Blue campaign (#SupportBlue) was started by First Responders Foundation and spearheaded by Bridget Fitzpatrick to show support for law enforcement. Fitzpatrick is the social media coordinator for the Omaha Police Department. The civil unrest around the country in 2014 stemming from shooting deaths of unarmed citizens also played into the formation of #SupportBlue, according to Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick and the First Responders Foundation asked local businesses to put up ‘Support Blue’ stickers in their store fronts and had people take pictures with police to post to social media, to increase awareness of how important law enforcement is in our community.

“What can we do for our law enforcement community to help this? And we know that the majority of people do support the police,” Fitzpatrick says. ”But they’re just quiet. So, we wanted to come up with a way where people could publicly show their support of police.”

Fitzpatrick says the tragic shooting death of Officer Kerrie Orozco in May of this year helped bring the Omaha community together.

“During that time when we saw all those people with #SupportBlue signs, #SupportBlue shirts. It gave the community a way to grieve together. But it was also a way to show their support together.”

opd2John Crank is a professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Crank says the death of Officer Orozco sent a shock-wave throughout Omaha.

“That was a rough thing to go through and it hurt the community and generated a lot of pain,” Crank says.

He says organizers of #SupportBlue are reaching out to an existing community to strengthen binds, so to speak.

“They are very supportive of the Police, supporters are very loyal. They tend to be people that come from military backgrounds, police backgrounds and fire backgrounds or other public service backgrounds. And they will gather around when they feel like police are threatened.”

But this week James Comey, the Director of the FBI, said the #BlackLivesMatter movement and also pro-law enforcement campaigns cause further division between the police and the communities in which they serve. He said this is because they can be misunderstood. Comey said in a speech to students at the University of Chicago Law School that “I do have a strong sense that some part of the explanation is a chill wind that has blown through American law enforcement over the last year.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says police have become ‘fetal’ adding: “They have pulled back from the ability to interdict … they don’t want to be a news story themselves, they don’t want their career ended early, and it’s having an impact.”

John Crank says most police officers misjudge how they are viewed.

“They don’t think people like them generally. I’ve done a number of these surveys. I’ve given the same survey to citizens and police. Police consistently have a lower or estimation of what citizens think of them than they (citizens) actually do.”

Crank says we all know police officers are there to serve and protect; to provide security for citizens and thereby improving the quality of life. But is a push to further display supporting the police causing a division in Omaha? Fitzpatrick doesn’t think so.

“It’s respect. I liken it to when the Vietnam, when soldiers came back and people spit on them, threw tomatoes at them and protested against them. Well now it’s the same thing only – they’re killing them.”

Professor Crank said police deaths have slowly declined since 2001 when 242 officers died in the line of duty. In 2005 that figure dropped to 166 and this year there have been 103 police deaths through October 29.

While #SupportBlue is rallying people already prone to support law enforcement, officers know the real way to make a change is by meeting and having a relationship with the people they protect.

Events like last week’s OPD sponsored ‘Cops and Bobbers’ event at Benson Park in Omaha, play an important role in that relationship. Police officers helped show kids from 5-17 how to fish first hand and offered a free lunch. It’s a small step, Crank says, but it lets people in the community know it’s okay to support the men and women in Blue.

#SupportBlue Goes to Chicago!

Members of our foundation, along with officers from the Omaha Police Department, recently had the opportunity to join other first responders at a celebrity/first responders golf tournament in Chicago.

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Hispanic Radio Station Lobo 97.7 Interviews the Foundation On Our Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detector Program!

Omaha’s Hispanic radio station Lobo 97.7 recently found out about our combination carbon monoxide and smoke detector program and reached out for an interview. They not only think the program is valuable, but also want to spread awareness and keep their audience informed, particularly with the loss of two lives in the South Omaha boarding house near Christmas time of last year.

Watch Radio Lobo’s Yanira Garcia interview Kathi Burt, First Responders Foundation executive assistant, and Antonio Lara, OFD Captain, on the program and its benefits!


¡Gracias a Lobo 97.7!

#SupportBlue Campaign Featured On Morning Blend