OPERATION FIRST RESPONSE

First and foremost, Operation First Response is a family.  We are dedicated to serving our wounded military and their families.  We are a family made up of mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, and friends.  We are a family of Veterans of far too many conflicts and wars.  We are a family of ordinary people from across the nation.  We believe it is our duty and our responsibility to give back to those who have sacrificed so much to keep us free.

Operation First Response is a direct service charity.  As such, we give back over 95% of the funds we raise directly to those Military/Veteran families who need our assistance. Since our inception in 2004, Operation First Response has raised over $12.5 Million Dollars and served over 23,000 wounded Heroes and their families.

As our disabled Heroes begin their transition from the military to the civilian community a new VA claim has an average wait time of six months to a year.  If disputed, a claim can take up to four years before a Veteran can receive the benefits rightfully due to him/her.  Also keeping in mind that our Disabled Veterans are on a fixed income and when a vehicle repair, appliance replacement or any unexpected cost arises this often sends the family into financial distress. This reality makes it even more important for organizations like Operation First Response to continue our efforts to help our Nation’s wounded and seriously ill Service Members and Disabled Veterans.

We have all seen television commercials that have shown, in heart-wrenching detail, the challenges our wounded Heroes face.  We see the catastrophic wounds and burns.  What we do not see are the struggles faced by those with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD.  These invisible injuries, if gone untreated, can take a devastating toll on our Veterans and their families.  This can be seen daily within the rise in the suicide rate among our Veterans.  In many cases these suicides can be directly attributed to a Veteran’s inability to care for his/her family.

Our Military Family Assistance Program was developed with the main purpose of alleviating the financial difficulties facing a wounded Hero’s family.  We serve all branches of the military and all conflicts.  We provide personal and financial services from the onset of the injury or illness, throughout the recovery period, and along the journey from military life to the civilian community.

Our services include financial support for the basics like groceries, clothing, mortgage, rent, utilities, and vehicle payments. The things that we take for granted are not so easy for our Disabled Veterans and their families.

Without the worry of having the electricity or gas shut off, or whether there is enough money to buy food for the children, our Disabled Veterans can concentrate on their recovery with a brighter hope for the future.

In addition to our Military Family Assistance Program, we have added several new programs over the years as we continue the journey with our Heroes.

The Last Mission Project   

OFR provides financial aid to combat Veterans suffering from PTSD that attend in-house counseling and therapy treatment to gain the skills needed to cope with the symptoms they experience. Many Veterans must make the decision between their family finances and receiving this needed therapy.

OFR Backpacks    

OFR sends backpacks to wounded service members located at combat support hospitals in theatre. These backpacks are filled with a set of clothing, hygiene products, a handmade blanket, and a phone card and sent to a POC to be given to our wounded upon arrival. These items enable our wounded to have some personal items considering many have their uniforms cut off on the battlefield and it may take weeks for personal items to be returned. OFR also provides Hygiene bags to Veteran Food Shelters and Veteran Homeless Shelters.

Operation First Response Project Tutor   (for more information please email us at info@operationfirstresponse.org)     

The families of our wounded, injured and critically ill active-duty Service Members and Disabled Veterans face unparalleled challenges in the transition to the civilian community. We understand their unique needs and are committed to assisting them with their successful integration into higher education and career fields. We have partnered with a tutoring service that has provided educational services for over 30 years. This program is also available to our Heroes’ family members.

Operation “Final Salute”

OFR has had the honor of sponsoring hundreds of portraits of our Fallen Heroes painted by the artist Kaziah Hancock. These portraits are treasured by the families of our Fallen (this is NOT exclusive to Killed in Action) and allow all of us to be part of the “Final Salute” to these amazing Heroes that gave all for each of us. It reminds the families that our grateful nation will never forget their sacrifices.

Random Act of Kindness Initiative

OFR is offering Random Act of Kindness Initiative Cards to all Gold Star Families. There is no cost for the cards for the Gold Star Families.

Project Specialized Training

OFR has partnered with Cisco IT Professional Trainers from VITTinc to offer specialized training courses for our Active Duty Wounded Warriors while they are within the Warrior’s Transitional Units and our Veterans and their caregivers.

The challenge for any charity is raising funds so it can fully provide the services it offers.  For OFR, the worst that can happen is getting a call from a family in need and not having the resources to help.  Sometimes a warm and understanding voice just is not enough.  At those times we will work with other organizations to fill the void.

OFR uses a variety of venues to raise funds and bring awareness of how we serve our wounded Heroes/ Disabled Veterans and their families.  In the past, there were dozens of these events held annually in many states. They included wine tastings, golf tournaments and more.  Our largest fundraisers are the Walk for the Wounded events held in Media, PA and Ocean City, NJ.  Sadly, with the restrictions placed upon events due to the COVID pandemic all of our events have been canceled since 2020 leaving us with the concern that 2021 will be similar for fundraisers.

Unfortunately, the number of brave men and women who need our help continues to grow.  All too often we fall short of having the funds to serve those families in need of our assistance.  To us, this is heartbreaking.

Therefore, we need your help to decrease the number of Disabled Veterans that are going through financial hardships in the United States of America.

Donate Today to Make a Difference in Their Tomorrow.

THE HEART OF OFR IS EXACTLY WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT…

“We know that our Freedoms are not free and we are committed to those who make those Freedoms possible.”

There are different ways that a wounded Hero may enter into the OFR family:

  • Some beginning at a combat support hospital in theatre where a wounded or injured Service Member may receive an OFR backpack filled with a new set of clothing, travel size hygiene products, a handmade blanket and a phone card to ensure they have needed items until they return stateside.
  • Several Family Readiness Groups (FRG) from bases across the United States have heard of the services provided by OFR and they contact us directly to obtain help for their wounded.
  • Families search for help via the internet after their family member is wounded. Upon finding our website, families have the option of requesting our services via our online application.
  • Many wounded Service Members who have received OFR services refer fellow comrades to us for help.
  • Wounded Service Members and their families learn of OFR services through government organizations that provide resource information to the wounded.

Whatever way any of our wounded and their families come into our path they soon learn that they are part of the OFR family. We will always try to be a voice and ready to help in the needs of those we assist.

The staff members of OFR have worked together with our wounded and their families with compassion and understanding to provide an answer to their needs. Taking the time needed to hear their concerns and find appropriate answers and resources to fulfill those needs. We have become seasoned with compassion and understanding of what our families will need to overcome the long road ahead. Realizing that a very large part of what we do is listening and gathering valuable resources to help them with the multitude of issues that arise.

OFR financial aid varies as each case is based on individual needs ranging from:

  • rent/mortgage payments
  • payment of overdue utilities
  • vehicle payments and repairs
  • groceries
  • clothing
  • air transportation
  • personal requested items by service members and their families

Most importantly OFR keeps in mind that families will continue to present new issues that will broaden the scope of services provided by OFR.

OFR staff members are honored to have become a very important part of the recovery of so many wounded Heroes, we are thought of as family and do not take that responsibility lightly. Our families know they are respected and their privacy is of the utmost importance to us. If their need is out of our financial abilities or scope we will spend as much time as possible on finding other resources that can meet that need.

It is our sincerest hope to educate Americans across the nation to the needs our wounded are facing, we believe with all our hearts that by giving them the respect and honor rightfully due them we will be able to give them the hope of a promising future. In doing this we will ensure that all who have worn the “Uniform” will be an instant reminder to all Americans that a Hero stands before us…one of courage, strength and love for their country and whether their injuries are visible or not… We will never forget… All gave some and some gave all!