OPERATION FIRST RESPONSE

First and foremost, Operation First Response is a family. We are a family made up of volunteers who 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 monies we raise directly to those military families who need our assistance. Since our inception in 2004, Operation First Response has raised over $9 Million Dollars and served over 17,000 wounded Heroes and their families.

The ongoing revelations, regarding the Veterans Administration, highlight the failure of the system. 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.  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.

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.  You see this everyday with 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 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.  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 world.

Our services include airline flights, lodging, and car transportation to/from airport and hospital. We also provide 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 wounded 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 wounded Veterans can concentrate on their recovery with a brighter hope for the future.

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, and there is an ebb and flow to this, 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 and their families. There are dozens of these events, held in many states. They include wine tastings, golf tournaments, raffles, and more.  Two of our biggest fund raisers are Walk for the Wounded events held in Media, PA and Ocean City, NJ.

Unfortunately, the number of brave men and women who need our help grows every year. And every year, we fall short of having the funds to serve those families in need of our assistance.  To us, this is heartbreaking.

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 unit 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 in 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 over due utilities
  • vehicle payments and repairs
  • groceries
  • clothing
  • air transportation
  • ground transportation which includes taxi rides to and from DC area airports, dollars given to purchase gas for traveling by car to medical facilities and train tickets
  • 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!