The 2018 hurricane season has been extraordinarily active in parts of the U.S., with Hurricane Florence currently impacting millions in the Carolinas. As this natural disaster unfolds, the staff here at VolunteerMatch is doing its part to ensure that, if you are in an affected community, you are prepared and safe. And if you are looking to help with disaster relief efforts, you know about the most effective ways to contribute.
The mission of Operation First Response, Inc (OFR) is to support our Nation's wounded Heroes and their families.
What that means to the staff of OFR has grown and changed to expand to the needs of our families. OFR staff members consider it an honor and a privilege to be able to lighten the load of our wounded Heroes and their families. We have seen devotion beyond words from family members to their loved ones. Mothers, fathers, spouses and extended family and friends who have spent endless hours at the bedside of their loved one, because of the severity of many of the injuries this journey can last for several months and for others ...several years.
For many of our families the financial hardship begins quickly and for others it is after the domino effect of extra costs and lost wages. At whatever stage they are in when they contact OFR we are committed to doing all we can to support these families because it is our responsibility as American citizens, 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 family of OFR
some beginning at a combat support hospital in Iraq or Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Germany where a wounded or injured service member may receive an OFR backpack filled with a new set of clothing, travel size hygiene products, a hand made blanket and a phone card to ensure they have needed items until they return stateside.
Some may learn of OFR and their services through our vice- president, Carolyn Crossley, who is a nurse at LRMC. She gives out OFR information and ensures our Heroes that there is help waiting for them and their families back in the states. At that time this service member may contact OFR or give their family the information and they will contact OFR.
Several unit FRG groups from bases across the United States have heard of the services provided by OFR and they will contact OFR directly to obtain help for their comrades.
Some families search for help via internet after their family member is wounded or injured.
Many are sent to OFR by wounded heroes who have received OFR services and then send those they find in similar situations for support by OFR. This we find one of the highest compliments.
Some learn of OFR through government organizations that research for help for service members.
OFR's president, Peggy Baker makes weekly visits into Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), this enables OFR to let the families know we are here to assist as well as providing one on one interaction with these wonderful families.
What ever way any of our very special families come into our path they soon learn that they are part of our family and that we will be a voice and forever ready to help in whatever comes their way.
The staff members of OFR have worked together with our wounded and their families long enough to have become seasoned with compassion and understanding in what our families 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 our families with a multitude of issues.
OFR financial aid varies as each case is based on individual needs ranging from
the payment of over due utilities
vehicle payments and repairs
ground transportation which includes transportation to and from DC area airports and also dollars given to purchase gas for traveling by car to medical facilities.
Personal requested items by service members or 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 service members, we are thought of as family and do not take that lightly. Our families know that 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.
OFR dedicated staff members are volunteers who are available 24/7. It is our sincerest hope to unite Americans every where to the needs of our wounded and their families, to continue through the years with support for them knowing full well 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 that 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!