While parts of the country are struggling with putting their trust and support into local law enforcement, Omaha is fortunate to have an organization that has made it its mission to support the police officers and fire fighters who put their lives on the line for their community every single day. I’m talking about the First Responders Foundation, a local group dedicated to providing support, equipment, community outreach and fundraising to support our emergency responders.
The mission of the First Responders Foundation, as stated on their website, is to enhance public safety in our community by providing resources to police officers and firefighters and to show appreciation for their dedicated service.
The large amount of work the Foundation has done in a relatively short period of time is remarkable. At its inaugural event on June 10, 2010, founders Ray Somberg and Jerry Hoberman raised $645,000 for the Foundation and worked with Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle and Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman to proclaim the day Firefighter and Police Appreciation Day. Since then, the Foundation has grown to offer three core programs directly benefiting the people of Omaha, multiple family-friendly events throughout the year and, most importantly, support for the brave emergency responders who sacrifice their lives to protect ours.
Additionally, the Foundation launched the #SupportBlue hashtag in Omaha nearly two months ago, which raises the organization’s profile among their wide range of target audiences (when public safety is the topic, the message applies to everyone). With the unrest in Baltimore and other parts of the country over the past several weeks, the Support Blue message has become especially relevant, and not just locally.
Passion, commitment to the mission and an organized approach to engaging the community are all factors in the rise of the First Responders Foundation. I encourage you to learn more about who they are and what they do. And, next time you see a police officer or fire fighter, give them a “Thumbs Up.”