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More Than Numbers

We asked. You heard and responded. Thank you for answering the call!

On Giving Tuesday last month, we announced that our friends at Murphy-Goode Winery had offered a $100,000 match for donations to Operation Homefront. Many of you jumped on board and gave! And we met our match…quickly…with flying colors!

But it’s more than just dollars and numbers. It affects real people, like:

  • Amanda, a single mom from Arkansas, who joined the Army and was injured while deployed. Operation Homefront helped her with food, diapers, and her mortgage payment, helping her get back on her feet again.
  • David, a sailor from Arizona, who has a long legacy of military service in his family. He was injured while serving on an aircraft carrier, underwent many surgeries and got caught up in VA delays with no money to make ends meet. We helped him with food, utilities and travel costs for his medical appointments.
  • Sean, a wounded Marine from Illinois, who joined the service after Sept. 11. He battles PTSD and brain cancer. Operation Homefront helped him with car repairs so he could get to his medical appointments.

And the list goes on and includes thousands of families we’ve been honored to serve. We asked you to answer the call and you responded. When you gave to Operation Homefront, you helped them too. You played a part in making life a little easier for our military families and wounded warriors.

So, from us to you, thank you!

And thank you to Murphy-Goode for generously supporting our military families for another year!

Assistance is in the form of grants, not loans, and covers some of the most basic of needs like food, rent, utilities, and critical home repairs. Transitional and permanent mortgage-free housing, as well as family and caregiver support, round out the host of services our organization provides to thousands of military and veteran families each year. Donations can be made using our online donation form or given to our ongoing list of Current Needs.

 

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?’” Martin Luther King, Jr.

This third Monday of January, we recognize the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Over the years, it has also become a day to honor his legacy by encouraging a day of community service, “a day on, not a day off.”

A common theme expressed throughout his speeches is simply recognizing the value of each other. That we all have worth, that we all can be a driving force for change, and that together, we can overcome the seemingly impossible. One way to do that is through service and giving back.

military-counsellingMaking a difference is not just about money, or time, or goods supplied, although all of those certainly have the most immediate impact. The support that helps us fix a family’s only car while dad is deployed, or helps an injured soldier keep the roof over his family’s head while he recovers and navigates the VA leviathan is critical. But what is often overlooked is the enduring impact that the support of our community has: the connection we make with another human being at a time when they are most vulnerable and even hopeless.

Dr. King’s words often expressed the feeling one has when they don’t feel they have options, or value. When they feel overlooked or abandoned. Our families are always relieved and grateful for the financial assistance they receive, but what they often remark upon, at times, quite emotionally, is how much it matters that someone cared. That they are not alone, and how, when ready, they intend to pay it forward.

This is how we begin to change the world. One family, one hand lifting up another, one message of hope that can be passed on.

Through service and giving back, we see each other more clearly, and achieve deeper understanding of our individual journeys. Volunteering brings together people who might not otherwise have an opportunity to meet. It is in these encounters that we weave the connections that strengthen our communities and help begin solving what can seem overwhelming.

It will take more than one day, once a year, but today can be a start.

Here are some links to help you find opportunities near you:

For information on getting involved with Operation Homefront’s mission, click here http://www.operationhomefront.net/getinvolved

Points of Light has helped millions of volunteers change the world. They mobilize people to take action on the causes they care about through innovative programs, events and campaigns. Points of Light is creating a culture of volunteerism, one that celebrates the power of service. http://www.pointsoflight.org/

VolunteerMatch strengthens communities by making it easier for good people and good causes to connect. The organization offers a variety of online services to support a community of nonprofit, volunteer and business leaders committed to civic engagement http://www.volunteermatch.org/

Serve.gov, the online home of United We Serve, is managed by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency charged with promoting and fostering volunteering and national service in America http://www.serve.gov/

Operation Homefront is proud to announce the semi-finalists for the 2015 Military Child of the Year® Award. These young men and women, ages 8-18, are making BIG impacts in their communities, not just in the US, but globally.  All while juggling the challenges of military life. Truly inspiring.

Join us in congratulating:

ARMY

Joseph C. – age 14 – Colleyville, Texas

Leslie C. – age 17 – Colorado Springs, Colo.

Johnily C. – age 11 – Nolanville, Texas

Savannah H. – age 15 – Coal Valley, Ill.

Haleigh H. – age 17 – Cadiz, Ky.

Amanda L. – age 17 – Watertown, N.Y.

Lorelei M. – age 9 – Duncannon, Pa.

Cavan M. – age 13 – Duncannon, Pa.

Grant N. – age 14 – West Point, N.Y.

Elizabeth O. – age 16 – Fuquay Varina, N.C.

India P. – age 17 – Appling, Ga.

Elisabeth P. – age 12 – Honolulu, Hawaii

Abigail P. – age 17 – Clarksville, Tenn.

Christian S. – age 17 – Seaford, Va.

Rachel S. – age 17 – Dahlonega, Ga.

 

AIR FORCE

Joel B. – age 16 – Dover, Del.

Andre B. – age 17 – Tampa, Fla.

Jacob D. – age 16 – Norman, Okla.

Meaghan F. – age 17 – Beavercreek, Ohio

Sarah H. – age 16 – Doha, Qatar

Andrew L. – age 17 – Laurel, Md.

Jordyn M. – age 8 – Trussville, Ala.

Bethany M. – age 16 – Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.

Gabriella M. – age 17 – Tucson, Ariz.

Kristen R. – age 17 – Osan, Korea

Bridget R. – age 16 – Burke, Va.

Eddie S. – age 14 – Beavercreek, Ohio

Angelo S. – age 17 – Hainesport, N.J.

Caleb Y. – age 16 – Enid, Okla.

David Z. – age 16 – San Antonio, Texas

 

COAST GUARD

Bryn B. – age 17 – Washington, D.C.

Jesse C. – age 17 – Port Angeles, Wash.

Mary Kate C. – age 15 – Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

Emily C. – age 17 – Durham, N.H.

Ryan D. – age 11 – Wrightstown, N.J.

Madison F. – age 16 – Southgate, Mich.

Keegan F. – age 16 – Fairhaven, Mass.

Shyanne G. – age 17 – Onancock, Va.

Olivia K. – age 17 – Grangeville, Idaho

Marissa K. – age 15 – Grangeville, Idaho

John K. – age 12 – Grangeville, Idaho

Kylie M. – age 13 – Hamilton, N.J.

Ernesto M. – age 15 – Ashburn, Va.

Chase M. – age 16 – Mobile, Ala.

Caleb P. – age 18 – Pembroke Pines, Fla.

 

MARINE CORPS

Ashton B. – age 12 – Albany, N.Y.

Brianna C. – age 13 – Hill Air Force Base, Utah

Corey C. – age 16 – Havelock, N.C.

Tori E. – age 17 – Mesa, Ariz.

Adriana E. – age 13 – Havelock N.C.

Brady J. – age 17 – Alexandria, Va.

Mary K. – age 17 – Henderson, Nev.

Samuel K. – age 17 – Barre, Vt.

Lyric N. – age 8 – Indianapolis, Ind.

Destiny O. – age 17 – Quantico, Va.

Christopher-Raul R. – age 17 – Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Cezar R. – age 17 – Waynesville, Mo.

Briley R. – age 13 – Saint Paul, Minn.

Emily S. – age 16 – New Kensington, Pa.

Faith S. – age 17 – Biloxi, Miss.

 

NATIONAL GUARD

Mabelle B. – age 11 – Winter Garden, Fla.

Rachel C. – age 18 – Wellesley, Mass.

Adam C. – age 17 – Newport News, Va.

Molly F. – age 14 – Pickerington, Ohio

Brandon G. – age 16 – Newburgh, N.Y.

Michelle G. – age 17 – Colorado Springs, Colo.

Christian G. – age 11 – Fresno, Calif.

Arial J. – age 16 – Lithonia, Ga.

Sara M. – age 17 – Chicago, Ill.

Lily M. – age 13 – Portland, Ore.

Zachary P. – age 16 – Warrensburg, Mo.

Kameron P. – age 16 – Norfolk, Va.

Colette S. – age 9 – Napa, Calif.

Brianna S. – age 13 – Oregon City, Ore.

Maggie W. – age 16 – Yardley, Pa.

 

NAVY

Carson A. – age 14 – San Diego, Calif.

Victoria B. – age 16 – Gulf Breeze, Fla.

Michael C. – age 16 – Alexandria, Va.

Hailey F. – age 8 – Bremerton, Wash.

Katherine H. – age 12 – Havelock, N.C.

Emily K. – age 17 – Ocoee, Fla.

Daniel K. – age 15 – Newport, R.I.

Katlyn L. – age 17 – Virginia Beach, Va.

Corbyn M. – age 17 – Honolulu, Hawaii

Autumn O. – age 17 – Aiea, Hawaii

Isabelle R. – age 10 – Jamul, Calif.

Brendan S. – age 18 – Niantic, Conn.

Brady S. – age 17 – Virginia Beach, Va.

Kenan T. – age 17 – Bahrain

Mariah W. – age 17 – New Bern, N.C.

 

2015 marks the seventh year Operation Homefront has presented the Military Child of the Year Award. Each semi-finalist will be interviewed by Operation Homefront staff, and award recipients will be chosen by a panel of judges including senior retired service members, senior spouses, members of Operation Homefront’s Board of Directors, and other leaders in the military support community.

The Military Child of the Year® Award will be given to one outstanding military child from each category: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and National Guard. Recipients will be announced in March. Each award will receive $10,000 and will be flown with a parent or guardian to Washington, D.C. for a special recognition ceremony on April 16, 2014.

To learn more, visit our Military Child of the Year Award page.

What better way to kick off 2015 than to help a family of service with a place to call their own? Thanks to Wells Fargo, we traveled to the heartland of America this week to award a mortgage-free home to the Williams family.

Born and raised in Wilmington, North Carolina, Robert Williams was seeking a higher calling to travel and see the world. He saw an opportunity with the Army and enlisted in his hometown in 1980.

And see the world he did. Robert served in Saudi Arabia, Korea, and Germany during his 20 years of service. Though he is retired now, the tradition of service continued with his children. Their daughter served in the Air Force until her medical retirement this summer, and their son is currently active in the Army.

HothIowa3

The Williams daughter told her parents about this mortgage-free home in Iowa and encouraged them to apply to our Homes on the Homefront program.

In June of this year, Robert and his wife of 35 years, Darlene, just moved to Bettendorf, Iowa due to his current employment. They found a small apartment where they are currently living. Their daughter recently told them about the Homes on the Homefront program and that as fate would have it, there was a home to be awarded in Bettendorf. So, Robert applied, and this week, he and Darlene were awarded the mortgage-free home.

Robert and Darlene are looking forward to spending quality time with their grandchildren. They would also like to change lives through joining a local church group and make a difference in their community. Robert and Darlene add, “…it’s a second chance and they [Operation Homefront and Wells Fargo] are making dreams come true. Through this dream, they will allow us to make more dreams come true.”

Since its inception, Operation Homefront and its partners awarded over 450 homes to military and veteran families across the USA. Wells Fargo has donated more than 105 of the homes. This is the first home with Wells Fargo and Operation Homefront in Iowa. To learn more about the program, visit www.homesonthehomefront.org

HothIowa2

We’re proud to honor the service of the Williams family and know they will make a lifetime of memories in their new mortgage-free home, thanks to our partnership with Wells Fargo.

BELIEVE

The best gift at the holidays is to be surrounded by family and friends. In many ways, our military is one big family, and we are grateful to have some small part in making the holidays special for them. This year, we were able to bring joy to hundreds of military families at our Holiday Toy Drive and Holiday Meals for Military events across the country.

Like us, we hope that by the end of this blog, you will believe in the magic of Christmas and the spirit of the season and the special ties that bind the military community together:

Things may be humming ‘round the clock at the North Pole, but Santa is a huge fan of our military families, and makes sure to visit as many of our holiday events as he can.’

Nevada2

We are pretty sure that this was actually Santa who swung by to hang out with our military and our Nevada Field Office.

What a gift it is to be able to feel the joy and wonder of the season through the eyes of children

carolinas2

Baby’s First Christmas!

 

HTDMississippi

Future Hall of Famer.

 

HMFMNevada1

Definitely on the nice list.

 

phillydotcom

That moment when a child meets Santa…magic. (picture from PhillyDotCom of our PA/DE/NJ Field Office event)

 

 

Even the big ones

 

northeast4edit

Self proclaimed “toy tester”…riiiiight.

nevertoooldforsantahawaiicrop

Aloha!

 

gingerbreadgsoldierelvesKYTN

Gingerbread aprons bring the kid out in all of us.

We’d bet our volunteers would give any veteran elf a run for their money. Along with the joy of meeting so many of our military families, our holiday events give us the opportunity to see up front and personal all of the good in the world. They are the living testament to “be the light or the mirror that reflects it”.

HomeDepotViolsSalem

Team Depot supports our mission in so many ways, and bring the fun whenever they volunteer.

wellsfargovolunteers

Terrific group of ladies from Wells Faro who have partnered with us in our Homes on the Homefront program, awarding mortgage free home to our military and veteran families.

HMFMBragg1

Walmart is contributed cash and in-kind donations worth $250,000 to the 2014 Holiday Meals for Military program and Walmart associates also offered their help to package holiday meal kits. Here, they are visiting with our Carolinas Field Office and soldiers at Ft Bragg

florida1

Who needs snow when you have palm trees and spirit? (w/ our Florida Field Office)

 

Without the support of so many generous supporters throughout the year, we would not be able to have the impact we do on our military families. And as we look forward to 2015, we know that while our mission will continue to be critical for many years to come, with your support, we will always be there to answer the call.

The staff, volunteers and families of Operation Homefront wish you all a holiday season full of light, laughter and love.

 Merry Christmas to all…

And to all, a good night!

All tuckered out in California.

All tuckered out in California.

If you would like to answer the call of our military and their families when they need it the most visit

Answer The Call

or learn about some of the families we are currently helping at

Current Needs

ATC-quote-graphic5Two weeks ago, in a largely unnoticed ceremony, the U.S. and NATO formally brought an end to combat operations in Afghanistan.

This conflict has exacted a heavy toll on our military families. For a generation of brave Americans who fought valiantly for 13 years, more than 5,000 made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and more than 50,000 have sustained injuries. I think we’re all relieved to put that battle behind us, but the fight is just beginning at home.

As an organization born out of 9/11, there’s a very real symbolism for Operation Homefront in the remarks made by U.S. Army General John Campbell, who presided over the ceremony on Dec. 8 in Kabul. General Campbell stated, “As the Afghan National Security Forces have become increasingly capable, we shift our focus from combat operations to building [Afghan] systems and processes to ensure long-term sustainability.”

Long-term sustainability, or the ability to endure, is something all freedom-loving people around the world can easily understand. While we certainly wish the Afghan people well, here at home our focus is on helping our own military families endure, including those who continue to serve, and the veterans leaving the active duty force as our military downsizes.

We’ve seen the needs of these families evolve over 13 years of war. Along the way, we’ve recognized that it isn’t merely good enough to be available in times of crisis. Rather, we also need to help them avoid another crisis in the future. So how do we do it?

In the past two years, thanks to our generous donors, we’ve provided more than $8 million in the form of emergency assistance grants to families in urgent need of help. Well more than 80% of these families have been post 9/11 veterans. We know that periods of financial crisis are rarely solved through one utility payment, rent payment, or providing a week’s worth of groceries.

Managing a tight budget can be a real challenge for any family, let alone military families. So we now require financial counseling – at no cost to the service member or veteran – when they seek assistance from us more than once. It may seem obvious to some, or perhaps an additional burden to a family in a crisis, but the point is to ensure that we’re doing our part to help families move toward a brighter future. And it’s needed now more than ever. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s the responsible thing to do.

It’s my hope that while the 13-year war will no longer be something we talk about every day, Americans will never forget the very real physical and emotional scars that these families will battle for decades to come.

At Operation Homefront, we’ll be here, focused on the long-term sustainability of these patriots and their families. I hope you’ll continue to join us as we support them, doing our part to answer the call.

Tim Farrell
COO, Operation Homefront

A Perfect Match

Are you ready to have a “Goode” time giving? Giving Tuesday donations made to Operation Homefront at Answer the Call will be matched, up to $100,000, thanks to some “goode” friends of ours!

Our friends at Murphy Goode like to say that they take their wine seriously, but “ourselves not so much.” Having been honored to work with their amazing team over the last few years, we know they combine world class winemaking with world class wit.

Jump over to their Facebook page, and you will see that not a “holiday” goes unnoticed by the Murphy Goode crew. “National Bad Poetry Day.” Check. “National Nut Day.” Yep, they’re on it. We’re pretty sure if you emailed them with a picture of your cat and one of their vintages, and asked them to help celebrate your kitty’s birthday on their social media, they might just consider it. They’re sassy and cheeky and always up for fun, but throughout it all, you can see that deep down, the Murphy Goode team holds a collection of huge hearts and a zest for life.

Part of that passion includes the desire to give back. And all kidding aside, there is no a doubt that what they do take seriously is support of our country’s military families and veterans.

For the last several years, Murphy Goode has been an exceptional supporter of Operation Homefront’s mission to provide emergency support and other assistance to the families of our service members and wounded warriors. From hosting special events to honor families to the creation of a special wine with a portion of proceeds going to Operation Homefront programs, they have demonstrated that the same care and attention, passion and joy that they exhibit in making wine is the same they give to making a difference for those who sacrifice so much for us.

So when we sent out an invitation to #AnswertheCall, they did. In a very special way. And thanks to their very generous support, you can #AnswertheCall today and have an even greater impact. As part of a large effort to raise awareness and support for our military families, today, Giving Tuesday donations made to Operation Homefront at Answer the Call will be matched, up to $100,000.00!

Supporting military families and veterans is a natural fit for Murphy Goode. Winemaker Dave Ready, Jr shares why giving back to military families is so important: “My family has a long military background dating back to World War I, where my great grandfather Bill Ready served in the Army. They were proud to serve our great country and would all be excited about helping our returning soldiers that gave so much for us.”

Just think of all the “Goode” we could do together. You+Operation Homefront+Murphy Goode=Perfect Match!

MGlogow_est_winery_OL

 

 

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