The worst fear of any first responder is the emotional and financial strain placed on his or her family in the event he or she is killed in the line of duty. While many benefits exist for the family members of a first responder killed in the line of duty, these benefits are not available for some time, at least months, after the death of the officer. The family of the hero will have immediate economic needs, which can force the family into financial turmoil.
The second worst fear of any first responder is being injured in the line of duty or being diagnosed with a serious illness. These injuries or serious illnesses can hamper their ability to financially care for himself and his family. Disability pay may be available if there is an in the line of duty injury; however, this disability pay does not account for the supplemental income in the form of overtime and details depended upon by so many first responders and their families. If a first responder is injured in the line of duty, he is either unable to or not allowed to work details. If the hero is diagnosed with a major medical condition, the treatments for this illness often prevent the hero from supplementing his income.
Help for Heroes is a non-profit organization with the goal of relieving first responders of these financial stressors. It has become common place in the last several years for friends and associates of deceased, injured or seriously ill hero to organize fundraisers for these individual officers. Many of these fundraisers have been incredibly successful and assisted the first responder and their families through tough financial times. However, these fundraisers take weeks or even several months to organize. While these efforts for the fundraisers are on-going, the financial demands on the first responder and his family are accumulating. Eventually the financial need is satisfied, but not before stress has been created.
The goal of Help for Heroes is to bring together members of law enforcement, EMS, fire and members of the communities of the metro-New Orleans area in an effort to eliminate that initial financial stress. Rather than plan individual fundraisers for first responders and their families throughout the year, the members of Help for Heroes desire to bring all of the fundraising resources together to assemble one or two large scale fundraisers to benefit for first responders in the metro-area and their families in the event a hero is killed or seriously injured in the line of duty or diagnosed with a serious illness. Having one large sum of money banked from these annual fundraisers will allow Help for Heroes to provide financial assistance immediately following the death, injury or serious illness diagnoses. Guidelines can be established regarding the type of duty injuries and serious illnesses considered for assistance. The joining of resources from several groups of individuals having this common goal will greatly enhance the fundraising ability, thus increasing the number of area first responders who will potentially benefit from this concerted effort. Additionally, the first responder friendly businesses will be approached only once or twice a year for donations rather than numerous times each year, thus enhancing credibility in the private sector.
Help for Heroes is asking anyone interested in joining forces in this worthy cause to contact the members of Help for Heroes at firstname.lastname@example.org