IN THE NEWS
FOR THE LOVE OF OUR TROOPS IX
Published Saturday December 7, 2013
Just over a decade ago, two retired Air Force colonels had an idea. Joe Henjum and Bob Carlone decided there was a gaping need for service members, veterans and their families who have been impacted by deployment and might need emergency care and support. Maybe they're waiting to get VA benefits and can't pay their mortgage. Maybe a family is not getting the income they counted on while a veteran is fighting in the field. Maybe a talented veteran has come home and just can't find a job.
Colonels Henjum and Carlone were looking down on the ninth annual For the Love of Our Troops dinner at the Broadmoor Thursday night. Entering the tenth year of providing bridge services, The Home Front Cares has literally saved the lives of hundreds of service members and their families and have raised over $5 million to give emergency assistance, within 24 hours of getting the call 99% of the time.
The Home Front Cares set a record, raising more than $220,000 during its ninth annual "For the Love of Our Troops" dinner Oct. 17 at Broadmoor Hall.
The money goes to emergency grants for essential life services for Colorado service members, veterans and military families. Executive Director April Speake told the 700 attendees that as the number of military and veterans in the community has grown, the need for emergency financial aid has grown.
"For the first time, The Home Front Cares has been faced with the prospect of saying no to requests because we are faced with more and more requests every day. We are the 911 for service members and their families."
Setting a hits-close-to-home tone to the gala was a Steven Norris-produced video of Joe and Katie Uveges providing the original music to "Start With I Love You," the story of military couple Cliff and Tracy White and the important first words they always said during precious telephone time during Cliff's deployment. The video had hundreds searching for tissues.
Gen. William Shelton, commander, Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base, was the evening's keynote speaker.
Receiving The Home Front Cares Chairman's Award was Al Mathews, who since 2008 has honored the thousands of troops returning from deployments with their first touch of home the minute they step off the plane: hot McDonalds Quarter Pounders and cold Cokes. Last year he and his volunteers provided the treats around the clock for almost 9,000 returning soldiers.
Receiving the Joe Henjum Hero Award was Jennie Miller, who has partnered with THFC through Energy Outreach Colorado to provide emergency utility assistance to 1,682 military members and families.
AspenPointe was named the winner of the Bob Carlone Military Community Service Award for military programs, including Peer Navigator and the AspenPointe Counseling Services.
Sam's Club was the anniversary celebration gala's title sponsor.
Go here to view the video and pictures of the event.