Operation Homefront provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of our service members and wounded warriors.

A local 501(c)3 non profit organization
Combined Federal Campaign # 23189

Operation Homefront-Florida Website

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why He Runs for Operation Homefront-Florida

“Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America.  These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.  America was targeted for attack because we are the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.”

 ~President George W. Bush
September 11, 2001

As we approach nearly 9 years since the events of September 11th, America’s foundation of freedom stands strong thanks to the drive and determination of the American people.    Operation Homefront-Florida proudly supports the families of our service members and wounded warriors and, during Freedom Walk 2010, will join with the Florida community to remember the first responders (Firefighters and Police) on 9-11 and all of the service members that fight to defend freedom.

Accomplishing Operation Homefront-Florida’s mission is impossible without the support of people here in Florida – people like Operation Homefront-Florida board member Keith Seago. 

Seago, a former Army Airborne Ranger, has been on Operation Homefront – Florida’s Board of Directors for almost a year. He’s also an avid runner that works as a Financial Consultant at BankUnited.

He’s running in the 5k at this year’s Freedom Walk on September 11th.

“The reason why I am running and promoting this event is because of the visibility and recognition it gives to our First Responders, our Military and their families.”

Seago understands the needs and hardships of a military family. He grew up in the “army brat” lifestyle that we all know to mean one or both of his parents were in the military.

“I know what it's like to have your father deployed to foreign lands, in harm’s way for extended periods of time and the stress that it can put on the family.”
To join Keith for Freedom Walk Run 2011 in West Palm Beach, Tampa or Orlando click here.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Freedom Walk 2010

Freedom Walk 2010 will mark the ninth anniversary of the tragedy that was September 11th. This is our chance to reflect on this disaster and renew our commitment to freedom and the values of our country. It is also a time to remember and honor our troops – past and present.

This is an event worth getting excited for! We want to double the size of participants in the picture below. Everyone should want to take part in one of the 2 mile treks across Florida (Tampa or West Palm Beach).

It’ll be a time of reflection and honor. Not only will we remember those lost in 9/11 and our troops all around the world; but we will also remember our first responders right here at home – our EMTs, fire fighters, POLICE OFFICERS. This will be a time of rejoicing in our freedom and those who have helped provide that for us.

Freedom Walk 2010 is a great place for those affected by the 9/11 tragedy to come together and support each other. It’s an event to show our pride in our nation. It is an event that will provide Operation Homefront – Florida with the means and funds to keep helping our military families in need.

Excited, stoked, animated, thrilled, enthusiastic. Whatever your word is, feel it. Get in the spirit. You can do something great by participating.

Freedom Walk 2010 will be held on Saturday, September 11th in Tampa and West Palm Beach. Registration begins at 7:30 am. The walk will begin at 9:00 am. Registration is just $5 per participant and group or team participation is encouraged. You can sign up online at www.operationhomefront.net/florida.

For volunteer or sponsorship opportunities, contact Megan Lysaker, Director of Development with Operation Homefront – Florida.

Phone: 561.932.1650
Fax: 561.932.1652

Thursday, May 6, 2010

How a new donor helped two Florida military families

By Christy Campbell

Although I work with Operation Homefront-Florida every day, it still blows me away each time I have the good fortune to witness an act of kindness or generosity.  A few weeks ago I was visiting Tampa for a meeting and heard that someone was donating a house full of furniture to a military family in need.  On that particular day, Jeff and I traveled out the house to inventory the furniture.  We were both impressed with the quality.  These pieces of furniture could certainly be resold for a handful of cash, but instead the donor, who's father had recently passed, wanted to give the high quality furniture to a military family in need.  We did not get to meet the family who received the furniture that day, or see their faces, but we did receive this letter a few days later to give to the donor.

Dear Sir,
I am so very thankful for your donation to us.   I recently have returned from a deployment.  We have been renting a furnished home.  We will be moving from this home into a place that is unfurnished.  The furniture received is an excellent start for us to furnish our new place.  We are preparing for the future because my income will decrease now that I am off of deployment.  We are in the process of continuing to  look for anything to furnish our new residence and looking for a second vehicle.  So we have a lot of preparations to do.  But I am so thankful for you being a blessing to us.  And I am so sorry under the circumstances.  Our prayers will be with you.  I am a family of one wife, four girls and one son.  We all say thank you so much.
~Florida National Guard Service member

 For this military family, the donor's act of kindness came at a much needed time and met a very important need.  Little did I know, I would get to see another example of this donor's generosity only a few weeks later when he would donate his father's vehicle to another Florida service member.  During the week of the Outback Steakhouse Pro Am, Operation Homefront-Florida helped identify a service member truly in need of a vehicle and complete the documents needed to transfer the car.  We were present the day she received the keys.  I think this picture says it all.

This young Air Force airman told me that day that she plans to make military service a career and that this car will allow her to see her family more often.  She was was incredibly grateful and overcome with emotion.  I was thankful to be able to witness the event.  It was really impressive to see someone take something sad like losing their father, and turn it into something so positive for 2 different military families.  I learned later that this donor also regularly sends packages over to Afghanistan and Iraq and makes an effort on a regular basis to give back.  Thank you from all of us on the Operation Homefront-Florida team for your donations and generosity. 

If you are interested in helping fill a need for a Florida military service member, visit the needs page on our website.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Red White and Bloomin Luncheon -From the Perspective of an Intern

Written by Lauren
Operation Homefront-Florida Intern

First, let me begin with a warning; just because there are bottomless amounts of incredibly delicious food in front of you doesn’t mean you have to eat like there are bottomless amounts of incredibly delicious food in front of you.  I learned that the hard way Tuesday, March 11th at the Outback Steakhouse/Operation Homefront luncheon.  I also had the privilege of meeting many amazing heroes of our country and their families. 

The speeches were brief and heartfelt from the owners of three Outback Steakhouse branches in the area and also our own Florida Director of Operations, Jeff Gareau, leaving plenty of room for the endless sampling of the new “Red, White and Bloomin’” menu items.  Now, when you go to your favorite Outback Steakhouse, you can order off of this patriotic menu and ten percent of the proceeds from your meal contribute to the one million dollar promise Outback Steakhouse has given to Operation Homefront.  I am so used to acknowledging the men and women of the armed forces as my heroes that it never occurred to me that I could be their hero, and all I have to do is go to Outback Steakhouse and order from their new Operation Homefront “Red, White and Bloomin’” menu; seems like a pretty delicious way to help.
           I also had the opportunity to be acknowledged as a part of this amazing organization that I just started interning for (Operation Homefront-Florida).  I have never been so proud of being part of an organization before.  The military men and women were so grateful for all that OHFL does for them.  For most of the luncheon I was either eating or following Jeff around with a camera, but whenever I did get a chance to stop and talk with someone, I knew I was a part of something important.  Click here for pictures of the event in Tampa and Jupiter, FL.

So, overall, I would call my first Operation Homefront event a huge success.  Not only did I get to eat way too much delicious food, but I also got to be an official part (for the first time) of a local organization who provides emergency assistance for our troops and their families right here in Florida.  I love that I get to be a part of such a noble cause. 
          I’d also like to include a BIG thank you to all of the men and women who honor this great country with their service.  I am so grateful for your bravery and sacrifice and I hope to be able to make at least a small difference in your lives.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Can a CANCELED deployment be a negative?

Written By Linda, Operation Homefront-Florida Volunteer

Military reservists often fall into a “catch-22” category when it comes to qualifying for much needed financial assistance. Consider a scenario which has played out recently for some in Florida: The reservists commit to full-time basic training prior to an anticipated deployment. At the conclusion of training, the unit is advised that deployment will occur in three months. The service member returns to his or her civilian job for this period and alerts the employer, or the service member may be in between jobs and there is insufficient time to obtain full-time employment, so the reservists - and often their families – do their best to stretch their resources while awaiting deployment. When the time for scheduled deployment arrives, the unit learns that their assignment has been canceled. To some, this sounds like a good thing, but it leaves the reservists short on cash, behind on bills and with no foreseeable way of recovering financially. In a sense, these reservists have slipped through the cracks, and they are considered ineligible for most emergency assistance resources that aid military personnel because they have not deployed. As an organization, Operation Homefront-Florida and its supporters must find a way to help these young reservists and their families with critical needs. If you or your organization can assist with monetary donations to provide food, rent/utility supplements or job training until affected reservists can obtain employment, please contact our office today,  mention case FL100013. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Operation Bridal Gown

Operation Homefront-Florida Giving Away FREE Bridal Gowns to Military Brides-to-Be

“I am so grateful for the gown I received from Operation Homefront and Alfred Angelo. My wedding will be perfect,” says Dawn, a future bride-to-be. 

“Operation Homefront provided me with the gown of my dreams, allowing me to renew my vows with my husband of 25 years” says Carol, a military bride.  These brides and dozens more have been able to plan the wedding of their dreams, with a free bridal gown, courtesy of Alfred Angelo and Operation Homefront-Florida.

Alfred Angelo provided Operation Homefront-Florida with almost 200 gowns in August of 2008, of all styles and sizes, specifically for the military personnel of Florida.  Any woman who is in the military or marrying someone from the military can apply for wedding gown free of charge. “A wedding gown is such a vital part of the whole experience,” says Debbie Dragone, Program Manager of Operation Bridal Gown, “this gift helps the bride to concentrate on other aspects of the wedding. AND this is one less expense for the new couple to worry about.”
Operation Bridal Gown still has many gowns to give away thanks to the generosity of Alfred Angelo, the world’s leading manufacturer of bridal gowns and bridal party attire. Operation Homefront requires proof of military status and the rest of the process is simple. For more information about Operation Bridal Gown, go to Operation Homefront’s website, www.operationhomefront.net/florida.

“We are thrilled to be able to partner with Operation Homefront, Florida for such a wonderful cause. To know that Alfred Angelo is able to help make the wedding dreams of our committed men and women come true is a wonderful way to be able to give back for all that they sacrifice in serving our country,” says Amanda Sheronas, Director of  Public Relations for Alfred Angelo,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Operation Homefront Florida to Distribute BRAIVE funds in Gulf Coast area

Operation Homefront-FL announced today that the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice awarded Operation Homefront-Florida a $60,000 grant to provide emergency financial and food assistance to service members and veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. The source of the funds is the Florida BRAIVE fund, a 5 million dollar fund established in 2008. Operation Homefront-Florida will distribute BRAIVE funds throughout 2010 to military service members and their families in a 25-county area of central and southwest Florida. “These funds come at a crucial time. Requests for emergency assistance are steadily increasing as Florida faces the largest deployment since the 1940’s,” says Simone Hoover, Chapter President of Operation Homefront-Florida. To apply for assistance or find out how to support Operation Homefront-Florida visit www.operationhomefront.net/florida or call 888-390-0843.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

For those who support our military

Written by a US Service member, currently stationed in Afghanistan

Among the terrible things I have seen and the mental stress this deployment has brought me, a few shining lights of hope have come through the fog of war.  What I speak of are the wonderful men and women who take the time to send their love and support to people they have never met.  They do this for no other reason than to show that they have heart.  These wonderful people bring smiles into not just my life, but to most of the 70,000 troops in Afghanistan today.

We don't ask for much.  I myself tell my own wife that she sends me too many packages.

We think of home all the time and the people we love.  We spend every minute of every day wishing we were home amongst our loved ones.  We wait for hours just to talk to our families for minutes.  I have been on four deployments now, and by far this is the hardest on me.  Not because I'm exposed to enemy fire.  Not because I'm struggling physically.  I've been in those situations and they do not even come close to the pain I feel from being away from my wife.

The only respite I get from the violence and horrors of war are the heartwarming letters and gifts that I receive from not only my family, but from total strangers who reach out and make our lives just a little bit less miserable.  They have a special gift.  That gift is empathy.  They look at things from our perspective and react the only way they know how.  They show us that America is still the best place in the world to live.  They show us that our country will support us, no matter what.  This was not always the case in our history.  I feel for the Vietnam veterans who came home to be spit on by the very people they swore to protect with their lives.  If they had the same support that my generation has, many of them would have had an easier adjustment to civilian life.  In my time in the military, I have known nothing but a nation at war.  I have been on the receiving end of enemy fire many times and have been decorated by my nation for the bravery I've shown on the battlefield. In my heart, I know that those of you that take the time to make just a little bit of difference in our lives, you are the heroes.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

4000 Additional Active Duty for Florida

Christy Campbell
Operation Homefront-Florida North Florida Manager

Here in Jacksonville, it was on every news station. Congressman Ander Crenshaw and Senator Bill Nelson announced that Congress had finally signed off on making Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, FL the new home for one of Norfolk’s 5 nuclear carriers.  The carrier will probably not arrive until 2012, but when it does it will bring almost 4000 additional service members and their families to the Jacksonville area.  It’s hard to believe, but in the next 5 years preparations for the arrival will require nearly a half of a billion dollars in upgrades and changes to the Mayport pier and St Johns River.  The carrier will definitely be a positive boost for Jacksonville’s economy. 

It made me think, for Operation Homefront-Florida, the addition of the nuclear carrier will certainly have an impact as well.    What was once a deployment of a few hundred sailors at a time will now be an exodus of 4000, with their respective families waiting at home.  As Operation Homefront chapters in Virginia, California, and Washington all support larger Naval deployments, Operation Homefront-Florida will be ready to provide support to these military families.  Although the state of Virginia is probably unhappy to lose one of its carriers, I know that Operation Homefront-Florida will welcome the 4000 sailors and their families to Florida.  As our chapter continues to grow, I look forward to the carrier coming to Jacksonville and the opportunity to support these families.  

This writer works for the Florida chapter of Operation Homefront, Inc., a 501 (c ) 3 organization supporting  military families and wounded warriors.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thank you letter

Just wanted to take a moment to post a really nice thank you note we received after the Grainger/Operation Homefront Food Box event

I have a family that has been hard hit over the last year with deployment, unemployment and domestic violence. They were so thrilled by the generosity of Operation Homefront for their Christmas goodies. The food was super but the game added a special touch that was needed for family activities.
Thank you so much for all you and the volunteers of Operation Homefront did to assist this family and all the other families you have helped also!

This special event would not have been possible without the generosity of Grainger. To find out how you can help military families here in Florida visit our website http://www.operationhomefront.net/florida

Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am

This year the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am Golf Tournament chose Operation Homefront-Florida as one of 2 receiving charities for this years event.

*April 12th-18th in Tampa, FL

You can buy the Kookaburra Ticket Package only available from Operation Homefront-Florida for $500. All proceeds from this package directly benefit Operation Homefront-Florida. Please email Jeff Gareau at jeff.gareau@operationhomefront.net for more information.

The Kookaburra Charity Ticket Package Includes:
· Two (2) One Day Green-Hopper Party Passes (see description below)
· Four (4) Weekly Badges, tournament admittance entire week.
· Ten (10) One Day Passes, tournament admittance any one day.
· Two (2) preferred parking passes.
· One (1) weekday foursome of golf at TPC Tampa Bay.
(Space available basis, May 3 – September 23. Monday – Thursday Cart fee approx $30 + tax)
· One (1) Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am lapel pin.

Total Investment: $500
Retail Value : $1,000


Please use the promotional code: OPHOMEFL for a 10% discount on your purchase.