On July 4th, 2012 I lost my wife suddenly. As you can imagine, it was a trying experience. I had called my unit of assignment to find out about collecting my SGLI insurance, and they put me in touch with Army Community Services. I guess it is a prerequisite that you speak with someone there before you can collect on an insurance policy. I won’t draw out all the experiences I went through during that terrible time, but I was finally put in touch with the Military Family Foundation. I did not ask for their help, nor did I think I needed it, but they really stepped up and helped me.
The Military Friends Foundation is an organization that was created in 2003 to recognize and honor the unique sacrifices made by men and women of the Massachusetts National Guard. I am not part of the National Guard, but an Army Reservist who lives in Massachusetts, and the scope of their mission has expanded and now includes Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut. The group was set up by an act of the legislature and some generous private donors.
I was visited by them during a time of great need. You would think that they would help out the family of a fallen Soldier, but they do much more that that. I was not the family of a fallen Solder, but I was a stricken Soldier none the less. They came to me and helped me with the bills that were looming in the months ahead. Again, I did not ask for this, but it was generously offered and grudgingly accepted. They helped my close family with travel arrangements to attend the funeral, which was greatly appreciated. They were a much-needed lifeline that I will forever be grateful of. They are a group who deserve recognition.
MFF is much more than helping out families who have experienced loss. If you have a chance, visit their website at www.militaryfriends.org. There you will find many programs that they take part in. They are involved in the “Tough Ruck” march in which a group of Military members don their uniforms and a heavy pack and walk the 26.2 miles of the Boston Marathon route. The “Tough Ruckers” were even at the scene of the Marathon Bombing and administered first aid to the victims. Since then, this tradition has increased in popularity and I predict it will be one of the military’s great traditions.
They also help families of deployed military make arrangements for daily life when the primary decision maker of the family is away. If you look at the stories section of the site, you will see numerous tales of how families needed help in times of turmoil, and how the Foundation came to their aid. If it was helping with an unexpected bill or a referral to help find a way to fix the car, they were there. They helped coordinate and honor deploying units, and administered many blue ribbon ceremonies. These people truly love what they do - help us - and they do it well.
If you’re looking to get involved in a great cause to help Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and their families, then look into the Military Friends Foundation. They have many fun and rewarding programs, and they could use your help. If you are a Service Member or family member of one in need, then also give them a call. They are one of the most compassionate groups of people you will ever meet.
I, for one, would love to hear about other organizations you know of that do the same thing. It would be great if you could share one of your experiences with this, or similar, organizations.
Comment below or start the conversation here and connect within the military community.