Charity Highlight: Honoring Our Fallen

HOF banner                       As military families, we get to share in many joys:  enlistments, graduations, marriages, births, deployment homecomings Рto name a few.  Sadly, there are also those times when we are called and notified that a military member will not be coming home from deployment.  Losing a friend or family member is always tough, but deployment losses seem to take a toll on loved ones that is inexplicable.  Decisions are made during a time of overwhelming sadness, in a state of shock and many recount not remembering those first days after hearing the news. The family members count on the military to bring their loved one home in an honorable and respectful manner.  However recent news stories have been a painful reminder that those handling the remains of our fallen are human and can and will, at times, fall short of their duties and responsibilities. Laura Herzog, saw a need and she stepped up to fill it.  As the former Public Affairs Officer (PAO) for the Joint Forces Training Base (JFTB), Los Alamitos, CA, she served as the lead for Hero Missions (fallen soldiers returning from Afghanistan & Iraq), coordinated public appearances for the JFTB base commander, disseminated information for JFTB to the public, and was the base spokeswoman who acted as the primary liaison with media.

Laura realized that Casualty Assistance Officers (Army “CAO”) and Casualty Assistance Calls Officers (Marines “CACO”) have quite a bit of work on their hands when one of our Heroes is returned home. Even though these casualty officers want to help the Families more than they do now, they have military requirements they must fulfill. Laura’s help has bridged the gap between the military and the Families she supports. Through her work with the military, she also realized she wanted to assist our other Heroes – Police, Fire, and Rescue Heroes – who sacrifice their safety and time away from their Family every day to protect us at home.

Honoring Our Fallen¬†comes in directly after the Next of Kin (NOK) notification to provide support. As soon as they¬†find out that a loved one is returning home for burial, the family’s needs and requests are immediately determined and work begins to fulfill them.

Relationships with local Patriot Guard members, local law enforcement and firefighters have been established to ensure the Fallen Hero receives a motorcade to the burial site and other services appropriate to them and their Families. Military Families are given support where support is needed, and how it’s requested. Honoring our Fallen also provides¬†links to other organizations who provide support services families may need during this difficult time – counseling, financial support, housing assistance, etc.

To raise funds, HOF is hosting their annual Classic Car Cruise and Free Car Show.  Mark your calendar and come on out to the event on Saturday, November 15 from Noon to 4pm at the Petroleum Club located at 3636 Linden Ave, Long Beach, California.  www.cruisehonoringourfallen.org

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