This is one of several articles published in our Veterans Focus. To see all articles from the series, please visit www.afcea.org/signal/veteran.asp.
For years, AFCEA International and its many members have been dedicated to providing financial, material and emotional support to the military community. Among the various charities that benefit from these donations is the Fisher House Foundation, which offers free lodging to troops, veterans and their families when a loved one is in a military or veteran medical facility. (Learn more about Fisher House in “Supporting Those Who Stay Behind”).
Recently, the AFCEA family stepped up its commitment by pledging special support to the two Fisher Houses at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. When troops are injured in theater, their first evacuation is to Ramstein Air Base and then to Landstuhl. There, wounded warriors reunite with their families who often arrive without knowing what to expect in terms of the extent of injuries or what the future will hold.
Because of the unique situations at Landstuhl, Fisher House would like to turn its facilities there into smart houses that can provide residents with immediate and intuitive answers to questions about support services, benefits, their roles as caregivers and contact information. According to AFCEA President and Chief Executive Officer Kent R. Schneider, “Some of the people residing in [these] Fisher Houses have physical limitations, requiring accommodation for voice recognition, touch, wheelchair access, height adjustment and other means of assistance. Work will be needed to develop the applications, video presentations, databases and online links to meet these needs.”
After donating $25,000 to the overall Fisher House organization at the DISA Customer and Industry Forum event in mid-August, AFCEA pledged another $25,000 the following week during LandWarNet as seed money to help the Landstuhl Fisher Houses reach their smart-house goals. AFCEA asked attendees for matching contributions and by the end of the week raised almost $100,000.
But the work is far from over. AFCEA now is challenging others to step up and help by offering their money or technology. AFCEA will consolidate the donations and coordinate in-kind contributions. Checks should be payable to the Fisher House Foundation Incorporated, but AFCEA International would like participants to work through the headquarters to ensure that all the necessary resources are directed at the Landstuhl project.
Anyone who would like to donate should contact:
• Kent R. Schneider, email@example.com
• Lt. Gen. John Dubia, USA, (Ret.), AFCEA executive vice president firstname.lastname@example.org
• or Curt Adams, AFCEA senior director for member and chapter services email@example.com.
In addition to Fisher House and its various subordinate locations, AFCEA International also supports many other military-centric organizations, such as:
• AFCEA Educational Foundation
• Homefront Hugs
• Homeward Deployed
• Operation Gratitude
• Operation Iraqi Children
• Sgt. Mac Foundation
• Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team
• Wreaths Across America
However, the real power of AFCEA is not in what it can do at the headquarters level, but in the breadth and scope of military support generated through its members. Five organizations in particular—Booz Allen Hamilton, HP, MITRE, Northrop Grumman and QinetiQ North America—benefit AFCEA as Strategic Partners. The Strategic Partner Program provides formal recognition to corporate sponsors that go above and beyond in their support to AFCEA. It considers a company’s overall resource investment in the association and crafts a unique win-win bond The initiative is not a membership program, but instead a collaborative partnership between the association and its most loyal corporate advocates. In addition to the generous commitment of these organizations to AFCEA, they also contribute time and money to nonprofits with specific missions to aid troops, veterans and their families.
Each of these partners has special internal programs ranging from corporate giving to employee volunteer hours that reinforce their commitment to the military community. All five organizations employ veterans, work with the military and are honored to have the chance to give back to those who served.