Last Updated on October 13, 2021 by Maggie Looker
Disasters occur across the country, typically with little to no warning. Between fires, floods, hurricanes, or a host of other catastrophes, communities year after year are devistated. For the police and first responders in those communities, a glimmer of hope has started to arrive sooner thanks to the National Fraternal Order Of Police (FOP) Foundation’s Disaster Area Relief Team (DART) national response team.
The FOP is the number one voice of law enforcement officers in the country. They are the oldest and largest union with 364,000+ members. Their Foundation is the charitable arm that lets them provide for officers and their families in their biggest time of need. As of August 2021, when the most recent donation of $10,000 occurred, Homes for Heroes Foundation has granted a total of $32,500 to the FOP Foundation.
We were able to talk to Jason Smith, Chairman of the FOP Foundation’s DART, about the organization and how it helps police in times of need.
The FOP Foundation
The FOP Foundation was developed to help officers that were displaced by natural, man-made, or major catastrophes.
“Whenever officers are involved in their communities and a disaster happens, most people don’t realize that they’re victims too. Their homes are destroyed, their lives are displaced. But instead of getting to take the day off work and take care of what’s important to them, they put on their badge and uniform and they go out to work every single day, for 12 to 18 hours, sometimes longer, to make sure they can stabilize their community instead of stabilizing their homes. We were created to be a bridge to help them so that we have their back while they have the citizen’s back in their communities.” Jason Smith said of the need for the Foundation.
Creation of the DART unit
During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a need was discovered for the basic necessities of officers and their communities. Out of the hurricane response, individual state teams were created to be able to help regionally, should there be a disaster nearby. Two years ago, FOP President Pat Yoes came to Jason with a proposal to “go big”. The regional teams were transformed into a nation-wide immediate response team of committed men and women that could respond as soon as a disaster struck.
Jason said the goal of these teams is to “make sure that our brothers and sisters don’t go without the basic needs of life, so they can concentrate on what’s important and that’s getting home to their families every day.”
This DART team doesn’t just serve law enforcement in the affected areas, but the community as well.
“We’ll turn no one away. Any hungry belly, any thirsty citizen, anybody that needs help, we’re going to answer that call. That’s what we did when we stood up and took this oath and we wouldn’t change that for any deployment. Our primary focus obviously is the first responders, but we will turn no one away….If they ask for it I find a way to get it for them.”
Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving
Grants like this are possible because of the Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving. When heroes buy, sell, or refinance a home with a Homes for Heroes real estate or loan specialist, a portion of the proceeds goes to the Homes for Heroes Foundation. The Homes for Heroes Foundation then gives grants to hero-centric non-profits across the country.
If you’re a hero looking to buy, sell, or refinance your home, let Homes for Heroes experienced agents and lenders help you. We not only give you great service, but reward you on your purchase with Hero Rewards. Plus, we’ll give back to the Homes for Heroes Foundation. Sign up now for more information and to get connected to an agent near you.