Last Updated on September 13, 2023 by Luke Feldbrugge
The Wichita Falls Firefighters Benevolent Fund is committed to providing support to their member firefighters and their families when tough times hit. The Wichita Falls Professional Firefighters Association is composed of the men and women of The City of Wichita Falls, TX Fire Department. The WFPFFA are proud members of the International Association of Fire Fighters as IAFF Local 432, and are members of the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters as well.
Wichita Falls Firefighters Benevolent Fund Interview with Jay Flynn
The Homes for Heroes Foundation awarded the Wichita Falls Firefighters Benevolent Fund a $10,000 hero grant to provide support for their members and their families when the need arises.
Jay Flynn, Hero Outreach Coordinator with Homes for Heroes, speaks with Trent Mays from the Wichita Falls Firefighters Benevolent Fund; Matt Childs, Board Member of the Wichita Falls Firefighters Benevolent Fund, and Sonja Oliver, who received funds to assist her husband Greg. In addition, Kim Roark, Homes for Heroes real estate specialist, also joined the conversation. Kim nominated the Wichita Falls Firefighters Benevolent Fund for the Homes for Heroes Foundation grant.
You can watch the full interview here or read the transcript of the interview below.
Jay: Hello, and thanks for joining us today. I’m Jay Flynn, Hero Outreach Coordinator with the Homes Heroes Foundation. I’m joined today by Trent Mays. He’s the treasurer of the Wichita Falls Benevolent Fund. Matt Childs, who’s a Board Member of the Benevolent Fund. Along with Kim Roark, Home for Heroes real estate specialist, and Benevolent Fund recipient, Sonya Oliver. It’s my honor to be here with you guys. How’s everybody doing?
As part of the Homes for Heroes Circle giving the Homes for Heroes Foundation provides grants to nonprofits whose missions are to help our heroes in dire need. Trent and Matt, Kim and I are very, very happy to present the September 2023 $10,000 Homes for Heroes Foundation grant to the Wichita Falls Firefighters Benevolent Fund.
Go ahead and present the check, Kim. Congratulations, guys.
All: Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Jay: We’re excited to help you guys out. So you guys go ahead and take your seats and let’s just take a few minutes and talk about the Wichita Falls Firefighters Benevolent Fund and its mission.
So, Trent, tell us about how the Benevolent Fund came to be and what its mission is.
Trent: The Benevolent Fund came to be, unfortunately, because one of our members needed assistance because he was diagnosed with leukemia, and that was Sonya’s husband, to my right here. We’ve always had a need. There’s always been a need. So we started the fund.
I think it was back in 2016-17 when we really started doing the work. We started with a fundraiser and we did a trap shoot/skeet shoot where local businesses donated, and supported us as they always do. Thankfully, they always support firefighters. So that’s how it came about in Greg’s name and in his honor. We started it and we continue every year. This is the seventh year, I think, for the shoot, and we’re still continuing to do the shoot. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.
So with that, we started the Wichita Falls Firefighters Benevolent Fund and we said this is in Greg’s memory. But going forward, this is going to help other members and their families in a time of need. And that’s exactly what we do with the funds. Whenever we have a member or maybe a family that are in need, the board meets or we can just do it even over the phone or a live media stream; define the need and get it taken care of now.
Jay: Well, it’s really great that you guys are able to help your members and their families, even though the reason for it most of the time, is not such a good reason, but its good you guys are able to help them.
So Kim, tell us why you nominated the Wichita Falls Firefighters Benevolent Fund for the Homes for Heroes Foundation grant.
Kim: Well, I’m very blessed to be a firefighter’s flame myself. I know they don’t use that word very often, but women love it. It makes us feel special. So my husband is a retired Wichita Falls firefighter, and we are very blessed with an amazing brotherhood and community. And who better to nominate and support this foundation, which we love so dearly. And we’re just shocked, surprised, excited. I’m kind of lost for words. It just makes me very, very happy. It does my heart good.
Jay: Good. Awesome. So, Matt, tell us how you guys plan to use the grant funds and how you’re going to support our heroes and families through your Benevolent Fund with this Homes for Heroes Foundation grant?
Matt: Well, as you and everyone else knows, medical expenses add up really quick when anything happens. So that’s generally what these funds are going to be used for when we have a member that is sick, or have to fly one of their kids to the Metroplex, or anything that has to do with them or their family, it’s going to come out of this fund. With the way medical expenses are nowadays, we’re super pleased and super excited with this extra we can use.
Jay: That’s awesome. And we know $10,000 sounds like a lot of money, but when you talk of medical bills and expenses, it doesn’t go that far. Unfortunately, these days.
So Sonya, first, thank you for taking the time to join us today.
And I know you’re actually the recipient of the support that we’ve already talked about from the Benevolent Fund. So, tell us your story and how the Wichita Falls Firefighter Benevolent Fund’s support impacted your life.
Sonya: Well, first of all, thank you for having me. Greg had been a firefighter, oh my gosh I don’t even remember how many years when he was diagnosed. We spent a week here in Wichita Falls in the hospital, and his health progressively got worse. And then they shipped us to Dallas, on a wing and a prayer. This was our last ditch effort for him to survive. So we went to Dallas and his first stay was 45 days. We got to come home for two weeks and then it was back for 30 days. And then after that, it was just back and forth, back and forth. I think the longest we ever got to stay home in that four and a half years while he battled was 42 days, I believe, was what we calculated. That was the longest stay we ever got to have at home.
He had been shipped to Dallas twice by ambulance because his health would decline so quickly. Because of all the medical expenses, and the guys being the Brotherhood that they are (our guys are tight), they knew our struggle was very real.
They knew how much Greg loved sporting clay shoots because that’s what he would do for the firefighter Olympics. And he brought home some hardware over the years for that. So they held this sporting shoot in his honor for a fundraiser for us, which we were so appreciative of. I really feel like we could not have made it at times, financially, had we not had the help and support of the funds from our guys and even the wives. The wives have been wonderful over the years.
So anyway, that’s how it came about. And it was just an absolute blessing for us. And the guys have continued to put on the shoot every year, and it has helped other families. Which anybody that knows Greg would know, that’s exactly what he would want. Because he would be the very one to be right in the middle of it, helping somebody else.
So it touched us in a way we can’t even begin to express. So we’re just grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to have the money to put into this fund so that we can help other people. And unfortunately, he didn’t survive. But that’s okay. We will help other people that will.
Jay: Well, Sonia, I’m sure you know, but this is just a testament to Greg’s legacy. And we’re honored to be able to be a small part of it for sure. Thank you. Thank you very much. Absolutely.
And Trent, we’ve talked about it a couple of times. Sonia talked about it. You’ve mentioned it. The big fundraiser is coming up October 21st, 2023. I think we’ve kind of picked up that it’s a trap shoot that it’s a sporting clay shoot. We’ve got a flier that you shared with us that we’ll put up on the screen to show everybody. But, talk to us a little bit about what that means. Obviously, as Sonia said, if Greg was here, he’d be right in the middle of it, Right? Doing these things to help other folks. So tell us a little bit about that.
Trent: Well, we have sponsors that help every year, local businesses help sponsor. So that’s always a blessing. We’ll get ’em a sign made and they’ll donate money, and then they’ll actually have teams in the event too. We have different levels of buy in, and we have a local business that makes some cool trophies they usually try to donate those.
It goes back to businesses supporting the calls, so it doesn’t cost us. It helps us save money for the fund.
So I don’t know, I think we’re usually floating around 30 to 40 teams. Pretty consistent thing. Then we start in the morning and usually finish up after lunch. We’ll have food that everybody cooks for everybody, and have a good time. It’s a lot of fun. There’s also t-shirts available.
Jay: Awesome. Well it sounds like a great time, and great calls, and great fellowship for everybody to come together for that shoo.
Trent: Oh, yeah, there are guys who look forward to it. Every year they’ll start calling or text, “Hey, what’s the date? I have to get my team ready.”
Jay: Awesome, Awesome. Everything you guys are doing there with Wichita Falls Benevolent Fund, it’s such a wonderful thing. And you guys are such a wonderful nonprofit. And thank you so much for supporting the heroes that have the need there in Wichita Falls.
We thank all of you guys for taking the time to join us today. And thanks for those who tuned in to hear a little bit more about the great work of the Wichita Falls Firefighters Benevolent Fund.
Show us a little bit of love. Give this video a like, share it, or leave us a comment. Make sure you tune into future episodes to hear more about the nonprofits that the Homes for Heroes Foundation partners with across the nation to help our heroes in dire need.
I hope all of you and everyone else has a great rest of your day and take some time today to say thank you to a hero.
Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving
Grants from the Homes for Heroes Foundation are made possible by the Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving and its network of real estate and mortgage professionals. Homes for Heroes, Inc. is committed to providing savings to community heroes; such as firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, military (active duty, reserves and veterans), healthcare professionals and teachers.
To expand its Circle of Giving, Homes for Heroes, Inc., donates a portion of its earnings to the Homes for Heroes Foundation. So, every time a hero buys or sells a home using the Homes for Heroes program, they are helping other heroes across the country facing a housing crisis or who are in need of urgent financial assistance.
If you are interested in learning more about how Homes for Heroes can guide you through the home buying, selling or refinancing process AND save you an average of $3,000 after closing, simply sign up to speak with a member of their team. They will follow up with you to answer all of your questions. When you tell them you’re feeling ready to speak with their local specialists in your area about home buying, selling, or refinancing, they will connect you with their local specialists to begin the process.
Simply visit the Homes for Heroes Foundation page if you’re interested in learning more about where it has awarded recent grants to hero organizations throughout the country, how much they’ve awarded to date, and how it all works.
If you’re interested in supporting and donating to the Homes for Heroes Foundation to assist heroes in need, please visit their donation page to submit your contribution via PayPal. And, thank you for your interest and support.
Thank you for watching another Homes for Heroes Foundation grant video about the impact it is making nationally and in local hero communities, along with hero supporting nonprofits who use the grant dollars they receive to assist the heroes they serve.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the Homes for Heroes YouTube channel to get notified of the new hero grants awarded by the Homes for Heroes foundation.