HILL AIR FORCE BASE — The Combined Federal Campaign Kick-off Event at Hill Air Force Base last week was all about changing lives.
Over 50 charities from Northern Utah came to Hill AFB to show what needs are unmet. One charity member spoke about how the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization changed his life.
During Doug Ferguson’s second of three tours of duty in Vietnam, he was one of only four members in his unit of 384 members who survived a massive attack — and the only reason he was alive was because five dead bodies were stacked on top of him.
When he arrived back at home in the states, he suffered from survivor’s syndrome, and became involved in the Veterans of Foreign Wars charity. He now conducts nearly two dozen honorary funerals a month. “I feel that what I am doing now gives back and recognizes those that didn’t make it,” Ferguson said.
Bruce Jacobs, Executive Director of the Intermountain CFC, hopes the couple of hundred people attending the event will spread the word on base of organizations in need. Jacobs knows what it feels like to receive guidance from a couple of the charities Hill AFB employees can donate to through the program.
One day upon returning home from work, he learned his 5-year-old had been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Their child stayed at the hospital for three days. Each day, they were approached by different charities, who gave them help and information to deal with the new diagnosis.
“They brought us supplies, materials, a teddy bear, and even a therapy dog to visit with us, which was all made possible because of donation,” Jacobs said. “It’s more than just giving to charities. It’s a form of insurance, making resources available to us if we need help.”
Robert Leach, one of the co-directors of the kickoff event made it clear. “If employees don’t step forward, then who will? We don’t want to know the outcome. It is better to be involved.”
Leach speaks from experience as well. When one of his children was born with cystic fibrosis, the family became heavily involved with Primary Children’s Hospital in getting treatment. Now, many years later, Leach donates funds to the Make-a-Wish Foundation and Primary Children’s Hospital. “Even though we had insurance, we’ve seen a lot of children and families that needed help,” Leach said.
Hill AFB employees can donate using forms handed out by key workers, or online by visiting www.cfcnexus.org/_intermountaincfc/ or going into myPay and selecting CFC. Employees can choose as many different charities as they want and donate as much or as little as they want, and it comes directly out of their paycheck. Employees do need to reapply every year.
Robert Hall, also co-director of the kickoff event, said there are a lot of people who may not recognize the needs in the community. The kickoff event was intended to help base employees see what organizations need help and how they can contribute.
“Too often, we hear about a cause, but we don’t know where to turn for helping them. We’re here to fill the gap,” Hall said.
Ian Kiwan, a Federal Highway Administrator attended the event, looking for a charity he could donate to. He found himself leaning toward the animal charities.
“I love animals in general, but this has been advantageous to see what charities I can submit funds to,” Kiwan said.