On Sunday, June 4th 2017, Freedom Mortgage First Flyers hosted their second annual Team Freedom Cares 5K Run and 1 Mile Fun Walk benefitting Homes for Our Troops and the Liberty USO. Over two hundred participated in a morning of fun at Cooper River Park in Pennsauken, NJ. Activities also included DJ Entertainment, warm up stretches led by service men from the U.S. Army and a post-race breakfast.
Event recruitment and fundraising efforts led by the company’s First Flyer Program, a rotational training program for recent college graduates, generated over 18 thousand dollars surpassing last year’s donation of 11 thousand dollars. Half of the funds raised went to the Liberty USO support programming and services that address the needs of active duty troops and their families. The other nine thousand dollars went to Homes for Our Troops to build specially adapted homes across the country for severely injured veterans.
Special guests from the Liberty USO and Homes for Our Troops attended including HFOT recipient Timothy Birckhead. Tim served for seven years as an air-launched weapons technician on the USS Iwo-Jima until he developed hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies (HNPP), causing progressive weakness and atrophy in his limbs. Homes for Our Troops gave Tim a new lease on life in a fully wheelchair-accessible home, enabling him to reclaim his independence.
In addition to coordinating the annual 5K event, the First Flyer program participates in various charitable initiatives year-round to support the company’s strong heritage of giving back in the local communities it operates. In 2016 the First Flyer program collected 485 backpacks for the Liberty USO to give to children of military families, 5,525 canned food items to the Philabundance Food Bank to provide Thanksgiving meals for hundreds of families in the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey area, and over 600 toys for the Salvation Army to help lift the spirits of families in need during the holidays.
As one of the nation’s largest U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs approved mortgage lenders, providing for the needs of Veterans and active service men and women remain a strong pillar of the Freedom Mortgage’s philanthropic values. Information on the 2018 Team Freedom Cares 5K Run and Fun Walk will be available on the Team Freedom Cares blog.