In late October, the Sussex County Republican Women’s Club Inc. initiated a grassroots effort to collect donations to support Fisher House for Families of the Fallen and USO Families of the Fallen at Dover AFB.
“Donations were collected during November and December, a time for counting our blessings, giving to others, and reminding Delawareans about this most worthy organization that is on our soil,” said Gale White, SCRWC president and an Air Force veteran.
On a crisp Jan. 30 morning, two wrapped boxes containing envelopes of personal checks were presented in front of the Fisher House to TSgt. Cheryl Uylaki, NCOIC Fisher House, and Yolanda Bottorf, Families of the Fallen support manager, by four members of SCRWC: Pam Fitzgerald, Sally Duveneck, Eileen Beveridge, and Gale White. Also present were Bruce Kmiec, USO Delaware operations and programs manager, and Bill Flanders, USO Delaware programs coordinator.
A total of $3,500 in donations were presented to Uylaki, and $2,000 in donations were presented to Bottorf. Many words of appreciation were exchanged as well as handshakes and hugs. “Yolanda and I are very grateful for the donations, and would like to thank everyone for their generosity,” said Uylaki.
The Fisher House for Families of the Fallen is a unique facility equipped with nine suites to provide short-term, on-base lodging to families who travel to Dover to witness the dignified transfer of their loved ones' remains. An adjoining building, the Meditation Pavilion, provides a quiet place for families to gather, pray and reflect during their stays at the Fisher House. Built with private donations, both structures were gifted by the Fisher House Foundation to the Air Force. Visit www.fisherhouse.org/houses/house-locations/delaware/fisher-house-for-families-of-the-fallen for information.
The USO Families of the Fallen Support Program offers support to friends and family awaiting the return of their fallen loved ones. The USO program supports dignified transfers at Dover Air Force Base - the first stop on American soil for U.S. troops who have paid the ultimate price while serving their country. It provides respite and comfort to grieving families who are coming to Dover to witness the return of their loved ones and offers families travel assistance, supports the families' on-site needs, and introduces them to special programs to help cope with their grief when they return home.
The USO also provides a full-service respite center for mortuary affairs teams from each service branch. These troops perform the solemn, honorable and stressful duty of preparing their fallen comrades for their final resting place. For more information go to www.uso.org/families-of-the-fallen-support.