The Front Line Foundation will host a 9/11 remembrance ceremony as part the 2019 Front Line Foundation’s launch on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo.
Founded in late 2018, The Front Line Foundation was formed to support law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMTs across Minnesota by granting financial support to families of first responders who have died in the line of duty. The group’s mission is to bridge the gap between the death and benefits being paid, which can help families with ongoing expenses. The foundation also provides support in the purchase of tactical equipment for first responders, which isn’t included in department budgets.
“We will have supported six families by the end of September,” said Brent Rohlik, Front Line Foundation co-founder and board member. “Our country has trended in a way where the supporting of first responders has diminished. We aim to fill these needs and advocate for these men and women who put their lives on the line every single day.”
Cyrea Lynch, Front Line Foundation director of events, said that having the event on Sept. 11 is a great time to honor the fallen badge members who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
“Our day starts with the presentation of colors and the national anthem, a wreath ceremony in honor of the fallen and remarks from stakeholders,” said Lynch. “It is a wonderful way to come together and remember, honor and show these families that we have their back.”
Rohlik also stated that the Foundation has provided training for first responders and “soft targets” such as churches and schools who tend to be overlooked in terms of preparedness of a catastrophic event.
The ceremony is expected to be emotional and moving.
“The ceremony and tournament allow us to pause and reflect on the sacrifices first responders have made and continue to make for all of us,” Rohlik said.
For Lynch the involvement in The Front Line Foundation is personal.
“My husband is a firefighter and if something were to happen to him, I’d want someone to honor and recognize the good he did every day,” she said. “I am proud to help these families know that they are cared for and that their loved one’s service is greatly appreciated.”
To date, the families of the following first responders have received support from The Front Line Foundation and will be honored at the Sept. 11 ceremony:
— Corrections Officer Joseph Parise.
— Conservation Officer Eugene Wynn.
— Corrections Officer Joseph Gomm.
— Registered Nurse/EMT Officer Deb Schott.
— Helicopter Pilot Timothy McDonald.
— Officer Shannon “Opie” Barron.
For more information, visit www.thefrontlinemn.org.