Episode Show Notes:
Welcome to the "Militarily Speaking" podcast with Tom McLean and Jodi Vickery.
In this episode of “Militarily Speaking,” Tom, Jodi, and guest Bob Thomas, CEO of Operation Homefront, discuss how they help military families in urgent need of assistance. Bob runs through their myriad of programs and different ways they help active-duty service members and their families make the tough transition to civilian life.
“Militarily Speaking” is a podcast produced by Armed Forces Bank that is dedicated to the military lifestyle and all the things that makes military community who they are.
Ep. 29 – Operation Homefront with Bob Thomas
Jodi introduces Bob, including his military history, before introducing Operation Homefront.
- Bob served nearly 31 years of distinguished service in the Air Force, the last assignment was directing education and training programs for officers of the Air Force.
- Operation Homefront, a nonprofit that has proudly served America's military family since 2002, provides relief, resiliency and recurring family support programs and services throughout the year to help military families overcome short term difficulties so they don't become long term hardships.
Jodi then asks Bob to continue discussing Operation Homefront, including how the organization got started.
- Bob describes the mission of their organization and how they help build strong, stable, and secure military families.
- He continues by telling the story of how they got started by two spouses in a garage, looking for ways to help the troops.
Help for Military Families
Tom runs over statistics of how many military families, veterans, and military dependents they have helped, and asks what the secret sauce is behind all the great achievements.
- Bob gives praise to their donors, saying that without them they wouldn’t be able to provide any of their programs.
- He also runs over some milestone achievements the organization is planning to achieve this year, including supporting their 750th military family in a transitional housing village.
- He describes a few of their military support programs and partners, and how they help with anything from collecting school supplies to providing holiday meal assistance to military families.
Jodi notes that military families are very proud community, and asks what situations the military find themselves in when asking for assistance.
- Bob says the vast majority of people they help through their critical financial assistance program are those that have recently transitioned out of the military.
- He describes the very difficult transition military members have to make when leaving the military for the civilian world, and how this is a vulnerable time for them.
- Bob then tells a story of one person they helped, and how they were able to save his family from becoming homeless due to missed mortgage payments.
- Tom notes that there are Air Force Relief Aid, Navy Relief Aid, and Army Emergency Relief, which Bob notes are not always able to help at the last minute, and may be location specific.
Jodi comments about how much time Bob has spent serving in the military, and continuing that service now by helping military families in need.
- Bob discusses his time in the Air Force, and dives into his personal background of being born on, and growing up in, military bases.
- He continues by identifying with those military families in need, describing how good it feels to be able to help them get through a tough situation.
Operation Homefront Programs and Assistance
Tom asks how they decide which programs take priority, and what the process looks like to identify the programs that meet the military community’s needs today.
- Bob says they are focused on the relief space, especially in critical financial assistance and transitional housing.
- He describes the underlying importance of housing to supporting the entire military family, and making sure they can have a safe space to grow.
- He adds that if someone is struggling with their mortgage, they pay the mortgage servicer, landlord, etc. directly to ensure the donor’s money is being used effectively.
Jodi begins asking about the role their leadership team and board help in fulfilling the mission Operation Homefront has laid out.
- Bob describes everyone’s commitment to their mission, noting that the board members are not paid, and in fact they pay and make a commitment to support the organization.
- He then tells the story of one of their board members and their connection to supporting the mission.
Get Involved and Month of the Military Child
Tom asks how people can get involved with Operation Homefront.
Tom follows this up by asking about their involvement in the 15th annual Month of the Military Child Celebration happening in D.C.
- Bob says the event helps put a spotlight on the service and sacrifice military families make all the time.
- He then tells stories about some of the military children that apply to be awarded, and how remarkable they are.
Jodi introduces the Military Minute segment of the show, beginning by closing out last episode’s Military Minute.
- Last episode’s Military Minute: Which President made more money playing poker during his Navy days than he did from his military paychecks?
- Answer: Richard Nixon
- This week’s Military Minute question: What was the name of the one president who served as an enlisted man in the military and did not go on to become an officer?
- Watch for Facebook and Instagram posts about this episode.
- Answer with the correct answer and you plus a charity of your choice can each win $50.
Tom closes the episode by asking listeners to go to www.afbank.com and subscribe to the show, as well as leave a rating and comment on your favorite podcast platform such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Join us to hear how to better navigate your finances, military life, and the crossroads of the two.