Hi Folks -

This message is long overdue.

I'm one of the original founders of Hancock Hope that originated in Western New York. I've been actively involved since the beginning, first by communicating the need and challenging the fire service to help West Hancock Fire-Rescue in Pearlington, MS.

A group of local firefighters from Collins NY took the bull by the horn and stepped up to create what is now a loosely formed nationwide network of firefighters helping firefighters.

As with many volunteer organizations, Hancock Hope has gone through several transitions in the past two-plus years.

Our founder Dan Macakanja had to step down as president for personal reasons last fall at a time when we were about to ramp up to the next level, that of non-profit tax status. Another local firefighter tried his best to take the reins but had other life priorities prevented him from doing so. Their decisions are quite understandable and certainly do not diminish their contributions to the organization.

Nonetheless, the effort continues. FirefighterNation.com allows me to follow many of your individual and team efforts and I continue to admire and be amazed at your accomplishments. My role has always been one of advisor, marketer and cheerleader and I hope to continue in that vein.

However, gaps in our organization leave us with the need for someone to coordinate requests and offers for assistance; and someone to serve as administrator of the small business end of Hancock Hope.

We have an open offer from Doug Carmack of the First Baptist Church of Vandalia, OH to underwrite the cost of non-profit corporation. I have successful experience in establishing start-up non-profits and can help coach someone through the process, but don't have the time to do it myself.

Here's my urgent dilemma, I've been asked to address a group of about 200 firefighters in Dayton OH next Saturday-April 25th at a firefighter appreciation breakfast that Doug's church is hosting. They want to know about Hancock Hope and how they can help.

The attached promotional flyer used to have my and Dan's contact information on it. Now it only lists mine.

We need someone to step up to act as coordinator of donations and requests for assistance. Maybe two different people can do each job individually - or maybe it takes a team. If you want to be one of those people, drop me a line at: tiger@tigerschmittendorf.com and we can connect.

And, we'll need others to help coordinate the volunteers and missions and still others to manage the business of Hancock Hope. Contact me if you can help out in any way.

Hancock Hope has always been about doing the right thing. Letting this great organization die on the vine is not the right thing. Do the right thing and get involved in what I promise will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your fire service career.

Stay safe. Train often.

PS - Now it's your turn.

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Tiger,
I will talk to you about this later this weekend. John, Doug, and I have been talking about this for a few weeks now.

See ya this weekend.

M. Whitby
Hey Tiger,
Just wanted to let you know that I sent you an e-mail stating my interest in becoming the Capital Region contact/Logistics Coordinator for Hancock Hope. Just let me know if that meets your needs or if you have an idea to better place me. I look forward to working with you and keeping Hancock up and running!
Thanks,
Lt. Scott G. Runkel
Town of Glenville Fire District #2
Alplaus Station
Tiger, not meant to be a hijack, but a note of appreciation to all involved. I'm a victim/survivor/responder of Katrina. After doing the backstroke in my living room, I spent the next 3 weeks doing whatever I could with my local Department (East Hancock at that time) until I finally evac's and fel ill from my experience. Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING prepared me for what was to come in those few weeks after that blow.

If not for the concerted efforts of groups like HANCOCK HOPE, this area would have suffered many more lost lives and property over these past 4 years. Your direct aid, compassion and service have been instrumental in our recovery process. Every Brother & sister connected with HANCOCK HOPE should realize that they have made a monumental difference in the lives of survivors here.

As a citizen and Firefighter of Hancock County, thank you for your past and future support. I can only hope that you know what it means to us.

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