Copyright 2015. ONBEHALF.ORG. All Rights Reserved.
How a part-time nonprofit helps full-time heroes.
In August of 2004, after nearly 15 months of combat, 166 soldiers from the 94th Military Police Company (USARNH) redeployed from the unforgiving deserts of Iraq to the lush hills of New England. After thousands of missions, miles and letters home, every soldier in the 94th came back to their families. One in particular, SPC Chris Kotch, was among them. The big difference? Chris had died in Iraq. Twice.
In September of 2003, Chris and his team were brutally ambushed by insurgents near Ramadi, an IED violently detonating just yards from their Humvee. Chris's team leader, SGT Curtis Mills, bore the brunt of the explosion, resulting in compound fractures to both his shoulder and leg. The blast also sent a searing chunk of metal tearing into Chris's neck, severing his carotid artery. Manning his weapon and returning fire for as long as he was able, Chris finally passed out from blood loss. He'd flat line twice in the MEDEVAC helicopter while in route to a combat hospital. Although he would eventually recover, Chris's battle with the Veterans Administration (VA) for care and benefits was just beginning.
After witnessing the unreal bureaucracy & inefficiencies that faced our war wounded, four of us from the 94th organized OnBehalf.org in 2005 with one mission--to make sure money was the last thing a wounded veteran or family of a fallen service member had to worry about. And, with your help, we've been successful in doing so; contributions since 2005 have topped $60,000, and we've assisted veterans like Chris in nearly 20 states. And since we're a part-time organization with few expenses, over 90% of this cash is distributed directly to military families. In addition to fundraising, OnBehalf also sponsors the Thank a Vet Network; a registry of small businesses that can offer their services and/or professional expertise at a reduced cost, in lieu of cash, exclusively for use by our military families. Both have been extremely effective at supporting our men and women while they deal with their injuries.
Chris now lives in Maine with his loving wife and two little boys. Armed with a Masters in Social Work, he helps guide our injured vets through the confusion and challenges they face with the VA; a battle he knows only too well.
If you’ve read this far, you’re ready and willing to help. Join us in our legacy, and give something back to those brave Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who faced death in some of the worst places on Earth, and for the families of those courageous men and women who lost their lives in defense of this great nation. Click here to find out how.
Thank you and all the best,
Michael J. Gifford
CPT, USAR (1997-2005)
Founder & Executive Director, OnBehalf.org