Written by Jessica Jannuzzi
Each day when our job is done, most of us pack up and head home. We drive in our cars, return to our safe and comfortable dwellings, eat a nutritious dinner with our families, and kiss our children goodnight as they lie in their clean, warm beds. Rarely do we ever give a second thought to how our lives might be different if we could not access or afford to provide ourselves and our families with these basic necessities.
Luckily, there are people, like Petty Officer 1st Class Tiffany Huerd, and organizations, like H.E.R.O.E.S Care, that give their time and resources to assisting military families during their time of need. H.E.R.O.E.S stands for Homefront Enabling Relationships, Opportunities, and Empowerment through Support and it is a collaborative effort designed to provide support for members of all branches of the military and their families through pre-deployment, deployment, family reintegration and post-deployment.
This affiliation of program partners, working together to provide support to military families in the communities where they live, combines the power of national organizations providing emergency financial aid, employment opportunities and mental health care services. The program consists of a network of thousands of trained caregivers and professional mental health care and service providers working together to deliver support for military members and their families.
When Huerd first discovered this organization, it resonated deeply with her and she has been an active volunteer ever since. She left the U.S. Navy and joined the Coast Guard in 2010 and is currently serving at the Centralized Service Desk in St. Louis, Missouri. Throughout her military career, Huerd has supported organizations like HEROES Care and has encouraged her colleagues to get involved along the way. Most recently she has organized local Coast Guard members at her unit to join other volunteers at the St. Louis Blues Ice Hockey Military Appreciation Nights, where they collect care packages, sell raffle tickets and accept monetary donations. From 2014 to 2016, over the course of four Military Appreciation Nights, Petty Officer Huerd and her team of volunteers have:
- Raised over $34,000
- Provided food assistance to more than 7,800 military families
- Paid rent/mortgage for 29 families
- Paid car payment and prevented repossession for 13 emergencies
- Paid utilities and prevented disconnecting for 25 families
- Distributed approximately 5,480 donated items to USCG families (e.g. cookware, diapers, car seats, bowls, furniture, baby wipes, etc.) valued at over $10,230
Huerd donates her time to help Coast Guard members in need gain access to H.E.R.O.E.S Care resources and is involved in many other community volunteer activities. Recently, she was formally recognized by being awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. It is apparent that her dedication to service stretches well beyond her Coast Guard assignment.
Bravo Zulu to Petty Officer 1st Class Tiffany Huerd and all of the other volunteers from the St. Louis area who have admirably contributed to H.E.R.O.E.S. Care: Lt. Ed Porter, Chief Petty Officer Kurt Teeguarden, Chief Petty Officer Mushtaq Haneef, Petty Officer 2nd Class James Transano, Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicholas Price, Seaman Jakub Rodriguez and Ronald Scott.