On April 19, 1995, a bomb detonated outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, destroying much of the building, including its daycare center. More than 160 people lost their lives that day, 99 of them civilian federal employees, targeted because they worked for the U.S. government. In the days following this tragedy, Steve Bauer, FEEA’s executive director, flew to Oklahoma to see what help FEEA might be able to provide to the survivors and the families of the deceased.
Members of the Federal Managers Association from Tinker AFB had already set up a FEEA help desk at the First Christian Church, designated as a site for families to receive daily updates on rescue efforts and help from relief organizations. After two weeks on the ground, manning the desk with the help of FMA members, Bauer returned home having provided more than $40,000 in checks to pay for funerals, make mortgage payments, fly family members in from out of town, and more. The eventual total aid provided for similar needs in the immediate aftermath was over $150,000.
With the incredible outpouring of support, donations greatly exceeded the immediate needs of the families and FEEA’s board voted to create a special scholarship endowment to cover full college costs – tuition, room & board, books, fees, and travel expenses – for children who lost a parent, as well as for the six children from the daycare center who survived the blast. With the help of the Oklahoma City Community Development Foundation’s Survivors Education Fund and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s Heartland Fund, FEEA has kept that promise for the past 16 years. Of the 200 children who qualified for assistance, more than 160 have entered or completed college so far. The youngest surviving child will likely begin college studies in 2014.
Sadly, just six years later, FEEA again had to respond to a terrorist event that targeted federal employees, this time at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Immediate financial assistance was provided on-site at the Pentagon Family Assistance Center from September 12 – October 10, 2001, with additional assistance provided via telephone after the assistance center closed. FEEA supported more than 40 family groups with over $400,000 for travel expenses, mortgages, utility bills, funerals, and more. As with the Oklahoma City tragedy, the outpouring of support exceeded the immediate needs of the families and FEEA again set up a special scholarship endowment for victims’ children. Of the 68 family members registered, 43 have already completed their undergraduate educations. The youngest child eligible is expected to enter college in 2018.
Although we all hope tragedies like these are never repeated, FEEA must always be prepared to respond to federal employees in need. Many civilian feds serve in dangerous places around the globe, side-by-side with our men and women in uniform. Members of the Diplomatic Corps were targeted in the African embassy bombings of 1998, and others have been killed in the line of duty in terrorist acts on foreign soil. You can help ensure FEEA is there the next time federal families need a helping hand.
Please show your support for FEEA’s 25-year tradition of federal employees helping federal employees by making a donation of $25 or more now. Thanks to a generous grant from the BlueCross/BlueShield Association the first $25,000 in individual donations during this campaign will be matched by BCBS, giving your donation twice the impact. Help FEEA reach its $100,000 goal and sustain the programs that matter most to federal families. Give today . Your gift will truly make a difference.