With 2022 a busy year for Operation Red, White and Brave, plans are already in the works to build on the organization’s success in 2023, with the goal of helping more veterans and those serving in the military.
Among its 2023 events, the ORWB Foundation is planning a special gala on Thursday, June 15, at HerschelHall in Greenbrier. First Service Bank is the Presenting Sponsor for the event, which will include two guest speaker and an opportunity to recognize some of the area’s veterans. Proceeds will support future ORWB projects. (Additional information will be forthcoming.)
REVIEW OF 2022
In August, First Service Bank announced it was expanding its Operation Red, White and Brave initiative to help more vets, active military and their families.
Rebecca Barnard, a teacher in the Greenbrier School District, was tapped to lead the ORWB Foundation and help expand its mission. Her parents are Rita and Tom Grumbles, chief executive officer and board chairman at First Service Bank. Rebecca’s two siblings, Robin Hackett and Andy Grumbles, also work at the bank. Robin is the COO and Andy is CFO.
Rebecca has four children. Ryan, 21, attends the University of Central Arkansas and works in the care center at First Service Bank. Matthew, 18, and Jackson, 16, attend Greenbrier High School. Grace, 10, is a fourth-grader at Greenbrier Westside Elementary School. Matthew also works at First Service.
“Our focus is on community with a strong sense of patriotism,” Rebecca said. “First Service Bank is known as the big flag bank. We want to be more than just the bank with the big flag; we want to celebrate, recognize and support the military, veterans and their families. We hope to help through physical assistance and financial support in a variety of ways.”
Operation Red, White and Brave was created in 2019 to support First Service Bank’s vision as well as one of its core values – patriotism. In 2021, First Service partnered with Habitat for Humanity and communities across the state to raise $80,000 to build a house in Little Rock for a veteran.
“Though we may not build another whole house, we do look forward to working on home improvement projects/enhancements for more veterans and military families,” said Rebecca, adding that there is an online nomination form to collect requests to help individuals who have a special need or wish requiring financial or physical assistance. Several applications have been submitted and are being reviewed. (Visit https://firstservicebank.com/orwb to access the form.)
WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA
ORWB organizers identified Wreaths Across America as one of the program’s new projects, as a way to honor veterans as well as raise money for the Foundation.
Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, wreath-laying ceremonies honoring veterans are held at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 2,500 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad. The wreaths are purchased by individuals, businesses and other groups.
A portion of each wreath purchased through First Service Bank will be donated back to the ORWB program. The group’s goal of $10,000 raised through WAA was met.
“First Service Bank matches dollar for dollar what is donated or raised. The more money and awareness we can raise, the more lives we will be able to positively impact.” Robin Hackett, COO
ORWB made a $1,600 donation to South Side Bee Branch High School for Wreaths Across America to expand the number of wreaths that students and volunteers will be able to place this year in Van Buren and Faulkner counties.
Also in 2022:
- ORWB and First Service were the sponsors for a special flyover at a Greenbrier High School football game on September 10th, to honor those lives lost on 9\11.
- ORWB manned a booth and First Service bankers grilled hot dogs at the Veterans Day observance at the University of Central Arkansas.
- First Service Bank is taking orders for patriotic sweatshirts and T-shirts, with proceeds from the sale of the shirts supporting the ORWB Foundation. Sweatshirts are $45 and the T-shirts are $25. Adult sizes are being offered. To see the designs and place an order, visit firstservicebank.com.
- Organizers are looking at ways to honor Gold Star Families, immediate family member(s) of a fallen service member who died while serving in a time of conflict.
- A 5K is being considered which would be held in conjunction with Veterans Day.
In addition to monetary donations to support ORWB projects, volunteers are needed to contribute their time and talents. “The program will require not only monetary contributions, but also volunteer time and commitment from myself but also those within our FSB family and the communities in which we serve,” Rebecca said. “People and businesses can participate in our fundraising events as well as donate their time and resources to help support our foundation.”
Rebecca is excited about her role as the Foundation’s board chairman, ORWB’s potential to impact lives and what is planned in 2023. “Patriotism is and has always been a core value of First Service Bank,” she said. “We are thrilled about what is in store in the new year for ORWB.”
In addition to Rebecca, Foundation board members include Jon Patrom, Greg Pelts, and Sonja Keith.
For more information on Operation Red, White, and Brave or to support the program, visit firstservicebank.com/orwb.