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Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013

Heroes of the Week: Being There-Reach Out Volunteers

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Founded in 2004 by Judith Singer, Being There-Reaching Out (BT-RO) is an entirely volunteer-run nonprofit that financially, emotionally and physically assists families of Wisconsin men or women who were lost in or due to war (such as suicide). BT-RO brings together families to create connections and continue the healing process in comfortable, private and safe environments. The organization also holds a Walk for the Fallen every August on Milwaukee’s Veterans Affairs grounds, creates and decorates a float for Milwaukee’s Veteran’s Day Parade each year and hosts regular retreats throughout the state. All BT-RO programs are free of charge with the exception of hotel rooms (if needed), but no family is ever turned away and scholarships are always available. 

“Our volunteers are full time and the fundraising they do is the key to our organization. We have no corporate sponsors, so they come up with the money for everything we do,” Singer says. “The biggest healing is to be with other families. Participants say the BT-RO’s gatherings are like a shot in the arm that keeps them going until they meet up again. I just wish we would have been able to do this for vets of past wars. Ideally, I’d like to see programs like BT-RO become available in every state.”

Currently, the nonprofit is looking for volunteers to join the board of directors, help with fundraising and those with experience in grant writing. Additionally, BT-RO is seeking businesses that are willing to sponsor gathering places for retreats/events. Donations can be mailed to BT-RO at 8353 W. Watertown Plank Road, Wauwatosa, WI 53213. For more information, visit beingtherereachingout.org or contact Singer at 414-988-6225 or gentlyjs@yahoo.com.

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