Helping survivors learn to breathe again

  • Published
  • By Connie Schlosberg
  • 21st Program Management Division
Funneling her energy between her job as chief of program control for the 21st Comptrollers Squadron and her volunteer work, Debbie Lombardi is living proof of how to give and live more by devoting time to an organization that benefits directly from the annual Combined Federal Campaign.

Ms. Lombardi has volunteered many hours for a CFC organization to help those who may not know where to turn in times of family grief.

"For me, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors was what I needed to get my life back on track, and has served as my volunteer platform to make life better for others," Ms. Lombardi said.

For Ms. Lombardi, this CFC organization's mission of comfort and empathy for military families who have lost loved ones in the line of duty is a personal passion. In 1984, her husband died in a military plane crash. Back then, there was no assistance program to help her after the official causality case file was closed. Once the file was closed, all military assistance ceased. Having spent years as a military officer's wife, she felt displaced with no one to turn to for answers. This all changed in 1997 when she came into contact with one of CFC's supportive charity agencies.

Through this agency, support is provided to family and friends of military loved ones who have passed on. No one is turned away. Proceeds to the organization go towards numerous programs they offers to survivors including transportation and lodging for special events. They also offer special programs for coping with suicide as well as programs for children. Debbie's face lights up speaking about the families she has met "who have learned to breathe again" by releasing their emotions and finding solace.

Inspired by this CFC program, local non-profit organizations in Colorado Springs have risen to put together a network of hope for surviving families. Their goal is to provide emergency financial assistance, goods and services to Colorado military families in their moments of need.

Nothing will ever take away the heartache of losing a loved one, but organizations that support the loss of a servicemember are performing a great service of alleviating the pain and desolation for suffering families.