Felix Fund and EOD Warrior Foundation will join forces to host a gala, which will raise money for explosive ordnance disposal personnel in the UK and US.
In the heat of World War II and during the blitzkrieg on London, German airplanes dropped bombs that often did not explode. A very brave group of men was formed to disarm these devices and protect the people and property of the United Kingdom. As Winston Churchill noted in 1941, “The rapid disposal of unexploded bombs is of the highest importance. The work of the Bomb Disposal Squads must be facilitated by the provision of every kind of up-to-date equipment.”
After many hard lessons learned in blood, British bomb disposal operatives hosted American officers to teach them the trade of both bomb and underwater sea mine disposal. This relationship has prospered for more than 70 years, and today remains as strong as ever. This cooperation is critical because bomb disposal – now known as explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) – is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous jobs within the military.
From World War II to the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan British and American bomb disposal and search forces have fought side by side disarming countless improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other ordnance with courage and valour, helping not just their comrades but the local population too. Their service has not come without a price; many members of this community, along with their families, are battling the physical and emotional wounds of war.
How do charities help EOD personnel?
There are two charities on either side of the Atlantic – the UK’s Felix Fund and the US’ EOD Warrior Foundation – which are here to help this unique group of men and women, along with their family members. Help is provided through hardship grants to serving military, veterans and their family members when they find themselves in times of need.
This help can be as wide-ranging as funding home adaptations, such as the installation of a lift for a multiple amputee, funding for a specially adapted vehicle and in the purchase of specialist equipment, such as electric wheelchairs and bespoke sporting equipment. In addition to this, both charities focus on training and support work through courses and retreat programmes.
Back in 2016, Felix Fund and the EOD Warrior Foundation joined forces for the inaugural EOD charities gala, which was held in London. The event was a resounding success with the then US Ambassador to the UK, the Hon Matthew Barzun, attending as the keynote speaker. Not only did the evening raise awareness for both charities but also a substantial sum, nearly £50,000. As the two charities continue to forge closer links, we will, on 15 September 2018, be holding a return gala evening in the USA. This time the joint event will be at the Lansdowne Resort, Leesburg, Virginia. Again, the event will raise funds and awareness for the explosive ordnance disposal community on both sides of the Atlantic.
What have the charities said about the fundraising gala?
“Following the success of the 2016 dinner we had always planned to hold a return fixture in the USA, as we continue to forge lasting relationships between both sets of EOD and Search personnel”, said Ken Falke, Chair of EOD Warrior Foundation.
Karl Frankland, Chair of Felix Fund, added “With less public awareness for the work these personnel carry out both at home and abroad it is important that we continue to raise awareness and much needed funds. The support Felix Fund and the EOD Warrior Foundation offers is actually needed more when the guys and girls are not on operational tours.”
This destination event will be a major focus for the explosive ordnance disposal and search community in 2018, and anyone with links in the UK or USA should consider attending. Not only will the gala take place on the Saturday evening; there will be options for a round of golf on the famous Lansdowne course or an evening of painting and wine tasting over looking to Potomac river during the course of the weekend.
Each of these events offers the opportunity to network with serving personnel, veterans, key industry players and representatives from both UK and US governments, as well as a not to be missed auction, with money-can’t-buy lots on offer.
If you are interested in finding out more about the work of Felix Fund, please visit www.felixfund.org.uk or find us on Facebook and Twitter @FelixFund. We can only continue providing financial support and welfare assistance to those who keep us all safe if we, as a charity continue to get support from elsewhere.