“Everyone can do something” is the mantra for Frankfort resident Gayla Smith. Smith is a military mom of two members of the United States Navy both her son and son-in-law. She felt compelled to do something as many of our military members were coming home with severe injuries and struggled to live an independent life.
Four years ago, Gayla and her husband Jim hosted a backyard BBQ to simply raise money with friends for Building for America’s Bravest, a program of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Stephen Siller was a heroic fireman in New York that lost his life helping others in the September 11th tragedy.
Through Building for America’s Bravest, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation builds specially adapted, custom designed smart homes to help restore independence and improve the quality of life for our nation’s most catastrophically injured service members. The Smiths are very passionate about this purpose of helping veterans live independently. As a patriotic military mom, Smith felt she had to look out for other military sons and daughters.
The Smiths were amazed they raised $2,000 the very first year! The BBQ has grown and taken on a life of its own. Every year the event gets bigger and outgrew the Smiths backyard! This year the event will be held September 8th in Frankfort with a goal of raising $85,000! Smith is amazed to think this just started off as a small BBQ held in her backyard in a small way to help veterans live an independent life.
Now, Smith takes off every Friday from her full-time job to now plan the big BBQ event held every September to raise money for veteran housing and other various duties to support military veterans in need. To learn more about the event or to volunteer, please visit midwestbbq.org.
We salute our military heroes, first responders,the Smiths and the hard work of Stephen Stiller Tunner to Tower Foundation.
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rewarding great individuals
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