What is the Jimmy Jet Foundation?
By Senior Master Sgt. Kristin La France, 162nd Fighter Wing, JJF Board President
/ Published March 27, 2008
TUCSON, Ariz. -- You may have eaten a Jimmy Jet breakfast burrito at a unit training assembly. You may have purchased a wing or squadron shirt from a Jimmy Jet Foundation member. And you may have asked yourself, "Who is Jimmy Jet, and what is this foundation?"
The Jimmy Jet Foundation (JJF) is a non-profit Arizona Corporation serving the 162nd Fighter Wing members, their families and the Tucson community. The foundation is named after an Arizona Air National Guard F-16 crew chief, Jimmy "Jet" Bracamonte.
Jimmy suffered a paralyzing accident in 1993. As a result, his home needed several modifications. Jimmy's friends at the 162nd held a series of fund raisers in the form of breakfasts and car washes to help defray the modification costs. Wing members soon realized that there were other members in the unit and in the community that also needed help.
As time went on, more people began to volunteer their time, money and other resources to help others. Eventually, the JJF became a registered, non-profit organization and also received CFC (Combined Federal Campaign) recognition. Many members of the wing contribute a percentage of their paycheck on a regular basis to the JJF.
The JJF mission is to assist unit and community members in need, more specifically, those who suffer financial setbacks due to unforeseen events in their lives. Annual services include:
· Sponsor scholarships for active and retired members and their dependents in honor of the late Brig. Gen. Ronald Kurth, former commander of the 162nd Fighter Wing, and the late Col. Jim Fiorelli, former 162nd Fighter Wing Logistics Group Commander. A third scholarship was established in 2006 for the first JJF Board President, Lt. Col. (ret.) Pamela Long;
· Assist disabled and needy members of the Tucson community;
· Provide care and assistance to hospitalized members of the community;
· Conduct programs for charitable purposes;
· Provide home renovations, rebuilding, health and transportation for members and their families in need.
These services are made possible from payroll deductions of active members of the wing, donations from members and retirees, and the 162nd Fighter Wing Minuteman Committee.
Since the inception of the Jimmy Jet Foundation, more than 280 individuals and families from the Arizona Air National Guard and Tucson community have received financial assistance.
Thanks to members of the 162nd Fighter Wing, retired volunteers and the Tucson community, last year JJF provided more than $28,000 in living assistance funds to help families and individuals with medical bills, groceries, rent, moving expenses, funeral fees and related death expenses, living expenses, auto repairs, health and auto insurance, along with other emergency assistance.
Jimmy, always the first to help others, continues to do so through the foundation named in his honor.