Happy New Year! Here we are at the beginning of a new year and even a new decade and I have been doing a lot of reminiscing about these last 10 years. We are officially entering into our 20th year of service. In 1999, after struggling deeply with my on-duty injuries and all that that entailed, I decided to create an organization to help channel some of the pain that I had experienced. In the first couple of years, my focus was on helping other injured first responders find the resources and the networking that they needed. This was back in the AOL dial-up age! My how things have changed! In 2000, the IRS granted us our non-profit status and we have been operating ever since.
The work that we have done has grown and changed over the last 20 years. We have moved from helping only the injured to working with those impacted by a line of duty death and then to those who have experienced a loss from cancer or from suicide. We have also implemented more mental health resources and assistance as well. It has been incredible to think about all that we have been able to accomplish over the years. It has been so very difficult and exhausting at times but it has been so rewarding as well. This organization would not be where it is today or what it is today without you and the other volunteers that have been a part of the Task Force. You all are the foundation and I can never thank you enough.
Over the next year we will be focusing on celebrating our 20th year. We will be celebrating on our website and our social media. We will be offering a 20-year anniversary shirt and a coin. I am hoping that we can also have a time where we can gather volunteers together to celebrate as well. I am hoping that many of you will share photos and stories from your time with the Task Force. I want to be able to gather those and share them with our supporters and to those that follow us on social media. It's very important to show to the public just how much this organization has been able to do because of you. I will be sending out an email to each of you in the coming weeks asking you to share a story and/or a picture. You don't have to be a fantastic writer. You don't need to write a book, a paragraph would be fine. And if you have pictures, please share them with me! I am excited to move into this next year and to our next decade.
In the coming week, I will also be sending out updates on some events that we are planning as well as organizing some conference calls. I decided to take a pause over the holidays because I know that 2019 had been a very busy and even difficult year for many of you. Many of our volunteers were feeling worn out trying to balance family life, work-life, life in general and volunteering for the Task Force. That included me, so that is why there was a bit of silence in the last couple of months. I want you to know that I appreciate being able to take some time to rest and think. It's important for all of us to be able to do that from time to time. The type of work that we do can be tiring on the soul and it's important to recognize that and take a rest when needed.