CFC hits close to home

PETERSON AFB, Colo. -- "Two minutes and it all comes back to you" is a phrase becoming more and more familiar as the slogan for the 2007 Combined Federal Campaign.

For one family at Peterson, these words ring true.

Staff Sgt. Michael Bishop, 21st Logistics Readiness Squadron, and his family benefited greatly from an organization supported through the CFC.

Last year 21st Space Wing and tenant employees contributed more than $230,000 through the CFC to various local, national and international charities. Some of those donations came back to Peterson to help the Bishop family, including 6-year-old Jacob Bishop-Falu, in their time of need.

In 2006 Sergeant Bishop, a faithful contributor through CFC since 1997, and his wife, Jeanette Bishop-Falu, decided to adopt two children from war-torn Liberia. This was very important to the Bishop family; Sergeant Bishop himself was adopted at a young age. Against all odds - and at considerable expense - the adoption was finalized while Sergeant Bishop was stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, but there was a problem: little Jacob fell sick and was diagnosed with cancer.

"We worked hard to adopt Jacob and Anthonnette and now it looked like we might lose one," said Sergeant Bishop. "We wanted to do whatever we could to get Jacob better and bring him to be part of our family for many years to come."

Sergeant Bishop and Jeanette traveled to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where their two new children had been medically evacuated. Soon their two biological children joined him there to be with their new brother and sister.

"We stayed in a hotel for a while, but it got really expensive really fast," said Sergeant Bishop.

This is where CFC came in. Sergeant Bishop and his family were able to find lodging at the Fisher House on Walter Reed's grounds. Fisher House is one of the 2,500 charities supported through the CFC this year. This organization provides no-cost lodging near every military and VA hospital for military families during some of their most stressful times -- hospitalizations.

When the Bishops returned home to Colorado, little Jacob needed further cancer treatment.

"Thankfully there was a specialized hospital as nearby as Denver," said Sergeant Bishop.

While in Denver, Ms. Bishop-Falu was offered the chance to stay at a nearby Ronald McDonald House, another CFC organization, but opted to stay in Presbyterian St. Luke's Hospital by Jacob's side.

"You never know what could happen or how your gift will help," said Sergeant Bishop. "but a lot of people benefit in the end. I can't express how much this support has helped me and my family."

Key workers are available to accept CFC gifts through Nov. 13. The bottom line is that donations through the CFC really do make a difference. Sometimes the difference you make is very close to home. "Two minutes...and it all comes back to you."