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Yuma Homefront Optimist Club provides military families with computers

By Pfc. M. Daniel Sanchez | | September 19, 2006

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A local non-profit organization, dedicated to aiding military families, has undergone a project to help bring armed forces families into the technological age by donating computers to more than 50 military families.

The Yuma Homefront Optimist Club is a group of about 20 business owners, teachers, military spouses and other individuals from the Yuma area who have come together to provide aid and support to military members and their families, said Derek Gurney, club president.

The organization originally started as part of the international organization, Operation Homefront, based out of California, but then branched off in order to provide more direct support to the Yuma community, said Gurney.

The Yuma Homefront Optimist Club falls under the umbrella of Optimist International as a specialty optimist club that focuses more on the family as opposed to children only, said Gurney.

The organization has been working with military families in Yuma for the past year providing car and home appliance repair, emergency financial aid, landscaping and several other services to military families.

“We are donating the computers mainly for the children of service members who do not have computers at home and for deployed spouses to stay in contact via email,” said Gurney.

The club wanted to provide something to the service members here that could have long term benefits, said Gurney. And it seems like everyone needs a computer nowadays.

“It’s a crucial part of day to day life,” said Gurney. “And unfortunately, there are some families who are in a financial situation and can’t afford to buy one.”

It’s just about showing the service members of Yuma that the world does appreciate them, said Gurney.

“And what better way for the outside world to say thank you to those men and women than to be able to help take care of any family that might be going through a hardship,” said Ivette Birney, Marine Corps Family Team Building director.

“The computers are fully functional. They are not dinosaurs by any means,” said Gurney.

The computers have gone through a thorough 52-step checklist to ensure the families are getting the best possible equipment. The computers come with a new keyboard, optical mouse and pad, new speakers where required and various software programs.

These are good computers for families to use for the basic computer functions, said Gurney.

The computers will be given to military families based on the need of the families.

“This is a nice change to let (military) families know they are being thought of, and that what our love ones do is not in vain,” said Birney.

The ultimate goal of the optimist club is to partner with the base to be able to help as many service members as possible, said Gurney.
Essentially, military members sacrifice their time and lives for the benefit of the country and it is a privilege to honor military families by supporting them, said Gurney.

For military members interested in taking advantage of the Optimist Club’s offer or to find more information contact the club at yumahomefront@verizon.net or call 1-888-722-6098.
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