Sunday, May 19th, 2024

Mission

For Freedom * For Families * For The Fallen

Military Friends Foundation mission is to provide critical support for Massachusetts Warriors and their families and enrich the lives our Warriors though community and wellness initiatives.

Established after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Military Friends Foundation has provided millions of dollars in direct aid to support these Warriors.

Military Friends Foundation offers direct grant programs and wellness and resiliency through community empowerment events in support our Warrior Families.  We invite you to join our community of supporters and volunteers and help us continue our critical mission of Assisting Warriors, Empowering Military Families and Honoring Our Fallen Military and First Responders.

Military Friends Foundation is run by military spouses and current and former military members who first-hand understand the needs of military families.

Military Friends Foundation is a recognized 501c3 tax-deductible charitable organization. Military Friends Foundation is the doing business as name for Friends of the National Guard and Reserve Families Incorporated (FEIN – 37-1462599). Military Friends Foundation is the official charity of Tough Ruck Nation

Board of Directors & Executive Team

Brigadier General Tom Sellars (Ret.), Ambassador

Brigadier General Tom Sellars (Ret.) served as the Commanding General of the Massachusetts Army National Guard where he was responsible for the training, preparedness, and mobilization of Army Forces in Massachusetts in support of the warfighting mission and as the Joint Task Force Commander for a large number of state emergencies in support of civil authorities. BG Sellars (Ret.) awards include: Distinguished Service Medal, The Legion of Merit; Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters; Joint Service Commendation Medal; Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Lead Clusters; Air Force Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Lead Clusters; The Iraq Campaign Medal.

SGM James Kelly (Ret.), President & Iraq Veteran

SGM Kelly is an Iraq Combat Veteran and served more than 30 years in the Army National Guard and Marine Corps.  He is the Past President of the Stoughton VFW. SGM Kelly works full-time as the JROTC Leader for in the Boston Public School System teaching youth about the values and principles of the United State Army. 

SFC Michael Sweeney, Secretary & Afghanistan Veteran

Mike Sweeney currently serves as Sergeant First Class in the Massachusetts Army National Guard. He has served for 19 years in the military with a total of 6 years active duty in the U.S. Army including deployment to Afghanistan and tours in Korea and Germany. Mike has dedicated his career to serving veterans, servicemembers and their families. Since 2004, Mike has served as the Director of Veterans’ Services for the City of Lynn and has been the Director of the Lynn/Swampscott Department of Veterans’ Services since 2018. He and his team have delivered over $15 million in direct aid to veterans and their families and connected thousands to VA health care Disability Benefits. Mike led the City of Lynn to become the first city in the Commonwealth to be designated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as achieving “functional zero” in their battle to end veterans homelessness. Mike is the Past President of the Massachusetts Veterans’ Service Officers Association and for almost 2 decades has served as the Legislative Chair for the organization. In that role he has been a leader, advocating for higher legislative standards for those who provide services to veterans in Massachusetts and crafted the original legislation to create certification and training standards for veterans service officers across the Commonwealth.

Mrs. Carlene Barrett, Treasurer & Gold Star Mother

Carlene Barrett is the proud mother of SGT Robert Barrett, Massachusetts Army National Guard.  SGT Barrett was killed in action in Afghanistan in April 2010. Carlene and her husband Paul have established a scholarship in Robert’s memory and work to keep his memory alive by caring for military families in times of need.

Sarah Sweeney, Executive Director & Army Wife

Sarah has served as the Executive Director of Military Friends Foundation since 2009. During her tenure, Sarah has initiate and execute innovative programs that focus on emergent needs of both Servicemembers and Families of Fallen. This has resulted in millions of dollars in direct aid fundraised and a myriad of support programs for Warrios families. Mrs. Sweeney has also focused on developing a collaborative model of care that brings together public and private resources to provide Families of the Fallen with immediate access to critical local support services. Additionally, under her leadership, the Foundation has established year-round community empowerment events for both military families and Families of the Fallen to create an atmosphere for peer-to-peer support and public recognition of the incredible sacrifices these families have made.

Cynthia Belanger, Program Assistant & Military/LEO Wife

Cynthia Belanger is a founding Board Member of the Military Friends Foundation.  In this capacity, she worked to create life changing programs for military families. Her perspective as a military family member plays a critical role in her the day-to-day program operations.