Sometimes the key to a successful volunteer program is knowing the right people to ask for help. Bobbie Pedigo knows those people. His fellow volunteers say he is the guy to talk to if you want great things accomplished. Pedigo is a board member of Operation Homefront-Kentucky & Tennessee. After more than 27 years as an Army aviator with two tours in Vietnam and time as a deputy garrison commander, Pedigo has the right rolodex for the job. More important, he has the heart. “Operation Homefront is an excellent program,” Pedigo said. “They have the ability to help people that cannot help themselves.”
Helping the less fortunate is a passion Pedigo first cultivated at Fort Rucker, Ala., in 1973 where he was special assistant to the chief of staff. One of his duties was to run the Army Community Service program. Pedigo established a clearing house for grants and loans under the ACS program to ensure the military families who were in need were receiving help. He also managed a loan program that could help those who did not qualify for any other programs. “Operation Homefront is so close to what I was doing,” Pedigo said. “Often there is no one else who can help.
And then there’s that rolodex. Pedigo meets with generals and sergeant majors, both retired and active duty, to bring them into Operation Homefront’s fold and help the soldiers who serve under their commands. Pedigo is also involving more area businesses owners and has cultivated masses of volunteers.
Pedigo helped distribute more than 17,000 DVDs of popular movies to military families. The more than $1.1 million in DVDs were donated by Kids in Distressed Situations, which provides children in need with new clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books and juvenile products donated by leading manufacturers and retailers.
Every year as the holidays approach, Kentucky & Tennessee is one of many Operation Homefront chapters that moves in to high gear. They contact thousands of National Guard troops before they deploy and arrange for Santa to visit the children left back home. They lead toy drives for military children. They ask the public to remember their efforts with a much-needed donation.
The donations, the volunteers and the love Pedigo said he has seen for the troops make it all possible. “People know what we’re doing, and they appreciate what Operation Homefront is doing for the soldiers,” Pedigo said. “I can’t say enough for the people who volunteer. All we have to do is ask.”