Gene Krizek, the charismatic founder of Americans Helping Americans®, has earned a place in the hearts of thousands of Americans in need. We celebrate his 85th year by sharing with you a glimpse into his amazing life.
Growing up as a child of the Great Depression and witnessing the hardship all around him helped spur Gene on to a lifelong path of helping those less fortunate.
A former Congressional Administrative Assistant and a retired Foreign Service Officer, he began his distinguished career serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II. After the war he distinguished himself in the USAF reserves for 39 more years.
In turn he worked with both President Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy in the early 1960’s, first as the Director of White House Liaison with the State Department, then administering the 1962 National Conference on Bail and Criminal Justice.
Gene went on to earn a special commendation from President Gerald R. Ford in 1976 for his efforts in South East Asia. His work helped 130,000 refugees fleeing the communist regime make a new beginning in America. These refugees, known as boat people, risked drowning in the South China Sea in their attempts to escape to freedom in the West.
Ending his military service in 1985 with the rank of Colonel and earning the Legion of Merit award, Gene continued to give back even after retirement. Through Georgetown University, he joined efforts with Bob Geldof, the British musician behind the Band-Aid Trust concerts for African famine relief. His expertise helped ensure the best distribution of funds raised to help feed the millions of starving people in Ethiopia.
Always ready to do more and help more people, Gene went on to found Christian Relief Services Charities, with his wife Adeline as his first volunteer co-founder and board member, in 1985. Since founding its offshoot, Americans Helping Americans® in 1990, he has been honored in Appalachia for his work with the disadvantaged, and was named a “Guardian Angel of West Virginia”.
Gene’s zest for philanthropy has seen him support schools, hospitals, orphanages and self-help programs in Africa, Lithuania, and Haiti. And of course, right here at home Gene has contributed so much to breaking the cycle of poverty, including establishing affordable housing for the homeless.
Serving Grainger, Cocke, Jefferson and Hamblen counties, Tennessee – Appalachian Outreach strives to provide a wholistic community approach to service. Whether it is firewood for families who cannot afford to pay their heating bills, new roofs for dilapidated homes to protect them from the harsh weather conditions of the Appalachian region, or for emergency assistance for the area’s homeless population, Appalachian Outreach is there to help. To learn more about Appalachian Outreach’s programs, please visit http://web.cn.edu/ao/
Serving McDowell County, West Virginia –Big Creek People in Action assists the people of War and surrounding communities at every stage of their lives, whether as children through tutoring and educational assistance, adults through computer literacy and vocational training, or the elderly and disabled through home repairs and utilities assistance. To learn more about Big Creek People in Action’s programs, please visit http://www.bigcreekpeopleinaction.org/
Serving White, Hall, Lumpkin, and Dawson counties in northeast Georgia – Caring Hands ministry lives up to its name by providing short term and long term assistance to alleviate immediate, basic needs. Caring Hands puts those who come through their doors on the path to independence and self-sufficiency by addressing the needs of both the individual as well as the community as a whole. To learn more about Caring Hands Ministries’ programs, please visit http://www.caringhandsministries.com/
Serving Laurel County, Kentucky – Come-Unity helps those who oftentimes fall between the cracks of other aid programs by providing those in most need with supplemental food, dentures and eyeglasses, and even new bed sheets, linens, and furniture for those following a fire. To learn more about Come-Unity Cooperative Care programs, please visit http://www.come-unity.org/home
Serving Lee, Owsley, Wolfe, Estill, and Breathitt counties, Kentucky – Based in the heart of Appalachia, Cumberland Mountain Outreach operates a summer home repair program and also distributes donated resources such as furniture and appliances to those in need. Its goal is to bring those serving the home repair program and those being served closer together. To learn more about Cumberland Mountain Outreach programs, please visit http://www.cmoky.org/
Serving Hall, Gwinnet, Lumpkin, and Jackson counties, Georgia – L.A.M.P. Ministries provides the abused, homeless, angry and at-risk youth of northern Georgia with a source of new hope for the future. L.A.M.P. Offers counseling and case management services, emergency shelters with food, clothing, and other items, as well as referral services to connect young people with the help they need. To learn more about L.A.M.P. Ministries programs, please visit http://lampministryga.com/
Serving Bradley County, Tennessee – Ocoee Outreach works to reduce the dramatic effects of economic disparity in eastern Tennessee by connecting local churches to summer service opportunities such as building wheelchair ramps, distributing and sorting food for emergency pantries and working with area children. To learn more about Ocoee Outreach program, please visit http://ocoeeoutreach.org/
Serving Hancock and Hawkins counties, Tennessee – Of One Accord serves a large area with wide variety of needs in a way that ensures dignity and respect for the most vulnerable. Its central distribution centers provide food, clothing, and furniture to those who need it while its mobile children’s food programs, summer food program for children and year round home repair teams allow them to reach out into the community. To learn more about Of One Accord programs, please visit http://ofoneaccordministry.org/
Learn more about Americans Helping Americans’® accreditations and recognitions.
Americans Helping Americans® is firmly committed to being a good steward of your generosity.
It is very important to us that you stay informed of how your contribution is spent and of all new developments concerning our programs and the Appalachian and Urban families they support.
If you would like to learn about the Americans Helping Americans® organization, please:
• See below to learn more about our financial accountability
• CONTACT the Americans Helping Americans® staff with any inquiries or comments.
AMERICANS HELPING AMERICANS® FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
AMERICANS HELPING AMERICANS® IRS FORM 990
A list of the many ways to contact Americans Helping Americans.