Saturday, June 30, 2007

Soldiers' Angels Events and Fundraisers: Rally in the Alley!

What are you doing tonight? Are you going to go stand in the rain and the milling crowds of strangers at the River Fest? Or, would you rather come to our big time, small town gathering, listen to six bands, inside, out of the rain? Eat some great food? Put your money towards a great cause?

That's where we're going to be!

June 30, 2007

Rally in the Alley!

Soldiers' Angels Kansas City will be joining American Legion Post 318 in Parkville, MO for the Ralley in the Alley! to support our troops. There will be six bands, food, drinks and fun! Soldiers' Angels will be there telling everyone about supporting our troops and veterans. Proceeds from the $3 entry fee will go to the American Legion Support the Troops Fund that is used to provide assistance to local troops, funds for mass mailing care packages and other needs.

Soldiers' Angels will be at the front providing information about how to support the troops and presenting opportunities for people to send messages to our troops!

Join us at

Map of American Legion:816-584-0044 11 Main St Parkville, MO 64152, US

Saturday, June 30, 2007

3pm until Midnight

- May no soldier go unloved

Letters From the Front: You Kept Us Going

This is a picture of Army Rangers, "Tough Guys", still holding their Easter Baskets Soldiers' Angels sent to them in Afghanistan.

Soldier's Angels,

My unit and I want to thank you for all your support. Your thoughts and prayers have kept us safe for the last 10 months and are going to see us home safely very shortly.

Keep up the good work. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines as well as all other service members' morale may be uplifted by a single letter. Imagine the power of a care package with special items just for him/her! You guys are helping people cope with the separation by creating a link with our world. God bless all of you for what you are doing. Your support means the world to us and has helped us understand that our time away from home hasn't been for nothing.

SSG Michelle

People often ask deploying Airmen, "What can I do to help?"

Most Airmen say, "Nothing. We're fine."

Asking for things is hard, and we can get almost everything we need at the base exchange.

It's not until I get a package from a loved one that I realize how much these little pieces of home really mean to me. Often I don't know that I'm missing Gummi Bears until they come in the mail, looking battle hardened from traveling halfway around the world.

Sometimes just a short, quick card can brighten my outlook. And every once in a while, you hit the jackpot. After a long, tough day, there's nothing like returning to your workspace and realizing you have a package waiting for you on your desk. It's almost like Christmas.

Packages are great. Gifts and candy are always shared with others. In fact, co-workers and hut mates often get excited for each other when we get mail and many times we'll be on the lookout for our friends' names while we're at the post office.

Regardless of how odd the gift may be, it's important because it tells me people are thinking of me while life continues to go on at our home station. My favorite package to date was the one I received from my office back in the states. They sent me a couple of our base's newspapers, and it was really fun catching up on the goings on at F. E. Warren Air Force Base.

I don't mean to knock e-mails. They have their positive points: They are instantaneous, easy and free. But in my opinion they don't make up for being able to hold a letter in your hand. Knowing someone took the time out of their busy day to write down their thoughts and let you know they were thinking about you. It's just a good feeling.

Now I know this is a two-way street, and I'm a bit of a hypocrite because I don't normally write many letters, but since I've been here I've written 15 letters. Most of the time I just tell people what my day is like. It may not seem that exciting to me, but for people back home it gives them a window into our lives. My goal is to write a letter to everyone in my address book before I leave Bagram Air Base. It's a lofty goal for a writing-challenged person, but one that is completely possible.

Recently I saw a quote from an unknown author and it really hit home. It said, "What a wonderful thing is the mail, capable of conveying across continents a warm human handclasp." When you think about it that way, how can you not write a letter?

I got an email from Reed today titled "WOW". I wanted to share this with all of you because without YOU this wouldn't have been possible.

"That is the coolest thing that I have received period.
The thought and time put into it is amazing. I really
don't know what to say. Thank you so much. That is a

Thanks to all the Angels that made this possible!

Soldiers' Angels Europe: A Letter From Around the World

When I picked up the mail at the office I was surprised. As always many letters and postcards from the US. And as always many of the same die hard Angels like Angel Louella from Texas, or Angel Toni from Belleville, Mi or Angel Carol from Riverside, IA. All these Angels send a lot of letters and postcards. But this time there also was a letter from Hong Kong for the British Troops. That really was a surprise because that means that the Troops truly have support from all over the world.

Who ever wrote that letter, thank you, thank you from heart.

I am sure one of the soldiers is happy to receive it. Your letter goes out with one of the next care packages.

Think of the way this letter made. First it went from Hong Kong to Germany and then it’ll go from Germany to Iraq. Isn’t it amazing?

As I write this, UK security forces, intelligence and police are searching for two or more possible bombers who parked two car bombs in busy London areas. These men must be worried about their families while they continue to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq against the very same people who might one day succeed in harming their families. As allies, they deserve as much support as our own forces who are working hard to defend us. Please support our Coalition Allies. Help a British Soldier have tea time.

A Phone Call Away

Tonight as I was coming home from celebrating my birthday I got a surprise call from a soldier that I wrote to a couple weeks ago. We talked for about 20 minutes and he could not thank me enough for being a part of "The Angels". He said that the soldiers don't always see the good of what they are doing there and it means to world to get a letter from the states telling them that they are important and that we care about them and support them. It was a tear jerker conversation at times and I could tell he didn't really want to hang up but his phone time was up.

It never ceases to amaze me that soldiers feel the need to thank us when they are the ones putting themselves on the line each second of the day. I am so proud to be a part of Soldier's Angels and so proud of our men and women serving our country. This truly was a wonderful birthday

Spiritual Warfare

Our Mission is really over accomplished! What fun! There is no doubt Chaplain Theresa will have enough Rosaries for quite a while. With the numbers still promised to be shipped along with those we've all shipped already, she should have about 1,200!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whoohoo!

Sincerest Thank You's to all the Angels who helped with this Mission, it was quite wonderful and heartwarming (and fun as well). We couldn't have done it with out all of you and your incredible contacts!

Huge Hugs,
Tigs Mom (Karen)

I am writing to express my appreciation to all of those who have received my information from this site and sent me letters, packages, and cards in support. I want to let you know that those are what meant the most to me during my time here and I cannot express my gratitude enough for you taking your time out to send those things to me.

Also, I am writing to let you at the site know that I will be leaving in the next month to month and a half, and would like you to remove my information from your site as soon as possible. I say this, because I want everyone to get the notice in time, so that things will still not be arriving here after my departure.

Thank you so much and continue to do the wonderful job of spreading love and encouragement to others who are have taken the oath to protect and defend our wonderful country of the USA.

1stLt Tabitha

Our Medic from Dustoff Salerno In Afghanistan joins us for a quick update in the forums

I just wanted to say whatup to everyone on here. I know that I have been slackin big time on the forum. Its been a busy couple of months thats for sure. The East Khowst Salerno Krew is now operating out of two locations so we have to rotate back and forth weekly so that is partly why I have not been posting on the forum. I will try to do better. Other than that we are all doing great and are still receiving mail left and right from Soldiers Angels all across the states...even Germany! I got a box full of goodies from Germany a couple weeks ago so that was pretty cool.

I have been trying my best to send thanks to everyone as the packages and mail arrives. I know that there are some out there who I havent been able to thank. Here are a few names that I cannot match email addresses that very recently sent me a package. So if anyone can help or if you see your name please let me know.

Bill & Laura from PA
Stewart(last name) from GA

I really want to send them my thanks.

On another note, everyone out here is staying very busy. I flew over 100 hours these past two months. Probably the busiest I have ever been. Our amazing flight medics are doing great work at saving lives and treating the sick and wounded. We even flew an enemy prisoner yesterday who needed medical care. Our crew cheifs have been doing great work as well keeping our aircraft in top condition for flight and not grounded. As for us Pilots, we always like our aircraft flyable instead of grounded because what good are we if we cant fly! But seriously though, everyone has been working hard and as a team.

Many have started to take their much deserved R&R. Brian and Sean are both on leave right now. I get to take mine in August and luckily I will be able to be there for my sons 1st birthday so I am pretty excited about that!

Well, I just want to say thanks once again to everyone who has continued to support the DUSTOFF crew out here in Afghanland. We appreciate it very much. Talk to you all soon.

Soldiers' Angels Flag Flies From Mt. Shasta

Hello Angels,
Here are several pictures from my climb of Mt Shasta on June 8-10, 2007. I told
myself that my motivation would be to endure all pain like our soldiers are doing overseas right now. However, the conditions were not optimal and it was an extremely difficult feat. We didnot make it to the summit, but made it high enough to feel the accomplishment of climbing a mountain.

As you can see by the photo, the view was spectacular. Thanks to SA for providing the
hat and to the person who coordinated the making of the flag, it turned out great.
As always, keep up the good work. ~ Mike Keegan

Your Support Is Appreciated More Than You Can Ever Know

Hello Angels Angel ,

My name is Dylan XXXXX, I'm in the Army and am currently deployed to Baghdad, Iraq. I've been here for 10 months and have 6 or 7 to go. Throughout my tour I have received various letters and packages from various angels all over the 50 states. Although I haven't had time thus far to contact many of them I'd like to say thank you personally to each and everyone of them, and will do when possible. I have kept everyones letters so I may reply one day when the time presents itself.

In a few days here I will finally be going on leave, so things have slowed down for us to prepare for that, giving me time to join your forum and give my thanks. I would like to thank my current angel who has stayed with me throughout my entire tour thus far. Rachel thank you very much . I am very lucky to have your kind and caring support backing me. (she told me not to, but I'm doing it anyways, ha ha Top Banana )

**Although you might be getting all kinds of crazy ideas running through your heads, I urge you not to try and send me anything because I have thanked you or joined the forum. I would much rather you used them to tend to soldiers in greater need then I.**

Again thank you very much to all the angels for your support and caring. it is appreciated more then you can know .


I wanted to send a thank you to “Solder’ Angels” for a steel coffee cup.
I guess I should start over and explain this note [Sorry been deployed to long].
In 05 I was in Bagdad and then to Afghanistan in 06 and I am still going here in Afghanistan till the spring of next year.

A couple weeks ago our truck got a blast from a bomb, by GOD GRACE NO ONE WAS KILLED. But me and one of my other Sergeant had to go to the Med station to be check out. Nothing significant wrong with either of us, so back to work but some gave me a cup from your outfit with some coffee – I swear that “Angel” on the side of the cup was the greatest thing after a “bad day at the office”. I am back at my FOB and I can’t find the cup but the thought some one cares enough to send those cups sure made this old Sergeant Day. Thank You from one Infantry Sergeant here in Afghanistan.
SSG Charles

Your service is extraordinarily valuable

On a recent visit to one of our battle positions, I was intrigued by the number of fans inside the berthing area. I was quickly informed of the origin of the fans from several of the Marines. When I relayed this story of kindness I kept hearing more and more things that had been done by you and the Soldier’s Angels. It seems you have quite the following of people you have touched within the battalion, especially in the Communications Platoon.

I am proud to be from a country that has caring and compassionate people like you. Your service is extraordinarily valuable and as I’m sure you have heard, it is greatly appreciated by everyone you touch through your gifts.
Thanks again and God Bless each and every one of the fine folks in your organization.

Semper Fi,

Where Did You Sleep Last Night?

Help Soldiers' Angels make a difference in our service members' lives.

Join us today!

- May no soldier go unloved

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tiger Woods Supports Our Troops!

Tiger Woods Supports Our Troops

El Tiger will honor soldiers and military families on the Fourth of July at the inaugural Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am Tournament, scheduled for July 3 - 8 at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.

“It’s very important to me that this tournament honor the men and women who serve in our armed forces,” Woods said. “They put their lives on the line so that we are able to enjoy our freedom, and we’d love for them to come out and enjoy a few days of relaxation. Our intent is to honor and really thank the people that protect us.”

Tiger is donating 30,000 free tickets for the tournament to military personnel, who will be treated to special seating behind the greens and hospitality tents. And Tiger's foursome will have a military presence:

Woods even extended a playing date to a soldier: Sgt. Maj. Mia Kelly of the 1st Information Operations Command at Fort Belvoir, Va. She will tee off with Tiger at 6:30 a.m. on the No. 1 hole on Congressional CC’s blue course. Air Force Master Sgt. Andy Amor of Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and AT&T Chairman Randall Stephenson will complete the foursome.

“I think this is one of the most exciting things ever – it’s almost like winning the Powerball of golf,” Kelly said.

- May no soldier go unloved

Until They Bring You Boys Back Home

- May no soldier go unloved

'Because I Love Freedom'

Please watch this video about Kaziah Hancock: Painting the Faces of the Fallen

- May no soldier go unloved

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wednesday's Heroes

This Weeks Soldier Was Suggested By Jenn

Staff Sgt. Darrell R. Griffin Jr.
Staff Sgt. Darrell R. Griffin Jr.
36 years old from Alhambra, California
2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division
March 21, 2007

"He was a really patriotic young man", said Darrell Griffin Sr. "He said that the people there really needed us and he felt it was the right place to be. He wished we didn’t have to have wars, but since that’s the way mankind is, he felt he was contributing an important part to his country".

SSgt. Griffin lost his life in Balad, Iraq when his unit came under fire as it was returning to base after conducting security operations in the Iraqi capital.

The eldest son of six children, SSgt. Griffin worked as an EMT before joining the California Army National Guard in 1999. He enlisted in the Army two years later, and in July 2001, was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, in Ft. Lewis, Washington. He served with that unit in Iraq from October 2004 to September 2005.

On his second tour of duty, SSgt. Griffin had been awarded the Bronze Star for valor in 2005 when he was credited with saving the lives of three U.S. and two Iraqi Army soldiers injured during battle in Tal Afar. He had also received the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Parachute Badge, and the Meritorious Unit Citation.

"Griff was the type of man you want to have by your side in a fight," Maj. Brent Clemmer, his former company commander, wrote from Iraq. "He was the type of squad leader every young soldier wants to have".

"Darrell was my husband, my Soldier, my gift from God who was also the love of my life and always will be." Said his wife, Diana. "He was also 'a Soldier's Soldier of Strength and Honor' whose commitment to duty, honor and loyalty will be forever remembered by all who know and love him. The news of his death saddens us deeply and we ask for your prayers in our time of grief. Please also continue to keep our Soldiers in your prayers.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.


Anyway, Terri wrote "the young soldiers/ marines get a kick and a laugh when they see how much we like to pamper them, they can't believe it. I tell our US patients that there is one really good thing about a Reserve Hospital and one bad thing. We have thousands of years of experience and we like to GO MOM on them. When i tell them that, they say they really appreciate it. "

Two Compassionate Soldiers Give Iraqi Child Hope

KIRKUK, Iraq — The nine-year old boy would most certainly lose his leg. Given the prohibitive cost of medical care and his family’s lack of resources, amputation and a life of pain and dependence seemed inevitable. The Iraqi boy’s father was resigned to that conclusion.

Then two soldiers got involved and hope arrived along with them.

Sgt. Donald R. Campbell and Capt. Geoffrey Dutton, both Georgia natives, brought coalition and Iraqi resources together to give an Iraqi boy hope after a chance encounter during a routine patrol in Kirkuk, Iraq.[snip]

“During the search of a house I noticed a little boy,” said Campbell. “His leg was all bent up and it looked like he had a pipe wrapped to it,” he continued. “My immediate instinct was to rewrap it and change the splint for him because it looked uncomfortable. When I removed the wrap, I noticed that the pipe was actually a metal bar that was screwed into the lower part of the boy’s leg below the knee. What concerned me most though was the obvious infection.”

Campbell learned that the family was at a wedding some months ago when at least two bullets from celebratory gunfire impacted the young boy’s leg below the knee and exited the bottom of his foot. For a variety of reasons, local doctors simply screwed an exterior metal brace into the young boy’s bone at four locations.

“I cleaned the leg the best I could, gave the family extra field dressings, iodine, alcohol and instructions on how to take care of the infection,” said Campbell who would meet with the family on more than two dozen future occasions to check on the boy’s status.

“The family appeared to be doing everything correctly, but the leg seemed more infected each time I saw him. I knew we had assets in the brigade that could provide more help,” he said.

Campbell went to brigade civil affairs.

Gotta click the link to read the rest.

American Indian Marine represents family, heritage in Corps

AL ASAD, Iraq (June 26, 2007) -- It is estimated that more than 12,000 Native Americans served in the United States military in World War I. There are more than 190,000 Native American military veterans; as the years continue to compile, so do the numbers of Native Americans in the military.

One of those Native Americans is Lance Cpl. Molly Sixkiller, an EA-6B Prowler electrician for Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 1.

“I’m proud to be who I am, I’m proud to be a Sixkiller,” said the Phoenix, Ariz., native. “My mother is from Arizona and is all Navaho. My father is from Chicago, (Ill.) and is Pima, Papka and Cherokee, so I am all mixed up.”

Sixkiller began her journey with the Marine Corps when she enrolled in the delayed entry program Sept. 29, 2005.

“I wanted to be one of the first in my immediate family to join one of the services,” said Sixkiller. “I picked the Marine Corps because I had to join the best.”

On a special note, Marines from Richard Gabauer 24th Marine are now in Peru. We welcomed one of the units back in April and another just departed a few weeks ago with the PGR giving them a send off.

Peru’s Marine Headquarters welcomes 24th Marines

ANCON, Peru (June 26, 2007) -- Standing in formation on a parade deck, Marines of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 24 received a warm welcome from their hosts in Peru’s Infanteria de Marina, or Marine Corps, as they began training here this week.

A large formation of troops, vehicles and weapons across from the Comandancia, or Headquarters, marked the official start of training in Peru. Words of welcome were given by Rear Adm. Oscar Anderson, Contralmirante (Commandant) of the Infanteria de Marina, and Capitan de Navio (Col.) Carlos Tallo, Chief of Staff. Both Anderson and Tallo spoke to the Marines after the ceremonial formation as well, personally thanking them for making the trip to Peru to train with their Marines.

Wounded Soldier Heals, Rejoins Unit

The platoon sergeant with 1st Cavalry Division’s Troop B, 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, volunteered to rejoin his unit in Iraq after recovering from multiple gunshot wounds suffered in Buhriz, Iraq, March 6.

Salkanovic, 27, was leading a dismounted, eight-man reconnaissance team when 15 to 20 insurgents wielding grenades, sniper rifles and AK-47s started attacking from three different directions.

Pinned down on the roof of a building, Salkanovic and his squad returned fire. In a span of 15 minutes, Salkanovic was struck by three enemy bullets: one to his left index finger and shoulder and one apiece to his right shoulder and bicep. Two more enemy rounds nearly struck Salkanovic, but were stopped by his body armor – “the two that would have killed me,” he called them.

Salkanovic’s team managed to fend off the attack, eventually killing two insurgents. If not for the actions of one of his soldiers, Cpl. Cory Walter, Salkanovic is sure he would have died that day, he said.

“Corporal Walter is pretty much responsible for me being alive right now.”

Salkanovic, whose wounds caused him to lose two liters of blood, was evacuated to Germany and later moved to Fort Hood, Texas, to recover. After two months of healing and rehabilitation, he was ready to head back to Iraq. He rejoined his unit, which is based at Forward Operating Base Normandy, May 15.

The hardest fight

WASHINGTON -- Marine Sgt. David "D.J." Emery Jr.'s life snapped into focus one morning in April, two days after the birth of his daughter, when he studied the lower half of his hospital bed, turned to his mother and, still unable to speak, mouthed these words:

"What the f happened to my legs?"

For weeks, the young warrior's battle for survival had been waged by his mother, his young wife and the doctors who kept him clinging to this side of death.

Then Emery noticed the emptiness that day in the intensive care unit, and the fight became his.[snip]

Emery remembers little from that day in Iraq's Anbar province.

A checkpoint. Stopping to chat with other Marines, while Iraqi soldiers nearby searched anyone who didn't seem right.

He never saw the suspicious-looking man or the torso wrapped in explosives. The man spread his arms wide, like an eagle taking flight, to trigger the blast.

Emery doesn't recall much -- not the flight home, not the countless surgeries, not the amputations of first one leg, then another -- until April 23.

That's when Emery took up his own fight. He began to heal. Through good days and bad, he moved from the intensive care unit at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., to a regular hospital room, then two weeks ago to Ward 57, the amputees' home at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Over time, he's been visited by the Washington Redskins football team, by his local congressman, and by President Bush, who gave Emery his Purple Heart.

"I dunno; he's just another person, you know?" Emery recalled from his bed. "He invited me to the White House. Hopefully I can get some running legs and go running with him and smoke his ass."

The encounters that really matter are the ones with other veterans, such as the old man in the hallway who gets around better on two fake legs than most senior citizens do on real ones.

"When a doctor tells you that you'll walk one day, and he has two real legs, you're like, 'whatever,' " Emery said. "But when a guy comes in on two prosthetic legs, and they're standing there, it makes everything possible." hat tip: Soldiers Angels Germany

4 Hill Airmen receive Bronze Stars

6/25/2007 - HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (AFPN) -- Four NCOs from the 775th Civil Engineer Squadron received Bronze Stars during a mid-June ceremony at Hill Air Force Base for their actions while deployed in support of the war on terrorism.

The four explosive ordnance disposal Airmen are Staff Sergeants Evan Knight, Bradley Kline, Steven Overstreet and William White.

Sergeant Knight's team was responsible for responding to the busiest area for improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, in Iraq. The team covered 500 square miles including Baghdad and the surrounding area. He and his team responded and safely cleared 68 EOD incidents.

Sergeant Kline led his team on a 120-hour mission to clear 45 kilometers of Iraqi roadways, during which they cleared seven IEDs. Also, while on a mission, his team and security element came under sniper fire. Sergeant Kline positioned his vehicle into a blocking position, giving the security unit time to position themselves to engage and subdue the threat.

Sergeant Overstreet participated in more than 134 combat missions under constant threat of insurgent attacks. During his time in Iraq, he and his team safely dealt with 30 IED incidents along critical supply routes. He also led missions that collected more than 3,000 pieces of ordnance.

Sergeant White's team was responsible for one-third of the multinational division north's workload, which ensured the safety of more than 41,000 individuals. On one instance a member of Sergeant White's team was knocked unconscious by an IED. Sergeant White quickly took control of the vehicle and then made sure his team member wasn't critically wounded.

Coast Guard Coordinates Rescue 345 Miles off Virginia Coast

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Coast Guard watch standers at the Rescue Coordination Center Portsmouth coordinated the rescue of a sailor 345 miles east of Cape Henry, Va., today.

Douglas W. Eaton, captain of the 20-foot sailing vessel Tyche homeported in Key West, Fla., was rescued by the crew of the cruise ship Crown Princess after the Coast Guard received an Electronic Locater Transmitter (ELT) signal from Eaton this afternoon.

The Crown Princess, a 947-foot Bahamian-flagged cruise ship, is designated as an Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue (AMVER) vessel.

"We got a great response from the AMVER vessels in the area," said Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Scott Murphy, who said several AMVER vessels in the area also answered the Coast Guard's call for assistance.

Eaton will stay on board the Crown Princess until its next port of call in New York City.

Don't Mess With the Marines!

Bill Barnes says he was scratching off a losing $2 lottery ticket inside a gas station when he felt a hand slip into his front-left pants pocket, where he had $300 in cash.

He immediately grabbed the person's wrist with his left hand and started throwing punches with his right, landing six or seven blows before a store manager intervened.

"I guess he thought I was an easy mark," Barnes, 72, told The Grand Rapids Press for a story Tuesday.

He's anything but an easy mark: Barnes served in the Marines, was an accomplished Golden Gloves boxer and retired after 20 years as an iron worker.

Team closer to finding Iwo Jima Marine

IWO JIMA, Japan - The U.S. search team looking for the remains of a Marine killed after filming the iconic flag-raising on Iwo Jima has found two possible sites and will recommend a larger team excavate them, officials said Wednesday.[snip]

The U.S. officially took the tiny volcanic island on March 26, 1945, after 31-day battle that pitted some 100,000 U.S. troops against 21,200 Japanese. Some 6,821 Americans were killed; only 1,033 Japanese survived. Of 82 U.S. Medals of Honor won by Marines in World War II, 26 were won on Iwo Jima.

Genaust paid the ultimate price.

On March 4, 1945, Marines were securing the cave, and are believed to have asked Genaust to use his movie camera to light their way. He volunteered to shine the light in the cave and was killed by enemy fire. The cave was secured after a gunfight, and its entrance sealed.

As a combat photographer, Genaust was trained to use a firearm, and he and another Marine protected the AP photographer as they climbed 546-foot Mount Suribachi. Genaust did not need to use his weapon; under heavy attack, the Japanese did not fire on the three men.

Genaust's footage also helped prove that the raising — the second one that day — was not staged, as some later claimed. He got no credit for his footage, however, in accordance with Marine Corps policy.

In 1995, a bronze plaque was put atop Suribachi to honor Genaust, who before coming ashore on Iwo Jima fought and was wounded in the battle on the Pacific island of Saipan. An actor portraying him appears in the Clint Eastwood movie "Flags of Our Fathers," and the annual Sgt. William Genaust Award has been established to honor the best videotape of a Marine Corps related news event.

Help us honor all of our veterans, past, present and future. Join Soldiers' Angels today!

- May no soldier go unloved

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Soldiers' Angels Receives Military Order of the Purple Heart Award

Attention! This post has been updated with the correct award!

Dear Angels,
We have HUGE news to share with you! Soldiers’ Angels received the Military Order of the Purple Heart Award for Public Service on Saturday, June 17th, 2007 in Sacramento, CA. at the Military Order of the Purple Heart National meeting.

We would like to share a story with you on what a difference we all make. A woman was walking along a beach filled with starfish. As she walked, she would stoop down, pick one up at random, and throw it back into the ocean. A man came upon her and asked why she was bothering with throwing some back when there were so many - how could it possibly make a difference?

She picked up another starfish, threw it back into the ocean, and said, "It made a difference to that one."

“How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world.” ~ Anne Frank

Everyday, each Angel makes a difference in the lives of our service members! Thank you all!

Angel Hugs-
Patti Patton-Bader, Founder and Don MacKay, Executive CEO

Soldiers' Angels has previously received the Department of Army Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service and the Military Order of the Purple Heart, George Washington Spirit Award

Interview with Patti Patton-Bader, Founder of Soldiers' Angels, in The National Guard Online

Join our award winning organization in supporting our troops, their families and our veterans.

- May no soldier go unloved

Monday, June 25, 2007

Belton Community Days: Soldiers' Angels - Hoo-ah!

I know, you are waiting patiently for the story and video of our Belton Community Days Parade. It was hot. It was muggy. We walked our legs off and handed out a lot of information to the audience about Soldiers' Angels.

No, that is not all of the story. I'll have more on Tuesday, but here's a taste of our experience with the Army Recruiters:

Soldiers' Angels Supports Our Troops - Hoo-ah!

Join Soldiers' Angels in supporting our past, present and future troops.

Next Event:

June 30, 2007 3pm to Midnight. Here is a great opportunity for Soldiers' Angels and others who are interested in showing their support for the troops. Parkville, Missouri American Legion Post 318 is hosting the "Rally in the Alley". This rally will raise money for the Legion's "Support the Troops" fund that the Legion regularly uses to donate to organizations supporting the troops including things like paying for postage of large shipments of care packages to the troops, calling cards, veterans needs and many other great support projects.

Soldiers' Angels has been invited to set up a table and take part in the event that will include at least six blue grass bands, lots of food, drinks and fun. We look forward to supporting the Parkville American Legion as they have pledged to support the Angels and our efforts.

We're looking for Angels to help man the booth and tell people about our organization. With a troop surge on and battles raging, we have many troops that need our support. That means we need to let people know how they can provide that support. I'll be there from 2pm (set up) until 8pm (longer if the crowd is good). For more information on volunteering for our event, please email me at:

If you're not a member of Soldiers' Angels, come on down, enjoy the music and show your support for our troops!

- May no soldier go unloved

Kansas City Heart of America Summer 2007 Veterans' Stand Down

I went to my first "Veterans' Stand Down" sponsored by KC Veterans Affairs Administration. I learned many things about the care and services provided to our indigent and homeless veterans.

First, let say that I had incorrect/incomplete information regarding the place of the "stand down". I originally had information indicating it was at the Kansas City VA Medical Center. When I had called the VA volunteer services, I did not verify the location. They might have assumed I knew where it was. I was told to go to the volunteer tent at the front to sign in. So, naturally, I drove to the VA hospital and looked for the tent. I drove around several times and in the general area to find the tent and the other tents I assumed would be there. No dice.

I suppose I could have assumed that I had the wrong day or simply went home, but angels are never daunted by things like missing information or directions. So, I went to the hospital to "information" and told the young lady, "I think I'm in the wrong place". She helpfully directed me to the location at Truman and Troost in downtown Kansas City.

As I was leaving the hospital, I noticed a trike in the handicapped parking lot.

Since I am a motorcycle afficianado, I walked around looking at the skull motif and general design of the trike. That's when I noticed the license plate.

I whipped out a Soldiers' Angels card and wrote, "Thank you for serving" and placed it on the handle bars.

I finally arrived at the location and had to drive around a bit to find a parking space. The young lady at the VA hospital who gave me directions told me that I would know I was at the right place by the "long line of cars". She was right. If you are unfamiliar with the area, it is best described as "urban". I recalled an earlier conversation with the VA volunteer coordinator when I asked about the beginning and ending times for the event. She told me and then volunteered, without prompting, "Don't worry. We'll have most of our volunteers out before dark." At the time, I didn't make much of it.

Angels walk where others fear to tread.

I found the "Volunteer Registration Tent" and signed in. At this event, they did not ask for our Soldiers' Angels volunteer code though they did ask for the name of the organization I was with. As I was waiting, one of the veteran volunteers asked me if I rode a motorcycle. When I told him that I did, he laughed and said, "You can always tell. Soldiers and bikers stand the same way: at parade rest". I had to laugh at that one. I think someone has told me that before. Another volunteer asked what was on my shirt. I told her it was "Soldiers' Angels" and explained our mission. She said she was with the Patriot Guard Riders and we exchanged a few stories about missions we had participated in. The world is a small place.

I gave them each a card and thanked the veterans for serving our country.

I was given a name tag and directed to the clothing distribution area that was about to open up. Other services were being provided in the gym including assistance with taxes, legal issues and health screening. The Vietnam Veterans of America were one of the lead organizations for the stand down. One of the gentlemen explained to the news services there that they attempted to find placement for veterans with addiction, mental and physical health issues as well as the homeless through their screening.

The volunteer services coordinator at the VA had described the event as "organized chaos". That is the best description I would give it as well. As I walked through the area, I snapped a few pictures. Parks and recreation provided a stage and someone had organized a few singers with recorded back up. There were several more tents set up around the area for food and general protection from the sun. A veteran came by with a golf cart and offered me a ride up to my area. These golf carts ran all day picking up vets and volunteers to carry to the different areas.

Our area was in an enclosed basketball court. It had a control point and veterans were called by their registration group numbers to come in to the enclosure. This was to ensure that each veteran was able to receive some of each of the items being offered and to keep it safe overnight since it was going to be held again the next morning. There were long lines of veterans outside the enclosure and some were sitting under a canopy with chairs to keep out of the sun and heat.

When I walked into the enclosure and asked to be directed to someone who would assign me to a station, the gentleman at the front pointed me towards the "civilian clothes" section and said to ask "the lady in the hat". The "lady" was not actually "in charge" (organized chaos), but she did "take charge". Her name was Mary and she was from the AUSA (Association of the United States Army). I think she was an officer in her previous life. She gave me a basic rundown of the operations and what was needed in the civilian clothes section. I say "civilian clothes" section because I learned many things about a stand down.

The area was set up to walk each veteran around the perimeter to different areas providing clothing, shoes and toiletries. The first area was manned by approximately 30 volunteers from Price Waters Cooper (financial investors) wearing t-shirts saying "30,000 strong" (sound familiar? Army Strong). These volunteers were largely young people between the ages of 22 and 30 something.

The items at the front of the perimeter line were "government issue". Until this stand down, I had thought that veterans I saw on the street simply wore their own uniforms that they had retained after service. I was wrong. The reason you see veterans, who seem to have been long out of service, walking around with pieces of uniform on is because that is what the government/VA provides free at these events. Each veteran was given a "sea bag" (army issue, green ruck sack). One of the PCW volunteers would carry the bag for the veteran. They were allowed to select two pants and two shirts from the "uniform" section. These are outdated, left over uniforms from different eras including simple army green, dark green camouflage and desert BDUs (desert storm "chocolate chip").

A volunteer then carried the bag for them to the booth providing boots. Some of them were the black combat boots, but most of the boots provided were the older model "desert suede" boots. Don't be fooled by the lack of veterans being served in these pictures. I couldn't snap them until there was a "lull" in the waves of people that included, not only veterans, but veterans' dependents. For the most part, it was veterans from the Korean and Vietnam era with a few from the last two decades.

The day was extremely hot and muggy. I came prepared with a 1/2 gallon of water in a thermos. That was not enough. As they say in Iraq and Afghanistan, "drink lots of water boys and girls". Fortunately, some other folks had brought big cannisters of water and were willing to share. The VA had provided water as well, but it was quite a distance from my post and I did not want to leave because we were very busy. We provided clothes of different style, size and condition. We sorted out the clothes that had holes or stains as best as possible and tossed them in the "grab bag". Some winter coats and jackets were hung on the fence.

As the veterans were assisted to our area, I asked for their sizes and directed them to the appropriate tables. Some didn't know or were wearing clothes that were too big. These I did a best estimate and helped them search through the clothing. A few asked for specific items like jeans, khakis or, in the case of one lady veteran, asked for some shirts in blue. She had brown and green, but no blue to go with her jeans. I would guess she was a Vietnam era veteran from her hat. She was wearing camouflage pants and black combat boots with a tank top which I perceived she received at a previous stand down (Yes, women Veterans can be homeless or indigent, too).

The veterans were all friendly and some were talkative. I saw an older gentleman with a prosthetic arm who also walked with a cane. He kept telling the young man carrying his bag he could set down at the beginning of our tables and he would walk back with the things since the bag was fairly packed. The young man said he would be happy to carry the bag for him, it was the least he could do. I heard this line of conversation over and over again. I have to say, I was very impressed by these volunteers. It made me proud to be there with them.

We served over 500 veterans that day. Those young volunteers took turns manning the clothing booths and lugging ruck sacks in the heat and sun. After the vets left our section, they were directed to the final area where they were given toiletries and new underwear, t-shirts and socks.

During a lull in traffic, I spoke with Mary from the AUSA. She told me about her organization and I told her about Soldiers' Angels. Her sons principal was wounded last year in Iraq. He lost both his legs and had severe damage to his arm. I told her that we provide First Response Back Packs for the wounded at CSH (cash) units in theater, at Landstuhl and Military Medical Centers in the United States, explaining their purpose. The Stand Down was a first for both of us, although, you would never have guessed it by her organization and direction of our section. We shook hands when she left as the event wound down and she thanked our organization for supporting our troops. She said she was very glad to have worked with me that day and I reciprocated. I gave her one of our cards, thanked her for her service and said we would be happy to work with their organization to provide services.

The Stand Down Provided breakfast, lunch and dinner for the veterans and volunteers. Due to my being lost, I missed lunch and didn't want to waste anymore time looking for a fast food restaurant, so I held out until dinner. I'm not complaining. It was the least I could do considering the condition of most of the veterans we served. We had burgers, hot dogs, chips, fruit cocktail and water. I stood in line with a number of vets and volunteers who chatted amiably while we waited. I wasn't the only one who learned something new. A couple of volunteers in line were talking about their conversations with vets. One of the ladies offered that the Vet she was talking to said he was the part of the "first in". She asked him if he was a "Green Beret". I guess he told her, "No ma'am. I was a Marine."

The entire experience was a mix of sad and impressive. The event ran for three days. I would estimate about 1500 veterans would be seen. According to one of the VVA leads, that was barely a tenth of all homeless and indigent vets in the area. Kansas City has over 600,000 veterans. The area we were in was obviously chosen based on the demographics and most need.

From my observations (limited to the clothing area), the things most needed were good quality civilian clothing and shoes. Largely mens pants between the sizes of 30 and 38. Womens pants between sizes 4 and 12. Most popular were jeans for their durability. Pajamas and robes went like hot cakes. We had one robe left only half way through the day. Women's underwear were also scarce between the sizes of 4 and 6. There were plenty of women's shirts and mens, though, "medium" in mens was also scarce or were too badly worn to be handed out. Men's and women's shoes between the sizes of 6 and 12.

Those are the basics. I am going to collect more information on how and when these items are collected including where to send them. I am thinking that people would be better served to drop their used items at a VA collection point then simply dumping them at the nearest Salvation Army or Goodwill Store. While those are worthy causes, I have been told that these items are often disposed of because the store cannot store the amount they collect or they become ruined in storage before they can be put out for sale.

Stand by for information on collection and distribution.

If you are an angel, I encourage you to get involved. Find out where your local VA is and volunteer. Find out when they have an upcoming Stand Down. I am assuming at this point that every area has a stand down at some time of the year. Some may have more than one through out the year. I think, in order to understand the true needs of veterans, it is important to become involved. Beyond that, I only spent six hours out of my life at this event. Excuse me if I sound melodramatic, but it did change my attitude considerably regarding veterans affairs, if not "life altering". There are people that do this every day, all day long. Still, we have a much pressing need.

Angels should not be daunted by the task at hand. We have several huge advantages if we are able organize and take advantage of them. We are between 50,000 and 90,000 "strong" depending on active members. We have connectivity through forums and associated organizations. We already know how to collect, buy at discount and find ways to deliver massive amounts of goods and services.

The only thing we need to do is to decide that we will do it.

Angels know how to light the way.

- May no soldier go unloved

Sunday, June 24, 2007

6,000 And Counting

Earlier this week we put out a call for people to email the Marines of RCT-6 in Iraq with 6,000 emails to let them know people supported them. I just wanted to give you an update:

I learned about six minutes ago that the 6,000th email has just come in. The winner of the first flag was a lady who sent a short but loving email to our Marines.

Sgt. Deboard had originally joked that 'we won the Gulf war' in less time than it was taking to get all these emails, but of course that only counts the ground operations. If you count the whole Desert Storm phase, from the 17 Jan 91 air raids to the end of ground operations, we've come in well ahead of the clock.

I knew you could make six thousand happen if you put your minds to it. You did. However many more come in in future days, we can all be proud of the support you've shown to our Marines.

Thank you all.

If you still haven't sent your email, there are still two flags to win, for the 10,000th and 20,000th emails. Write to:

Watch their blog, also. I expect some celebrations, as soon as they have time to put one together. Perhaps they'll give us a photo of the stack at six thousand.

The Marines are flying a flag in honor of the 6,000 person to email them and have offered to fly a flag in honor of the 10,000 email they receive. This flag will be forwarded to the lucky email owner with a certificate and picture.

Let's keep those emails going!

- May no soldier go unloved

The Face of An Angel

This is Regina (left):

Regina is sitting with Soldiers' Angel Willie who is a regular at Landstuhl delivering First Response Backpacks to our wounded. Regina and Willie are enjoying some time together at a bowling tournament in Germany organized by "KONTAKT", the American/German Friendship Club.

Regina is 81 years old. She is a member of Soldiers' Angels. She is an Angel since 2004. She came to Landstuhl along with other Angels to deliver the first Backpack to our wounded.

From left: Regina, Kathy Gregory Manager Fisher House: Landstuhl, Irene and Willie

- May no soldier go unloved

Friday, June 22, 2007

Kansas City Angel Events and Fund Raisers

We have a lot of things going on and we are looking for Angels and other supporters of the troops in the Kansas City Area to come out and show their love for our troops and veterans.

First up, as noted in our side bar to the left, Kansas City Soldiers' Angels will be participating in the Belton Community Days Parade in Belton, Missouri. We will be carrying a banner and marching with a larger group of troop supporters and military folks, carrying our banner and signs. We are looking forward to showing Belton how much we support the troops. We are also looking forward to meeting fellow supporters of our fine military folks and sharing in the great fun and camaraderie we always experience at these events.

If you are an Angel or just want to come out and show your support, we will be meeting at Teri Louthain's at 7:30 AM Saturday, June 23. For more information, you can contact Julie O'Neil, Community Team Leader in the Overland Park, Kansas region at: She will have maps and other information available.

We will car pool from Teri's to reduce our parking exposure.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Find out other local events and fund raisers by going to Kansas City Angel Events and Fund Raisers.

- May no soldier go unloved

Friday's Letters From the Front:

Thank You for Your Support

Greetings From Baghdad

Hello, greetings from Baghdad, Iraq. I just want to thank those angels assigned to me, who have wrote me a letter or sent me a card, I appreciate your love and support, and it's an honour and privilage to serve this great nation we live in, and fight for our freedoms. I also appreciate your prayers too. I know I have seen your mail going out to many of our troops, thank you so much, we love all of that love and support we're getting from you angels, it really boosts our morale, when we receive some love from people back home, and it makes our jobs easier knowing we are being supported by our people back home in America, people like you, I've said it before and I say it again, Thank You Soldiers Angels, we the soldier love and appreciate you too.
I just finished writing and addressing Iraqi post cards, and I wanted to let you know that I'm well and staying safe.
Sincerely, SSG Marvin

Hello from Iraq,

First I would like to thank you for all that you do, we apreciate it greatly. The soakers were a great ideal we had a couple of soldiers who couldnt wait to have a water fight. Thanks for all the small packages they worked out really well. Everyone got what they need and then some. I hope you all know how much you are appreciated by us for taking care of our troops. Once again thank you and God bless.


An Angel To Watch Over Me

Mr Bader,
My name is SGT Shamar I'm a friend of Mr Olivas. Thank you so much for everything you have sent me. All your prayers and support are greatly appreciated. Last week I started wearing my Soldiers Angel pin on my bullet proof vest and trust me it protected me. I was out on a routine convoy that was hit by an IED. I think my Angels has something to do with no one sustaining any injuries during the blast. Well I have to go because there are other soldiers waiting for this computer but in closing THANK YOU!
SGT Shamar

First Response Back Packs

Hello and thank you for your support.

I recently received some backpacks full of goodies for our soldiers. As the nurse in charge of the intensive care unit, my nurses and I see quite a few patients come through our unit. You should feel great about the support that you give. The back packs are great for the injured soldiers, and they are great for the nurses to have something to give. The back packs are a big hit with everyone.

Your note mentioned that we could email a wish list. This request is for the hospital staff so if you have other priorities, please take care of those first. These are all "nice to have" things. -Snack foods that are "healthy". We receive lots of cookies, but I have quite a few health conscious people that prefer to eat healthier snacks.
Anything from tuna snack packs to trail mix and anything in between. -Room deodorizers. Anything that makes it smell better except for aerosolized cans, plug-ins or things you need to light (i.e. candles). The gel containers work well. We use them in the bathrooms, hospital units and sleeping quarters. -Drink mixes. Any of the sugar-free mixes to make the water taste better would be great. It's so hot that we drink LOTS of water.

From all of us here at the hospital in Baghdad....THANK YOU! We all appreciate your support!

Head Nurse ICU1
28th Combat Support Hospital
Baghdad, Iraq

Soldiers' Angels Kansas City raised money to send over 70 backpacks to our wounded!

British Troops Love Our Support

(British Sailor) Hope you don't mind me emailing you, we received your letter and I was quite touched as it's true we don't receive much mail like that from our fellow britains!!

Comments/Question:: Hello,
I am a british solder currentlly serving in Iraq along side U.S. troops. A group of us recived a letter from a Sharon XXXX email address: XXXXXX. On behalf of all of us and others that will recive this letter at some point in the future Id like to say thank you so, so much for your support from the U.S. public and Sharon. I did try and submit my self as a solder on your site but I see you only deal with US Military. I think its an amazing thing you all do and it keeps us all going through the hard times and reminds us that people like you are supporting us from back home. Once again thank you very much from the bottom of out hearts. Dave. XXX

Don't worry! There is a way to support our allies through Soldiers' Angels Europe

These guys are hungry for mail and support.

Birthday Greetings from Angels

Thanks to all the angels who sent a birthday to Stephen, he just email me a message of thanks

"Anyways, it really did mean a lot to me and it made me feel like I was home again. I was shocked as well with the amount of letters that were in the box. I think it will take me the rest of the deployment to write back to all those people, but if they were kind enough to write me I am going to try and write them back."

To all of the angels who sent my un official Doug a Birthday card Thank You. Here is part of his email...

Thank you very much for the Bday packages. You have spectacular timing. I was floored with the generosity ... The cards from all the folks from Soldiers angels were very nice and very uplifting. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the support ...

Thank YOU very, very much!

Hello again Stephanie. My guys wanted to make sure that I told you thank you very much.

On behalf of the the guys THANK YOU VERY, VERY, VERY MUCH!!!

Well everything over here is getting kind of hectic again but like always we'll pull through. Hope you and your family are fine. Oh and I don't usually have too much time on the computer but if you could, would you tell whoever you can at the soldier's angels thank you as well. We really appreciate everything you guys are doing for us, I know I say this every time I write but it's just that we are all so grateful out
here that some times we have nothing else to say but thank you.


"Please Help My Soldiers"

Hello,I am wanting to submit members of my platoon. This is my third deployment over here. I am with the 3rd Infantry Division based out of, GA. Most of the members in my platoon are on their second tour here. Some do not receive any mail besides bills. No matter where you go bills end up following you. I would like to have them receive something other than bills. A little encouragement from home goes a long way. Some are very shy or dont know what to write back. I would like to thank you for all of your support. It goes a long way to know that we have people at home that support us.

Someone submitted my name to soldier's angels. I've been very impressed by the letters and support that I've received. Now I am requesting the assistance of soldiers angels for my company. I am the Executive officer of an Ordinance Company. We have a platoon of medics, cooks, staff, and mechanics. We are currently at 273 soldiers in our company. They work grueling days and are exhausted afterwords and are always looking for something to do. My request is simple. Please help our soldiers by providing something fun and uplifting for them to do. It doesn't necessarily mean purchasing them expensive gifts or videogames. They enjoy other things too like puzzles, crosswords, chess and checkers, card games, ect. Many people will even send over the weekly newspaper crossword puzzle to help keep them occupied. Doing this helps them releave stress and keep their minds off of being homesick. It also effectively helps pass the time.Thanks for all your support! LT V

Dear Angel, I am a transportation platoon leader for 27 outstanding men and women who are from the South Carolina. We just recently deployed to Afghanistan and will be here for 1 year running all transportation missions through most of Afghanistan. The platoon before us recommended this site as they had wonderful support from their angels. We hope to feel the same support! Thank you unconditionally for your support! Anything you can do for us is greatly appreciated.

Veterans Are Grateful for Our Help TOO!

Rec'd this today from the VA in Albuquerque, NM

Hi Twyla, we received some back packs and comfort items and are very grateful. I spoke with one of our social workers yesterday and he is very interested in the back packs and we will use the comfort items for our lodger program. Again, thanks you so much and an official thank you letter will be sent shortly.

Sonja Brown
Chief, Voluntary Service &
Public Affairs Operations
New Mexico VA Health Care System

On Memorial Day I joined the Patriot Guard Riders escorting the bus with the patients from Walter Reed on it to the parade in Gettysburg, Pa.

I got to talk to some of our Fallen Hero's that day. I noticed one had a Soldiers' Angels sweat shirt on. I asked him if he would like a Soldiers' Angels pin to go along with it and he said he already had one.

He told me how the wonderful [and] caring members of Soldiers' Angels have been showing him their support + to honor them he had quite a large tattoo of the Soldiers' Angels logo on his right arm.


Angel Work On the Home Front

I arranged to take pizza, breadsticks, hotwings, and drinks to the Army and Marine Corps recrutiers' offices tonight. So I go pick up all the munchies and load it into my car. I drive up the recruiting station and park. I grab everything and start walking into the office and out comes a Marine recruiter to help. We set everything down and start talking and I tell them about SA. I divided up the food and run over to the Army recruiters. When I walked in, they all just smiled and said hello. I arrange the food on the table for everyone to help themselves and introduce myself and tell them about SA. During the two hours that I was there, i walk back and forth between the offices and talk to all of the recruiters and hand them pins and coins and shake their hands and tell them thank you for your service. I have to take fliers and business cards up there at a later date, because my printer went on the fritz! I had a really nice time talking to these soldiers and Marines and learned some things about each of them. One shared with me his experiences in Iraq. I walked out of there with a grin from ear to ear because I was able to spread the word about SA and feed some troops!!! It was a very rewarding time.

The Happy Dance

My grandsons are still here staying since their mom is still recovering from her episode back the tail end of May. One of their "duties" as they call it is running down the driveway to "rescue" the mail. My son is glad to turn that "duty" over to them for a few days. LOL After all the birthday cards & PC's he brought home.

Today I hear them both SCREAMING at the top of their lungs..."GRAMMAA, GRAAAMMAAAAA we got MORE free mail!! They delivered 4 free mail envelopes to me. All are from the LWT & all of us are doing the HAPPY DANCE Top Banana Top Banana Top Banana Top Banana all over the house. Sure hope the neighbors aren't watching they will think we have lost our minds.

Keep sending those letters we do make a difference.

Tammy W

Help us support our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. Join Soldiers' Angels and you'll discover that feeling of satisfaction that makes Angels do the "happy dance".

- May no soldier go unloved

Thursday, June 21, 2007

On Volunteering

One reason that I joined Soldiers' Angels is because it allowed me to become personally involved in supporting our military. I've been a member for two years (appx) and, at first, it was enough to quietly do what I wanted and needed to do, support our military. It was not about recognition for efforts made. For the most part, it was enough to get the replies from those I have served and the general feeling of satisfaction for having done my part in supporting our nation in a time of war.

The reason I started participating more fully in fund raisers and the public events was because I wanted to do more for our troops, but was not financially capable of personally doing more. Yet, I would read in the forums the alerts and the stories of those who had no support and my heart would ache because I could only read and wonder if they were being cared for or receiving anything from home, letting them know that there was someone who believed in and supported them. Then there are the Vets in the VA that I have known for a long time were not getting the kind of assistance they need. As a nation, we often feel like we make a law, create a branch of the government to take care of our people and then we go on, largely forgetting, imagining that we have done what it takes to provide for those who have served us in the past. Then we are shocked to find that it is not so and we wonder why.

What then is our responsibility? What is my responsibility?

Then I recalled the many days sitting around my grandmother's kitchen table, drinking iced tea and listening to her and my grandfather tell stories about their youth during World War II. My grandfather had joined the Navy at the age of 17 and a year later was at the battle for Okinawa. He wanted to join at 16, but his parents wouldn't let him. When he turned 17, he told them he was going to go one way or the other, so they signed the papers for him to enter service. My grandmother talked about volunteering as a candy striper at a local hospital, wrapping bandages, the civil defense efforts, victory gardens and many other events: volunteering.

It struck me that I had been overlooking the most important part of volunteering and support. It isn't about the money, or more specifically, my money. It was about my time and what I was willing to do. The inspiration had been with me all along. I remembered that the reason my grandparents' generation was the "greatest generation" was because they harnessed the power of our nation. Not just the industrial power, but the power of the people when they are inspired to work towards a greater goal.

In my previous efforts in fund raising and collecting donations to provide for our troops, I met many people who wanted to help, but they didn't know how or where to begin. Most were very happy to have an opportunity to do so. What they lacked was inspiration and information. People are excited to find out that there is a way in their community to give back to those who give everything. I realized that, while our men and women in the military need to hear from us that we support them, our communities needed to know that there was a way to do it. Right here in their own backyard.

Right now, as I write this, our troops are in a big fight in both Afghanistan and Iraq. They volunteer, not because it is compulsory as many nations still require, but because they believe in something greater than themselves. They want to be part of something greater and they believe that they share a duty, a responsibility and even an honor to defend and protect their country, its beliefs and, most importantly, the people.

They come from our community. They are people that we know. Sometimes, until they leave us, we don't know that they are serving our nation. Mainly because it is simply what they do and they are not ones to publicize that anymore than we announce to the world in general what we do.

For me, and I hope for you, what they do is important, inspiring and honorable. It is unbelievable the sacrifices that these men and women make for our country, for you and for me. I know that there are far flung bases in many places that are nothing but a few huts, some tents, some sand and a flag pole. They aren't all living it up in Saddam's palaces or downtown Kandahar. I know there are places where our men and women are washing out of a bucket and brushing their teeth with bottled water because there is no running water. Toilets are "latrines" like we've seen in many a movie: a hut with a hole. They get mail and supplies once a month. There is no store or PX around the corner to run and get deodorant or toilet paper or something to eat when the dining facility has closed down for the day before they could return from an eight hour mission that turned into sixteen.

They are living and sometimes dying just as it has always been in war, just as our parents and grandparents did in the wars we all know from history: in conditions most of us could never relate to even on our worst camping trip. Add to that the long separation from family and friends and the very real possibility of being wounded or dying and you find that there is something more to it than people looking for a job or college tuition. It becomes the very thing that our founders believed in and fought for so long ago. It is "WE THE PEOPLE", our people, "providing for the common defense" of our nation. It becomes the noble act of sacrifice that not every generation has been called to. It becomes the very spirit of our nation from its inception: the struggle of Man against the elements, against all odds, to remain free.

I am living here free because of the generations that have come before and paid the price for me. I am living here without fear because I know that men and women stand watch somewhere for me. I am living here without want because they protect our borders, our seas and all the places from whence the very food, clothing, fuel and technology I use every day is purchased and delivered. I have witnessed the birth of democracy, the freedom of nations and people around the world. It is free nations and the spread of freedom that insures a future, maybe somewhere distant, where the best of Man is celebrated and brings the full potential of man to the fore. Even the potential someday to explore the very depths of the ocean and the heights of heaven.

I have all of these things, the freedom from want and fear, the freedom to worship. the freedom to dream and the freedom to live because I was born in a place and time where others still believe it is their duty, responsibility and even honor to insure it continues.

I had to ask myself recently if I was doing enough to "earn it". Not just for me, but, as my grandparents and parents had done: earn it for my family and future generations of my family and Americans. Because, that is why we exist in such prosperity and freedom today. That is why the United States continues on for generations. Because some one paid for it in advance.

The answer for me was, "Not yet." Maybe never, but the important thing is that I am going to do my best to honor that sacrifice and pay it forward.

It is not just about "duty" or "responsibility". There is a great feeling of satisfaction and honor in serving those that defend us. In essence, it is serving our nation. There is a great joy in knowing that I have made a difference. There is a great feeling of humility, knowing that I have done so little and enjoy so much including and often the gratitude of those that I serve.

I now know why my grandparents volunteered and served our nation in whatever capacity they were able. THEY didn't do it just because it was a duty or responsibility. They did it because they were part of something bigger. They did it because there was joy in the giving. It made them better people. It made them the people that I remember who always helped others and gave to their community in small ways and large. It was the reason that they were the "greatest generation".

I want to share that with others. I want people to know that there is something beyond the mundane, something bigger that we can be a part of. I want to share the joy and the honor of serving our troops with my community. I want to share it with you. I want you to be part of my community. I want you to share it with others in your community.

Go out and talk to your local Commerce association, to your stores, to your local fire departments, your police stations, your city councils, your church organizations and every place that you can think of to tell them about the need to support our troops. Tell them about Soldiers' Angels. Volunteer at the local VA hospital. Go to or organize meetings with community Angels to plan projects in your community or just share the joy of serving others. After you make that first, small effort, I guarantee that, not only will the next be easier, but the sheer soul uplifting experience will make you want to do it again.

Today, in places near and far, someone is standing in harms way earning it for you. Don't have to ask yourself tomorrow, "Did I earn it?"

In memory of Leroy and Mary Henry, members of the Greatest Generation.

Join me at the Kansas City Veterans Hospital on Friday, June 22, 8 AM to Dusk for Stand Down. We will be handing out clothing, food and necessities as well as tending to the medical and general financial needs of our indigent veterans. You can get more details by emailing me at:

Let's live up to our mission statement:

- May no soldier go unloved