To encourage and fortify relationships between military service members, veterans, their families, their friends, and their Country; to nurture the path of communication for everyone, ensuring that no one is alone or left behind; and proving that we have not, are not, and will never forget the nobility of their sacrifices.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Soldiers Angels Project Valour-IT

I recently got a text message from a milblogger friend that said, "You're Team Army for Project Valour-IT, Right?" He knew me being a Soldiers Angel had nothing to do with my decision to participate with Project Valour-IT, it's an amazing cause, which is the only reason I need to get involved. Any project that helps the wounded with severe physical injuries by supplying voice recognition software laptops, Wii Fit for physical therapy, and GPS units to help compensate for the effects of TBI is worth getting involved in.

My only hesitation was picking an actual team. I have friends in every branch of the military. In fact, I had to smile when that same day another blogger asked if I'd be Team Army or Team Marines.... I do love my Marines.... and my Navy Boys.... and my Air Force guys....

Because I have so much love for everyone in the military, I have decided to join all the Teams. (Truth is I couldn't pick just one Team. It would be like asking me to choose a favorite child. I can't do that.)

If you'd like more information on Project Valour-IT and, Major Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss, the man who started it all while recovering from being injured by an IED, click here.
You can follow Project Valour-IT on facebook here.
You can follow Project Valour-IT on Twitter here.

You can change the life of someone who was injured fighting for YOUR FREDOM. This is the time to give back to those who have given more than you'll ever know for you. Skip a meal, shake the couch, take a collection at work.... GET INVOLVED.
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Note: I was contacted by a reader who expressed concern that the United States Coast Guard is NOT being represented in the Valour-IT fundraiser. He wrote,
"I noticed USCG wasn't on there even though they do fight in Military battles, keep aliens and drugs off the streets, assist the Navy when Navy lives are at stake at sea, rescue civilians, ect. why is this?"
All of this is absolutely true, and the USCG should be represented, but as you can see by the small italicized print here, a USCG Team Leader could not be found. If you, or someone you know wants to ensure the USCG will be represented next year, please contact me. I will find the proper contact information in order to make sure ALL OUR HEROS are properly represented next year. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Can Twitter Help Words For Warriors Succeed in Our Mission?

When a milblog friend of mine suggested Words For Warriors get on Twitter… three times I decided to check it out.  I had thought of Twitter as a teenie bopper texting waste of time. I signed up, started poking around, and wished my tiny town had a bookstore so I could get a Twitter For Morons book.  I had no clue what I was doing.

I quickly found the community very accepting and helpful when I explained my newbie status before asking a question about the meaning of an abbreviation.  The people I communicated with, Active Duty Service Members, Veteran’s, Military Supporters, and Non Profits were all very friendly, full of information and ready to help promote anything Words For Warriors. 

It was through Twitter that Shannon Evans author of The Definitive Twitter Guide contacted me regarding a Veteran issue she needed help with.  I had no idea who Shannon was at the time, or that she was an author, she was just a person I was trying to help.  When I saw a tweet about her book, I thought, “I’d like to read that.”  I contacted Shannon and the book arrived shortly after.

The Definitive Twitter Guide is an excellent book for those who need a step by step through Twitter’s inner workings and for the experienced Twitter users of businesses and non-profits.  Shannon shows how using Twitter can help businesses and non-profits grow to their full potential and flourish.
In a world where human contact seems to be endangered, the focus of Twitter is to actually foster human contact, support, and information on a direct personal level without having to share personal information, like a phone number.  Shannon shows several good and bad examples of businesses and non-profits that use Twitter for customer service issues, feedback, and an informational delivery system.  As Shannon points out, “In the days of print, TV, and radio, there was only one-way communication with potential customers.  There was no place to have a two-way conversation that built relationships and encouraged dialogue.”

It is the relationship building, dialogue, and forced transparency of businesses and non-profits that make Twitter unique; after all, one negative tweet about a company or brand can reach thousands in just an hour or less.
This fast paced information environment means information moves at the speed of light to thousands of users, The Definitive Twitter Guide shows a company or non-profit how to use Twitter to further their brand, but also how to use other free applications to make their content search engine friendly to their customers as well as trackable by their company.

The few suggestions I have implemented from The Definitive Twitter Guide have helped Words For Warriors gain valuable support from people, non-profits, and businesses around the world that we would never had access to before.  I plan on implementing more suggestions, and look forward to the lasting success of Words For Warriors in meeting our Mission.  Making sure no solider feels forgotten.

Follow Words For Warriors on Twitter:

You can find Shannon Evans:

Monday, October 18, 2010

LCPL Tyler A. Roads, A Marine To Know

“Tyler taught me how to love.”

Lance Corporal Tyler A. Roads’ mother Sonia and I settled down on the grass next to where Tyler rests.  We find ourselves picking up pine needles that continuously fall on Tyler.  His headstone is not in place yet, but there are several offerings left by loved ones.  Sonia picked up a small bunch of yellow flowers, “I wonder who left these?”  She lovingly straightens and rearranges everything until they are just right. 

After reading about Tyler’s death in Afghanistan on July 10th, the day before he was to celebrate his 21st birthday, my heart extended out to his family, friends, and brothers.  By the power of pure luck and the Internet, Sonia stumbled across Words For Warriors on Gold Star Mother’s Day, giving me the chance to meet her, and her son.

Prior to arriving at Tyler’s final resting place, Sonia shared pictures, childhood schoolwork, and memories with me.  Through pictures I discovered Tyler wore the same half-cocked playful grin as a boy that he wore in Afghanistan.  I can see Tyler grinning in my minds eye as Sonia tells the story of Tyler, at the age of seven begging her to shoot Doves in the back field with his Red Rider BB gun.  She finally gave in.  Her smile widened as she remember the proud look on his face when he came back with two Doves and his head held high with accomplishment.  “After that I always cooked what he brought home.  He loved to hunt.  He planned on being a Game Warden when he got out of the Marines.”

To keep Tyler’s memory alive and honor his dream the community of Burney has founded the Tyler A. Roads Memorial Scholarship Fund.  The scholarship is $1000 for a student who wants to be in law enforcement or Fish and Game Management.  US Bank is accepting donations for anyone who has the ability and desire to contribute to a Marine and his dream.

At the end of my visit Sonia and I sat in silence beside Tyler, knowing we would have to leave soon, but not wanting to go.  The scent of pine lingered in the warm air.  Sonia smiled, pointing to the Military Memorial with the flags of each branch, the POW/MIA flag, and the American Flag that was fifteen feet from Tyler.  There had been a constant breeze making each flag flap consistently; however at this moment all flags were still except the Marine Corps flag, which waved proudly at us.  It was as if Tyler was waving goodbye.

Getting to know Tyler through his mother is an honor and a privilege.  I don't feel as if I have done his memory justice here, but this is no easy post. If you knew Tyler I encourage you to leave a comment of your favorite memory of him here, or on the Lance Corporal Tyler A. Roads Memorial facebook page here. Other post on Tyler can be found here and here.

Oh and Tyler, your mom says, “ILUMTAITWWW PAMF, DON'T FORGET!!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Operation Get Well Warriors

It is important to remember those who are currently fighting for our country, but what about when they come home? What if they are injured? What if they have months or years of rehabilitation? Does our support stop?
Our support should be unwavering throughout a Warriors life. There are hundreds of types of traumas a Warrior can come home with; PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, I.E.D and bullet associated trauma to name a few. A Warrior should NEVER FEEL FORGOTTEN and neither should a Wounded Warrior. Words For Warriors has sent Get Well cards in the past, but we have finally gotten the address to Landstuhl Reginal Medical Center in Germany with a contact to send cards too. (For those of you who don't know I believe Landstuhl is the first place the injured get transferred before coming home.)
Now that I have this address Operation Get Well Warriors can commence.  I will be accepting letters, artwork, poems, pretty much any thing you can think of to send some support and a heartfelt Get well to an injured Warrior. Make sure they know we still care. They are not forgotten.
A main concern I have heard is, "I don't know what to write." I say write what's in your heart. It's not about how much you write. It's about giving support to someone who needs it.
Children really are great for get well cards. Last year, I asked classes at Janesville Union to make me get well cards for the friends, of friends who were injured by an I.E.D. I told them to draw pictures of what makes them feel better when they are sick or hurt, and maybe it would help make the soldier feel better. I received over 200 pieces of artwork ranging from kindergarden to 6th grade. Two classes made get well stars. You can read about that post here. Two other classes made get well shamrocks. You can read that post here.
Last June, on the last day of school I knew it had been a good experience for the children when a kindergartner walked up to me and said, "I know you. You taught me how to make someone feel better by making them a card."
If a 5 year old can understand the importance of a get well card, then so should you. Please get involved.
If email is your media of choice, then email me your written message of support to It will be printed out and mailed. Please Reference Operation Get Well Warriors in the subject line.
Please mail artwork and letters to P.O. Box 734, Janesville, Ca. 96114

This is a fantastic opportunity for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, schools, scrapbook clubs, and any other community supporting organization for adults and children. If you know of an organization you think would benefit from participating, please pass along their contact information. I will gratefully contact them.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Honored, Respected and Celebrated.

I am ashamed to admit, I was once plagued by the apathy I am working so hard to eradicate around me. I once walked blind in a world of abundance with no thought to those who have been fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq these past ten years.
Reconnecting with a lost friend who had just begun his third deployment spurred my rebirth. It was when he confirmed most men and women who were deployed felt forgotten and wondered if "Anyone in America know we are still here?" that helped me shed my skin of apathy as my heart broke for each and every man and woman who deserves to be honored, respected, and celebrated for their service. Words For Warriors was born.
I have made knew friends, learned to look at the world with new eyes. I love nothing more than to know I have brought a smile to a strangers face with a letter or a care package. I have given the gift of knowledge to a service member that a perfect stranger thought about them. Honoring their sacrifices for our freedoms.
I also find pleasure in knowing I'm fighting the War of Apathy each and every time I get someone involved in Words For Warriors, have a teacher encourage there class to write letters or make artwork to be sent downrange. Children are our future, it bides well that they should be proud of their Country and those who defend it. The submissions for Operation Postcard re-enforces the pride children hold in their hearts for their Country. I hold the proof.
There are several social economic factors with elections in sight that could be spurring the rekindled recollection of the War's and the men and women who fight. Regardless of the reasons, I am noticing support for our Warriors in new places. Besides the American Flag being flown over homes, businesses, and public buildings, I have seen the MIA/POW flag flown at several locations on a daily basis. I have driven by more than one house in different cities paying tribute to loved ones who serve by plastering the names of their loved ones on the outside of their house.
Yesterday I was surprised and proud to find a Support Our Troops cake for purchase from Safeway. Today I found Veteran's Day cards in my local Walgreens, which are manufactured by Hallmark. I have never seen Veteran's Day cards before. I bought one of each, because I know just who to give them too.
There are a plethora of ways for the average citizen to give their support to our Warriors, which cost nothing to participate in. There are organizations like Words For Warriors, Soldier's Angels, and Operation Gratitude to name a few. Yes, all of these organizations need donations, but donating time by making crafts, or writing letters is equally as valuable as money. The recipients of the letters and crafts of support might even argue they are invaluable. The arduous economic times are no excuse for not getting involved.
Every Warrior makes a pledge to protect America, its citizens, and their brothers. I think every citizen should make a pledge to Honor, Respect, and Celebrate the lives and memories of the brave men and women who protect America and her citizens.