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.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Baking For The Troops

Words For Warriors is starting a new program called Baking For The Troops.  Volunteers will meet once a month to bake homemade goodies to be mailed to deployed men and women.  It has been expressed that homemade baked goodies are amongst the most prized mail one can receive.

If you would like to get involved, regardless of whether or not you live in my area please contact me at

Updates will be posted when information become available.

Letters From Students

Ever wonder what kinds of questions seven and eight year olds have for our deployed service members? A teacher at the local school and one of my biggest supporters had her 2nd/3rd grade combo class write letters this week. I enjoyed reading them so much I thought I would share my three favorite letters before I mail them off.

Dear Soldier,
     Do you have a riot shield? And maybe a pistol? Have you used a rocket launcher? Where are you stationed? Do you drive a tank?

Dear Soldier,
     I think you are awesome! Do they actually make oozies? Are you in the Navy? Are you married?

Dear Troop,
      Thank you for serving our country. Dude (ette), you are AWESOME!!! Where are you stationed? What weapon do you operate?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mom You're Crazy

As is our custom, I took my two boys to buy doughnuts after church.  After picking out our favorites we started heading for the 10 items or less check out.  We got there at the same time as a gentleman, who waved us ahead with a pleasant smile.  There were two people in front of me, but I wasn't in a hurry.

I turned to the pleasant man, motioned to his hat and said, "You are a Veteran?" He smiled sheepishly, adjusting his hat, "Yes Ma'am.  Vietnam was my war."  I smiled wider, "Thank you very much for serving our country."  The woman standing in front of me, who was of his generation turned, giving her thanks for his service.

Now that the gentleman was throughly embarrassed he looked at my boys with a sly smile, "I flew helicopters.  Hueys."  Both of my boys, ages 5 and 7 looked at him as if he were a bonafide Super Hero.  They both yelled out, "That's sooooo cool!"

We continued to talk in line.  He shared that the oxygen tank had nothing to do with his service in Vietnam.  He was diagnosed with cancer, and had a mild heart attack back in August.  He explained with a smile, "I kept asking the doctors what a mild heart attack was, they never gave me an answer.  So I decided you survive the mild heart attack, so the big one can get you later."

It was my turn to pay, I looked down at the conveyer belt, the gentleman was purchasing a dozen roses and a few oranges, so I told the cashier I was buying his items too.  She looked at me like I sprouted a second head.  The gentleman told me no, I didn't have to do that.  It was at this moment I heard my 7 year old say, "Mom, you're crazy."  I smiled down at him, "Yes I am.  Thank you."  I gave the cashier my mom look that says, do want I tell you to, NOW as I told her again, "I'm paying for his items. Bag them up."  I paid for the groceries.  

The gentleman (who's name I never got) thanked me, asking me for my name, which I gave him before wishing him a good week and leaving with my doughnuts.

The Vietnam War was over before I was born.  I can only imagine how this man was treated when he came home.  He had a wonderful personality, able to make jokes of his rough times.  Buying his few groceries doesn't really seem like big enough thanks.  I think he knows my thanks came from the heart though.

I challenge everyone to be crazy with me.  Do something nice for a Veteran, no matter how small to show their sacrifices have not gone unnoticed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Restrepo and Ssgt Friend

Today I watched Restrepo by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger for a second time. The first time I watched it alone in my home.  I read Sebastian Junger's book WAR about 6 months prior (and was enthralled by it), so I wasn't sure what the documentary had to offer that the book didn't cover.

Restrepo helped put faces to the names in WAR, making the people and the events even more real.  This is why, when a Ssgt Friend who's been deployed 3 times, and has the physical and emotional marks to prove it, wanted to watch Restrepo, I asked him not to watch it alone.  I asked him to watch it with me.

I watched Ssgt Friend go through a variety of emotions in 93 minutes.  At times it seemed like he was right there with them, firing at the enemy.  He was focused. Alert.  Then came Ssgt Friends laughter when the guys horsed around, dancing or rough housing like boys do.  Then came the tears, remembering when it was his friends who had been killed.  Then anger.  At one point in the movie, one of the men reports a man walking on a roof. Upon hearing the report Ssgt Friend immediately yelled, "Kill the F&*%er." Ssgt Friend didn't realize he spoke out loud when he said it.

When I asked Ssgt Friend what he thought of Restrepo, he told me it was real. The looks on the faces of the men who where interviewed, their pain, he said he feels that.  One of the men in the Platoon, Hijar I think, said, "I hope my brain learns to process this differently.  I never want to forget.  This is the reason I appreciate everything I have."  Ssgt Friend agreed, "I never want to forget either."

I am a book worm and will always recommend a book over a movie.  I highly suggest anyone interested in an amazingly real view of living on an Out Post in a combat zone without any outside motivations and politics read WAR by Sebastian Junger.  Junger doesn't write about the relationships forged in the Korengal Valley, he shows his reader over and over again through their actions.  Restrepo was a fast pasted version of the book, also a must see.  In my opinion both were about brotherhood, honor, never forgetting. Both are worth your time and money.

Vision Strike Wear

The amazing, Marine owned and operated, Vision Strike Wear and Words For Warriors have become affiliates through the FOR THE TROOPS program.  What does this mean? It means if you buy from Vision Strike Wear using the link in this post, or on my side bar, Vision Strike Wear gives Words For Warriors 15% of the proceeds. Vision Strike Wear has many sensational designs.  They also do custom designs for Military Units, Coast Guard, Police Departments, Fire Departments, and ENT's just to name a few.

What will Words For Warriors do with the contributions from your purchases?  We will use the money to pay postage, to buy care package items we can not get donated.  To buy art supplies for classrooms so children can make artwork and write letters to show their support! In an effort to be as transparent as possible I will be modifying this blog, broadcasting our financials showing our supporters where every cent is spent.

If you have a blog, and would like to help Words For Warriors raise money, please contact us. We can give you the link that will allocate 15% of the purchases originated from your site to Words For Warriors. Thank You!

Now, go check out Vision Strike Wear, I know you'll find something you like.... and please tell your friends!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Community Morns An Officer, A Marine, A Son-Rob McElrath

The pain was tangible today when approximately 700 people attended the service to honor and celebrate the life of Officer Rob McElrath. A procession of approximately 100 vehicles.  State and Federal agencies from all over Northern California and Eastern Nevada were present to honor their brother. The Patriot Guard Riders from several areas held a corridor of flags at the entrance to the Assembly Of God Church. The Susanville Soaring Eagle Blue Star Mother's held flags in support. The procession began at the Lassen County Fairgrounds, down Main Street until it turned left at Weatherlow making its way to the Susanville Assembly Of God Church in Richmond.

Knowing parking and traffic would be difficult I drove straight to the church, but my husband and sons were in town on a Cub Scout event. My husband told me the Cub Scouts saluted everyone in the processional. Due to the amount of support, there was not enough parking at the church. Vehicles turned off their engines parking their vehicles in the closed street. Speakers were placed outside the church in order to accommodate all of the mourners.

The memorial began with the playing of Amazing Grace on bag pipes by a fellow officer.  Amazing Grace was followed by the playing of TAPS. Speakers included Sheriff Dean Growdon, Chief of Police Jeff Atkinson, a childhood friend, two of his daughters, his mother, and siblings.  Each speaker shared a little bit of the Rob they new and loved. These stories made everyone laugh amongst the tears.

What kind of man was Rob?
He was a Peacemaker.  He was kind and polite. He loved his children.  He loved his brothers and sisters of law enforcement. He loved being a Scout Sniper and a United States Marine. He loved watching the movie Blazing Saddles with his children.

Several stories of Rob were shared including when he waded through icy Susan River to rescue a dog. Of hearing a report of a foot chase in his neighborhood while off duty, in which he caught the assailant, wearing his patrol shirt, gun belt, boots, and jammie pants.  And when he used a riot shield to help protect another officer from a buck who needed freeing because its antlers were caught in a chain, that was wrapped around a telephone poll.

It is clear Rob McElrath left this earth better than he found it. As his friend from 5th grade put it, "Rob is a 2-For, when he meets Saint Peter he will say, Another Marine reporting for duty, and another Officer reporting for patrol."

It is clear Rob will be missed by the Community he served.

 The community also hurts for his children during this painful time. Rob is survived by his four children. The oldest two were adopted by Rob from his wife's first marriage.

If you would like to view the previous post on Officer McElrath please go here.
If you would like an update on the circumstances of Rob's murder please read the article from The Sacramento Bee
Here is News Channel 4 coverage:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Rest In Peace Major Dick Winters

Everyone should be celebrating the life of Major Dick Winters. Rather than rewrite as so many others are writing great post about Major Dick Winters life and accomplishments I will direct you to some of my favorites.

The Sniper, Blackfive and Cop The Truth wrote excellent tributes. Go Airborne!

A Fallen Officer and Marine

Susanville and the surrounding areas have suffered a monumental loss. Officer Rob McElrath was shot and killed on January 2, 2011. Everyone is invited to honor the life of Rob with a Candlelight vigil Tuesday, 7pm at Banner Lassen Medical Center. Please bring your own candles.

Rob served as a United States Marine before starting his law enforcement career. He started his career in Lassen County as a Correctional Officer, and a Reserve Deputy before he became a Deputy Sheriff. He later joined the Susanville Police.

Joanna McElrath, Rob's wife and her boyfriend, Robin Glen James have been arrested and are await arraignment scheduled for Monday. The Susanville Police department have called on the assistance of outside law enforcement agencies to assist in their investigation leading up these arrests. Read Sheriff-Coroner Dean F. Growdon remarks here. You can read the Coroner's office official statement regarding the investigation here.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Rob's family. I know Rob will Guard the Gates To Heaven proudly.

UPDATE: Rob McElrath's funeral procession will be held on Saturday, January 15th at 10:40am beginning at the Lassen County Fairgrounds and ending at Susanville Assembly of God Church on Richmond Road for a public memorial.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Tragedy

Captain Mark E. Kelly of the United States Navy, a Veteran of Desert Storm, and a current Astronaut is married to Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford. Congresswoman Gifford was one of the people shot at a Tucson Arizona Safeway.  It has been reported by the Huntington News surgeons are optimistic about Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford's recovery. There is also a report five individuals are in critical condition. The deceased are reported as Federal Judge John Roll, a Congressional Aid to Gifford, and a nine year old child. 

The political finger pointing and mud slinging have already begun on the reasons for this tragedy. What I know is a Federal Judge, who was under Federal protection by the U.S. Marshals for recent death threats, a Congressional Aid, and a nine year old child lost their lives today; while Congresswoman Gifford and five other's fight for their lives. 

My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those affected by this tragedy. My they all find peace. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Reception For Nick Moody

Nick Moody
Lorina Moody, Nick's mother has invited ALL of the wonderful people who supported her and Nick while Nick was incarcerated in the UAE to a Thank You reception. The reception is being held on Saturday, January 8th, at the Elks Lodge in Susanville, California from 4 to 7 pm.

This is to thank the supporters who made phone calls, wrote letters, and contributed in many other ways in bringing Nick home. If you live within a reasonably close distance I encourage you to come.

I hope to see some of you there!