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, November 22, 2012

Thankful Mail

On this Thanksgiving Day I am lucky enough to be with my family. We are all healthy and happy. There are many service members who are far from their family, whether they are deployed protecting our freedom, or recovering from an injury in one of the many hospitals and rehab facilities.

Children at Janesville Elementry are always excited to know their work has ended up in the hands of a service member, as they are closely related to super heroes (according to one little girl). This year several teachers coordinated letters and artwork for Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving. I have asked a wonderful and strong wife of a wounded Marine to take the student's appreciation to the San Diego hospital and deliver them on my behalf. 

Seeing the hard work and the great pictures these students made for services members brings happiness to my heart. Every time I see one of the children, they want to know all about who got their artwork and letters, and if they like them. I hope I'll have some pictures to share with them soon. I hope to share the smiles they have brought to our Wounded Warriors. 

Remember... Their Sacrifice. Our Freedom.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving Hope

I have been thinking a lot over the last six months about Hope and Thankfulness.  The economy, politics, and life in general has thrown some vicious curve balls my way over the last two years. November is a symbolic month for reflection and thankfulness, or at least it is for me. It is also the beginning of the holiday season to celebrate family, friends, and life.

I have lost most of the people I love to cancer, so the holiday's for me are a time of nostalgia, memories, and hope.

Hope and Thanksgiving go hand in hand; for the people who have the most hope, are by nature the most thankful.  The people who have endured the biggest challenges, who have lost the most, they are the people who know how to be thankful for the simple things.

In a time of the "Give It To Me" generation, coupled with the Constitution being trampled on an hourly basis hope may seem futile. As much as there is cause for fear, there is still hope.

Hope that a leader will emerge who can turn our Country around.
Hope that the young will learn to take responsibility for their actions.
Hope that American's will take pride in themselves, in their Country by using their purchasing power, their representatives to demand change.

History has many valuable lessons. The most important lessons are, work hard, do the right thing, even when it's hard, and be thankful.

I am Thankful for many people, events, and experiences (good and bad) throughout my life. As much as I miss those who are no longer with me, I am grateful for the time I spent and the memories I have to hold onto.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Triple Amputee Marine Nick Kimmel Throws Strike

Photo by Associated Press

One of my co-workers was bursting with pride today, as he should have been. Why was he proud? Because his friends son, Nick Kimmel, a Marine, who became a triple amputee during his second Afghanistan tour was throwing the first pitch in Game 2 of the World Series. 

In 2008, Nick passed up a partial baseball scholarship to serve his Country as a Marine. Tonight he walked to the pitchers mound at AT&T Park and threw a STRIKE! See the video and read more here!
Kimmel was accompanied to the mound by fellow Veteran Willie Mays and  founder of Strikeouts For Troops and Giants pitcher Barry Zito. 

The pre-game ceremony honored World War II-era baseball veterans, managers, and broadcasters who served in the military. Lasorda said it best, "I've had heroes in my life-- Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth, but I look at this Marine here... this is my hero."

Thanks to Malcolm for brining this Hero and Marine to my attention.

Remember... Their Sacrifice. Our Freedom.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Milblog Family Reunion

Over labor day weekend I took my chances with TSA flying from California to San Antonio, Texas for the First Milblog Family Reunion. I got to spend time with some good friends and meet some new friends at the Soldier's Angels support center.

There were several bloggers present, yet the event was still small and intimate. There was live music, discussions on Post Traumatic Stress and reintegration. The event was educational and just down right fun.

The most memorable moment was when the Valour-IT program provided Wounded Warriors with lap tops. I had the honor of presenting a lap top and speaking with several recipients. One of the recipients, Christopher Sullivan, a quadriplegic couldn't make it to the Soldier's Angels support center, so his mom Suzanne, his brother, and sister who had moved from California to San Antonio, Texas to be with Christopher during his recovery accepted the lap top.

The Sullivan family is a strong, courageous family. I am grateful I was able to meet them, and hope to one day meet Christopher. Meeting the Sullivan's and the other Wounded Warriors enforces why Valour-IT is so important.

Valour-IT changes lives. It provides opportunities. Just ask the Sullivan Family.

Suzanne Sullivan accepts a Valour-IT laptop on behalf of her son Christopher, an Afghanistan Veteran

Friday, September 7, 2012

Marine's Family Asks For Help

A Marine friend of mine barely home from deployment to Afghanistan asked me to get the word out about an injured Marine friend named Sergeant Kirstie Ennis. She was injured after her helicopter crashed June 23, 2012.

Sergeant Ennis's family started a Indiegogo fundraising page. The goal is to raise $10,000 to help the family visit Sergeant Ennis in San Diego where she is being treated for her injuries.

Her mother writes:

My daughter, Kirstie Ennis, was injured when her helicopter went down while serving in Afghanistan in June 2012. She will be receiving her medical care at the naval hospital in San Diego. Her most serious injuries include facial trauma and a broken talus (which may lead to possible amputation of her left leg from below the knee). Though she will require additional surgeries and therapy (physical, vestibular, and mental health), doctors are optimistic that she will recover with minimal disability—only time will tell. She is a fighter and I feel that regardless of the outcome, she will come out of this a better, stronger individual. On September 4th, she will undergo a bone graft from hip to jaw. (Contrary to the song, the hip bone can apparently be connected to the jaw bone). My younger daughter, Kaylee, and I will be flying out for the surgery and will remain in San Diego for a week while Kirstie recovers from it. We hope to return to San Diego throughout the next year to be with her for holidays, as well as future surgeries.
My husband, Geoff, is currently working in the northeast; while Kaylee and I are living in Florida. We are in the process of selling our home and have enrolled Kaylee in virtual school, so that we may travel between my husband’s work and Kirstie—to focus on the more important things in life. My husband and I were also Marines; and, all too well, know the feeling of loneliness associated with being far from family. It pains me to think of Kirstie being so far away suffering physically, mentally, and emotionally.
The funding that is raised will go strictly towards the transportation and lodging costs that go above and beyond those covered by other charities.
There is 33 days left of fundraising and only $3,429 left to reach the goal of $10,000. If you can, I encourage you  to give, every little bit helps.

Remember... Their Sacrifice. Our Freedom.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

SFC Josh Olsen, Paralympics Competitor

This week I'm stealing the Hero of the Week from the super cool guys over at Ranger Up's blog Rhino Den. Levi Newman interviewed SFC Olsen and did one fine job of it.

SFC Olsen is an International Rifle Shooter for the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, Fort Benning, CA.  He is the only competitor in the Paralympics in London who is classified as active duty.

SFC Olsen is a Hero not only because of his service, but also because of his determination and drive since becoming a wounded warrior. His story is a must read. Hit the link!

To read about SFC Olsen's shooting accomplishments go to the official Army Olympian Biography page. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Jacklyn H. Lucas- 17 Year Old Medal Of Honor Recipient From The Battle Of Iwo Jima

Image courtesy of the US Marines

Jacklyn H. Lucas is the youngest Medal Of Honor recipient since the Civil War. At the stubborn age of 14 his mature build of 5 foot 8 inches tall and 180 pounds allowed him to enlist in the Marine Corps Reserve. Determined to fight Japanese, Jacklyn eventually went AWOL stowing away on the USS Deuel to pursue his goal of making it to the Pacific front. Five days after his 17th birthday, Jacklyn landed on Iwo Jima.

It was D-Day plus one, when Jacklyn just barely 17 years old preformed the self sacrificing act, which resulted in the Medal Of Honor.

Jacklyn's citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the First Battalion, Twenty-sixth Marines, Fifth Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands 20 February 1945. While creeping through a treacherous, twisting ravine which ran in close proximity to a fluid and uncertain front line on D-plus+1 Day, Private First Class Lucas and three other men were suddenly ambushed by a hostile patrol which savagely attacked with rifle fire and grenades. Quick to act when the lives of the small group were endangered by two grenades which landed directly in front of them, Private First Class Lucas unhesitatingly hurled himself over his comrades upon one grenade and pulled the other one under him, absorbing the whole blasting force of the explosions in his own body in order to shield his companions from the concussion and murderous flying fragments. By his inspiring action and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice, he not only protected his comrades from certain injury or possible death, but also enabled them to rout the Japanese patrol and continue the advance. His exceptionally courageous initiative and loyalty reflect the highest credit upon Private First Class Lucas and the United States Naval Service. Harry S. Truman
The island of Iwo Jima is made from volcanic rock and sand. Jacklyn's quick thinking to bury one grenade in the sand with his rife as he laid his body over the second saved his life, and the lives of his Brothers. The volcanic ash absorbed much of the blast of the first grenade, while the second grenade was a dud. Jacklyn had extensive damage to his body, resulting in his eventual discharge from the Marines.

When discharged Jacklyn was the recipient of the Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic- Pacific Campaign Medal with one Bronze Star, and the World War II Victory Medal.

After recovering from his wounds, Jacklyn enrolled in high school, graduated, and proceed in his education until he graduated from college. After college he joined the Army, becoming a Paratrooper to conquer his fear of heights. Jacklyn even survived a jump where both of his parachutes failed to open.

It is clear Jackyn Lucas was made from a special breed of man. The kind of man who went after what he wanted with the tenacity of a Bull Shark, never letting little things like age, logistics, or fear stand in his way. At the adventure filled age of 80, Jacklyn died of leukemia surrounded by his friends and family, something not every Hero gets to experience.

Monday, July 16, 2012

John "Doc" Bradley

John Bradley in front a war bond picture depicting the Flag Raising.
Image curtsey of US Marine Corps
John "Doc" Bradley was a Pharmacist's Mate 2nd Class in the US Navy during World War II. Doc Bradley was one of six men in the iconographic picture of the second flag raising on Iwo Jima. Doc's constant assertion that the true Hero's of Iwo Jima were the men who never came home, fit my description of a Hero.

Because of Doc Bradley many lives were saved. He received the Navy Cross with the following citation for his actions on Iwo Jima:

"For extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy at Iwo Jima on Feb. 21, 1945 as a hospital corpsman attached to a Marine Rifle platoon. During a furious assault by his company upon a strongly defended enemy zone at the base of Mt. Suribachi, Bradley observed a Marine infantryman fall wounded in an open area under a pounding barrage by mortars, interlaced with a merciless crossfire from Machine guns.
With complete disregard for his own safety, he ran through the intense fire to the side of the fallen Marine, examined his wounds and ascertained that an immediate administration of plasma was necessary to save the man's life. Unwilling to subject any of his comrades to the danger to which he had so valiantly exposed himself, he signaled would-be assistants to remain where they were. Placing himself in a position to shield the wounded man, he tied a plasma unit to a rifle planted upright in the sand and continued his life saving mission.
The Marine's wounds bandaged and the condition of shock relieved by plasma, Bradley pulled the man thirty yards through intense enemy fire to a position of safety. His indomitable spirit, dauntless initiative, and heroic devotion to duty were an inspiration to those with who he served and were in keeping with the highest tradition of the United States Naval Service."
At the time of Doc's discharge from the Navy he had the following decorations:

  • Navy Cross
  • Purple Heart
  • Combat Action Ribbon
  • Presidential Unit Citation
  • America Campaign Medal
  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
  • World War II Victory Medal 

Doc was an amazing man and I highly recommend you read his son's book Flags Of Our Fathers by James Bradley. It was a very well written book which covered the lives and actions of all six Flag Raisers, as well as other Marines and the scarifies they made on Iwo Jima. 

I know Doc would have given anything to save more lives, especially that of his best friend Iggy. He is a man who's ethics, humility, and compassion should be aspired to for all future generations. 

Joe Rosenthal's famous photograph of the second Flag Raising on Iwo Jima.
If you would like a quick history on the cost and strategy of taking Iwo Jima the Marine Gazette has this excellent piece.

Weekly Heros

I am pledging to write weekly about a Hero. Some of these Heroes will be living heroes, and some will have made the ultimate sacrifice. My goal is to write about one person who preformed an extraordinary action; in writing about such a person I will be honoring them, their friends, their actions, their families the only way I know how.

If you have a Hero who has impacted your life, please contact me. I would love to write about someone you care about.

Send email to

Remember.... Their Sacrifice. Our Freedom.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Valour-IT, Who's going to win this year?

Well folks it's Valour-IT time again. If you don't know about Valour-IT and how they use technology to assist our Wounded Warriors heal.... THEN GET WITH IT! To donate and keep up with who's winning check out the official Valour-IT blog at

As of this post the Marines are on top!
Will they keep the lead?
Or will Army take over like last year?
Is the Navy and Air Force out of the fight?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day With Vietnam Veterans

Sgt. Brown, left and LT Shell, right are saluted by Pack 405 Cub Scouts

My two sons, who are six and eight years old know the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. They'd be happy to educate anyone who doesn't know the difference.  The Saturday before Memorial Day, my boys and I participate in honoring the service of our Country's Military by placing American Flags on the graves of men and women who served in the Civil War spanning to present day Wars. Pack 405 take great pride in placing the flags. They even clean head stones of debris.

This year LT Shell and Sgt. Brown from the local VFW, who sponsor Pack 405 accompanied the Cub Scouts to the three cemeteries. They provided the flags for the kids to place on the graves.  At the final cemetery, which is the oldest cemetery Sgt. Brown gave me and my boys a tour educating us about local history. My eight year old has been studying local history, he had a plethora of questions for Sgt Brown. Sgt. Brown answered every one of my son's questions with pride. When my son started asking questions about Sgt. Brown's service his voice turned quite.

Sgt. Brown survived three tours in Vietnam as a Flight Engineer on a Chinook helicopter for the Army.  Sgt. Brown's Chinook crashed after he was shot down. He was rescued, but by the look in his eyes, I'm not sure if everyone in his crew survived.

Sgt. Brown was eighteen years old when he was called to serve his Country. He proudly served in the Army for eleven years. My boys aren't old enough to really understand Vietnam, but they do know our Veteran's were treated horribly upon returning home. We talked about that a little bit with Sgt. Brown, who confirmed he had been spit on.

For the most part I let my boys carry the conversation with Sgt. Brown seeing he enjoyed having young people who were sincerely interested in what he had seen and done. My oldest told me in the car later, "It was pretty neat talking to Sgt. Brown today. He's a living History book. That's pretty cool."

Sgt. Brown made a few comments that revealed his time in Vietnam, the memories of what he saw, and those he lost are still with him 50 years later. My boys and I are honored he shared some of those memories with us today.

There are several Military Friends and Gold Star Families on my mind this weekend, Sgt. Brown included. He and LT Shell helped the Vietnam War become more than just a story to my boys, for that I thank him. For all those who have lost their lives serving this great country, and those who have loved them, Your Sacrifice has not gone unnoticed.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Washington D.C., 2011

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Military Spouse Appreciation Day

Artwork  by a 4th Grader at Janesville School
I would just like to say THANK YOU to all of the Military Spouses. It takes a special person to be a military spouse. I have many friends who are spouses, and they are all amazing, compassionate, strong people who have my utter respect. The Military Spouses don't get enough acknowledgment for their hard work. The spouses are the rocks at home who support our Military. They need our support and thanks too. If you know a Military Spouse, be sure to tell them, Thank You.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Guitar Needed For Deployed Friend

Today, I'm looking for anyone who either has a guitar to donate, or will sell one cheap. One of my best friends, who I've known for almost twenty years has begun his eleventheeth deployment (I've lost track.) He told me he'd like to get a hold of a guitar for this deployment and I'm hoping there is someone out there who can help. I will pay for postage to send the guitar down range.

If you can help, please email me at

A million thanks.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sending Out Congratulations!

I wanted to take a moment to say Congratulations to America's First Sargent for being promoted to America's Sargent Major! You can see him get his chevrons here! I expect continued excellence from the Sargent Major on all Zombie Slaying related activities as he trains his Marine Ninja's to keep us safe.

Thanks for serving Sargent Major and keep up the good work!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tough Mudder 2012 Tahoe

In September I'm participating in the Tough Mudder event in Tahoe. This is an approximate 11 mile military style obstacle corse complete with fire, eclectic shock, and a variety of other joy. Tough Mudder donates a portion of their proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project. They also offer participants to gather donations for the Wounded Warrior Project for a discounted entry fee. As much as I love discounts, I love Wounded Warriors more.

Here is the link if you'd like to donate to the Wounded Warrior Project. Check it out. 

If you don't know what Tough Mudder is.... check out the video from last years event. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Act Of Valor- A Movie Review

The first time I heard of Act Of Valor I was sitting at Blog World in a small theatre with Laughing Wolf from BlackFive, (Or maybe you know him better as the CEO of Cooking With The Troops?) Markus The Red Shirt from YouServed Radio, and everyones favorite Marine Widow, Mrs. P from A Little Pink In A World Of Camo.  After listening to the director and producer tell us a little about the movie, we got to see a preview. It was enough to hook all of us into wanting to see the movie.

Last night was date night. I don't think my husband minded when I said I wanted to see Act Of Valor. Now I can't speak on the credibility of the military tactical side of the movie. As a civilian I can tell you it pretty much rocked. The sound of the live ammo used in the scenes created a deep sound that's never been matched. I have heard the scenes with enemy contact have triggered PTSD symptoms for some Veterans, whether this is due to the sounds of gun fire, the graphic nature of some of the scenes, or both, I can't say. I would like Veterans to think before they see it if they are sensitive to these types of situations. I would also caution any Gold Star Families before seeing this movie, as it's very emotional.

Without spoiling the movie, I will say that much like real war, people die. Good people with families. To push this point forward, at the end of the movie they honor all of the Fallen SEAL's since 9/11. I recognized many names. The one that choked me up was Petty Officer 1st Class Neil C. Roberts. I knew him when I was younger. We even share a very proud niece and nephew. I had been thinking of him, his wife, son, and family while watching the movie.

The sacrifices military men and women make, along with the support and love of their families is not fictional entertainment. They are very real. The average American needs to remember this, hopefully this movie will give the average American a glimpse of the sacrifices so many have made since 9/11.

Their Sacrifice. Our Freedom.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mail Call From Afghanistan!

Words For Warriors has been supporting Sgt. Jeffery Tumey through his deployment in Afghanistan. He has received a number of letters, as he is one of the few who specifically requested letters from students. A memo went out to teachers with a little about Sgt. Tumey's background. Mr. Tripplet's 1st grade class and Mrs. Bricker's 3rd grade class responded to Sgt. Tumey's call for mail. He is currently answering their letters, meanwhile I received a box of thanks.

Sgt. Tumey is the second from the banner, on the left, in the back row.

Sgt. Tumey is the NCOIC of an Engineer Team.
Obviously Sgt. Tumey has discovered the way to my heart.... BOOKS!

Sgt. Tumey included this touching thank you letter.
      Hey! Thank you for all you have done for myself and the Soldiers' here. I know you keep very busy with a lot of stuff including your family life. I am sure that you have a pretty hectic schedule daily. I am also thankful that I have found a pretty cool friend like you. It's hard to trust hardly anyone in my situation so seeing and talking to a friendly person helps me back to reality. This packaged box was the only box that was small enough for this picture and letter. To give you more of an adventure into my vivid imagination sometimes, I sent these two books just to give an idea of century that I place my mind into when not battleing. I have read these already and I loved them. I am not saying YOU MUST READ THEM, you know what, yes I am, YOU MUST READ THEM, there I said it twice! Lol But for real, your thoughtfulness and appreciation is unmeasurable to anyone I have ever known.
Thank you Kristina, you will forever be in my heart, and the Soldiers that you make an impression on.
SGT Tumey, Jeffery aka: Sapper 
Letters like this one reinforces the importance of supporting the military. I am proud of Sgt Tumey, the men and women he serves with, and his family that misses him dearly while he is gone. Thank you Sgt. I look forward to welcoming you home soon. I will also have book reports soon on these two must read books!

*Sgt Tumey gave prior permission to use his real name, his team picture, and to post his letter.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A New Years State Of Mind

Celtic Dove Of Peace by meic2

A few weeks ago I read this article over at A Little Pink In A World Of Camo. In the post, Mrs. P who is a Marine Widow talks about how she ran across another article that spoke not of a New Years Resolution, but of a New Years word, or theme. The basic idea is to reflect on what you really need in your life, or what you need to strive to give others. For example do you need Peace? Wisdom? Grace? Honesty? Tranquility? Or harmony? Do you need to be more generous? Humble? Compassionate towards others?

I have to say, I really like this idea. I think it has a lot of potential. One reason I like the idea of a New Years Theme is because it's positive and attainable. Sure, it's positive to cut sugar out of your diet, but how practical is it? It is realistic to have a goal for a year to be more compassionate. Does having a goal mean you'll be successful at every opportunity? No. All bad (and good) habits are born from repetition, meaning the more we do something, like practice compassion, the higher the possibility it will become easier and eventually mold into a habit.

I've given it a lot of thought, my New Years Theme is going to be Peace. Peace is something I have experienced little of in 2011. I'm not quite sure how one attains peace, as everyone seems to have a different answer, perhaps one day I'll have my own answer.

If you picked a New Years Theme what would it be?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Does Mail and Care Packages Help Stop PTSD?

This article from the Chicago-Sun Times titled Hight-Tech Age Letters Still Matter discusses a study which shows family members who received hand written letters, emails they could print and keep with them, and care packages from family members were less likely to develop PTSD. This is the first study of it's type that I could find. I hope there are future studies in the works, and hope in the future they don't limit themselves to troops who regularly receive mail from family, but broaden the study to those who regularly receive mail. I have supported many troops, and I have several friends who support troops. Between all of us, I'd say we've supported THOUSANDS of troops with letters, care packages, and emails. Us active troop supporters know the value of what we send and do. I can only hope that word will spread and ALL of our troops overseas will feel the support of their country, because not every troop has a family to support them, but they do have a country filled with people who do.

How can you support a troop?

If you, or your child (children LOVE getting involved) draw a picture, write a letter, or make a card I will make sure it gets in the hands of a troop. Just email me or mail it directly to me at PO Box 734, Janesville, CA 96114. This is an AWESOME class project for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders who need to practice their letter writing skills.

If you would like to support a troop while they are deployed I suggest looking into being a Solider's Angel or visiting

There are many amazing programs out there, these are but a few. I have made some life long friends and some I would even consider family, all by writing letters and sending care packages. Give it a try.

Remember.... Their Sacrifices. Our Freedom.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Here's a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to US Navy SEAL's and hoping they get to unwrap some special presents. After all, it is because of dangerous men like this we get to sleep peacefully at night.

Remember.... Their Sacrifice. Our Freedom.