Focus On: Christmas Care Pack Special Items

Check out the extra special Christmas items
in our Holiday Care Packages for the Troops


We are rapidly approaching the biggest holiday of the year. Yes we’re talking about Christmas. It seems like it snuck up on us, doesn’t it?

There are almost 15,000 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as thousands more deployed in various hot spots around the Middle East. These brave men and women won’t be home with their families for the holidays, they’ll be spending Christmas protecting our freedoms.


We hear time and time again from our military care package recipients how much they appreciate our care packages and how much it means to them to know that people from back home took the time to think of them.

Below you’ll find some of the special holiday items we’re including with our Christmas care packages for the troops. Our boxes still come with most of the standard care package items but for Christmas we like to send our troops something to remind them of the Christmas spirit.

Each box will include a real Christmas stocking that the troops can hang as decoration just like people back home hang them by the chimney. It’s an unmistakable sign that it’s Christmas time!

We’re also packing in some Hot Chocolate, the perfect feel-good drink to sit around the fireside with your buddies and tell great stories of Christmas times past.



Candy canes are the iconic Christmas candy and we’re going to send the troops some to of these perfect peppermints of the season. 

Finally we’ve got the perfect recipe for Christmas coffee, some peppermint coffee beans roasted locally by our jolly old friends at Roger’s Family Coffee Company.

Just imagine what it would be like to know someone loves and supports you while you are on patrol, standing guard or just a few months away from coming home. Make your gift today and send the support you know they deserve, with a tax deductible donation.

December Monthly Newsletter

You can Bring Christmas to our Troops!




This year we have thousands of troops waiting
for some Christmas cheer and you can help!


At Move America Forward, we often asked “How can I help?” from those interested in supporting our troops. Help comes in many forms, donating supplies like our friends at Guideposts
who donate informative, spiritual and practical planning guides for our troops, or our friend Tom D. from New York who often sends us books for inclusion for our packages. Many of our goodies are provided by the great folks at Paradies and of course our packages wouldn’t be the same without all the premium coffee donated to our troops from San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee,
volunteering to help us pack boxes like all the great folks who come in to pack boxes for us like the fantastic volunteers from Wounded Warrior Project or the selfless scouts from Troop 446 out of Antelope, CA. who recently spent a marathon day assembling packages for shipment out to our brave men and women selflessly serving far from home.


At Move America Forward help often comes in the form of sending out care packages to our soldiers and thanks to the many stalwart supporters in our Monthly Smiles Program and our supporters who send packages only once or several times a year our troops see packages year-round.

When you really want to spread the love and bring a smile to a group of our deployed troops we have plenty of options available!  We offer several packages that are meant to be shared by two, four or more soldiers


Our Soldiers are counting on us! Nothing makes them miss their loved ones more than the memories of spending Christmas with family, and knowing that they won’t be home to watch their kids sing or play trumpet or violin in a school Christmas concert or even open their presents on Christmas morning. Our troops gladly sacrifice so much for all Americans, please take a moment to thank them with a care package from home and most importantly, have a much needed note of thanks that only you can include.


THANK our troops and PRAY FOR THEM as we gather with our loved ones here at home remember those who sacrifice so much to keep us safe… Sponsor a Care Package from Move America Forward to send a little bit of
Christmas cheer
to our troops fighting over in the Middle East! These packages are filled with the same great list of goodies and personal care products, plus some special Christmas treats like candy canes, Holiday Coffee, Hot Cocoa and red fleece Christmas Stockings.


Just click on our Christmas Shop to see what’s special for the holidays,
and check out our gifts for individual soldiers as well as those designed to be shared.








Thanks Larry Marino & Listeners at KRLA AM870 The Answer for Supporting our Troops!



We partnered up with KRLA 870 AM The Answer to send packages to our troops in honor of  Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, so from November8 through December 5, the listeners of KRLA 870 AM have really pitched in to help make sure our deployed service members were remembered, honored and given a long distance hug from home. 



Listen below and Larry Marino talks to Lisa of Move America Forward about our troops and our vital mission to support them.





Furry Christmas!!



Military K9 teams fill specialized roles such as patrols, guarding important buildings and sniffing out roadside bombs and providing a special loving bond with their human partners.   Move America Forward recognizes and honors Military Working Dogs and the troops who train and work alongside them. Since 2010, MAF has been sending specialized K-9 Care Packages for those military dogs and the handlers who work alongside them.




K-9 Care packages include all of the normal great items included in a normal care package that our troops enjoy and need PLUS eye-protecting “Doggles Originalz” specifically designed for our furry troops and ultra-tough Kong training aids, doggie treats and other. If you would like to send out a special K8 package, we are here to help!

A Group Gift Everyone can agree on!


You have enough to worry about during this busy season. Let our Group Gift Program take the worries out of Christmas Troop Support. Group Gift  makes it easy for any size company or group to support our troops – all you have to do is let us know your budget and we’ll do all the work. We offer you a variety of options for packages to fit your budget. We will even include a customized message from your company, group or organization in every package.



To contact group gift, email LisaBaron@MoveAmerica.org with your questions, and she’ll be glad to help out.

 


Thank You Highlights!



“Getting a package means so much more than the items inside”




We are shipping Holiday Care Packages Now!



Our MAF volunteers, staff, supporters and maybe even an elf or two are all pitching in to make sure every package ordered gets in the mail by Christmas. Santa want you to know they’d really appreciate it if you don’t wait until the very last minute to order. And just a reminder to all you procrastinators: packages sent to the military must go by USPS Priority Mail, so we’re not able to offer an overnight delivery option like UPS or FEDX. But if you do miss the deadline, don’t worry….MAF is sending Holiday Care Packages all the way until December 31st, and even if it shows up after December 25th, the troops are going to be more than willing to celebrate Christmas when it arrives. So if you haven’t had time yet, take a moment to remember our brave men and women serving far from home.



MAF Makes Your Christmas Shopping Easy!

MAF is making it easy to send a gift to a soldier in the name of family, friends or co-workers
.
It’s just like making a donation to any other charity in a friend’s honor.  If you just want to send a package or two, or  to send packages in the names of each of your many clients, customers or everyone on your holiday list, we’ll be happy to do all the work for you.

All you have to do is give us your budget and your list, and we’ll do the rest. We’ll even supply you with a letter you can print out or email letting your list of friends know a gift has been sent in their name by you to a deployed service member.  It’s one gift that’s sure to produce smiles all around. Just contact LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org and paste Gift Giving in the subject line.

AMAZON SMILES MAXIMIZES YOUR SUPPORT
Make your money work twice as hard by supporting the troops at no extra cost to you while doing your holiday shopping with Amazon Smiles!



Move America Forward is now partnering with Amazon.com and participating in their Amazon Smile Non-Profit Program, where Amazon donates a portion of whatever you order to MAF so we can send even more support packages to our troops!

How does Amazon Smile Work?

It’s simple: All you have to do is use the link below to select
Move America Forward
as the charity you would like to support and a small portion of what you buy on Amazon.com is donated. No extra cost to you, just extra support for our brave defenders for buying the things you normally would. It’s a WIN-WIN!

CLICK HERE TO SET UP AMAZON SMILE

Millions of Americans already use Amazon to purchase clothes, books and movies to tech gadgets, or almost anything you can think of. Chances are, if you’ve ever bought anything on-line, you have probably used Amazon.com at least once or twice.

Now with Amazon Smile, you can
support Move America Forward at no cost to you,
simply by buying the same things you would have bought anyway.


Prices are the same, shipping is the same, and nothing changes except Amazon donates .05% of your purchase to MAF on your behalf!



Click HERE to shop for great Gifts and be sure to set MAF as your Amazon Smiles Charity!

Gift of Monthly Smiles!

MAF even makes it easy to give year round .You can give someone a Membership in the Monthly Smiles Club and we’ll send a soldier a package in their name every month all year long. So long after the Christmas decorations are put away, your holiday gift will still be reminding your recipient of you – and reminding a soldier far from home that someone still cares about them.

We can work with your budget to send packages and to include a personal support message. We’ll even prepare a special letter for the person you’re giving the gift to. Then every month both you and the person who received your gift will get a notification from us letting you both know that a package went out. No need to pay up front; we’ll simply charge your credit card each month when your package ships.

What a great gift for a special client, friend or family member or group or employees  If you’d like to find out more, just complete our Monthly Smiles email form and in the area for messages, tell us you want to know more about
giving a membership in the Monthly Smiles Club.

Interested in Setting up your OWN Monthly Smiles?

Set up to schedule a monthly troop support package now and we will remember to send a package out through our Monthly Smiles Club for you each month. Our Monthly Smiles Club provides an easy way to keep those smiles coming all year long! We have made it even simpler to sign up.  When you place your package order there is now a button you can click to make your Monthly Smiles Donation automatic.  What could be simpler?





That’s all there is to it. Then you’ll know each month you’ve put a smile on a soldier’s face. Our Director of Troop Support, Lisa Baron personally oversees our Monthly Smiles program and she will make sure that your monthly package contains a personal message from you to the troops with every package we ship out on your behalf.

We can also set up programs that send packages out for all the different holidays through the year. We have members who send out packages for Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and others who send out packages every other month or even quarterly. We’re here to help with whatever you or your company, group or organization wants to do to support the troops. There’s no obligation, and you can stop sending packages at any time. Plus Monthly Smiles donations are always 100% tax deductible!

If you have a question or would like additional information, contact Lisa Baron, our Monthly Smiles Director at LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org.

Check out one of our latest reviews on Great Nonprofits



TWEETS FOR THE TROOPS @M_A_F



Check us out on Facebook!

Merry Christmas, My Friend


‘Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,

In a one-bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live.
As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.

On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,


a sobering thought soon came to my mind.

For this house was different, unlike any I’d seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.


I’d heard stories about them, I had to see more,

so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.


He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?

Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,

And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.

They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,

on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.

Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.


He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,

“Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps.”

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still.

I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.

So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,

and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn’t want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,

said “Carry on, Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all secure.”
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,

Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight
Written by Corporal James M. Schmidt

 

Do you have unused or unwanted gift cards?

Now, you can use them to sponsor care packages for one of our brave men or women of the military.  Not only will you brighten the day of one of America’s finest, but your gift card donation to Move America Forward is also tax deductible, a win-win!

For every $25 dollars in gift cards we receive, we will send a care package in your name. Click here to get started!

As always, special thanks go out to our Sponsors!:

 

 

Black Friday deals extended! Support our troops while you shop with Amazon smiles



Cyber Monday Online Sales: Shop with Amazon
and Support MAF At No Cost To You!



Many online retailers have now begun their own Holiday sales tradition copying the Black Friday sales that brick and mortar stores hold each year. You can find great online deals on Cyber Monday, but did you know there is a way to support the troops while doing your online shopping?

Please forward this email and encourage everyone you know that shops on Amazon.com and supports the brave men and women of the military to sign up as well. 

AMAZON SMILES MAXIMIZES YOUR SUPPORT
Make your money work twice as hard by supporting the troops at no extra cost to you while doing your holiday shopping with Amazon Smiles!




Move America Forward is now partnering with Amazon.com and participating in their Amazon Smile Non-Profit Program, where Amazon donates a portion of whatever you order to MAF so we can send even more support packages to our troops!

How does Amazon Smile Work?


It’s simple:
All you have to do is use the link below to select Move America Forward
as the charity you would like to support and a small portion of what you buy on Amazon.com is donated. No extra cost to you, just extra support for our brave defenders for buying the things you normally would. It’s a WIN-WIN!


CLICK HERE TO SET UP AMAZON SMILE


Millions of Americans already use Amazon to purchase clothes, books and movies to tech gadgets, or almost anything you can think of. Chances are, if you’ve ever bought anything on-line, you have probably used Amazon.com at least once or twice.

Now with Amazon Smile, you can support Move America Forward at no cost to you, by doing all your holiday shopping with Amazon Smiles. Your gifts will cost nothing extra, but a portion of the sales will be donated by AMAZON to the troops via MAF!

Prices are the same, shipping is the same, and nothing changes except Amazon donates .05% of your purchase TO THE TROOPS on your behalf!


Click HERE to shop for great Gifts and be sure to set MAF as your Amazon Smiles Charity!



There’s still time to send THANKSGIVING SUPPORT


Did you miss the opportunity to sponsor a Thanksgiving care package for the troops? Not to worry! You’ve still got one more chance
to send a Thanksgiving-themed care package, since our volunteers are still working to get packages shipped out as orders come in.

We will get your care package to the front lines as quickly as possible. A late care package is better than no care package at all and the Thanksgiving wishes inside will still make a big impact on our troops and boost their morale!


Click here to send a belated Thanksgiving package! The troops will still love your support!

Remembering a Fallen Hero

Don’t forget the most important part of Thanksgiving…
GIVING THANKS!

Remember that for thousands of American families who will gather for Thanksgiving this year, there will be an empty chair left for a family member who’s serving overseas. If we can send their loved one a Thanksgiving care package maybe we can give them a piece of the Thanksgiving dinner they’re missing out on.

We’ve put together some special Thanksgiving treats in our packages that range from special holiday coffee, to festive candy that’s sure to bring a real taste of home.  Of course our packages are packed with plenty of our regular treats like beef jerky, nutritious trail mix, candies, cookies, field wipes and lots more.  And ever Thanksgiving   package includes a special personalized message of support to our troops from the sponsor at no additional cost.




Today is the anniversary of the day we lost a true hero, Matthew J. Holley. He was a combat medic in the 101st Airborne whose parents John and Stacey Holley fought for all military families to make sure all of our fallen warriors return home with the honor and respect they deserve.

“The Holley Provision” and One American
Family’s Sacrifice in the War on Terror


John Holley was one of the Gold Star Parents we were able to take with us to Iraq in 2006. A trip he credits with helping him honor his son and move forward in his life. We have had the pleasure of working with John and Stacey Holley ever since and are so grateful for all they have done for other military families. Please take the time to read the story below and learn about their son.

Thanks to the efforts made by the Holley Family a “Holley Provision” exists to ensure all of our fallen heroes return honor and respect they deserve.


~The story of  Army SPC. Matthew J. Holley~

On a cool autumn afternoon in November 2005 the world seemingly ended for John and Stacey Holley.  With the ringing of the doorbell and the appearance of uniformed military strangers on the porch of their North Idaho home, their quiet lives were shattered by the news that their son and only child SPC. Matthew J. Holley had been killed along with three other soldiers by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Taji, Iraq. He was a Combat Medic with the 101st Airborne Division out of Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.

Growing up, Matthew was the child that most parents hope for; he was charismatic and talented both athletically and artistically.  By the age of 18 he was a three time U.S. National Karate champion and a talented amateur artist. For most who knew him, Matthew was a person of few words, choosing instead to let his actions speak much louder.  He thrived on the challenge of being the best he could be.

When Matthew made the decision to become a soldier he was following in the footsteps of four generations of family members before him, including both John and Stacey.  He was driven by a few valued lessons in life that he was raised on. The first to know and respect “that to whom much is given much is expected” and second that whenever the opportunity availed itself “to take his eyes off of himself and to put them on to others.” 

Etched on SPC Matthew Holley’s gravestone are the following words, “To Serve a Cause Greater Then Myself”.  Profound words spoken by a profound young man to his mother and father for his reason to join the United States Army and become a Medic. Matthew’s zest for life was to apply those valued lessons handed down to him and in doing so share a little of that freedom so many in our nation take for granted, or a little of that free spirit we all have.

Like so many who feel called to serve our nation, Matthew loved the Red, White and Blue.  He loved the freedom it exudes and offers anyone who lives in the United States of America.  As many in our generation, most will always remember that fateful Tuesday in 2001 when the towers fell.  Matthew was just one week short of his 17th birthday, but as his mother reflects back, she believes that day was as much a catalyst for his decision to serve our nation as any.  It was on that day that he saw the cause for freedom and all he had been raised to believe in challenged, and he expressed that “if there was one thing worse than dying, it was being alive and not being free.”

Even in the midst of their grief, John and Stacey knew that they were not the only parents who would face such a crisis.  They were not the only American family destined to hear the ringing of a doorbell, or to learn the news of a loved one’s ultimate sacrifice from the lips of complete strangers. 

Unbeknownst to them John and Stacey’s sorrow would quickly turn to horror when they discovered that Matthew’s casket would return to San Diego’s Lindbergh Field as common freight. 

There would be no honor guard to welcome their fallen hero back to his hometown. 

Instead, Matthew Holley’s remains would be carted around by forklifts and baggage handlers, like a crate of auto parts. Determined to welcome their son home with honors befitting his sacrifice to our nation, the Holley’s embarked on a quest to challenge the law, and to begin a journey of healing that would touch the lives of Gold Star families across our nation.

In 2011 the Holley’s released their co-authored book, Medals, Flags and Memories.  In the book they share the story of their struggle in the weeks and months following Matthew’s death, as they fought to enact the law known today as “The Holley Provision” or as some have come to refer to them as “Angel Flights.”  John and Stacey chose not to write simply a memoir of grief and loss. 

Rather their desire was to share a journal of personal transformation, a guidebook for anyone who finds themselves struggling in the storm of their lives.  It’s a journey of faith, love, and ultimate perseverance.  But beyond all of these things, it’s an unmistakable demonstration of the American ideal in action.
 

Today each fallen heroes casket is met by honor guards in white gloves and crisp uniforms, instead of baggage handlers with forklifts.  The legislation, was signed into law by President George W. Bush in October 2006, and enacted by the Pentagon in January 2007

Faced with the entrenched bureaucracy of our government, the Holley’s proved that an ordinary family can tip the scales of American justice.  And, in an age where many people feel alienated and powerless, the Holley’s have shown how ordinary citizens can impact the change in federal law, and transform the world we live in.

In a sense, one world ended for John and Stacey Holley in November 2005, when Matthew died to preserve the American dream. But another world opened up, as the Holley’s discovered the power of prayer, determination and belief in the values that our great country was founded on. John and Stacey have honored Matthew’s death by reminding us that his sacrifice and the sacrifice of all those who serve our great nation is not in vain or without the honor due.  That the American dream is still very much alive and well, and it is within the grasp of each citizen who dares to reach out and claim it.


Copies of Medal’s Flags and Memories can
be purchased online through www.amazon.com


Veteran’s Day Message 2016

Happy Veterans Day from Move America Forward!


We just wanted to let you know that in honor of Veterans Day  2016 Move America Forward is partnering with members of the Wounded Warrior Project for a huge packing party TOMORROW.

Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom will be joining MAF volunteers at our Sacramento headquarters all day tomorrow for a huge packing party and streaming the video live on our Facebook page. Check our Facebook page tomorrow from 9:30 AM Pacific Time until about 12:00 PM (12:30 – 3 PM Eastern).

Today we need your help to sponsor as many packages as possible to keep our WWP Vets busy with work to do! Donate NOW and your package will be packed up by a Veteran from Wounded Warrior Project tomorrow!



What better way to honor the veteran in YOUR life than by donating a care package to help our troops who are currently overseas. You can even dedicate this care package to the Veterans you know.

Just add a care package to your shopping cart and on the second page fill in the text area underneath where it says “This care package is donated On Behalf Of / In Memory Of”

Veterans Day Message from Scott Raab of Move America Forward

Dear Friends,

     Veterans day is a special day that amazes me every year. There is nothing in my life that I am more proud of than putting on the uniform and enlisting in the United States Navy. I served as an Intelligence Analyst during my enlistment and had the pleasure to work for and with some of the most incredible people I have ever met. Now years later as a disabled combat veteran working through Move America Forward, it is my honor to help support the people still wearing the uniform. I am extremely humbled and dismayed by the overwhelming generosity and kindness that I see every day from MAF supporters.

     I knew at a very young age that I would serve my country and it was no surprise to my close circle of family and friends when I left home to pursue that end. Most families have their traditions, and in mine each generation has answered the call to serve. Of course it was a very difficult for my mother to see her only son leave after the events of 9/11. It is one of the only times I can ever remember seeing her cry. The hardest part for me and many others was never being able to tell my family where I was or when I would return. One of the hardest conversations I have ever had was when I told her I was extending my enlistment for an additional year from a satellite phone overseas.  For many months I was only able to tell her I was safe and doing my duty and would be home soon. These are the hard times every military family goes through.

     My fondest memory I have is the day I came back home. It’s hard to describe that moment, that feeling; it’s incredible. That’s the reason all of us at Move America Forward work so hard to make sure we reach every single Marine, Soldier, Airmen and Sailor possible because that day when they come home takes so long for families to get to.

     Every generation of my family has served in uniform for as long back as we can trace. My grandfather, a World War II veteran, is my role model and still the one person I want to impress. He once said “There is no higher honor than supporting your country, to protect the freedoms and liberty that it represents. No matter if you serve or support those that do.” I am reminded of those words especially on Veterans Day and whenever I have the honor to talk with someone serving or who has served, their family or one of you that takes the time to think of them by sending a care package with your message of unwavering support. You might have noticed in the care packages that we added a dedication option for our care packages. I encourage you to use it this year, honor their service by paying it forward and sending a care package in their honor.

     This Veterans Day, like all others, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so kind and generous to those who have served and for never forgetting all the sacrifice that they make serving our great nation.


Scott P. Raab
MAF Outreach Director
US Navy OEF/OIF Vet

Happy Birthday USMC


WISH OUR MARINES A HAPPY 241st BIRTHDAY!


Don’t forget to take some time to recognize our United States Marine Corps who are celebrating their 241st Birthday today!

The Marines were born November 10th, 1775 when our founding fathers met at the 2nd Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Among the things they voted for that day was a resolution to raise two battalions of Marines to protect American shipping and fight pirates lurking around the Bahamas.

Since then, the Marines have been an indispensable component of America’s military power and legendary for their toughness and never-quit attitude that has carried them through some of the most fierce and bloody battles in history like Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Da Nang, Fallujah and others.

We still have thousands of Marines serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places in the Middle East. Show your support for them by sending a Thanksgiving Holiday Care Package filled with love and seasonal treats that will remind them of home. Click here to donate now!!

Remember too, that the holidays can sometimes be the most lonely time for a serviceman or woman deployed overseas. Some troops might only get a single care package all year long – make sure they get it by donating today!



NOVEMBER 10, 2016

A MESSAGE FROM THE COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS


Each year on or around 10 November, Marines gather in groups large and small to celebrate our history, honor the memory of those who have gone before us, and rekindle the bond that unites all generations of Marines. This year, we mark the 241st anniversary of our Corps—241 years of uncommon valor, innovation, and combat excellence.

Marines, we are part of something bigger than any of us could imagine. Whether you fought in the battles of World War I, in the Pacific during World War II, in Korea or Vietnam, in Desert Shield or Desert Storm, or in the streets of Iraq and Afghanistan—or you are just starting out on your Marine Corps journey—we are all part of an elite family of warriors. For the rest of your life, the first term people use to describe you will be “Marine.”

When the Continental Congress stood up two battalions of Marines in 1775, a culture of discipline, vigilance, professionalism, and military excellence was born that has characterized our Corps for nearly two and a half centuries. As Marines, we have a profound respect for our traditions and heritage, and for taking care of each other. We know we’re strongest when we’re together as a team. Wherever you are celebrating our Corps’ birthday this year, look around at the Marines beside you and remember the bonds forged in training, in garrison, and in combat. Take this time to reconnect.

We are Marines for life. It’s our responsibility, our duty, to maintain and build upon the legacy of those who have gone before us. What we do today, guided by what we’ve learned from past generations, will determine the future of our Corps. So as we celebrate this 241st anniversary of our Corps, we also look ahead and prepare for our next success. Take pride in carrying our legacy forward.

Happy Birthday Marines!

Semper Fidelis,

Robert B. Neller
General, U.S. Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps


Did you know that TOMORROW IS VETERANS DAY? Since the creation of our great nation, men and women have risked their lives in order to protect us, some even paid with their lives, or suffered grave injuries that last a lifetime. For that we should be forever indebted.

What are you doing to honor our troops for Veterans Day? Unfortunately, too many Americans have lost sight of what Veterans Day is all about. We can’t forget that Veterans Day is about honoring those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, and those who are currently risking their lives to protect our nation. Will you send these important holiday supplies to our troops?

Halloween Care Packages for the Troops

INTRODUCING HALLOWEEN CARE PACKAGES FOR THE TROOPS


As the air begins to take on the bite of fall and the leaves turn to gold and red here at home, our thoughts turn to childhood fun like legions of little ghosts and goblins hitting the streets to Trick or Treat.

This year over 15,000 American troops will spend Halloween in Iraq or Afghanistan, defending our freedoms. This year, let’s send them a piece of that fun-filled Halloween spirit. Sponsor a Halloween Care Package from Move America Forward to send a little bit of Halloween cheer to our troops over in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We wanted to bring a small bit of that celebration to our troops serving so far away. So starting in October, our packages will include yummy colorful candy corn as a reminder to our troops that even though they can’t be here to celebrate with their own kids, and raid their Halloween candy stash, they can still get a little treat from the folks back home who haven’t forgotten their service.

It’s the least we can do to help remind them of the spookiest holiday back home and let them join in on a little of that Halloween spirit of fun! Please send them your support and items they can’t get in Afghanistan.

 


More Notes Sent from Troops on the Front Lines

Real Notes from Deployed Troops

As part of our Soldier Sign-Up Program, the troops can leave a message with some of their thoughts and feelings and share a little bit about themselves. Below are some recent notes and care package requests from troops on the front lines. They convey what it means to them personally, to serve and to receive support from you




Progress: $1,700 toward goal of $25,000!


I’ve been tracking our progress for the Operation Mail Call campaign and I can report that we’ve brought in $1,700 in postage donations and we’re almost a week into the campaign.

That’s enough to ship about 118 boxes to the troops. It’s a slow start and we’ve got quite a ways to go before reaching our goal. If we can reach our goal we’ll have enough postage to send out almost 1,750 boxes to the troops. That will make a real difference, but we can’t do it without your help! Please donate today or forward this to your friends and family.





Now you can sponsor TWO care packages for practically the same price as one regular care package, because we have the product already we just need $14.30 per box to send them to our troops!


Here are a few more notes we’ve received just over the past couple days. These troops are speaking from the heart, writing from the front lines of the War on Terror. They deserve our support!



Right now our warehouse is overstocked with thick wool boot socks, Rogers Family Co. coffee, and donated personal hygiene items!


 

Here is the problem we are facing: with so many extra boxes, we don’t have the money for postage to ship the much needed supplies and care packages to our troops!

We have about enough supplies to ship 1,750 boxes of care packages, but without money for postage all these valuable supplies are just sitting here in our Sacramento warehouse.  We estimate that if we can raise $25,000 in postage, we can clear out our warehouse, and ship these boxes to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan who so desperately need them.

The cost to mail each box is $14.30 from the USPS.  That means that we urgently need to raise $25,000 ASAP.  Will you please help us purchase the postage to mail these boxes to our troops?


The Holley Provision – Gold Star Mother’s Day 2016

National Gold-Star Mother’s Day

“The Holley Provision” and One American
Family’s Sacrifice in the War on Terror


Today is Gold Star Mother’s Day, a day our nation proudly express’s our love, sorrow, and reverence towards Gold Star Mothers and their families. Move America Forward has had the honor to work directly with so many amazing Gold Star families over the years, we thought it would be a great time to share some of these courageous stories.

Today we bring you the story of Matthew J. Holley, a combat medic in the 101st Airborne whose parents John and Stacey Holley fought for all military families to make sure all of our fallen warriors return home with the honor and respect they deserve.

John Holley was one of the Gold Star Parents we were able to take with us to Iraq in 2006. A trip he credits with helping him honor his son and move forward in his life. We have had the pleasure of working with John and Stacey Holley ever since and are so grateful for all they have done for other military families. Please take the time to read the story below and learn about their son.

Thanks to the efforts made by the Holley Family a “Holley Provision” exists to ensure all of our fallen heroes return honor and respect they deserve.


~The story of  Army SPC. Matthew J. Holley~

On a cool autumn afternoon in November 2005 the world seemingly ended for John and Stacey Holley.  With the ringing of the doorbell and the appearance of uniformed military strangers on the porch of their North Idaho home, their quiet lives were shattered by the news that their son and only child SPC. Matthew J. Holley had been killed along with three other soldiers by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Taji, Iraq. He was a Combat Medic with the 101st Airborne Division out of Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.

Growing up, Matthew was the child that most parents hope for; he was charismatic and talented both athletically and artistically.  By the age of 18 he was a three time U.S. National Karate champion and a talented amateur artist. For most who knew him, Matthew was a person of few words, choosing instead to let his actions speak much louder.  He thrived on the challenge of being the best he could be.

When Matthew made the decision to become a soldier he was following in the footsteps of four generations of family members before him, including both John and Stacey.  He was driven by a few valued lessons in life that he was raised on. The first to know and respect “that to whom much is given much is expected” and second that whenever the opportunity availed itself “to take his eyes off of himself and to put them on to others.” 

Etched on SPC Matthew Holley’s gravestone are the following words, “To Serve a Cause Greater Then Myself”.  Profound words spoken by a profound young man to his mother and father for his reason to join the United States Army and become a Medic. Matthew’s zest for life was to apply those valued lessons handed down to him and in doing so share a little of that freedom so many in our nation take for granted, or a little of that free spirit we all have.

Like so many who feel called to serve our nation, Matthew loved the Red, White and Blue.  He loved the freedom it exudes and offers anyone who lives in the United States of America.  As many in our generation, most will always remember that fateful Tuesday in 2001 when the towers fell.  Matthew was just one week short of his 17th birthday, but as his mother reflects back, she believes that day was as much a catalyst for his decision to serve our nation as any.  It was on that day that he saw the cause for freedom and all he had been raised to believe in challenged, and he expressed that “if there was one thing worse than dying, it was being alive and not being free.”

Even in the midst of their grief, John and Stacey knew that they were not the only parents who would face such a crisis.  They were not the only American family destined to hear the ringing of a doorbell, or to learn the news of a loved one’s ultimate sacrifice from the lips of complete strangers. 

Unbeknownst to them John and Stacey’s sorrow would quickly turn to horror when they discovered that Matthew’s casket would return to San Diego’s Lindbergh Field as common freight. 

There would be no honor guard to welcome their fallen hero back to his hometown. 

Instead, Matthew Holley’s remains would be carted around by forklifts and baggage handlers, like a crate of auto parts. Determined to welcome their son home with honors befitting his sacrifice to our nation, the Holley’s embarked on a quest to challenge the law, and to begin a journey of healing that would touch the lives of Gold Star families across our nation.

In 2011 the Holley’s released their co-authored book, Medals, Flags and Memories.  In the book they share the story of their struggle in the weeks and months following Matthew’s death, as they fought to enact the law known today as “The Holley Provision” or as some have come to refer to them as “Angel Flights.”  John and Stacey chose not to write simply a memoir of grief and loss. 

Rather their desire was to share a journal of personal transformation, a guidebook for anyone who finds themselves struggling in the storm of their lives.  It’s a journey of faith, love, and ultimate perseverance.  But beyond all of these things, it’s an unmistakable demonstration of the American ideal in action.
 

Today each fallen heroes casket is met by honor guards in white gloves and crisp uniforms, instead of baggage handlers with forklifts.  The legislation, was signed into law by President George W. Bush in October 2006, and enacted by the Pentagon in January 2007

Faced with the entrenched bureaucracy of our government, the Holley’s proved that an ordinary family can tip the scales of American justice.  And, in an age where many people feel alienated and powerless, the Holley’s have shown how ordinary citizens can impact the change in federal law, and transform the world we live in.

In a sense, one world ended for John and Stacey Holley in November 2005, when Matthew died to preserve the American dream. But another world opened up, as the Holley’s discovered the power of prayer, determination and belief in the values that our great country was founded on. John and Stacey have honored Matthew’s death by reminding us that his sacrifice and the sacrifice of all those who serve our great nation is not in vain or without the honor due.  That the American dream is still very much alive and well, and it is within the grasp of each citizen who dares to reach out and claim it.


Copies of Medal’s Flags and Memories can
be purchased online through www.amazon.com


Military Working Dog Packages Updated

Now Featuring KONG Brand!

Move America Forward is very proud of our K9 Care Packs! When most people think about the U.S. military, it conjures up images of America’s bravest men and women, but most people don’t think about the furry friends that serve alongside our troops on the front lines.

Military Working Dogs have been used for years by our men and women in uniform deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Our K-9 care packages include special dog-goggles to protect their eyes from dirt and debris. And we’re proud to announce that we’re now including KONG Brand durable dog toys in our K9 packs. We are very proud and thankful to the Kong company for helping us get these KONG dog toys into our boxes.


Click Here to Donate!


Donating a care package is the easiest way to give them the comforts of home they are so far away from while they are making such enormous sacrifices.
Each box also has a wonderful array of high quality food, snacks, and hygiene items for the human soldier as well.

These handlers and dogs are highly trained and are instrumental in sniffing out IEDs, bomb making materials, patrolling, and standing guard. It’s as dangerous for these K9’s as it is for our soldiers, especially in the harsh environment of Afghanistan. IED’s threaten our troops as well as the local Afghan civilians, so every bomb found by a K9 warrior means innocent lives are saved.


While on deployment, our troops really miss the basic items and comforts of home. That’s why our Care Packages are always stuffed with a wonderful array of high quality items that our troops consistently request and come with a personal note of support from you to make sure they know they are not forgotten.



Click Here to Donate!