February Monthly Newsletter 2015



Chris Kyle April 8, 1974 – February 2, 2013 

Debbie Remembers
Chris Kyle

Two years have passed since that dreadful day I was told the awful news and a nation mourned as we learned Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in American history had been murdered in Texas. The release of the movie based on his experiences in Iraq,  American  Sniper starring Bradley Cooper as Chris has brought back many poignant memories for me. Bradley looks and acts so much like Chris in so many ways that it was somewhat unsettling to watch his portrayal on film.

Chris had become just like a son to me, after my son Marc’s death. Chris was actually with Marc when he died and another piece of my heart was sliced away when I received the call that Chris was gone. lt’s a good thing God gave me a big heart.

I picked up my copy of American Sniper that Chris gave to me to find some of his quotes to use in this article, as I opened the book I re-read his note that he signed to me and I would like to share his words with you.


Our world is blessed to have so many selfless brave warriors. I now have two men in whose memories I carry on to honor them. Marc’s last letter home challenged us to do more random acts of kindness, “pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life.” Chris’ motto was “to serve those who served us.”

We can follow their example, honoring and remembering them by combining their two mottos and doing random acts of kindness for our troops and the families of the fallen as our act of service.

Marc and Chris we’ve got your watch and are carrying on as you would have us to. You are deeply loved and deeply missed!

Forever Grateful,
Debbie Lee

We Love our Troops!

Take time to share your love with one of our thousands of deployed troops this Valentine’s Day. To make our Valentine’s package even more special MAF will include yummy and fun Valentine’s candy conversation hearts and extra special home-made Valentine’s cards provided by some caring school children and church groups from all over the country.

Of course, our troop support packages will include all our regular great treats like Oreo cookies, premium beef jerky, Jelly Belly jelly beans, Rogers Family Company premium coffee and  HOO-AHHS field towels and much more. Everyone loves to get a reminder on Valentine’s Day that they are loved and part of a bigger family. Let’s take the time to give some of that love to our troops!

It’s easy to do and our Valentine’s packages start at a super affordable $24.99

Monthly Smiles Club Needs You!

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! Simply provide us with your monthly budget, and a little information from you and we will contact you directly to go over your request. 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.

“Mail is such an awesome feeling.”

Registering a Soldier is Easy

Registering a soldier to receive support packages is easy. If you have the address of someone deployed on active military duty, click here for our Military Sign-Up Center or copy this link (http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/) and e-mail it to them so they can sign-up themselves. Once signed up they will be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring fellow Americans.

Tweets for Troops

 

MAF is Proud to Honor Sgt. Morris and Spc. Martin


Sgt. Ramon Morris, 37


Spc Wyatt Martin, 22

 

Sgt. 1st Class Ramon Morris and Spc. Wyatt Martin were killed while serving in support of Operation Enduring on December 12, 2014 in the Parwan Province of Afganistan near Kabul when the vehicle they were riding in was ambushed in a deadly roadside attack killing Morris, 37 of New York and Spc. Wyatt Martin 22 of Mesa, Arizona. Both soldiers were combat engineers assigned to the 2nd squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division deployed out of Fort Hood, Texas.

Sgt. Morris was on his fifth deployment, according to the Defense Department.

Morris, whose home of record is listed as New York City enlisted in the Army in February 1996.

Morris’ deployments include a one year assignment in Korea as well as four deployments between 2002 and 2009 to Iraq and his final tour in Afghanistan where he was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from June to December this year.

Morris was a highly decorated hero with awards including a Bronze Star Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, four Army Commendation Medals, six Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medals, Afghan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge and the Driver and Mechanic Badge with Driver Wheeled Vehicle.

Morris was laid to rest in New York and leaves behind a fiancé and 3-year old daughter, Ariana.

Spc. Martin was serving his first deployment. He served in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from June to December 2014, according to a Pentagon report.

Martin’s awards and decorations include an Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.

Spc. Martin was a graduated of Skyline High School in Mesa, Arizona and had planned on attending Michigan State University upon completion of his service with the hopes of becoming a fish and game officer. Spc. Martin is survived by his parents Brian and Julie, as well as sisters Katie and Beth, Martin was laid to rest on Christmas Eve in his hometown of Mesa, Arizona.

The death of these two brave soldiers is a stark reminder that our troops are still serving and risking their lives in service to our nation.

 

 

Did You Know…?

February 1, 1861 - Following a state convention vote, Texas becomes the seventh state to secede from the Union. Texas governor Sam Houston, a strong supporter of the Union objected but the vote passed 166-8 in favor of secession.


February 3rd, 1943  – During WWII, the troop ship USAT Dorchester was torpedoed in the north Atlantic on its way to Greenland with 900 souls aboard. In the chaos of the explosion, which knocked out all electric power and lighting on the Dorchester, the Four Chaplains acted to calm the troops and pass out life vests as the Dorchester began sinking. When they ran out of life vests for the troops, each of the Four Chaplains, knowing death was certain, took off his life vest and put it on a soldier without one.


February 9, 1943
U.S. troops captured Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands after six months of brutal fighting during WWII in the Pacific.

February 15, 1898U.S. Battleship Maine explodes at anchor in Havana, Cuba and quickly sinks resulting in 260 crew casualties. The incident leads to a declaration of war against Spain on April 25, 1898, amid cries of “Remember the Maine!”


February 23, 1836
- The battle of the Alamo begins with Mexican troops estimated in the thousands under General Santa Anna laying siege to the Alamo leading to a 13-day blood battle against the vastly outnumbered Texans with troops numbering only about 200 men. Casualties included pioneer legends Davey Crockett and Jim Bowie.

February 27, 1950The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, limiting the president to two terms or a maximum of ten years in office.


MAF January 2015 Newsletter


A Look Back At 2014!
It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone, as we say goodbye to 2014 and ring in a new year, we are so thankful to have called you all friends and supporters.  Your unwavering devotion to our troops is an inspiration to us and makes our mission of troop support possible. So as we move into our 11th year of troop support, we are glad to have you, our partners in support at our side.

We wanted to share some of the highlights of the last 12 months. It’s a great way to remind you, our supporters, of all the wonderful things we were able to do for our troops thanks to your donations and support.

Without your involvement, none of these things would have been possible, so thank you for helping make each of our achievements in 2014 possible.

January  — MAF spreads the word about the movie adaptation of Marcus Luttrell’s book Lone Survivor. This is a movie that we wanted to see succeed, as Marcus Luttrell is a personal friend of MAF spokeswoman Debbie Lee, and because this Navy SEAL’s amazing Afghanistan war story is a powerful one that Americans need to know about.

With that in mind MAF came up with a unique offer that would not only help the troops but help Lone Survivor at the box office. We offered a pair of free movie tickets to donors who made a Large Care Package donation for our troops on the front lines. Hundreds of troops were able to receive care packages as well as hundreds of moviegoers who got to enjoy a real American hero’s tragic but inspiring tale.

February — MAF joins American Legionnaires, veterans, patriots, and strong supporters of our military on February 3, 2014 to celebrate and commemorate the service and selfless sacrifice of Four Chaplains who gave everything. A plaque was established in their honor at Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, San Diego, on the 71st annual “Four Chaplains Day”.

During WWII, the troop ship USAT Dorchester was torpedoed in the north Atlantic on its way to Greenland with 900 souls aboard. In the chaos of the explosion, which knocked out all electric power and lighting on the Dorchester, the Four Chaplains acted to calm the troops and pass out life vests as the Dorchester began sinking. When they ran out of life vests for the troops, each of the Four Chaplains, knowing death was certain, took off his life vest and put it on a soldier without one.

Their selfless heroism of service and sacrifice led Congress to award each a Purple Heart and Distinguished Service Cross in 1944, and an unprecedented Congressional Medal of Valor in 1961. By a unanimous Act of Congress in 1988, February 3rd was declared to be observed annually as “Four Chaplains Day.”

March — Move America Forward celebrated our 10 year anniversary by making a special shipment of 2,000 care packages and unveiling a special 10th Anniversary Logo to commemorate an entire decade of supporting the troops and their missions in the war on terror.


MAF continues that same mission by sending thousands of care packages to the troops every year and continuing to advocate for our troops every time we can.

April - Moving ahead to Easter season, we concentrated on sending the most iconic Easter treats to our men and women on the front lines. Easter favorites like Jelly Beans and Marshmallow Peeps adorned the Easter Care packages we offered.

Thanks to your support, we fulfilled our goal and sent 1,000 care packages to the front lines for Easter

May – At the beginning of May we learned that House leadership was finally forming a Joint Select Committee to investigate the Benghazi terror attacks of 2012. MAF had been calling for this type of thing since February, complete with a petition on our web page that tens of thousands of you signed, but we were happy to see action finally being taken by our leaders in Washington and we welcomed the new Joint Select Committee.

We also supported the selection of Trey Gowdy, a tough and accomplished litigator, to lead the investigation.

We applauded Congressman Gowdy when he took Ambassador Susan Rice to task for her stubborn and arrogant refusal to admit lying to the American people on national TV immediately after the attacks. We also called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to testify before the committee, but Clinton refused to do so.

Here is a short excerpt from our Petition asking Hillary to testify on Benghazi:

Former Secretary Clinton is the most important witness to this investigation – we want to know the facts that Hillary knows on Benghazi! Please take this petition as an expression of your constituents to see former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testify before the House Select Committee – it’s time we got the facts from Clinton herself!

Signed, a concerned American patriot

June –  June 25th we held our 7th annual Troopathon fundraiser to send care packages to our troops for the summer.

This was one of our most exciting Troopathons ever thanks to an in-studio visit from famed actors and troop supporters Gary Sinise and Robert Davi.

We were also lucky to have Lacey Castleberry who helped distribute MAF care packages to troops while she was working as a private contractor in Afghanistan.


John Ondrasik and Gary Graham both gave awesome in-studio performances.

One of our most successful Troopathons, we raised $350,000 for the troops.

July –  It was just about the time that the VA Care Scandal was unfolding. The shameful situation of veterans waiting for months or even years to get care from the VA along with years of mismanagement started coming to light. The VA system under Obama’s administration was failing our veterans. MAF put out a press release calling for the resignation of Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs Eric Shinseki. He announced his resignation the next day.

“The number of veterans that were denied medical care they needed is simply inexcusable. These stunning revelations call into question the accuracy of information provided to Congress on Veterans Health Affairs’ wait time performance. President Obama cannot delay to take all necessary steps to incorporate a new management team effectively immediately. Additionally, Present Obama must remove Secretary Eric Shinseki immediately from his post to restore some confidence in the Department.” said MAF’s Scott Raab.

August –  MAF helped a rally organized by California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly to support of Marine Andrew Tahmooressi jailed by Mexican authorities for months without due process. Andrew Tahmooressi served two combat tours in Afghanistan with the US Marine Corps before he was honorably discharged in 2012 and returned to the US. On March 31, 2014, he was on his way to meet some friends in the town of San Ysidro, California, a town very close to the Mexican border. He made one unlucky wrong turn and found himself on a one way road into Mexico with no way of turning around or getting off the highway.

After accidentally crossing the border, he informed Mexican border agents that he had loaded firearms in his vehicle and just wanted to turn around. Instead of being allowed to simply turn back, he was arrested and held for 8 hours before being charged with possession of illegal weapons (Mexico has very strict gun control laws).

Ever since, it had been a battle to try to bring Sgt. Tahmooressi home. California Governor Jerry Brown and President Obama seemingly did nothing to help negotiate or secure his freedom. Americans were frustrated with the lack of action and this rally was a display of that. After being held in Mexico for 214 days, he was finally released on November 1st.

September –  On the anniversary of  September 11th MAF was honored to be invited to assist John Vinson and his family to help them put up a huge memorial flag display to mark the anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

John Vinson says that when he woke up September 11th, 2001, and heard about what had happened in New York City, he was confused, afraid, frustrated and angry. He channeled his anger by picking up an American flag and going to a freeway overpass and simply waving it proudly and defiantly at the enemy, for all the passing motorists to see. Those that passed by and saw him waving the colors honked and cheered and encouraged him.

Over the years John has continued to fly the flag every 9/11, except today he has well over 3,000 flags to fly and he’s moved from the freeway overpass to a field in view of a busy street in West Sacramento. But his idea is the same as ever, to fly the flag (now a collection of flags laid out as a memorial to the fallen) in defiance of those who would try to destroy our freedom. Today there are 340 flags on display plus 2,977 flags that represent each of the victims who perished on 9/11.

October  – With Halloween just around the corner, Move America Forward volunteers had plenty to do shipping out special Halloween packages to troops including “Thunder Troopers” from the 3d U.S. Cavalry Regiment.  Even though our troops can’t be here to celebrate with their own kids, and raid their Halloween candy stash, they can still get a little treat from all of us back home who haven’t forgotten their service.

November – This year over 24,000 American troops spent Thanksgiving in Afghanistan, fighting for our freedoms. We wanted to THANK our troops and PRAY FOR THEM as we prepared to sit around the table with our loved ones to say grace and eat a bountiful feast. We asked you to help us bring Thanksgiving to our troops on the front lines.

Since no Thanksgiving turkey day is complete without a turkey, we included premium Turkey Jerky made from 100% white meat turkey breast, Winter-themed Oreo cookies with red creme filling, hot chocolate and festive candy corn to remind our troops of a home-made Thanksgiving meal. Thanks to your donations we were able to send hundreds of these Thanksgiving Meal care packages to troops on the front lines. For some, it might be the only mail they received all year long.

December – For the first time ever, MAF partnered with KSRO Newstalk 1350 for Thanksgiving and Christmas to encourage local Santa Rosa residents to drop off care package supplies at the Sonoma County Veterans Memorial for MAF to come pick up and send to Afghanistan.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department as well as dozens of local business joined in. Sheriff’s Deputies and civilian staff all brought items to donate, along with local businesses Brezeale Automotive, Ken Bauer DDS, and Auto Life Center whose employees also contributed. Thanks to KSRO 1350, our first ever local donation drive was a success!

In December we had Local Cub Scouts from Pack 788 join MAF at our headquarters for a care package party. The Scouts came in and worked for over two hours, packing up over 400 boxes of Christmas care packages bound for troops on the front lines.

We put together this awesome video for your enjoyment, showing off all the great work done by these cub scouts.

Then with just a few days left until Christmas, MAF sent out those care packages in a big shipment of over 750. The local news came by to see us loading up hundreds of boxes into the Post Office trucks and interviewed MAF staff about the packages.

For Christmas this year MAF included iconic Christmas items like a Christmas stocking filled with candy canes and other Christmas candy, hot chocolate, Winter themed Oreo cookies, and Peppermint “Christmas in a Cup” Coffee From Rogers Family Company.

Help us start strong in 2015 and together we will continue to do great things for our troops!




Registering a Soldier is Easy

Registering a soldier to receive support packages is easy. If you have the address of someone deployed on active military duty, click here for our Military Sign-Up Center or copy this link (http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/) and e-mail it to them so they can sign-up themselves. Once signed up they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring fellow Americans.

Companies Who Stepped up to the Plate

Companies are often eager to support our troops through our Corporate Sponsorship Support Program. By raising funds doing everything from selling dress down days to holding bake sales and even holding silent auctions, hundreds of corporate support packages have reached our troops! Thanks to Corporate Sponsors like Stag Arms, The Schwartz Foundation, and Somerset Hills Shopping Center, Inc., and many more many troops have received packages with special letters from their corporate partners. If your company would like more information on how you can send support packages through Move America Forward, contact lisabaron@MoveAmericaForward.org, and Lisa will be happy to help you put your own corporate program together.

 


Christmas Support a Big Success Thanks to You!!
We asked you to help make sure our troops would receive packages during the holiday’s which are always a tough time for our troops to be  away from family and loved ones. We at Move America Forward offer our sincerest THANK YOU to all the people, companies, groups and organizations who stepped up to send Thanksgiving and Christmas packages and messages of support. You loving and visible support made it a little easier for our troops during this year when other concerns often push their needs into the background. Thanks to your generosity and support, the holidays were brighter for thousands of American soldiers.
If you sent a package and have not yet received a thank you, please be patient. Sometimes it’s very hard or even impossible for a soldier to drop a note in the mail, as much as you would all love to hear back from the soldier you have sponsored.

Start the New Year out with a Smile


The Christmas season can be so hectic that sometimes we just don’t quite get around to checking everything off our “To Do” list.  If you intended on sending a care package to our troops for Christmas and just never got around to it, why not take the time to start of the New Year with a gift to our hard-working troops?

 


 

December found me in New York to attend the premier of American Sniper. The movie is based on the bestselling book written by the late Chris Kyle. Chris was a Navy SEAL who is the most lethal sniper in American history. Chris was on SEAL Team Three, Charlie platoon with my son, Marc. Chris was with Marc when he died on August 2, 2006 and he became like a son to me. Chris was tragically murdered Feb 2, 2013 at a shooting range in Texas.

I knew it would be extremely difficult to watch as Marc was also one of the main characters in the movie. Bradley Cooper does an amazing job studying Chris, learning his Texas drawl and gaining 40 pounds of muscle to mimic Chris’ stature. When Bradley met with the family before they started shooting the film, he wanted to get in the character and asked about things personal to Chris that he maybe carried or wore. Chris wore a black memorial bracelet with Marc’s name on it and Bradley asked if he could get one so he could wear it. I sent Bradley Marc’s memorial bracelet, Marc’s challenge coin that Chris carried in his pocket everyday and had on him when he died. I also sent Marc’s memorial patch that his teammates had made and wore the rest of his deployment in Marc’s memory.

To my surprise a few weeks after I sent the package I received 2 dozen white roses from Bradley Cooper. I was shocked. The flowers arrived as I was headed out the door for San Diego to visit Marc’s grave for his birthday. When the florist made the delivery and before I opened the card, I guessed that it was from one of my “adopted boys.” So you can imagine the shock when I read the card. That was something Chris would have done, maybe Bradley does have the heart to play Chris.


Me with Chris Kyle when his book came out in 2012

Me with Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper

There were certain parts of the movie that I had a flash back, Bradley looked or sounded so much like Chris. The movie does a great job of letting Americans know the struggles of combat, the impact it has on the families left home after multiple deployments, and the reentry back into a civilian life. It also deals with the physical and emotional toll that over a decade of war has on our Vets and the need to support them.

They took great liberties of expression in how they portrayed Marc. Luke Grimes who plays Marc was hired 2 days before they began filming. The character of Marc is all fictional other than he does get killed in combat.

While American Sniper was the most emotional movie I have ever watched because of my relationship and loss to the characters in the movie. Just remember it is not a documentary, it is “based” on the book.

I do recommend that everyone read the book and see the movie.

 

Hey Kids! We Need You!

We know our troops miss their kids while they are a world away serving on behalf of us all. We want to make sure our troops will have a smile on their face and in their hearts when they open a package including beautiful homemade Valentine’s from school children. We are inviting school children from across the nation to send us their Valentine’s Cards to be included in our special Valentine’s packages for our troops.
Our goal is to have every state in the nation represented in our special Valentine’s Care Packages for the troops, which include our regular care package goodies plus some extra special Valentine’s goodies to let the troops know there is lots of love coming their way.

If your child’s school would like to participate, email our Director of Troop Support, Lisa Baron LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org

Let’s share our love with our troops this Valentine’s Day!

Weber Grill Donates Spirit Grill to a Deserving Troop

Thanks to Weber Grill for their generous donation of the Weber Spirit Grill! When the Weber E-310 Spirit grill donated by Weber for one lucky recipient, Senior Airman Christina Vinson arrived at our offices, our own MAF team of Scott Raab and Shawn Callahan jumped in eagerly to assemble it right on the spot. Christina is a Senior Airman in the USAF and was thrilled by her new Weber Grill. Happy Grilling to Airman Vinson, we are so excited to hear you are enjoying your new grill and looking forward to some down time in which to enjoy it!



Our Hearts go out to the Victims of Paris Terror Attacks

We offered prayers and condolences for the families of the victims of the senseless terror attack in Paris. In the wake of these attacks, we must remain defiant and committed to our ideals of freedom of thought and expression.

MAF responded quickly and decisively on the day of the attack stating, “Today’s terror attacks were a painful reminder that these terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, or any group that aligns with a radical Islamist ideology are dangerous and cannot be negotiated with.” said Danny Gonzalez, Director of Communications. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of today’s attack and their families. Their loss and the sacrifice they made in the name of freedom will be known the world over.” said Gonzalez.

“As former President George W. Bush said after 9/11 ‘Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward.’ Just as in Madrid in 2004, London on 7/7, 2005, in Benghazi, and in many other cities around the world. We know that the employees of Charlie Hebdo said they would rather die on their feet than live on their knees, having their thoughts and rights to free speech dictated by men with guns who murder innocents and commit atrocities because of a cartoon depiction of Muhammad. We cannot allow our freedoms to be held hostage by men with guns and a radical ideology.”

“Shame on anyone who looks at these events and says we should have been more sensitive, or that we must limit what we say about Islam or those who profess to follow its teachings. Shame on those who warn others not to speak their mind, or say what they believe, for fear of retribution from the terrorists.” said Gonzalez. “The world must come together to hunt down these extremists and bring them to justice, but not to condemn individuals for speaking out against the radicals who commit crimes in the name of Islam.” said Gonzalez.

MAF Partners with See’s Candy for Soldiers
Can you help with the additional postage needed to send candy to troops on the front lines?

Our friends over at See’s for Soldiers, a local group here in Sacramento helped us get tons of See’s Candy donated. We thought you might like to learn a little more about this wonderful local group and see some of the pictures of us picking up the candy!

See’s for Soldiers works with a coalition of local retail shops and philanthropist clubs like the Kiwanis Club and the Soroptimists Club. They sell the candy at their local club locations throughout the area and establish retail locations where the public can come in, purchase See’s candy to be donated for the troops overseas.

See’s Candy produces a variety of high quality confections with a huge variety of milk and dark chocolates, truffles, nut clusters, butterscotch, brittles, fudges, toffees, pops and more. See’s connoisseur-quality candy is especially sought for special occasions like Christmas gifts.

For the 3rd year in a row, See’s for Soldiers has made a large donation of candy to MAF so that we might ship the hundreds of boxes to our contacts on the front lines of Afghanistan.

Here are some great photos of us picking up the Candy at the Army National Guard center.


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! It costs only $13.80 for just postage, so for only $27.60 you can sponsor TWO packages instead of one!

Tweets for Troops






Please note: For those taking part in our American Sniper offer, your tax deductible gift to Move America Forward will be the amount of your donation minus the cost of the movie tickets ($25). So if you donate $100, the amount you can deduct on your federal income tax is $75. If you donate 250, the amount that you can deduct is $225.

December 2014 Newsletter

Our Group Gift Department Makes it Easy

Our Group Gift department 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.

Imagine opening up your mail one day and reading this:

Of course, sometimes soldiers just aren’t in a position to send a thank you when they receive a package, but we know how much they appreciate it. We’ve even been contacted by soldiers who’ve safely returned stateside asking us to put them in touch with the person who sent them a package, so they could tell them personally what it meant to them, and how badly they felt they couldn’t send a thank you at the time. To contact group gift, email LisaBaron@MoveAmerica.org with your questions, and she’ll be glad to help out.

 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 FEDEX. 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.
Christmas Cheer Meant to Share!
Want to bring a smile to a group of our deployed troops?  We offer several packages that are meant to be shared by two, four or more soldiers. Just click on our Happy Holidays Shop to see what’s special for the holidays, and check out our gifts designed to be shared.

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 in NAME in the subject line.

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.


 

 



I had the privilege of attending the Stars and Stripes Film Festival around Veterans Day this year. For three days I watched back-to-back movies about our Veterans and the battles that were waged for our freedoms.
I have always been drawn to the movies of war that remind us of the bravery and courage displayed and the sacrifices made for you and I and the values we hold so dear. Both of my sons served in the military, my oldest Kristofer in the Marines and Marc as a Navy SEAL. I remember someone questioning them why our family was so patriotic and why they chose to serve. I remember Marc’s reply a little jokingly “It was all of the war movies Mom made us watch.”We started the film festival with Act of Valor. I had seen the movie twice before so knew what to expect. I had met with Bandito Brothers when they were beginning to write the script and had shared Marc’s heroic story. They had told me Marc would be part of the movie. I knew it wasn’t going to be based on a story in the Middle East, or be a play-by-play of what he did. There are just pieces in the movie, when one of the SEALs stands out by himself to defend his buddies, the funeral scene that is just feet from Marc’s grave. It is a little more general, character qualities that we see in so many of our troops who serve so courageous and selflessly.The end of the movie lists the names of all of our fallen SEALs and of course it is emotional to see my sons name along with so many other brave warriors listed there. As a Mother of a fallen hero, I can tell you that it is so bizarre to see your child’s name on a headstone, granite wall, in a book or movie, but when we have heroes who sacrifice greatly their stories need to be told.The next three days we watched movies about Korea, Iwo Jima, World War II and Viet Nam. You could watch the progression as the movies would depict the actual scenes with reality. After each movie we had someone from that conflict do a Q&A. To be in the presence of so many brave warriors, and be reminded of the deep cost so many families have made for the freedoms we take for granted was overwhelming to say the least.Watching Saving Private Ryan where they drive up the long road to the farm house to notify the Mother that four of her five sons had been killed in combat was almost too much for me. I knew as that car drove up that dusty road exactly what that Mother was feeling. There are no words that could describe to someone who hasn’t experienced those words, “I’m sorry to notify you your son has been killed in action.” I have only lost one son in combat; I can’t even begin to imagine the pain that Mother felt losing four?

Then to watch Black Hawk Down and the graphic reality and consequences of war was about all I could take. I was emotionally drained everyday of the festival. I’m not a big movie person and that probably was more movies in those three days than I have watched in the last three years. I do think it is so important for those movies to be made and for us to be reminded of the cost of freedom.

I remember as I watched one of the movies that it had been over 50 years since these battles and these heroes’ stories are still being told. I was washed with emotion at that point knowing that the movie American Sniper is about to be released. If you haven’t read the book American Sniper it is a must read that the movie is based on. Chris Kyle was the most lethal sniper in American history.

Chris was with Marc when he died and after Marc’s death he became like a son to me. Chris was tragically murdered in Texas almost two years ago. Marc is one of the main characters in the upcoming American Sniper movie, and this one will share Marc’s heroic actions the day he died and his funeral.

The reality that others will be watching American Sniper 50 years from now and knowing the character of Chris Kyle, my son and their teammates brought bittersweet emotions. American Sniper will be released Christmas Day in certain markets and Jan 16th across the country. Bradley Cooper plays Chris Kyle and Luke Grimes plays Marc. Just like Lone Survivor was based on the book, these are not documentary’s, but I believe that they have worked hard to show the character and tell the stories of these brave SEALs.


Marc was re-deployed to Heaven and this will be the 9th Christmas without him, yet he is still impacting lives around the world.  It’s not just Marc though, so many of our brave warriors have stood out in the line of fire defending you and I and our freedoms. We must never forget the sacrifices each one of our Veterans have made.

As we celebrate the birth of a Savior who was born to sacrifice his life on a cross for you and I, don’t forget our Veterans, their families and our families of the fallen who have sacrificed greatly!

John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” There are only two that would lay down their lives for you. Jesus Christ and our Veterans.

I live my life honoring them both!


As 2014 draws to a close, we at MAF want to take a moment to solemnly remember all the brave members of our armed services who gave their lives in service to our great nation. To the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, and best friends who bravely gave their all, your light will shine bright in our hearts today and every day.

Name Branch
Lacey, William K. U.S. Army
Hess, Jacob M. U.S. Marine
McAdams, Andrew L. U. S. Army NG
Scobie, Drew M. U. S. Army NG
Lee, Daniel Tyler U. S. Army
Sipple, Andrew H. U. S. Army
Balli, Edward U. S. Army
Landis, Chris A. U. S. Army
Gray, Joshua A. U. S. Army
Pelham, John A. U. S. Army
Skelt, Roberto C. U. S. Army
Torian, Aaron C. U. S. Marine
Poirier, David L. U.S. Air Force
Erickson, Caleb L. U.S. Marine
Chaffin III, James E. U. S. Army
Danyluk, Kerry M. G. U. S. Army
Chandler, Christian J. U. S. Army
Farrell II, Shawn M. U. S. Army
Rasmussen, Deric M. U. S. Army
Barreras, Martin R U. S. Army
Perkins, Adrian M. U. S. Army
Wykstra, Jacob H. U. S. Army
Jones, Jason B. U. S. Army
Walker, Matthew H. U. S. Army
Hurne, Terry J. U. S. Army
Clouse, Justin R. U. S. Army
McDonald, Jason A. U. S. Marine
Studenmund, Scott R. U. S. Army
Toppen, Aaron S. U. S. Army
Helton, Justin R. U. S. Army
Wolff, Adam F. U. S. Marine
Stewart, David H. U. S. Marine
Garabrant, Brandon J. ISAF
Spitzer, Thomas Z. U. S. Marine
Hamilton, Jr., Don A. U. S. Army
Williams, Keith M. U. S. Army
Prange, Benjamin G. U. S. Army
Gass Jr., Girard D. U. S. Army
Greene, Harold J. U. S. Army
Hairston, Samuel C. U. S. Army
Leggett, Matthew I. U. S. Army
Mulalley, Chris W. U. S. Army
Arsenault, Brian K. U. S. Army
Strong, Charles C. U. S. Marine
Donahue, Mchael J. U. S. Army
Weathers, Andrew T. U. S. Army
Walker, Jonathan D. U. S. Army
Kalafut, Christopher E. U.S. Navy
Cathcart, Michael A. U. S. Army
Riley, Joseph W. U. S. Army
Turner, Wardell B. U. S. Army

*as reported through 11/24/2014

 

 

 



Tweets for the Troops


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

 

November Monthly Newsletter 2014 Edition

Veterans Day is
November 11, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, is Veteran’s Day.  We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have served our great nation. To all of our Veterans, we say “Thank You!” Your sacrifice and service has kept us safe at home.  Please take the time to thank your friends, co-workers or loved ones this year who have served our country.  In honor of America’s brave veterans, please take the time to fly your flag.
If you are a veteran, check out some of these discounts available to Veterans.http://www.military.com/veterans-day/veterans-day-military-discounts.html
We’d like to offer you the opportunity to send out a special troop support package in honor of your loved one who has served.Simply enter your order and in the message area please enter your message to our troops and let them know in whose honor your are sending your package.

Freedom for Jailed Marine Andrew Tahmooressi!
Mexican Judge Orders Marine Released

We were pleased to see that a Mexican judge has finally decided to release the American Marine Andrew Tahmooressi who has been unfairly held in a Tijuana jail for the last 7 months. He flew back to his home in Miami, FL on November 1, 2014. We are so happy to have this American Marine back home. He, like all of our men and women in uniform, are our heroes.

We just wanted to share a few pictures with you from the big rally to support Andrew Tahmooressi that MAF helped to organize back in August! It was a great event with an estimated 150 – 200 attendees. We had reporters from all across Northern California and as far away as Los Angeles. With the signs, chants, and press coverage, we sent a strong message to President Obama, Governor Brown, and Mexican President Nieto. Now, our prayers have finally been answered.


As a Marine, Andrew served two combat tours in Afghanistan before being honorably discharged in 2012. On March 31, 2014, he was on his way to meet some friends in the town of San Ysidro, California, a town very close to the Mexican border. He made one unlucky wrong turn and found himself on a one way road into Mexico with no way of turning around or getting off the highway.

After accidentally crossing the border, he informed Mexican border agents that he had loaded firearms in his vehicle and just wanted to turn around. Instead of being allowed to simply turn back, he was arrested and held for 8 hours before being charged with possession of illegal weapons (Mexico has very strict gun control laws). It took 7 months for Andrew to finally be released.

Despite repeated calls for help, neither Governor Jerry Brown nor President Obama did anything to bring our Marine home. The President, as Commander-In-Chief never lobbied hard against the Mexican Government to get Tahmooressi back, it appears the Mexican government decided to release Andrew by their own volition, three days before America’s elections. We are so happy to have Andrew home, but imagine the months of suffering that this young man had to go through that could have been avoided if Obama had been willing to fight for his freedom!

We Give Thanks!

Thanksgiving is a day when many of us count our blessings, and take a moment to remember family and friends who can’t be with us to share the day. At Move America Forward we’re thankful to each and every one of you who send packages and messages of support to our deployed to let them know they’re not forgotten.

We’d like to make sure as many soldiers as possible get a taste of the holidays, so we’ve put together some special Thanksgiving treats in our packages that range from hot apple cider mix, to festive multi-colored 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, Rogers Family coffee and lots more. And every Thanksgiving care package includes a special personalized message to our troops at no extra charge.

 



“It was like an early Christmas in the shop”



The leaves are beginning to fall from the trees and we are experiencing the crisp cool temperatures that November brings. Along with that we have two holidays that we celebrate this month, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. No matter our circumstances we all have so much we can be thankful for!

Among the top of my list for things I am thankful for are our Veterans who have served and sacrificed. Our warriors who through the ages, in numerous wars and conflicts, wearing different uniforms have selflessly given for the freedoms we enjoy every day. This month I would like to highlight those who have served in my family and honor them and the uniforms they proudly wore.

My oldest son Sgt. Kristofer Lee, served in the Marines from Aug 2000-December 2005. He was the Communication Specialist for his unit and was also the martial arts green belt instructor.

My son-in-law Christopher served in the Army as a Lieutenant from 2001-2003 and was deployed to Iraq.

My youngest son Marc was in the Navy from 2001-2006. He was the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq 8-2-06 and was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star with Valor, Purple Heart and numerous other awards.

My brother Jim is a Master Sergeant in the Air Force for 30 years and has deployed to the combat zone over 10 times.

Our family has represented every branch of the military and proudly wore the different uniforms of each branch. I’m looking at Marc’s uniforms hanging on the wall next to me as I type this. A hero, my son, my mighty warrior once wore each one of those uniforms.

He wore some during BUDs, some while jumping out of an airplane with a parachute strapped on, others for formal events with ribbons and his Trident perfectly placed. Yet others saw the sands of Iraq in heavy combat and felt the warm blood drench the cloth as Marc gasped for his last breathe of air as he defended his teammates and our freedoms.

The fabric of these uniforms isn’t anything special, what made it special was the one who filled it. They filled it with courage, determination, love, humor, commitment, perseverance, selflessness and hope. Each one of our Vets who served through the ages have also displayed those same characteristics.

As a nation we owe it to each and every one of those who proudly wore the uniform a depth of gratitude and respect. We owe it to our fallen heroes to never forget their sacrifice. We must live our lives daily showing our Veterans that we understand and are grateful for all they have given for us.

As a nation we come together on Veterans Day to corporately recognize, honor and thank everyone who has served. I hope that it’s not just Veterans Day that you remember and support our Vets. I choose to do it 365 days of the year as I do recognize the price they paid for my freedoms.

Marc’s last letter home talked about how we could change our world by doing more random acts of kindness.

He ended that letter with a challenge:

“To my family and friends, pass on the love, the kindness, the precious gift of human life.” I would challenge you on Veterans Day to accept Marc’s challenge and fill your day with random acts of kindness for those who have served.

If you have served please know that from the depth of my heart I send my love, respect, gratitude and support!!!! You are an American hero!

HOLIDAY DUO

Turkey, pumpkin pie, football, family, parties, shopping, worship services, and decorating! Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner!  This is such a busy and fun filled time for many Americans here at home, but it’s also a special time to remember our troops serving in harm’s way that won’t have a chance to celebrate these special days with their friends and loved ones. As part of your Holiday Traditions why not include remembering our service members with a special package from home.

Move America Forward is happy to offer a special Holiday Duo promotion that will automatically send a package from you next month in  December along with your special note of thanks to celebrate these special holidays.

Our Thanksgiving packages will be packed with our regular treats but will also include special holiday treats like candy corn, special holiday edition coffee and hot cider.  To add a touch from home and our Christmas package will have extra treats like soft peppermints, a fleecy red and white Christmas stocking and hot chocolate as well.

Just contact Lisa Baron at LisaBaron@moveamericaforward.org  and let her know you are interested in the Holiday Duo and she will get all the info from you she needs to make this happen

Signing Up a soldier for a Support Package is Easy

If you have the address of someone deployed on active military duty click here to sign them up to receive a care package. Or copy this link:

http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/

and e-mail it to them so they can register themselves.


Before you know it you will be asking yourself where another year has gone. Let MAF make it easier to remember our troops. If your company, group, school, club or organization would like to send soldiers holiday packages, now’s the time to get in touch with our Group Gift Coordinator and get your program underway. There’s still time for us to put together a custom program for you that could include sponsoring a group or unit, sending packages to soldiers from your home state, or supporting members of a particular branch of the service. We want to be able to do everything possible to make your program special, so if you’re even thinking about “We should really do something to support the troops” this holiday season, send an email to LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org

Did you know?


November 4, 1979 –  Iran Hostage Crisis begins as  Iranian  student militants  overrun the U.S. Embassy in Teheran, Iran, taking  52 Americans hostage who were held captive for 444 days. Diplomatic relations between the two countries have not resumed.

November 6, 1860Abraham Lincoln was elected as the 16th U.S. President of the United States. Lincoln was the first Republican President elected to office.

November 10, 1775Happy 239th Birthday United States Marine Corps!

November 11, 1919 - First Proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson as Armistice Day and officially changed by congress in 1954 to Veterans Day.

November 13, 1942 - Five members of the Sullivan family  — Joseph, Francis, Albert, Madison and George — serving in the US Navy aboard the USS Juneau lost their lives during or shortly following  a Japanese torpedo attack in the waters off Guadalcanal during World War II.  Due to the Deaths of the Sullivan brothers, the U.S. Navy no longer allows close relatives from serving on the same ship.


November 19, 1863President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address during ceremonies dedicating the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Battlefield as a National Cemetery. Lincoln’s speech clocking in at just under two minutes is now considered one of the greatest speeches in American history.

November 20, 1945The Nuremberg War Crime Trials began with 24 former of Nazi leaders charged a variety of crimes including crimes against humanity.


November 22, 1963President John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, was assassinated while travelling with his motorcade in Dallas, Texas. The President was pronounced dead at 1:00 PM CST at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. At 2:38 p.m., Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the 36th President of the United States aboard Air Force One.

November 26, 1789 - Although traced backed to the Pilgrims in New England.  President George Washington declared that there be a Thanksgiving Day, a day of prayer and public thanksgiving in gratitude for the successful establishment of the new American republic.


All Donations are Tax Deductible
Please make all checks payable
to “Move America Forward”
Donations by Check Can be Sent To:
ATTN: Scott Raab
Move America Forward
8795 Folsom Blvd. Suite 103
Sacramento, CA 95826

Special Thanks to Our Wonderful Sponsors!
Weber Grill, Jelly Belly, Rogers Family Company, Stag Arms, Breitbart Media, Paradies Family Co.

 

October Monthly Newsletter

 

MAF is Proud to Honor Hero

September 28, 2014 was 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.

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.

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


 

LLTB may be an acronym that people post on FB pages; it stands for Long Live the Brotherhood. Most Americans will never experience or be able to comprehend the depth of love and bond that exists with those brothers in arms.

My son Marc tried to explain that to me before he died. I could comprehend that you get really close to them as you train for combat and then deploy to the combat zone. He told me they were like brothers to him. I reminded him I didn’t birth them so they really couldn’t be brothers.

The week Marc died we had 5 of them in our home and I saw how much they loved Marc and that they were hurting just as much as we were. It was at that moment that the light went on and my eyes were opened to that unique bond and relationship that these young men shared and that they were Marc’s brothers. Since those were Marc’s brothers I knew I had adopted/inherited a bunch of new sons.

The ultimate proof of that bond, that love, was that the day Marc died he gave his life for them, giving the gift of life to his brothers.

I have been blessed for this past 8 years to develop a mutual love and relationship with “my boys,” some amazing men. The week Marc died they started calling me MommaLee, and it is a name I cherish

It’s been fun to watch them marry and attend the dress rehearsals and weddings, just like family, or to visit them for vacations, and attend change of command, promotion or retirement ceremonies. There have been many family dinners and gatherings on my trips to San Diego.

Next came the exciting phone calls and birth announcements. “Hey MommaLee we’re pregnant!” Invites to baby showers, phone calls moments after the little bundle arrives, and the first pictures sent via text. I feel a little like the fairy tale of the old woman in the shoe, she has so many children she didn’t know what to do? I have 9 biological grandchildren, and over 30 “adopted grandkids.”

This past week I was able to meet another one of the little girls God has blessed me with and hold her and play with her. Children are such a gift from the LORD.

On Sept 2nd I received another one of those texts letting me know that Leif, another one of “my boys” was in the hospital with his wife Jenna and that her water had broke and that “the big day had arrived.”

I was so excited, this was the first baby for Leif and Jenna, and they chose not to know the sex before the little bundle arrived.  I received texts throughout the day keeping me posted of her progress. They had to induce and still the progress was slow. I continued to pray and anxiously waited for the next text or phone call. I chuckled at one of the texts that came close to the end of the day in true Navy SEAL fashion “Making some movement towards extract.”

Finally at 2:23 am ET I received this text.

Tears began to trickle down my cheek, what an honor that they would name their little boy after “my little boy,” who grew all too quickly to become a Navy SEAL who would give the gift of life to Leif and so many other teammates; a hero who would defend us and sacrifice everything for our freedoms in America.

After I put the phone back on my nightstand I put my head back on my pillow and tried to balance my mixed emotions. I was so excited for the new life, and honored that they named him after Marc, knowing that Marc’s sacrifice allowed Leif to become a Father. Again the tears flowed wishing Marc was here to share this moment and so many others of life.

I thought back to his wise words that ended his last letter home, to my family and friends, pass on the love, the kindness, the precious gift of human life.” This is exactly what Marc was talking about, and on Sept 3rd in the wee hours of the morning we were able to experience another precious gift of human life.

May we never take for granted the precious gifts we are given!

Congratulations to Jenna Lee and Leif Babin with your precious new gift of Brian Marc Babin. I am deeply touched by the love and support of the “Brotherhood.” LLTB!


Rally for Marine Andrew Tahmooressi Sends a Message to CA Governor Brown, President Obama and Mexican President Nieto

We just wanted to share a few pictures with you from the big rally we had on August 26, 2014 to support Andrew Tahmooressi!  It was a great event with an estimated 150 – 200 attendees. We had reporters from all across Northern California and as far away as Los Angeles. With the signs, chants, and press coverage, we are sent a strong message to President Obama, Governor Brown, and Mexican President Nieto.



Great job everyone who showed up and thank you for taking time out of your day to stand up for Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi!

 

We are SCARING Up Some

FOR OUR TROOPS!


As the air begins to take on a 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.

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, pumpkin spiced coffee, special orange cream filled Oreo cookies 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.

 

Soldiers often see a nice bump in packages during the Christmas season, but that is still two months away and some of these brave men and women never see packages from home. Why don’t you take a moment to send a package now, and we will include the candy corn along with our regular goodies like gourmet Rogers Family coffee, beef jerky and soldier friendly field towels from Ohh Ahhs and many other treats and necessary items.





Thanks from
Force Guardians!


It’s October already!  So Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner.  This is such a busy and fun filled time for many Americans here at home, but it’s also a special time to remember our troops serving in harm’s way that won’t have a chance to celebrate these special days with their friends and loved ones.

Move America Forward is happy to offers a special Holiday Trio promotion that gives you the chance to have a automatically send a package from  you each month for October, November and December along with your special note of thanks to celebrate these special holidays.

Our Halloween and Thanksgiving packages will be packed with our regular treats but will also include special holiday treats like candy corn to add a touch from home and our Christmas package will have extra treats like soft peppermints, a fleecy red and white Christmas stocking and hot chocolate as well.

Just click here to contact Lisa Baron, our Director of our Troop Support, and she will get your information and set you up for this special 3 month promotion. It’s easy to set up and Lisa will take care of everything for you so you don’t have to worry about finding the time to order packages for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Did You Know…?


October 1, 1946
The International War Crimes Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany sentenced a dozen high-ranking Nazi war criminals to death including Hermann Goering, founder of the Gestapo and chief of the German air force

October 3, 1863President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation designating the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.


October 8, 1918
During World War I, U.S. Sergeant Alvin York single-handedly took out a German machine-gun battalion, killing over a dozen and capturing 132. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor and the French Croix de Guerre.


October 13, 1775
The United States Navy was born after the Second Continental Congress authorized the acquisition of a fleet of ships.

October 17-25, 1944The Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history, took place off the Philippine Islands, during World War II in the Pacific. The battle involved 216 U.S. warships and 64 Japanese ships and resulted in the destruction of the Japanese Navy including the Japanese Battleship Musashi, one of the largest ever built.


October 23, 1983
A truck loaded with explosives was driven into the U.S. and French headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon by terrorists, exploding it and killing 241 U.S. Marines and 58 French paratroopers.

October 24, 1945The United Nations was founded.

Calling all Troops!
Signing up to receive packages is easy!

If you are deployed or have the address of a deployed military member, you can click here for our Military Sign Up Center to sign them up to receive one of our great care packages loaded with plenty of the TLC our soldiers need to remind them that people back home support their mission.

If you prefer, copy this link and e-mail it to your soldier so they can sign up themselves. (http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/)  Once the soldier has registered they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring Americans like you

Monthly Smiles Needs YOU!

Life can get tough, and sometimes for budget or other reasons even as simple as having your credit card expire we have experienced a drop off in our Monthly Smiles Program.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas still months away we at Move America Forward are seeing a spike in package requests from our soldiers. We are trying our very best to leave none of these troops empty handed.  That is why we are asking for help in considering our Monthly Smiles program.

Monthly Smiles is a vital part of successfully supporting our troops during their deployments.  Support has dropped off creating a hole in our Monthly Smiles Program which compromises our ability of fulfilling all the package requests we receive. We hate to say no to our troops or leave them empty handed, that’s where you come in.

If you would consider joining our monthly smiles program we would love to have you and we make it so easy to get a regularly scheduled 100% tax deductible Monthly Smiles Package out on your behalf, including a personal message from you. Just fill out the Monthly Smiles Form and we will contact you regarding payment method and budget.
If you have a question or would like additional information, contact Lisa Baron, our Monthly Smiles Director at LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org.

Check Out Our Moving Tribute for September 11, 2001

 

September Monthly Newsletter 2014

 

MAF is Proud to Honor Major General Harold Greene


Major General Harold J. Greene of Falls Church, Va., a two-star Army general was killed during an insider attack on August 5, 2014 at a military academy in Kabul, Afghanistan where he was making a routine visit. Greene is the highest-ranking U.S. military officer to be killed on foreign soil since Vietnam.

Greene was killed when an Afghan soldier opened fire killing Greene and injuring at least fourteen others in the ambush.

Greene, a career soldier of 34 years had been in deployed to Afghanistan since January, serving as deputy commander of a support command called the Combined Security Transition Command, in Kabul.

General Greene was laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington on August 14, 2014.

September 11, 2001 — a day that forever changed America and the history of the world. Every adult can tell you where they were the moment that they heard we were attacked and our innocence was stripped from us. Terrorists had plotted for years to destroy us, the infidel, and that morning they attacked America.

I still get a sick feeling in my gut as I remember watching the news and seeing the planes flown into the towers in New York.  Numb and in a state of shock I watched as people wrenching from the extreme temperatures of the fire and explosions, knowing death was imminent, chose to jump from 80 floors up.

America watched as buildings crumpled to the ground and smoke and pollutants surrounded the cities hiding the death and mass casualties. America watched people running for their lives filled with panic and fear. America watched as brave First Responders, Fireman, Policeman, Paramedics and Volunteers ran into the chaos, danger and destruction trying to find someone who needed help.

In the hours and days that followed, as a nation, we watched as families tried to find their loved ones and prayed for those who had lost loved ones. We wondered if there were more attacks being planned against our homeland.  We tried to process what had happened and figure out our defense.

My oldest son was serving in the Marines, my daughter’s husband was in the Army and Marc was a Navy SEAL, and my brother was in the Air force. I could see the handwriting on the wall and knew I would have family members deployed. I knew that as a nation we had tried every other alternative and that our last resort would be to deploy our military. If we didn’t we would just be sending an invitation that we were weak and that the radical terrorists could inflict more death and damage on America.

As Americans we have the finest and bravest men and women who stood up and said we will stand in the gap for the innocent lives that were stolen from us that morning of 9-11. Our troops chose to defend their honor and show their families and our country that we will never forget and will bring justice and defend and protect America and her freedoms.

We will never forget 9-11 and those innocent lives that the terrorist had targeted that day to be killed. We will never forget our defenders both in public service and military service who came together in the midst of one of the greatest tragedies in America. We will never forget our fallen warriors like my son Marc Alan Lee who proudly wore the military uniform with pride and died in Iraq and Afghanistan defending each and every one of those who the enemy so violently killed on 9-11.

Yet we will also not forget that as a nation Americans came together and stood strong, tall, united and showed the world that we were not a people to be messed with.  We fell to our knees and recognized that we are resilient and strong because we are “One nation under God.” Yes, we are a Christian nation and we recognized that our strength comes from God and we prayed for comfort, peace and strength.

Today we remember and wrap our arms around each family who has lost a loved one on 9-11 or the battlefields of Iraq or Afghanistan. We will never forget and will keep you in our hearts and prayers.

Remembering

Debbie Lee


We Will Never Forget

September 11, 2001 – Terrorists Attack the United States
September 11, 2012 – Terrorists Attack U.S. Consulate in Benghazi


September 11, 2001. Thirteen years have passed since the September day that will forever change our nation.  We at MAF honor the brave men, women and children who lost their lives that fateful September morning in 2001.  We remember the heroics of countless NYPD fire and police units who responded without thought to their own safety and the incredible sacrifices of those aboard flight 93 who through their selfless sacrifice saved countless lives. Although the Twin Towers no longer grace the New York Skyline, the Pentagon remains, its beige stone facing bearing the scars of the terrorists attack.

September 11, 2012. Terrorists once again attacked the U.S. on the grounds of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Although first reported as an unorganized local protest surrounding a movie, it soon became clear this was a directed and organized strike which needlessly cost the lives U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, former SEALs Glen Doherty  and Ty Woods  along with  foreign service worker Sean Smith. Although we still wait for those responsible for the attacks to be held fully accountable, we nonetheless need to honor those who died.

Take time to honor these heroes and their sacrifices by flying your flag in remembrance of these great American heroes and our dedicated troops who help protect our freedoms each and every day.

Send a package today  and Move America Forward will include your personal message of support to our troops.




Top Pro-Troop Tweets of the Month!

TROOPS LOVE GETTING COFFEE IN THE CARE PACKAGES


Active Duty U.S. Marines Michael Haft and Harrison Suarez wrote about the history of the Marine Corps secret weapon that’s been helping Marines fight America’s wars since the first days of the revolution: Coffee!
It’s true, one of the most appreciated items in Move America Forward’s care packages is the locally roasted gourmet coffee provided by the Rogers Family Coffee Company especially for the troops on the front lines.We have a wide variety of Rogers Family coffee in our warehouse in many different flavors and roasts such as French Roast, Espresso Roast, Hazelnut, Southern Pecan, Breakfast Blend, Irish Creme, Colombian, and the 100% organic Rainforest blend. Rogers coffee is a very important part of our care packages!
We hear over and over again from troops that receiving a care package got them through some of their toughest times on deployment. A message of support and love reminded them that they are in our hearts. Click here to send a care package and give our troops the best gift anyone can get while deployed; love, care, and support!MAF Join Successful Rally for Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi!
We just wanted to share these pictures with you from the big rally held in Sacramento to support Andrew Tahmooressi! It was a great event with an estimated 150 – 200 attendees. We had reporters from all across Northern California and as far away as Los Angeles. With the signs, chants, and press coverage, we are sending a strong message to President Obama, Governor Brown, and Mexican President Nieto.

Andrew Tahmooressi served two combat tours in Afghanistan with the US Marine Corps before he was honorably discharged in 2012 and returned to the US. On March 31, 2014, he was on his way to meet some friends in the town of San Ysidro, California, a town very close to the Mexican border. He made one unlucky wrong turn and found himself on a one way road into Mexico with no way of turning around or getting off the highway.

After accidentally crossing the border, he informed Mexican border agents that he had loaded firearms in his vehicle and just wanted to turn around. Instead of being allowed to simply turn back, he was arrested and held for 8 hours before being charged with possession of illegal weapons under Mexico’s strict gun laws. Ever since, it has been a battle to try to bring Sgt. Tahmooressi home. He’s been held in Mexico for over 5 months with no release date in sight.

President Obama has done nothing to bring our Marine home. He hasn’t asked or negotiated with Nieto. Obama is willing to negotiate with the Taliban to free 5 Terrorists at GITMO, but he won’t lift a finger to negotiate with Mexico to get our Marine home. It’s shameful. Not only that, but considering that Mexico lives under the safety umbrella that the United States provides for North America via the sacrifice and courage of military men and women like Andrew, this is no way for the Mexican government to treat an American hero!

Now that we’ve had a chance to sort through all the pictures from the rally, we’ve got some great photos to show you of the results! Great job everyone who showed up and thank you for taking time out of your day to stand up for Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi!

Did You Know…?

 

September 1, 1939 - German army under Hitler invaded Poland starting World War II in Europe.

September 1, 1983Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was shot down by the USSR en route from New York to Korea killing all 269 passengers and crew  after reportedly straying 100 miles off course over a Soviet military installation.

September 2, 1945 – President Truman declared V-J Day (Victory over Japan Day) to commemorate the Japanese surrender to the Allies during WWII

September 4, 1886 - With the surrender of Apache leader Geronimo at Skeleton Canyon, Arizona, the last major U.S.-Indian war came to an end.

September 11, 2001 - Marks the worst Terrorist attack in U.S. history.  American Airlines Flight 11 carrying 92 people and United Airlines Flight 175 carrying 65 people were diverted by the Jihadist hijackers to New York City where they were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The impact and fires led to the collapse of the towers, killing 2,752 persons including hundreds of rescue workers.

United Airlines Flight 93, which had departed Newark for San Francisco, and American Airlines Flight 77, which had departed Dulles (Virginia) for Los Angeles, were also hijacked. Flight 77 with 64 people on board was diverted to Washington, D.C., where it was used to attack the Pentagon, killing everyone on board and 125 inside the Pentagon.  Flight 93 with 44 people on board was also diverted toward Washington but crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to overpower the terrorists on board.

September 11, 2012 - Terrorists attacked the U.S. Consulate Compound in Benghazi, Libya killing U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens, as well as two former Navy SEALS and a Foreign Service worker. Ten others on the ground were injured.  The attacks led to the resignation of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

September 14, 1901 – President William McKinley died from gangrene caused by an infected bullet wounds suffered during an assassination attempt in Buffalo, New York. Eight days prior. McKinley was the last president to serve in the Civil War.

September 15, 1916 -During the Allied offensive at the  at the Battle of the Somme, tanks were used in combat for the first time in history.

September 16, 1620 – The Mayflower ship departed from England carrying Puritans seeking religious freedom in America with 102 passengers and a small crew.


September 17, 1787
- Delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, voted unanimously to approve the proposed U.S. Constitution.

September 18, 1947 - The U.S. Air Force was established as a separate military service.

September 22, 1776 - 21- year old Patriot Nathan Hale was publicly hanged  by the British without a trial after he was caught spying on British troops in New York. Hale is famous for his last words, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

September 25, 1789 – The first U.S. Congress proposed 12 Amendments to the Constitution, ten of which, comprising the Bill of Rights, were ratified.

September 29, 1789 - Congress establishes the United States Army, consisting of 1,000 enlisted men and officers.

Calling all Troops!
Signing up to receive packages is easy!

If you are deployed or have the address of a deployed military member, you can click here for our Military Sign Up Center to sign them up to receive one of our great care packages loaded with plenty of the TLC our soldiers need to remind them that people back home support their mission.

If you prefer, copy this link ( http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/ ) and e-mail it to your soldier so they can sign up themselves. Once the soldier has registered they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring Americans like you.

MAF’s Monthly Smiles Club Keeps the Smiles Coming Year-Round

Want an easy way to keep those smiles coming all year long?  Join the Move America Forward Monthly Smiles Club. Simply provide us with your monthly budget, and a little information from you and we do the rest. That’s all there is to it. Then you’ll know each month you’ve put a smile on a soldier’s face.

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.

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

August Monthly Newsletter 2014


Hot, Hot, Hot!
We all know that this summer has already served up some record heat here in the states, but July and August are traditionally the hottest months in Afghanistan with temperatures forecast to reach a sweltering 108 degrees in some regions of Afghanistan this week.According to an article in Army Times a soldier on extended foot patrol carries an average load ranging from 87 to 127 staggering pounds!With this in mind Move America Forward is happy to include Gatorade mix so our troops can replenish some much needed fluid and electrolytes lost during what for these heroes is just a routine work day and Hoo-Ahhs® sturdy, non-shredding over sized per-moistened field towels in all our troop support packages

If you’d like to send a package to our troops that will include some thirst quenching Gatorade and Hoo-Ahhs® to help cut down the grim and dust, as well as all the other great items like Jelly Belly candy diplomacy jelly beans and Rogers Family Coffee, beef jerky, nuts and personal care item and most importantly a personal note of support for you, our hard-working troops would be grateful.

August 2, 2014 is the anniversary of when my son Marc Lee sacrificed his life; I’ve contemplated what to write. I’ve written something every year since he passed to honor and remember Marc, and to give others a glimpse of who he was and the sacrifices he made for the freedoms we enjoy every day.

This year I decided to write a letter to Marc in Heaven. I wish I could hand deliver it, or at least call him. But I guess cell phones aren’t the technology used in Heaven…


“A Letter to Heaven”
My dear Marc, my Mighty Warrior, my Hero….I love and miss you so very much. It’s been 8 years since you were redeployed to Heaven, and I know that you are in the best hands that could ever hold you! I was blessed that God trusted me to be able to hold and love you for 28 years.I have so many fond memories of you:

Carrying you in my womb you grew quickly and moved like crazy causing the doctors to think they heard two heartbeats and declare you were twins!

The first time they placed you in my arms at the hospital and I held and nursed you; it brought such peace and contentment, even though your father and I had gone through a divorce during the pregnancy and I had no idea how I was going to raise you and your siblings who were 2 and 3.

The animated and crazy sounds you made as a toddler… Disney didn’t need a sound crew, they just needed you.

Your knock-knock jokes you would make up that were so stupid but you would crack yourself up laughing, and everyone else couldn’t help but laugh with you.

You loved to have me give you a back rub/tickle thing I do and you would say, “Hey Mom give me tingles.”

You winning class clown 2 years in a row and questioning you about how that would get you a scholarship.

The day you came home as a freshmen and declared “I’m going to be a professional soccer player,” with the only problem being you had never played soccer a day in your life. Yet, you did see that dream come true and were trying out for a professional team in Colorado when you blew out your knee the night before try-outs.

The day you came home and announced you had joined the Navy and had a contract to go to BUDs to become a Navy SEAL. You had so much determination and perseverance.

The many times we would wrestle and slap fight. I remember taunting you and telling you I could whoop your tushy. As you grew in stature and strength, under my breath I would say, “Or at least let me think I can.”

The last hug I ever received from you when you left my house before you deployed. Even as a teenager, when I would drop you off at the bus before a soccer game you had no problem giving me a kiss and a hug. I miss your kisses, hugs and hearing “I love you Mom!”

It’s hard to believe it has been 8 years since you left this earth. What you did that day – purposely standing in the direct line of fire three different times to save your teammates – was so selfless, noble, honorable and heroic. Oh, by the way I did make it to Iraq and got to see where you spent your last days. They named your base in Ramadi after you “Camp Marc Lee.”

They also named the new TRADET building in Coronado after you, the “Marc A. Lee” Training Center. That’s perfect because you did rock it when it came to physical training! I am soooooooo very proud of you!!! You sacrificed everything; you gave up all of your tomorrows, your future, so they could live today.

I catch myself wondering, what if you were still here? Would there be 4 or 5 little Marcs running around? Would you have gotten out of the SEALs and become a successful businessman? Oh wait, you were a West Coast SEAL and they would tease you and call you “pretty boy.”

So I guess you would be making movies in Hollywood….heehee… Hey, I always teased you before, so I would be lacks to stop now? ;o)

Would you be living in the same town with your brother and I and all of the cousins hanging out in Grandma’s pool. I know you would have been there to care for me when I got old…wiping my drool and changing my diapers. Hey I changed plenty of yours!!!

Then I come back to reality. But son, just in case you can’t see down here, let me tell you how God has used that letter you wrote just weeks before you were killed and your heroic story to change lives around the world.

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that your life has changed millions and millions of lives around the world. You may not physically be here, but you are still impacting this world in a major way.

I know you just intended that letter to go to a few friends and family. But hey, I’m your Mom, and if I can’t sing your praises something’s wrong. So I’ve sent it to a few people who sent it to a few people, who sent it to a few people. (The internet is a great thing!) Do you guys have that up there?  Jon Voight even carries it in his wallet. I started a foundation and named it America’s Mighty Warriors. You remember all those talks we had about your name and the meaning of it (Marc = Mighty Warrior). And me telling you that if you kept your eyes on God, He had something big He wanted to do through you. Well He did! This sure wasn’t what I had in mind, but I shouldn’t be surprised as God tells us His ways are not our ways!

You believed, and are in glory – no pain, no sorrow, no sickness for you. I find such comfort knowing I will see you again! God has given me amazing strength and comfort! Remember when I used to do the Kindergarten graduation and Christmas programs for the school and I would freak out to speak in front of 200 people? I would hold the microphone with both hands trying to make it stop shaking?? I know it sounds crazy, but I speak and tell people your heroic story, and God has taken my fear away and put me in amazing places. I know you’re there with Him every day, and this all makes sense to you. But we live by faith down here. People tell me all the time what a strong woman I am, but I have to correct them and say, “Oh no, it’s not me. What you see is God’s strength.” I do long for the day He calls me home and I get to communicate in person with you and give you a big hug.

Oh by the way, I did accept your challenge in that last letter to “pass on the kindness the love, the precious gift of human life.” You were wise beyond your years. It is so cool to do those random acts of kindness you mentioned and then hand people your letter or hero card. Yes I did make hero cards that I pass out…I know you didn’t seek the glory and wouldn’t want that, but hey, you’re not here to stop me.

I must tell you it is so strange to see your name on a granite wall, in a book, or on a movie. But when we have heroes like you who selflessly sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy every day, you deserve it Marc, your story needs to be told and is being told.

Oh and your final gift to me – your teammates – has been such a blessing!! You always did spend so much time finding just that perfect gift, and you rocked on that one buddy. They call me Momma Lee, and I finally get what you were trying to tell me about the “brotherhood” thing. They were as close to you as your brother, and they are my “adopted or inherited” sons. You could never be replaced, but there are lots of brothers all over trying to fill your shoes. Of course Chris has probably filled you in on many of the details since he got to Heaven. Tell him I miss him tons, and give him a big hug for me. I’m so proud of him too! Tell him I am watching out over the Kyle family just like he watched out over me for you.

In your memory, I put your boots on and pick up your weapon to stay in the fight daily for our troops and the families of the fallen. Thank you, Marc; your final actions, you never quit, you ran into the line of fire and gave your final breath; no one took that from you. We had a tough life growing up and perseverance was something we lived. But doggone it, now when I want to quit and just live the easy life, I think of you and the sacrifice you made and it pushes me forward. ;o)

I love and miss you deeply, but will carry on until God calls me home! Tell the rest of the guys Momma Lee sends love and hugs!

A very special letter someone wrote ;o) had this ending and I think it’s only appropriate to send it back to you. Halfway through the deployment can’t wait to see your smiling face.

I love you,
Mom

Happy 224th Birthday to the United States Coast


U.S. Coast Guard Day
honors the military branch that protects our waters and shorelines.
On August 4, 1790, the Revenue Cutter Service was created by the U.S. Congress. Congress authorized the construction of ten cutters. These ships were built to enforce U.S. tariff laws. The Revenue Cutter Service was the predecessor the U.S. Coast Guard.  The name “Coast Guard” was first used in 1915.Celebrate U.S. Coast Guard Day by learning more about the responsibilities and functions of the U.S. Coast Guard. They are now playing an even more extensive role in Homeland Security to protect our country.We salute Coast Guard personnel today and every day.


Top Pro-Troop Tweets of the Month!

Calling all Troops!
Signing up to receive packages is easy!
If you are deployed or have the address of a deployed military member, you can click here for our Military Sign Up Center to sign them up to receive one of our great care packages loaded with plenty of the TLC our soldiers need to remind them that people back home support their mission.

If you prefer, copy this link ( http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/ ) and e-mail it to your soldier so they can sign up themselves. Once the soldier has registered they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring Americans like you.

Did you Know?


August 2, 1990
The Iraqi army invaded Kuwait and annexed by Iraq which claimed that Kuwait was historically part of Iraq. This resulted in Desert Shield, the massive Allied military buildup, and later  Desert Storm.

August 6, 1945American B-29 bomber Enola Gay  drops the first Atomic Bomb over the Japansese city of Hiroshima at 8:15 a.m.

August 9, 1945 - U.S. B-29 drops second Atomic bomb over Nagasaki, Japan around noon causing massive destruction and casualties.


August 9, 1974
President Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency as a result of the Watergate scandal thus becoming the only U.S. President ever to resign.


August 14, 1945
Japan’s Emperor Hirohito accepted Allied surrender terms with the exception that the Japanese Emperor’s sovereignty would be maintained. Known as V-J Day in commemoration of Japan’s surrender.

August 18, 1920 - With the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution women were granted the right to vote.


August 21, 1959
Hawaii is admitted as the 50th state following a proclamation signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.


August 24-25, 1814
During the War of 1812, Washington, D.C., was invaded by British forces that burned the Capitol, the White House and most other public buildings along with a number of private homes.


August 28, 1963
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his now-famous I Have a Dream speech at the March on Washington civil right rally in Washington, D.C.

MAF’s Monthly Smiles Club Keeps the Smiles Coming Year-Round

Want an easy way to keep those smiles coming all year long?  Join the Move America Forward Monthly Smiles Club. Simply provide us with your monthly budget, and a little information from you and we do the rest. That’s all there is to it. Then you’ll know each month you’ve put a smile on a soldier’s face.

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.

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


Special Thanks to Our Wonderful Sponsors!
Weber Grill, Jelly Belly, Rogers Family Company, Stag Arms, Breitbart Media, Paradies Family Co.

July Monthly Newsletter 2014 Troopathon Special

Thanks to your continued support and efforts to spread the word, we have now raised $347,002 allowing us to up our goal to $350,000 for the troops! We are making every effort to reach this goal by the end of the day.

If you haven’t donated yet, do so now, and if you have made a contribution please send out this information to friends and family who may be interested in joining our effort.




Troopathon 7 Proves to be a Big Winner for Our Troops!

On June 25, 2014, MAF held our 7th Annual Troopathon event broadcast life from the Ronald Regan Library in Simi Valley, California.  Thanks to all who took the time to watch and respond to our drive to send our deployed troops much needed packages.

Thank you for all the support from everyone here at Move America Forward. On behalf of our hosts, Melanie Morgan, Stephen K. Bannon, John McCaslin, Debbie Lee, all of our staff, and most of all our troops on the front lines, thank you for your support!

THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS AND GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
If you missed out on Troopathon, you can STILL donate to help us reach our goal

We’d also like to thank some of our very special Troopathon Angels for their generous contributions

  • Katherine Gray
  • Freddie Morrill
  • Jane White
  • Gary Sinise
  • Trent Balke
  • Rich Wacker
  • Sandra Boyce
  • Nancy & Roy Trillo
  • Robert Calcagno
  • Rogers Family Coffee
  • Lucia Uihlein
  • Susan Conklin
  • John Franlin
  • Audrey Schwarzbein
  • Donald Rumsfeld
  • Conoco Phillips
  • Richard Uihlein
MAF extends a Very Special Thank you to our Troopathon Mystery Donor

We wanted to extend a very special thank you to our “Mystery Donor” who made an anonymous donation of $50,000.00 toward the Troopathon for care package for our soldiers. We may not know exactly who to thank but we did want to take the time to point out your generous donation that will put care packages into the hands of so many deserving and grateful troops.

Although we wish we had the space to thank each and every donor personally, rest assured that all of our donors have made a tremendous impact that will enable us to send out thousands of troop support packages to our troops serving in harm’s way.

Didn’t have a chance to watch Troopathon live?  Catch some of our highlights here

Rogers Family Company Donation of a Tape Machine Makes Preparing our Packages for Shipment so Much Easier!

A Heartfelt thanks goes out to Rogers Family Company as they continue to support Move America Forward’s efforts to support our troops through their generous donations financially , and materially through their consistent donation. At MAF we are proud to include Rogers Family Company in each of our care packages to our deployed troops.

Recently Rogers Family Company saw our need to ramp up our ability to efficiently put together packages.  Thanks to Rogers Family Company MAF can really bang out the boxes with a brand new industrial tape machine. During especially high production times like Troopathon this new tape machine will make our job of assembling much needed care packages for our troops so much easier to achieve.

 

Big Congrats to our Weber Grill and SF 49ers Limited Edition Football Troopathon Winners!


As part of our fund raising efforts for Troopathon 7 held June 27, 2013, Move America Forward received generous donations of a limited edition San Francisco 49ers Football from the 49ers and a Weber SPIRIT® E-310™gas grill from Weber Grill.

We are pleased to announce that our Troopathon Giveaway winners have been selected and thanks to their generous donations to the troops will be receiving special prizes from two very special organizations that went above and beyond this year to help Move America Forwards 6th Annual Troopathon!!!

THANK YOU SF 49ERS
Congratulations: Christopher Haag of Tampa, Florida

Christopher’s donation qualified him to win the limited edition Wilson “The Duke” Military Appreciation 49ers Football with a camouflage NFL ribbon on the side

THANK YOU WEBER GRILL
Congratulations: Kimberly Granger of Dallas, Texas

Her generous Donation to the troops qualified and won a brand new Weber SPIRIT® E310™Gas Grill from the leaders in American Grilling.

_______________________________

Special Thanks go out toTroopathon Event Sponsors:

•    Breitbart News Network

•    The Rogers Family Company

•    Stag Arms

•    Weber Grill

•    Paradies

 

Happy 237th Birthday America!

“The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.” Samuel Adams, - Essay in the Boston Gazette, October 14, 1771

STAG ARMS Aims to Support Troops Overseas

To help support TROOPATHON and send more care packages to the troops, Firearms Manufacturer STAG ARMS partnered with MAF to give away a FREE AR-15 rifle, valued at over $900. The winner, Wayne Dupree, an 8 year Air Force veteran who lives in Maryland, can choose any one of three available STAG ARMS models in left-handed or right-handed configuration.

“Winning this Stag Arms Rifle during Troopathon 2014 was the cake on the table for me but the icing was gathering social media together and giving them a way to make donations to my military brothers and sisters in the way of care packages.” said Mr. Dupree

“I was in the military for eight years and I know first hand what a care package will do especially in times when you are lonely or homesick. It was a great honor to have helped them and win this rifle. While in the USAF I was expert with the M-16 and .38 so this is something I will treasure always.” said Dupree, after being notified that he was the winner of the STAG ARMS AR-15 giveaway.

“Stag Arms has always been a supporter of the troops not just with discounts on purchases for our servicemen but in donations to pro-troop initiatives like Troopathon. We were honored to have their support and because of their generosity more troops overseas will receive support through care packages this Summer.” said Scott Raab, Operations Director in charge of coordinating care package shipments overseas.  “Without wonderful sponsors like STAG ARMS we wouldn’t have been able to raise over $300,000 to support our troops.”

Freedom is one of the most precious gifts that we as Americans enjoy. I think that freedom often is taken for granted. The majority of Americans haven’t had to pay anything or sacrifice to secure the freedoms we enjoy every day. The patriots and Veterans who have borne the price and sacrificed greatly to obtain those are a small percentage.

Our family has selflessly stepped up and made that oath to defend us against enemies foreign and domestic. My oldest son Kristofer served as a Marine, my son-in-law in the Army. my brother Jim in the Air Force serving 12 deployments and my youngest son a Navy SEAL Marc who gave his life on the battlefield in Ramadi, Iraq 8-2-06.

Since Marc’s death I have dedicated my life to honoring and supporting our troops
and the families of the fallen. Our heroes who defend us deserve the very best support we can give them. We must never forget the sacrifices made for us!!

This past month we were joined by patriots around the US who also understand who pays the price for our freedoms. We hosted Troopathon 7 on June 25th at the Reagan library and raised over $300,000.00 to send care packages and a message to our troops serving that we will never forget who pays the price for our freedoms.

Melanie Morgan and I have co-hosted each Troopathon and this year we were joined by Steve Obannon from Breitbart.com and John McCaslin. My dear friend Gary Sinise joined us from 3-4pm as a co-host.

Gary Sinise has been so faithful supporting our troops through the years. He is the Bob Hope of this generation. A humble man who always deflects the praise he receives back to the troops and the families of the fallen. I am blessed to have his friendship and support.

As we celebrate the 4th of July and our independence as a country I would encourage you to remember the sacrifices made for our freedoms. My son Marc and numerous others willingly gave their lives defending each one of you and our precious freedoms.

Marc’s last letter home was written just shortly after the 4th of July in 2006. That letter has inspired millions of people around the world.  Marc talks about the great country we live in and the obligation we have to keep it that way “however what I do over here is only a small percent of what keeps our country great. I think the truth to our greatness is each other. Purity, morals and kindness passed down to each generation through example. So to all my family and friends, do me a favor, pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life to each other……This is our real part to keep America free!”

As Americans we are freedom seekers, and we must never forget to honor and thank those who have paid the price for our freedoms.

May God richly bless our warriors and their families.
Debbie Lee

TWEETS FOR TROOPATHON!




Calling all Troops!
Signing up to receive packages is easy!

If you are deployed or have the address of a deployed military member, you can click here for our Military Sign Up Center to sign them up to receive one of our great care packages loaded with plenty of the TLC our soldiers need to remind them that people back home support their mission.

If you prefer, copy this link ( http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/ ) and e-mail it to your soldier. Once the soldier has registered they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring Americans like you.


Troopathon really helped put packages in the hands of our troops but we could really use more of our supporters to join our Monthly Smiles Program. Please consider joining Monthly Smiles and we will do all the work to make sure your package goes out each mont to our deserving troops.

If you are interested in joining just email our Director of Troops Support, Lisa Baron and she will contact you to get all the necessary information.  Lisa can be reached on her direct line at 843-532-4365 or through her email at LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org (remember to add her to your safe sender list so she doesn’t end up in your SPAM!

AGAIN, THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR MAKING TROOPATHON 7 A SUCCESS!!!

The June Monthly Newsletter is Here!

Memorial Day 2014 was spent remembering our fallen heroes in Dallas with patriots from young to old, mixed nationalities and faiths, Veterans, and other Gold star families. These were patriots who understood the real meaning of Memorial Day or were trying to educate their friends and family as to why Memorial Day is a national holiday.

I joined with Fellowship Church in Grapevine Texas on Saturday and Sunday as they focused on our warriors who gave all of their tomorrows defending our freedoms so that we could enjoy ours today.

The service opened with a brief reminder of the personal sacrifice our family knew that was given by my son Marc. I then called the Color Guard forward representing each branch of our military who have brothers who fell in combat. Throughout the service people were reminded of the sacrifices made by so many.

After the message I made a presentation of a folded flag flown over the US Capitol in Marc’s memory and Marc’s framed last letter home. It was a small token of gratitude to Fellowship Church led by Ed and Lisa Young, true patriots. As faithful supporters of our troops and families of the fallen this church has impacted and deeply touched our warriors and their families.

A quick bite to eat and then off to Carry the Load to begin a 20 hour and 14 minute walk. I walked 21 miles last year but this year only walked about 5 miles because of issues with my knees. Those who walk are “carrying the load” of a fallen loved one, friend, or teammate. As I did last year, I carried Marc Lee and Chris Kyle.

It was a cloudy overcast afternoon but we had only a spattering of rain so I decided to head out. I was about 2 1/2 miles out when the sky broke open and it began to pour. I turned around and walked a little bit faster to get out of the rain. By the time I walked back the 2 1/2 miles I was drenched. I looked down at the pictures of Marc and Chris that I had pinned to my t-shirt and was disappointed that I hadn’t laminated them and now they were ruined. It wasn’t long when I remembered that Marc’s favorite weather to play soccer in was in the rain. He was loving it. This was his element!!!

When I got back and under cover, the pictures were ripping because they were so wet. As I removed the safety pins holding the pictures on I realized that the rain had caused the color from the pictures to bleed onto my t-shirt. What a perfect analogy, our warriors bled for us.

I had the opportunity to meet so many amazing patriots that I had met before at other events. I met others who were also carrying Marc and had his picture or memorial t-shirt on to honor and remember him.

I met other parents, widows, children or teammates who were carrying their fallen loved one. I was blessed to see Chris Kyle’s parents, and his brother and family who were marching to remember Chris. Others were there to teach their children the real meaning of Memorial Day and the price paid for our freedoms. It brought so much pride and comfort to see all of those who purposed to reclaim Memorial Day and dedicated time to never forget our fallen warriors.

The days leading up to Memorial Day and throughout the weekend, I liked every post I could find on FB about someone’s fallen hero, or what Memorial Day really means. I read numerous articles and posted on my FB some of our fallen warriors’ heroic stories.

I was watching a movie after Carry the Load titled Memorial Day, where a grandson had found his grandfather’s military war chest in the cellar. When his Grandmother saw him with it she chastised him and told him his Grandfather would be angry and that he better go put it back. He waited until she went in the house and carried it to his Grandfather who was sitting on the porch.

Grandfather clinched his teeth, swallowed hard told him it wasn’t his to go put it back. The child who was probably about 11 pushed it closer to his Grandfather. The Grandfather yelled at him you stubborn, hard headed child do as I say. To which the child replied, “It’s Memorial Day.” Your darn right it is,” replied the Grandfather with pain in his voice. The child then looked his Grandpa, who had kept this chest hidden for decades, and replied. “Then what am I supposed to remember?” The Grandpa knew the child was right and shared the stories of what was in the chest and his fallen brothers.

We have a responsibility to share our heroes stories or no one will know who to remember. I was blessed and honored to be able to share Marc’s story but to also hear so many stories of other heroes who died for my freedoms.

Throughout the weekend I received text messages, phone calls and pictures from those who stopped by Marc’s grave in San Diego to let me know they were remembering my hero. Thank you, that means so much.

To those who took the time to remember this year I salute you and thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Debbie Lee


“Care Packages for our Heroes”
Troopathon 7 Partners up With Breitbart.com and Sirius XM Radio to bring you live Coverage from the Ronald Regan Presidential Library!

This year’s Troopathon is hosted by Stephen K. Bannon, Executive Chairman of Breitbart News Network and host of Sirius XM’s Breitbart News shows. He will be joined by our Gary Sinise, a legendary troop supporter, actor, director and musician; Melanie Morgan, who has spent an entire career behind the microphone at KSFO radio in San Francisco; Iconic political columnist and radio personality John McCaslin, famed co-anchor of America’s Morning News and Gold Star Mother and MAF spokesperson Debbie Lee.

Come join us live for host the 6-hour Troopathon 7 broadcast live from  the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California!

Past Troopathon events have raised over $4.1 million for our troops. Last year, Troopathon raised over 300,000 but we’d like to break that total this year!!

Our Troopathon 7 Live event will kick off with returning host Melanie Morgan and her co-hosts. We’re still in the process of lining up this year’s guests, but you can be sure there will be some great names like past year’s guest list which included

Gene Simmons • Current Navy SEALs • Michelle Malkin • Laura Ingraham

Lars Larson • Mark Levin • Hulk Hogan • Ann Coulter • Sean Hannity Dr. Laura Schlessinger • Tammy Bruce • Governor Sarah Palin • Charlie Daniels John Ratzenberger • Kelsey Grammer • Gary Sinise • Jon Voight • Kevin Farley John Ondrasik • Gavin DeGraw • Adam Carolla • Rush Limbaugh • Pat Sajak Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski • Greg Gutfeld • Governor Mike Huckabee Monica Crowley • Gerald McRaney • Buzz Aldrin • Robert Davi • Wayne Newton Ambassador John Bolton • Dennis Miller

Gold Star mom, Debbie Lee will be returning to share her story about her son Marc Lee – Marc was the first Navy Seal to die during the war in Iraq. She has dedicated her life to supporting our troops and has done so with dignity and patriotism. Learn more about what Debbie is up to now in our “Debbie’s Corner” monthly  newsletter feature.

Life can be busy, so remember to save the date now! We will be sending out emails, posting on Facebook, and Tweeting to keep you posted as we line up this year’s  exciting guest list, so if you haven’t already, add us on Facebook and Twitter now. And as always, thank you for standing behind our troops and offering them the support they deserve!

Move America Forward is offering a FREE GUN GIVEAWAY to individuals who participate in our blogger competition to promote our Troopathon fundraiser for the troops. This is an exciting new way to really spread the word about Troopathon by giving people an incentive – a chance to win a free AR rifle from STAG ARMS one of the leading tactical rifle manufacturers in the world!  For the first time in our history, we are offering you the chance to win prizes that include paid trips along with the newest Apple technology on the market.

PLEASE HELP US by blogging about this on your own websites and social media followings! Sign yourself up, and get everyone who follows you to sign up! Then tune in on June 25th to see who wins and also to see how much money we can raise to support our troops in Afghanistan!

CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION
Calling all Troops!
Signing up to receive packages is easy!

If you are deployed or have the address of a deployed military member, you can click here for our Military Sign Up Center to sign them up to receive one of our great care packages loaded with plenty of the TLC our soldiers need to remind them that people back home support their mission.

If you prefer, copy this link and e-mail it to your soldier so they can sign up themselves. (http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/). Once the soldier has registered they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring Americans like you.

Take Time to Thank Our Deployed Fathers

Most American Dads will wake up on Father’s Day knowing that they will enjoy spending time with their children and families and even their own dads on June 15th. But for our brave dads who will wake up that day with their children half a world away we would like to ask your help in remembering these brave men and honoring their sacrifice.

These men often miss major milestones like their child’s first step, or first word or their daughter’s prom or son’s graduation. The list is often long, countless birthdays and anniversaries, and holiday’s like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Sure, you might detect the wistful look in their eye as they recount the wonder of meeting their child for the first time after a long hard tour away from home, but you will also note the unmistakable tone of satisfaction which comes only from knowing that their sacrifice makes a difference. Many of our Deployed Dads will be celebrating Father’s Day alone this year, and for some it may be their very first Fathers Day as a dad.

They are proud to do their job, making sure their kids and everyone else’s are being watched over and protected by the greatest troops the world has ever known.

Let’s make sure these brave dads are looked after too!  Sponsor a care package for FATHER’S DAY on our website!

Don’t wait!  Father’s Day is June 15th and we want to make sure these brave heroes will have a package in hand to remind them how much they are appreciated! You will even be able to include your own heart-felt message of support!

Join us in Honoring our Dads this Father’s Day!.


 

Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue!

Saturday June 14th is National Flag Day; let’s remember to show our pride by flying Old Glory at our homes and business establishments.

As our way of honoring our deployed troops, Move America Forward has teamed up with FBS Industries, a leading U.S. maker of flags and banners to include a high quality 4″x 6″ flag in each of our troop packages ordered now through July 4th.

FBS owner Steve “Flagman” Woodke is a long-time troop supporter and as a former U.S. Marine, he was eager to help when we reached out to him.

“It”s ALL about giving back” said Woodke “Thanks to ALL of our past and present Hard-Chargers who have served in battle and in garrison…God Speed and May GOD BLESS AMERICA.”

Why not take the time to send our deployed troops a package now and we will be sure to include an FBS Industries United States mini-flag along with all the other goodies and necessities that help remind our troops that we have not forgotten them or the sacrifices they make on our behalf.

Thanks Steve aka Flagman and FBS INDUSTRIES

FBS INDUSTRIES

888-327-3524

 

Thanks You Highlight
“It means more than words can honestly describe”



Troop Tweets

Are you on Twitter? Follow us @M_A_F to share your story, let others know how to donate and even request a care packages to be sent out for you. Stay informed on the latest news.  Use the #SOT and #CarePackage hashtags to let everyone know how to help.

So go ahead and tweet us a troop picture or support message @M_A_F and you just might find your tweet featured in one of our upcoming newsletter!




Did You Know???

June 1, 1660 – Mary Dyer, a Quaker activist and mother of eight was publicly hung in Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony for refusing to leave the colony in defiance of a law banning Quakers. Her body was buried in Boston Common in an unmarked grave.

June 4, 1942 – The Battle of Midway begins in the Pacific Theater of Operations during WWII. This battle under the command of Navy Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander-In-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet marked the turning point in the war in the Pacific. The U.S. dealt the Japanese a devastating blow with Japanese casualties 10 times higher than U.S. casualties.


June 6, 1944 – D-Day, the largest amphibious landing in history, began in the early-morning hours as Allied forces landed in Normandy on the northern coast of France.

June 10, 1942 – Nazis execute all 172 males 16 years and older in the Czech village of Lidice as retaliation for the assassination of SS leader Reinhard Heydrich. The women and younger children were transported to concentration camps where most died. The Nazis then raised the village until no trace remained.

June 14, 1777 – Patriot John Adams introduced the Flag Resolution before Congress mandating a United States flag.  This anniversary is celebrated each year in the U.S. as National Flag Day.


June 20, 1782
– Congress officially adopted the Great Seal of the United States of America.

June 28, 1919 – World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Under the terms of the treaty, Germany was found solely to blame for the war and was dictated to cede Alsace-Lorraine and all overseas colonies. Additionally Germany was ordered to pay reparations of $15 Billion. The treaty also prohibited German rearmament.

May 2014 Monthly Newsletter

I had just passed through security at the airport after four packed days at a convention with several hours to spare before my flight back home. Oh I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed tonight. There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.

It had been a crazy morning and even though it was two o’clock in the afternoon I still hadn’t had anything to eat yet. My friend and I had stopped to grab a bite to eat and were ordering our food, when I saw a young man in his camos looking at the menu. I reached into my purse and grabbed a thank you card and Marc’s hero card. I watched closely to see where the hostess would seat him. With “eyes on my target,” I waited until the waitress came to take his order. It was the same waitress we had.

When she came back to our table I told her I was going to pay for the meal for the young man in the military uniform. I then proceeded to walk over to his table and hand him the cards.

I noticed that he seemed a little distant, tired, or heavy hearted. I reached out shook his hand, thanked him and handed him the cards. I explained that the hero card was my son and that his last letter home had challenged others to change our world by doing more random acts of kindness.  In that letter Marc asks “When was the last time you paid for a random strangers cup of coffee…or can you imagine what it would feel like if you went to pay for the meal and found out it was paid for?”

I explained to the young man that his bill was being taken care of today in response to Marc’s amazing letter. He thanked me and didn’t seem that he wanted to converse so I headed back to my table.

As I returned to my table our salads were brought by our waitress and we began to devour the much needed nourishment. About 10 minutes later the young man in the military started walking in our direction slowly but not making any eye contact. I figured he was going to stop but he seemed a little hesitant. He got right by my side and I figured he was passing by; he must be going to the bathroom I reasoned.

Just then he looks at me and says “Debbie?”  “Yes” I replied. “I had never read your sons letter before today.” It seemed as if he was trying hard not to shed a tear and maintain control.  He expressed his condolences and thanked me again for reaching out to him and quickly left.

We finished our meals and the waitress brought his check and ours. We paid the bills and headed to our separate gates. I sat at my gate and read the paper and then decided to check my emails.

I noticed one that had arrived about 10 minutes before, and this is what I read. “I apologize for being awkward when I approached you. I didn’t know what to say. I could only say thank you and had to leave before breaking down. I have been back in the U.S. for 19 hours, and was so focused on my own adjustment, that I could barely see out of the tunnel I was in. It took me about 3 minutes after you left to process that you were a Gold Star Mother. I’m just returning from my final tour. So my mind was still half in the Middle East and half at home. I immediately read your son’s letter, a powerful and truthful letter that everyone should read. I started crying while reading it. What a great person, what a blessing to the world, and what an honor to your family. I am sorry for your loss, and sad the rest of us all must have loss before we can realize as your son did years ago, what makes us human. I was sitting there, down as down could be. You have just by your simple gesture, changed my life in ways you may never know. Thank you for your sacrifice as a service family member, as a Gold Star Mother, and for your efforts still.

Thank you, truly thank you!”

Oh my goodness, this young man was in route back to his base from Afghanistan, I must go find him and give him a big hug!

I quickly made my way back to the restaurant as I got closer I didn’t see him at the table. My heart sank. I must find him! I asked the gentleman at the table next to wear he was sitting if the saw which way he went? The pointed back in the same direction I had just come from. I was on a mission to find this brave warrior. I started checking every gate looking for his uniform. I checked on the left and on the right. I was careful to not miss a single person. I was almost back to my gate and still hadn’t found him. I looked to my left and saw someone else in a uniform lying on the floor; it didn’t quite look like him though. Not wanting to miss another opportunity I figured I would quickly stop and give this warrior a thank you and hero card and continue my search. As I got closer and he stood I recognized him as the young man I was looking for.

I gave him a big hug and explained that I had read his email and knew I needed to find him and headed back to the restaurant only to find him gone. I was so glad I found him!!! We chatted for quite a bit about his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, his family and where he was stationed. I learned that he had a cousin who had been killed in Iraq. I shared about our programs for the families of the fallen and what we were doing at AMW for our troops. I told him to give my contact info to his family and spread the word to the troops he works with that if they need anything we are here.

To that he commented “Oh everyone is going to know about what you did and how deeply you impacted my life. I really didn’t have anything to tell people special about my deployment to Afghanistan but now I do.”

I gave him another big hug and asked for a picture to remember him and our time together. I headed to my gate to catch a flight in amazement how God continues to orchestrate the meetings of just the right people.

As I waited to board my flight I thought about what had just happened. Because of how Marc lived his life and his timely amazing letter penned a few weeks before he died, I accepted his challenge.  Marc said we could change our world by doing more random acts of kindness and that is what is happening. Something as simple as paying for a meal impacted this man’s life more that we will ever know.

I was blessed to hear from this young man and get a small glimpse of that impact, but that doesn’t always happen. How many others were touched who couldn’t write and admit they were in tears or deeply impacted. How many others were inspired to do something for someone else?

It is such a blessing for me to do these acts of kindness and continue to honor Marc, and the selfless life he lived.

I would encourage you to accept Marc’s final request in his letter, “to my family and friends do me a favor Pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life.”

We’ve been blessed by God with the gift of life; our troops have fought so that we can live that life freely. We owe it to both to share our gratitude and live our lives worthy of those gifts that were paid for dearly. Life is a precious gift from God!  It doesn’t matter what you are going through you can choose to do a random act of kindness for someone today, even if it is just a hug or note of gratitude. Use your life today to make a difference.

Thanks to our Supporters for a Making Easter Eggstra Special for our Troops!

Thanks to your generous support, Move America Forward was able to send over 1,000 care packages to our troops. Time away from loved ones and friends is always difficult especially during a holiday. Spending Easter away from family and loved ones was just a little bit easier this year for grateful troops knowing that there were people like our supporters thinking about them!


“It seems people often lose sight of all of us still here”

We are always happy to hear from the soldiers who receive packages though Move America Forward. This thank you note from one of our brave soldiers serving in Afghanistan illustrates just how much packages and notes from our supporters make a difference. To all of our supporters who have sent packages, thank you!  We hope you enjoy reading this card as much as we did.

Send a Package in Honor of Mom!

Mother’s Day is Just Around the Corner!

Why not do something really special for mom this year instead of the usual candy or flowers she is used to receiving and send out a troop support package in her name or memory. It’s super easy. Just send out one of our awesome troop support packages, and when you include your package note just fill out that the package is sent ‘in memory of’ and include the info in your note to our troops. It’s a great way to honor our troops and our own mom at the same time!


Calling all Troops!

Signing up to receive packages is easy!

If you are deployed or have the address of a deployed military member, you can click here for our Military Sign Up Center to sign them up to receive one of our great care packages loaded with plenty of the TLC our soldiers need to remind them that people back home support their mission.

If you prefer, copy this link and e-mail it to your soldier so they can sign up themselves. ( http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/ ) Once the soldier has registered they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring Americans like you.

Memorial Day: Fly your Flag to Honor those who Sacrificed all in Service to our Country

Many people only think of Memorial Day as a great opportunity for a long weekend of barbecues and a chance to catch a baseball game or hang out with friends, but we at MAF know that Memorial Day means so much more.

Memorial Day was established as an occasion to honor and celebrate Union Soldiers, who died in service to our country during the Civil War. After the end of World War I, Memorial Day was expanded to include all American men and women who died serving their country in any military action or war.

Originally called Decoration Day and celebrated on May 30th traditionally, the current name of Memorial Day came into use following WWII and with the passage of the 1968 Uniform Holidays Bill Memorial Day was officially moved to the last Monday in May.

As our way of honoring those who gave all, we are also asking all of our supporters to fly their flags proudly on Memorial Day, and for those who have flag poles to remember to fly your flag at half mast.

 

A Memorial Day Poem
by C W Johnson

We walked among the crosses
Where our fallen soldiers lay.
And listened to the bugle
As TAPS began to play.

The Chaplin led a prayer
We stood with heads bowed low.
And I thought of fallen comrades
I had known so long ago.

They came from every city
Across this fertile land.
That we might live in freedom.
They lie here ‘neath the sand.

I felt a little guilty
My sacrifice was small.
I only lost a little time
But these men lost their all.

Now the services are over
For this Memorial Day.
To the names upon these crosses
I just want to say,

Thanks for what you’ve given
No one could ask for more.
May you rest with God in heaven
From now through evermore

Mark Your Calendars!

Troopathon 7 Live Event Update!

We will be back on June 25th broadcasting live from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California for our 7th Annual Troopathon Event.

Life can be busy, so remember to save the date now! We will be sending out emails, posting on Facebook, and Tweeting to keep you posted as we line up this year’s  exciting guest list, so if you haven’t already, add us on Facebook and Twitter now. And as always, thank you for standing behind our troops and offering them the support they deserve!

Did You Know?

May 2, 2011U.S. Special Operations Forces kill Osama bin Laden during a raid on his compound in Pakistan. The raid ended a decade-long manhunt for the terrorist leader of al-Qaeda which was behind the September 11, 2001 attacks.

May 5, 1961 - Alan Shepard became the first American in space. Shepard piloted the spacecraft Freedom 7 during a suborbital flight above the earth. Shepard’s success occurred less than a month after Russians cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space.


May 7, 1915
- A German submarine launched an torpedo attack against the British passenger ship Lusitania off the coast of Ireland, losing over 1,100 lives, including 114 Americans. The attack hastened America’s entry into World War I.

May 14, 1804Meriwether Lewis and William Clark departed St. Louis on their famed expedition to explore and map the Northwest. President Jefferson commissioned the expedition following the Louisiana Purchase.

May 14, 1942During World War II, an Act of Congress allowed women to enlist for noncombat duties in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC), the Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service (WAVES), Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS), and Semper Paratus Always Ready Service (SPARS), the Women’s Reserve of the Marine Corp.


May 20, 1862
- President  Lincoln signed the Homestead Act  effectively opening up the West to settlement to “homesteaders” who could acquire up to 160 acres by living on the land and cultivating it for five years, paying just $1.25 per acre.

May 24, 1844“What hath God wrought?” with this simple statement telegraph inventor Samuel Morse  ushered in the dawn of the wireless communication era as he sent the first official telegraph message from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore.


TROOP TWEETS






MONTHLY SMILES


Here’s an easy way to keep those smiles coming all year long – join the Move America Forward Monthly Smiles Club. Simply provide us with your monthly budget, and a little information from you and we do the rest. That’s all there is to it. Then you’ll know each month you’ve put a smile on a soldier’s face.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.