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.

 

 

April Monthly Newsletter 2014 Edition


Hop on Up to Send our Troops Special Easter Treats like Marshmallow Peeps

You know you love them! What would an Easter basket be without a few yummy Marshmallow Peeps!  We are proud to include the squishy goodness of authentic Peeps in our Easter Care Packages for The Troops. Of course we will still send all the other great treats soldiers crave like Jelly Belly candy diplomacy jelly beans, gourmet coffee from Rogers Family Coffee,  Crunchy salty almonds from Blue Diamond, beef jerky, Oreo cookies, Gatorade, lip balm, our Hoo-Ahhs field towels, deodorant and more.

We know nothing lifts a lonely soldier’s spirits like a letter from home, that’s why when you send an Easter package though Move America Forward your personal message of support will be included with our treats. Most of our deployed soldiers are used to spending holidays away from loved ones but let’s make sure they know we are thinking about them and sending our love today.

This month we find ourselves sandwiched between the birth dates of two American Heroes who sacrificed greatly for the freedoms we enjoy every day; two men who served together as Navy SEALs on SEAL Team Three, Charlie platoon and who today are reunited in Heaven. These two “brothers” both left legacies and led by example, out of hearts of compassion!

I challenge you to accept their challenges and carry on for them. Marc Lee was my youngest child who would have been 36 on March 20, 2014. I celebrated his birth and life by honoring him with random acts of kindness that encouraged and impacted others lives. Here is the email that I sent challenging others to do the same that day. CLICK HERE

I was moved by those who emailed me the random acts of kindness that they did to honor Marc and celebrate his birthday. People bought meals for our troops, doughnuts were brought in for the staff on North Island at the ID office.

A Gold Star Mother received flowers and we learned it was also her son’s birthday, flowers were placed on 10 other SEALs graves and pictures sent to their families letting them know we will never forget.

Here is another reply we received:

 “Hola Debbie, This is Terri from Texas! I read your post and Marc’s letter and knew exactly what I needed to do. As I ran my errand yesterday in town I prayed as I went asking the Holy Spirit to guide me to the one. I was in the grocery store paying for my groceries and the young lady behind me started putting her groceries on the belt. I told the check out lady to ring up her groceries and I would pay for them. The lady asked the checker “did she just pay for my groceries?” She was speechless and oh so grateful.I told her I needed to explain why. We were still in the grocery store and I began to cry I could barely tell the story. I did get the story out and her Marc’s letter, she began to cry. The bag boy put her groceries in with mine, we walked to her vehicle, she got her groceries and I got mine. As I was putting mine in my truck I noticed she forgot one of her bags. I jumped into the truck, tried to chase her down but lost her :( I took the bag back to the grocery store in hopes she would return to get what she left. I noticed she bought ice cream and the bag I had was the cones! Can’t have ice cream without the cone!Thank you for sharing your story and Marc’s letter. He was honored yesterday on his birthday with random acts of kindness! We will continue to honor him daily!”

Our next hero is Chris Kyle who one of my “adopted boys.” Chris was tragically murdered Feb 2, 2013. His birthday is April 8th and his family is also asking others to honor and remember him by paying it forward and living his motto to “Serve those who served us.”

Every day I do the random acts of kindness to serve those who served us, and I will never forget the blessing that both of these men were in my life and to so many others. Our world would be a different place if we all committed to do this every day.

These men are the epitome of what sacrifice is and our families understand that deeply, yet they are not the only ones. Each one of our men and women in the military sacrifice deeply, day in, day out so that we can live free. We owe it to them to live our lives worthy of the sacrifice they have made for us

Chris and Marc would want us to celebrate Easter this year and remember the sacrifice Christ made on the cross and his resurrection. That is why they are in Heaven today because they believed. This month let’s continue to honor these heroes with random acts of kindness and impact the world as they did.

Let’s live every day counting our blessings and sharing the gift of life!

Debbie Lee

An Easter Blessing for Our Troops
This prayer Lord, that I say tonight
Is for our troops who all must fight .
These are the troops that we all love
And so I pray dear Lord above
Please keep them safe while they’re away
And bring them home to us someday.
This prayer is not for ours alone
But for all military far from home.
I ask You to keep them safe and sound
On their way to where they’re bound.
We love them all that are asked to fight
So keep them safe for us tonight.Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands.
Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them and their families for the selfless acts
they perform for us in our time of need.

 

Shout out to Blue Diamond Growers!
A great big “Thank You!” goes out to Blue Diamond Growers for their generous donation of yummy, crunchy, nutritious almonds for our troops to enjoy. We are honored to have them join up with us in support of our troops.

Our troops love these almonds; they are handy, portable and packed with healthy protein that our troops crave, and a whole lot more tasty than an MRE! What a great addition to our sought after care packages for our troops!

Good Day Sacramento Covers MAF’s Birthday Celebration!
With Help from Rogers Family Company and a Whole lot of Volunteers we Shipped out over 2,000 Care Packages to our Troops!

On Tuesday March 11, 2013 a John Rogers of Roger’s Family Company, our MAF team and a whole lot of volunteers got together to pack, label and ship out over 2,000 packages to our deployed troops!  We were fortunate enough to have Good Day Sacramento there to feature us on their popular morning program.

Since September Rogers Family Company has stepped up in a big way by donating their premium coffees to be included in our Troop Support care packages.

“The Rogers Family Company is unwavering in our dedication to the US troops, active and veteran, and we will continue our service to them by providing as much coffee to the care package program at Move America Forward and others, as long as they are needed.” Said John Rogers.

The volunteers did an awesome job and there was even a great big cake to help us celebrate our 10 year anniversary.
We hope you had a chance to see our great team at work, but in case you missed it, check out our coverage here


If you have sent a package recently there is a good chance your package was among those that were sent out.  If you have been meaning to send a package and just haven’t gotten around to it recently, why not take a moment to send an Easter Package with your own personal note of support now!

Sign up for our Monthly Smiles Club and Help  Keeps Morale High Year Round!

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.

Here’s a thank you we just received from a soldier who got a package through Move America Forward, as you can see, it really meant a great deal

Look at these Smiling Faces!!

These soldiers are excited to have received their care packages thanks to our generous sponsors who always have their backs!
“We received the care packages.  Thank you so much for the support.  I  put in some pictures of our Soldiers opening theirs. “ – SSG Michael W. 759th Ordnance Company





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

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.

After 50 Years Vietnam Soldier Army Staff Sgt. Lawrence Woods is Laid to Rest at Arlington National Cemetery

Shot down over Vietnam in October 24, 1964, Staff Sgt. Lawrence Woods is finally laid to rest in a coffin containing additional remains found at the crash site of  his previously recovered crew mates.  Sergeant Woods, and a crew comprised of Army and Air Force members, flew a resupply mission aboard a C-123 Provider when their aircraft was shot down killing the seven man crew. While the remains of the other six men were recovered shortly after the crash, remains of Sergeant Woods could not be found at the time.

Woods’ children, Steven R. Woods and Lisa Szymanski, accepted a folded American flag. ‘I would like to say “thank you” today to those who have never forgotten, who remember the soldiers and what they do every day,’ Szymanski said at the burial, reported the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle.  ‘I would like to thank the people who taught us what those initials mean – Prisoner of War and Missing in Action. We will never forget what you have done for all of us, and we appreciate it.”

Woods remains were recently recovered and identified by a joint U.S. and Vietnamese team.

The other crew members previously identified included Air Force Capt. Valmore W. Bourque, Air Force 1st Lt. Robert G. Armstrong, Air Force Staff Sgt. Ernest J. Halvorson, Air Force Staff Sgt. Theodore B. Phillips, Air Force Airman 1st Class Eugene Richardson, Army Pfc. Charles P. Sparks.

Welcome home brother, may you rest in peace.

Share MAF with a Friend
The more soldiers that register, the more we need to reach out to individuals, groups and organizations who’d like to show their support. If you know an individual, company or organization who’d like to support our troops, would you please pass this newsletter along, or copy this link and e-mail it: http://www.moveamericaforward.org/april-monthly-newsletter-2014-edition/




Did You Know??

April 2, 1792Congress established the first U.S. Mint at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
April 4, 1968Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and killed by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1986, Congress established the third Monday in January as a national holiday in his honor.

April 6, 1917The U.S.  issued a declaration of war, thus entered World War I in Europe.
April 9, 1865General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

April 10, 1945The Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald was liberated by U.S. troops. Of a total of 238,980 Buchenwald inmates, 56,545 perished.
April 12, 1861Under the command of General Pierre Beauregard, the Confederacy fires upon Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. This represents the opening volley of the Civil War.
April 14, 1865President Abraham Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by actor John Wilkes Booth while the President and First lady along with their guests were watching a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater in Washington. He was taken to a nearby house and passed away the following morning.

April 15, 1912In the early morning hours the unsinkable Titanic with 2,224 persons on board collided with an iceberg and sank at 2:27 a.m. Over 1,500 persons drowned while 700 were rescued by the liner Carpathia which arrived in the early morning hours.

April 18, 1775The famous Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and William Dawes as the two men rode out of Boston about 10 p.m. to warn patriots at Lexington and Concord of the approaching British.

April 22, 1864 - “In God We Trust” was included on all newly minted U.S. coins by an Act of Congress.
April 30, 1789George Washington became the first U.S. President as he was administered the oath of office in New York City

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

 

March Monthly Newsletter

LOOK WHO’S TURNING 10!!

Move America Forward is proud to announce that we are celebrating 10 years of unwavering support of our troops.  From the start we at Move America Forward have dedicated our mission to supporting our troops in their war against terror.  From our first Troopathon on we have learned how many other people like us who love our troops and want to support them and our support programs have allowed us and them to continue standing proudly behind them.

Many things have changed over the past ten years, some good, and some not, however through all the changes our country has seen,  Move America Forward has held fast to its commitment to our troops.

Our Outreach Director, Scott Raab has a unique perspective on just how special it is to receive a care package.  As one of MAF’s veterans, Scott personally knows what it feels like to receive a package when he was far from home. “As a combat veteran who actually received Care Packages while deployed, it is a great honor for me to ensure that others are receiving the same support on the front lines today. Every day we work to help our heroes and getting to know them, their families or any of the hundreds of thousands of our supporters is a privilege, one I am thankful for everyday.”  — Scott Raab, Outreach Director.

As social media director, Jonathan Salazar keeps his finger on the pulse of MAF’s twitter and facebook outreach efforts. “MAF is an exceptional organization that supports our Military members and their families. I am privileged to work with wonderful individuals who love this country and support our Military – may we always support our troops.”– Jonathan Salazar, Social Media Director

While not a veteran herself, Lisa Baron, our Director of Troop Support is married to a veteran and also the daughter of a WWII  Marine. “I am so honored to help our troops in some small way, especially through overseeing our Monthly Smiles Program and our Corporate Program which allows caring citizens and companies to show their support.” – Lisa Baron, Director of Troop Support

In honor of our ten year anniversary, we created a special new logo.

All of us at Move America Forward are deeply connected to our support mission, but probably no one more so than our own Debbie Lee “Being part of MAF for over 7 years, I have been blessed and am honored to work with patriots and supporters whose priority has been to let our brave warriors serving know that we love and appreciate them. We will never forget their sacrifices for our freedoms! –Debbie Lee, Proud Mother of Navy SEAL Marc Alan Lee KIA 8-2-06

In honor of our ten year anniversary, please take the time to honor those who sacrifice and serve on our behalf.

Since my son Marc’s death I have dedicated my life to honoring and supporting our troops and the families of the fallen. I do understand who pays the price for my freedoms!

Men and women through the ages have defended you and I and the freedoms we enjoy every day. I don’t think a day has passed since 2006 that I haven’t had the privilege of shaking a Veterans hand and giving him a thank you card as a small token of my appreciation. I’ve spoke at numerous military organizations and groups across the US and am always humbled to be in the presence of those who were willing to give their lives for me.

Several years ago I was invited to speak to our local chapter of the Vietnam Vets of America. After speaking they wanted to support me and be able to do something to help other Gold Star families who stayed at the Heroes Hope Home in Surprise, AZ. We determined that a fire pit in the back yard and a memorial area for all of the branches of the military would be just the project.

Last month I hosted these Vietnam Veterans to a thank you luncheon and dedication of the fire pit and memorial area. It was a beautiful 75 degree afternoon celebrated with local Gold Star families and the caring and generous group of Vietnam Vets.



Our Vietnam vets were treated so poorly when they came home and I believe they are the reason so many work so hard to make sure our troops coming home today are thanked and honored.

It still isn’t uncommon for me to shake a hand and say thank you to a Vietnam Vet and have him reply with tears in his eyes, “You are the first one that has said thank you to me since I returned home.”

March 30th has been declared by our Senate as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. I typically spend that day accepting the challenge in Marc’s last letter home and honoring our Vietnam Vets by visiting the local restaurants and coffee shops and treating the Vietnam Vets who are there to a meal or coffee. It is such an honor and a rewarding experience.

I would encourage each of you to read Marc’s last letter and accept his challenge to do those random acts of kindness for our Vets. March 20th is also Marc’s birthday and I will be honoring and remembering him in San Diego, where he is buried, by passing out his last letter home and doing Random Acts of Kindness!

To all of those who are reading this who are Vietnam Vets, “Welcome Home!” To everyone who has served, you are my heroes and I am always so happy and honored to hear from you!

Counting my blessings and you are one!

Debbie

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 package 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!




MAF IS PROUD TO HONOR
LANCE CPL. CALEB ERICKSON
OF MINNESOTA


Lance Cpl. Caleb Erickson, USMC


Lance Cpl. Caleb Erickson, 20, of Waseca, Minn.., was killed in Afghanistan’s Helmand Provence on February 28, according to a news release from the Department of Defense.
The Defense Department reports, Lance Cpl. Erickson’s convoy was attacked by a suicide bomber. Erickson was the gunner in the last truck of the convoy when it was attacked according to reports from his family members. Erickson was airlifted to a military medical facility, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Erickson, a 2012 graduate of Waseca High School was a starter on the varsity football team and also a wrestler, according to his father. According to his father, Caleb’s grandfather had served in World War II and Caleb had planned on joining the Marines since he was 16 years old.

Erickson, a Marine deployed out of Camp Lejeune in October, 2013 and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.

Caleb Erickson is survived by his parents, Barry and Karla Erickson, and a sister, Rue Erickson.

Operation Mail Call: HUGE SUCCESS SO FAR!

 

Move America Forward had a very GOOD problem that we urgently needed your help with last month.

As a result of the holiday generosity of several great companies, we received a large influx of donated items that our troops need. Move America Forward staff and volunteers have been working around the clock to pack and prepare all the extra donated product for shipping but we had a big problem. With so many extra boxes, we simply didn’t have the extra money for postage to ship the much needed supplies and care packages to our troops!

We had 1,620 boxes of care packages and supplies packed and ready to ship, but without money for postage, they were stuck in our Sacramento warehouse.  We needed your help to purchase postage and get them out of our warehouse, where they are doing no good, and over to Afghanistan and into the arms of our troops that so desperately need them.

Now we are so close!!! With your help we are going be able to get all 1,620 boxes. Thanks to all who participated, if you can please help us send one of these love packages to our troops. It will be greatly appreciated and do a lot of good for someone so far away!!

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 paste it into an e-mail 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


Facebook

Twitter

Monthly Smiles

Soldier Signup

Groups Send Our Troops a Great Big Valentine’s Hug


Dexter United Methodist Girl Scouts and Sunday School Classes Enjoyed Putting Their Personal Touches on Their Valentine’s Cards for the Troops

Thanks to the generosity of students from Dexter United Methodist Sunday School and their Girl Scout troops in Michigan; St Philomene Catholic School students in Sacramento, California who also participated last year;   Lakewood Elementary in El Dorado, California;  Raelene Nunn; and Cindy & Susan from Pony Express, our February care packages included over 800 hand-made Valentine’s cards full of love and support for our troops.

We wanted to make sure this Valentine’s Day our troops would be treated to some extra special packages. We sent out a call to our supporters and asking them to take part in a project to bring some heart-felt love to our troops and these groups and individuals answered the call in a big way.

Troops love to receive care packages full of goodies from home, but time and time again, we hear about how  these troops treasure the notes of support that are included long after the last cookie is munched and the last bit of beef jerky is nothing but a memory.  Troops often carry these reminders of loving support with them in their personal packs, that’s just how highly valued they are.

According to Joan Klark from Dexter United Methodist Church in Dexter, Michigan ” The church is very active in the community, and the invitation to send Valentines was well received. Many children and young people participated in our invitation. The response we received from the children and youth and others in our church and community was outstanding. Several Girl Scout troops took part as well.”

  “Our whole school got together to make Valentines’ Day cards.  We are a small school, 101 students.  Thank you again.” said  Gretchen Novis, of St. Philomene School.

Thanks to all the schools, groups and individuals who participated, MAF is so grateful to them for the extra special Valentine’s our troops will receive.

Did You Know?…

March 4, 1789 – After adopting the U.S. Constitution, the first meeting of Congress under the Constitution took place in New York City.

March 5, 1770 – The Boston Massacre took place as a group of Americans taunted British troops who then opened fire, killing five and injuring six.

March 6, 1836 – The Alamo falls to Mexican troops led by General Santa Anna. “Remember the Alamo” became a rallying cry for Texans who went on to defeat Santa Anna in the Battle of San Jacinto in April.

March 11, 1918 – The first cases of Spanish Influenza on U.S. soil are reported as over 100 soldiers become sick at Fort Riley, Kansas. Over the next two years nearly one fourth of the U.S. population falls ill from the pandemic, resulting in more than 500,000 U.S. deaths. Worldwide this deadly virus killed an estimated 50 million people by the end of 1920.

March 19, 2003 – The United States launched an aerial strike targeting military sites against Iraq in an attempt to topple dictator Saddam Hussein from power. The air strikes were swiftly followed by a ground invasion of Southern Iraq by U.S. and British ground troops. The troops swiftly advanced North and conquered  Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, just 21 days later, ending the despotic rule of Saddam Hussein

March 23, 1775 – Patrick Henry delivers his now famous lines, “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!” during his speech at the Virginia convention in Richmond, VA which helped further spark the fires of revolution.

March 30, 1981 – Following a speech at a hotel in Washington, D.C., President Ronald Reagan was shot in the chest by John Hinkley, Jr. while walking toward his limousine. The president was then rushed into surgery to remove a 22-caliber bullet from his left lung. Secret service agent Timothy McCarthy and police officer Thomas Delahanty were shot as well as Reagan’s Press Secretary, James Brady, who was shot in the head and remains partially paralyzed but survived. Hinkley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and remains incarcerated in a psychiatric facility.

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

 

February Monthly Newsletter



Chris Kyle
April 8, 1974 -February 2, 2013
Debbie Remembers Chris Kyle

As an AVID Bronco Fan February 2, 2014, Super Bowl Sunday was a day I will never forget. I cheered on my team with family and friends. My son, my 4 grandsons, my daughter-in-law and I proudly wore our Payton Manning jerseys. I wore my Bronco back- to- back super bowl hat and my toe nails sported a blue and orange pedicure.  And even though the game didn’t quite end as I would have hoped, I am proud to say I am team Broncos from my head to my toe….

Yet there is another memory that will always set February 2nd apart from anything else. Last year on that dreadful day a nation mourned as we learned Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in American history had been murdered in Texas.

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. It’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

Send a Little Love to our Troops for Valentine’s Day!

Take time to share your love with one of our thousands of deployed troops this Valentine’s Day. Click here to send care packages. 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. 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 filed wipes and much more. Everyone loves to get a reminder on Valentine’s Day that they are loved, 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.


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.

Monthly Smiles Club Keeps Morale High Year Round

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, Forth 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.

Here’s a thank you we just received from a soldier who got a package through Move America Forward just in time for Christmas, as you can see, it really meant a great deal!

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

Thank You Highlight:
“Thank You So Much for the Great Care Package”
MAF helps Honor these Brave Four Chaplains

Move America Forward was honored to join American Legionnaires, other 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”.

February 3, 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.

The awe-inspiring “Immortal Chaplains” – Rev. George Fox (Methodist), Rabbi Alexander Goode, Father John Washington (Roman Catholic), and Rev. Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed) – each went down with the ship and survivors later testified that they witnessed the Four Chaplains go to their deaths together, arms linked, praying together, sacrificing their lives “so that others may live.”

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.”

Did You Know…?

February 1, 2003 - The Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart in flight over Texas as it was reentering the earth’s atmosphere. All seven crew members aboard were killed.The accident was most likely the result of damage caused during liftoff. Following the Columbia disaster shuttle flights were suspended for approximately two years. Columbia was the second space shuttle lost in flight. In January 1986, Challenger exploded during liftoff.

February 10, 1942 -  2nd Lt. Alexander Nininger was posthumously awarded The first Medal of Honor during World War II for heroism during the Battle of Bataan.

February 20, 1962 - John Glenn became the first American launched into orbit. Aboard Friendship VII Mercury capsule, Glenn reached an altitude of 162 miles, completing three orbits in just under five hours. Glenn was the third American in space, preceded by Alan Shepard and Virgil “Gus” Grissom who had each previously completed short sub-orbital flights.

February 21, 1994 - Aldrich Ames, a CIA agent was arrested on charges he spied for the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. Ames was convicted later that same year. He is currently serving a life sentence in a Federal penitentiary in Pennsylvania.

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

January 2014 Newsletter

THANKS TO ONE AND ALL!!

Move America Forward would like to say a big THANK YOU to all the people, companies, groups and organizations who sent Thanksgiving and Christmas packages and messages of support. You helped make it a little easier for our troops during a time of year when it’s harder than ever to be far from home and family. 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.

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.

Calling all Kids!  Send Heartfelt Thanks for Valentine’s Day!

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 make sure our troops feel the love this Valentine’s Day!

Companies Pitch In to Help Out

Many companies support the 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, and donating products like our delicious Christmas blend coffees, hundreds of corporate support packages have reached our troops! Thanks to Corporate Sponsors like Rogers Family Company, Stag Arms, JDA Professional Services, Inc., The Schwartz Foundation, Munich Re America, 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.



The fresh beginning of a New Year always brings so many aspirations, goals, and ideals to conquer the world. It doesn’t take long before reality sets in and we fall back into our old patterns. They say it takes 3 weeks of daily practicing your new pattern or habit for a successful change. I pray that 2014 will bring blessings in every aspect of your life and that your goals are attained.

I know that each and everyone of you have been a blessing to me, the MAF family and our brave warriors who defend you and I and the freedoms we enjoy every day. Without your faithful support we wouldn’t have been able to send 210 tons of care packages.

I have dedicated my life since the death of my son Marc to honoring and supporting our troops, the fallen and their families. Most of the time that’s about 80 hours a week and yet that still isn’t enough to balance the sacrifice they make for me.

We have been blessed to meet and support so many TRUE HEROES with the support from amazing patriots. Marc’s last letter home talked about how distorted our priorities are in America that we have lost the real meaning of a hero.

Many people refer to a rock star, sports figure, movie star as their ‘hero. They may be “famous” or a “celebrity” but not a hero.The definition of a hero is, “in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self sacrifice.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any celebrities who would sacrifice their life for you or me. They may “appear” to face danger as a character in a movie but not in reality.

Our troops in the combat zone courageously face that adversity every moment of every single day. Their families keep the home front burning not knowing if today could be the day that they receive that knock on the door informing them their hero has selflessly sacrificed and won’t be coming home.

There are not words descriptive enough, actions deep enough, expressions broad enough to describe the deep love, respect and gratitude I have for our men and women who serve and keep me free. You are the real American heroes!!!!

I look forward to 2014 and continuing to support our Heroes and share the love that America has for them locked arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder with the amazing MAF supporters and American Patriots!

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?

Did you Know?

January 1, 1863 – President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in the 11 Confederate States  still  in rebellion against the Union with the issuance of  The Emancipation Proclamation.

January 3, 1959 – Alaska was admitted as the 49th state.

January 28, 1986 – Just 73 seconds into its flight,  The U.S. Space Shuttle Challenger exploded over central Florida killing all seven crew members  aboard including its  lone civilian passenger , teacher Christa McAuliffe, the first civilian in space.

January 20, 1981 – At age 69, Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the oldest United States president to take office.

January 22, 1901 – Queen Victoria of England died after reigning for 64 years,  ending the longest reign in  of any British monarch in  history.

January 28, 1915 – The U.S. Coast Guard was created by an Act of Congress, combining the Life Saving Service and the Revenue Cutter Service.