May Monthly Newsletter 2016

Motel 6 Leaves Light on for U.S. Military on Sacramento’s Big Day of Giving by Supporting Move America Forward Care Package Program

Combat deployed U.S. Troops overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan will soon be enjoying care packages and donated items from a regional effort by Sacramento area Motel 6 Hotels that supported non-profit organization Move America Forward’s Troop and K9 Care Package Program. All Sacramento region Motel 6 locations brought donated care packages items and supplies collected at their individual locations and spent the National Big Day of Giving volunteering at the Move America Forward Operation Center assembling Military Care Packages for U.S. Military serving in harm’s way in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Tony Meredith, manager of Motel 6’s Rancho Cordova property said “Motel 6 wanted to do this as a way for us to give back and really work together with our community and give something to the troops that have been deployed. Today we’re making the packages, there’s items in there that range from socks to jerky, deodorant, sunflower seeds, certain things that they may not be able to get overseas.”

Binny Tailor, manager of Motel 6’s Woodland property, said that volunteering for the troops is a personal mission. “My brother is a veteran.” She also highlighted Motel 6’s commitment to serving the troops when they come home from war. “We have an initiative we started a few years back called Operation Nextstep. When we’re bringing our troops back home, we’re offering employment to troops themselves or for their family members. So it’s an opportunity to give back to the community and to the troops for the service they provided to us.” said Tailor.

The donations from Motel 6 will go toward sending care packages to about 400 troops deployed in Afghanistan, many of who might otherwise receive nothing while deployed. There are over 13,000 troops still serving in Afghanistan and although President Obama’s administration planned to bring thousands of troops home, that plan was recently revised due to worsening attacks by Taliban forces, so at least 12,000 troops will remain through 2017.

“I know that the work we’re doing here today, even if it just makes one day brighter [for the troops] while they’re over there, our job is done.” said Meredith. “It’s definitely something we look forward to” he said, of the motel chain’s future plans to continue supporting the troops with Move America Forward. “We truly appreciate their service.”

 

MAF Joins in National Big Day of Giving

Move America Forward participated in the National Big Day of Giving, a day where nonprofits around the country join together and compete to raise money for many inspiring causes.

Unfortunately, the organization that coordinates the National Big Day of Giving had a major technical problem during the day which prohibited Move America Forward from taking donations almost all day.

Because of this technical meltdown we started the day in almost dead last on the leader board.

But, thanks to an extension and our supporters motivated by their unwavering support and love for our military men and women, we have raised $4,764 and were able to climb up the leader board in the top half of charities in our region and had the opportunity to qualify for matching funds.

More importantly, every dollar you donated goes directly towards sponsoring care packages for our brave troops.

The Big Day of Giving organizers offer charities like MAF hundreds of opportunities for bonus prizes and matching funds – but only if we reach certain fundraising goals. With your generous support, we can get substantially more in prize money for the troops! Please help us!


Watch your emails for Details on our Annual Troopathon 9 Live Event!

We’ve been busy at our headquarters making plans for our biggest event of the year! Our annual Troopathon coming this summer! We will share the date once we have confirmed. Please join us as we broadcast live over the internet packed with great guest speakers sharing their stories and offering support to the brave men and women serving far from home as we remember and honor their sacrifices.

Troopathon 9 Live will kicked off with returning super hosts Melanie Morgan and Rita Cosby We’re still in the process of lining up this year’s guests, but you can be sure there will be some great names past year’s guest list which included, Bob Whittle, Dennis Miller, legendary Coach K of Duke University and syndicated radio host Roger Hedgecock, and radio host and best-selling author S.E. Cupp.

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, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter now. And as always, thank you for standing behind our troops and offering them the support they deserve!

Real Superheroes Don’t Wear Capes!

Our troops wear many hats: defender of our nation; loyal servant; proud patriot; weary soldier; and for many, MOM! Our soldiers are the REAL Superheroes! And since it’s May we wanted to give special recognition to all our warrior mothers.

Deployed moms celebrating Mother’s Day this May have only the hopes of an email, card from home or for the lucky ones a chance to chat with their families via the internet as they serve far from home this year. Of course, they accept this separation dutifully as part of their commitment to our nation, and they do so proudly. But let’s all make certain that those serving in part to protect their children and everyone else’s are looked after too!

We want to make sure these super-moms 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!

Our military Moms know the meaning of SACRIFICE better than anyone, so join us thanking them during May for Mother’s Day!



For an added bonus, Move America Forward has partnered with Amazon.com in their Amazon Smile Non-Profit Program, where Amazon donates a portion of whatever you order to MAF so we can send even more support packages to our troops!

How does Amazon Smile Work?

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

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

Now with Amazon Smile, you can support Move America Forward at no cost to you, Amazon donates .05% of your purchase TO THE TROOPS on your behalf!

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

Some Gave All: Memorial Day!
Fly your Flag to Honor those who have died in service to our country!

Monday, May 30, 2016 is Memorial Day. It is seen 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.

Please take a moment out of your day to remember those who sacrificed their lives in service to the United States of America.

TWEETS FOR THE TROOPS @M_A_F

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Does it Really Matter to the Troops if I Send a Package?
Don’t take our word for it… here’s what real troops have to say…

“There’s no betting feeling in the world that knowing people from all over the US are supporting the troops” — Jake W. — Army

“Care packages are something to look forward to when we are over here, it is really nice to receive a piece of home in every box.” — Jason H. — USAF

“To receive a care package would be a huge blessing. It would remind me that even though life is continuing, I’m not forgotten. Someone out there is thinking of me and my fellow deployed guys.” — Joshua J — USAF

“It is a great relief whenever you are non stop on the go while your out in the dessert. it gives you piece of mind and also gives you the ability to appreciate the little things. it is a great feeling honestly.” — Scot J. — USMC

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, just copy this link 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.

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March 2016 Monthly Newsletter

Peeps for Troops are Back for Easter!

For a limited time only, Move America Forward is proud to offer squishy, sugary Peeps in our seasonal Easter Troop Care Packages!

We know our troops miss family time and all the wonderful traditions we at home often take for granted like Easter egg hunts and baskets full of goodies.

Easter is full of traditions and one tradition MAF like to carry on is our commitment to making sure our seasonal Easter packages for our troops contain Peeps in addition to items soldiers crave like, Rogers Family gourmet coffee, Oreo cookies, Gatorade,and more offerings to remind our troops that home isn’t really that far away after all.  
Easter is Sunday, March 27!

Nothing lifts a lonely soldier’s spirits like a letter from home, when you send an Easter package through Move America Forward’s Care Package Program, your personal support message is 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. Peeps are only available for a limited time, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to include this iconic Easter classic in your troop support package.

 

Will You Answer the Call?
With Easter around the corner we want to highlight our support effort for the members of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit also known as “The Fighting Thirteenth” which is deploying for about 7 months, accompanied by the USS Boxer Amphibious Readiness Group. This fleet is ready for combat operations in the Middle East and includes helicopter squadrons and other combat logistics equipment.Please take a moment to read this touching note highlighting the importance of support to our deployed troops.



Troops Feel the Love with Valentine’s Cards from Caring School & Church Groups!


As Valentine’s Day drew near Move America Forward once again reached out to some of the loving school and church groups we have grown to depend on over the past several years to help us with one of our soldier’s most cherished packages, those containing homemade cards full of love.  Schools both local to the Sacramento area and across the country worked hard making adorable home-made Valentine’s Day Cards to be included in our troop support packages.

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary School here in Sacrament once again delivered in a big way with beautiful hand crafted cards sure to bring a grin to a homesick troops, as in the past, Presentation worked hard and Carrie Donohue coordinated everything seamlessly on her end to make sure their school would be well represented and in no time at all we had beautiful cards from the students at Presentation to include in our troop care packages.

Jean Klark coordinated the efforts of a variety of youth groups and families for Dexter United Methodist Church in Dexter, Michigan to create beautiful Valentine’s cards they generously donated to our project.  We can always count on their help with lifting the spirits of our troops.

Rannae Hansen of Greenwood Elementary in Toledo, Ohio and her 3rd grade class participated once again this year and according to Mrs. Hansen, “The students really enjoy the opportunity to make these cards for the troops, they really put their hearts into this project.”

And as always we were able to count on the great students and staff at Capital Christian School in Sacramento with the help of our great contact Katie Nelson to contribute adorable homemade cards for the troops.  Thanks Cougars!   We loved your cards!

And thank you to Victory Christian School in Carmichael, CA and Dora Marques for your support in this project.

We love doing this coordinated effort with the schools, it allows people of all ages to reach out to our troops and show them they are loved and supported during their long and often difficult deployments away from family and loved one.

Pack 788 is Great!!
Thanks to Cub Scout Pack 788 for their hard work with our February packing party.  These kids and their leaders had a great time working hard to put together care packages for our troops!  Way to go Scouts! Check out these mighty scouts at work!

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

Our Monthly Smiles Club Keeps Morale High Year Round

Set up to schedule a monthly troop support package now and we will remember to send a package out through our Monthly Smiles Club for you each month. Our Monthly Smiles Club provides an easy way to keep those smiles coming all year long!

At the bottom of a care package donation form there is an option to select either a one-time gift or join monthly smiles. Just click where it says “Yes, I would like to make a Re-Occurring Gift” and choose the frequency you wish to send.

The default we recommend is every 1 month, meaning 12 care packages per year. If you change the number, the system will skip the intervening months.

So, for example:

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

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

If you have questions about setting up a Monthly Smiles program for holidays only or would just like additional information, contact Lisa Baron, our Monthly Smiles Director at LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org.

TWEETS FOR THE TROOPS @M_A_F



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Amazon Smile: Shop AND Support the Troops at the Same Time!

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

How does Amazon Smile Work?

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

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

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

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

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/march-2016-monthly-newsletter/
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February Newsletter 2016

Sending Love on Valentine’s Day

While you are busy making dinner reservations or ordering flowers for your sweetheart, take just a moment to remember our deployed men and women and make sure they won’t be lonely hearts for Valentine ‘s Day this year!

Share your love with one of our thousands of deployed troops this Valentine’s Day. To make our Valentine’s package even more special MAF will include yummy and fun Valentine’s candy conversation hearts, See’s Candies Gift Box chocolates and extra special home-made Valentine’s cards provided by some caring school children and church groups from all over the country.  Of course, our troop support packages will include all our regular great treats like Oreo cookies, premium beef jerky, woolen socks, Aloe infused Dude Wipes to handle tough grime and much more.  Everyone loves to get a reminder on Valentine’s Day that they are loved and part of a bigger family, let’s take the time to give some of that love to our troops!

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

Hail to the Chief! Happy Birthday Ronald Regan

We wish a Happy Birthday (Feb 6) to our Greatest Commander in Chief of Modern Times

Our Troops could use a Monthly Smile of Support!

Set up to schedule a monthly troop support package now and we will remember to send a package out through our Monthly Smiles Club for you each month. Our Monthly Smiles Club provides an easy way to keep those smiles coming all year long!

At the bottom of a care package donation form there is an option to select either a one-time gift or join monthly smiles. Just click where it says “Yes, I would like to make a Re-Occurring Gift” and choose the frequency you wish to send.

The default we recommend is every 1 month, meaning 12 care packages per year. If you change the number, the system will skip the intervening months.

So, for example:

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

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

If you have questions about setting up a Monthly Smiles program for holidays only or would just like additional information, contact Lisa Baron, our Monthly Smiles Director at LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org.

“Thank you for the goodies…”

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

 

Amazon Smiles makes giving even easier!

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

How does Amazon Smile Work?

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

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

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

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

TWEETS FOR THE TROOPS @M_A_F


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December Monthly Newsletter 2015

Help us Spread Christmas Cheer!
We are often asked this simple question: “How can I help?” from those interested in supporting our troops. Help can come in many ways, donating supplies, volunteering to help us pack boxes, and most often help comes in the form of sending out care packages to our soldiers. When you really want to spread the love and bring a smile to a group of our deployed troops we have plenty of options available!  We offer several packages that are meant to be shared by two, four or more soldiersOur Soldiers are counting on us! Nothing makes them miss their loved ones more than the memories of spending Christmas with family, and knowing that they won’t be home to watch their kids eat pumpkin pie or open their presents on Christmas morning.

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

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

Big Thanks to Larry Marino KRLA 870AM The Answer & his Listeners for their Support!

 

We partnered up with KRLA 870 AM The Answer to send packages to our troops in honor of Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, so starting on November 7, the listeners of KRLA 870 AM have really pitched in to help make sure our deployed service members were remembered, honored and given a long distance hug from home. Listen below and Larry Marino talks to Move America Forwards own Lisa Baron about our troops and our vital mission to support them.

Christmas for K9s

Military K9 teams fill specialized roles such as patrols, guarding important buildings and sniffing out roadside bombs…Forward recognizes and honors Military Working Dogs and the troops who train and work alongside them. Since 2010, MAF has been sending specialized K-9 Care Packages for those military dogs and the handlers who work alongside them

 

K-9 Care packages include all of the normal great items included in a normal care package that our troops enjoy and need PLUS eye-protecting “Doggles Originalz” specifically designed for our furry troops and Petsport “Tuff” Balls. Sponsor a K9 Care Package today!

Looking for a Way for your Company or Organization, or Even a Group of Family or Friends to Support out Troops?

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

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

 


“Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus Showed Up for Pictures”


We received this thank you note is response to some of our Christmas packages sent following last year’s Christmas drive and it was so great, we saved it to share,Imagine opening up your mail one day and reading this:

“Your support, love, care and continued prayers have been our contact with home since deploying…”

And here is a recent thank you and picture we received from the battalion chaplain for Task Force Shadow over in Afghanistan.  As you can see they benefitted and appreciated our support during their deployment which is wrapping up soon. They were so happy with all our packages and support that the Shadow chaplain is putting us in touch with the chaplain for their incoming replacement, Task Force Mustang and of course we are going to do our very best to see that TF Mustang can count on Move America Forward and all our supporters to keep them looked after while they are deployed on their dangerous mission far from home.

 Of course, sometimes soldiers just aren’t in a position to send a thank you when they receive a package, but we know how much they appreciate it. We’ve even been contacted by soldiers who’ve safely returned stateside asking us to put them in touch with the person who sent them a package, so they could tell them personally what it meant to them, and how badly they felt they couldn’t send a thank you at the time.

We are shipping Holiday Care Packages Now!

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

 MAF Makes Your Christmas Shopping Easy!

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

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

Gift of Monthly Smiles!

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

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

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

Interested in Setting up your OWN Monthly Smiles?

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

CLICK HERE TO SEND CHRISTMAS CARE PACKAGES NOW!


As 2015 draws to a close, we at MAF want to take a moment to solemnly remember all the brave men and women of our armed services, and one civilian who gave their lives in service to our great nation. To the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, and best friends who bravely gave their all, your light will shine bright in our hearts today and every day.

 


*as reported from 11/25/14 through 11/23/2015

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Merry Christmas, My Friend ‘Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one-bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live.
As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I’d seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I’d
heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

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

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

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.

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

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
“Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps.”

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.

I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.

Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn’t want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said “Carry on, Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all secure.”
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,

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

November Monthly Newsletter

California Bankers Association Volunteers
Pack 700 Boxes for the Troops!

Move America Forward was lucky to have 12 dedicated volunteers from the California Bankers Association pitch in at our headquarters in Sacramento on Wednesday, October 21 to pack care packages bound for our troops.

We set a very ambitious goal to ready 700 packages for shipping and pushed hard to make our goal.  We even set up a live feed visible on YouTube and on the MAF homepage so any of our supporters could take a peek in on the process of what goes on during care package preparation and stuffing.

As our friends at California Bankers Association learned, it can be darned exhausting but well worth it knowing that our troops will be opening these boxes of cheer in no time.

With the help of these dedicated troop-supporters we packed up over 686 care packages for the troops. We had a few more volunteers that pushed us over our goal to 705 boxes!


Move America Forward Honored to Receive “2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit Award” from GreatNonprofits.org

We are so excited to announce that Move America Forward has been honored with the prestigious 2015 Top-Rated Award by GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews about nonprofit organizations.

“We are excited to be named a Top-Rated 2015 Nonprofit,” says Scott Raab our Outreach Director.  “For the second year in a row we have been named a top charity supporting our troops. We work hard every day to make sure our supporters know we appreciate their time and effort. Without them, nothing MAF does would be possible. The gift of a care package is so much more than just the goodies and most requested items we send, it is the comforts of home to warriors that serve so far away overseas”.

The Top-Rated Nonprofit award was based on the large number of positive reviews that Move America Forward received. People posted their personal experience with the nonprofit. For example, one person wrote, “They offer care packages to deployed military members, free of charge. My husband loves getting mail, it reminds them of home- and lets them know people (even complete strangers) are thinking about them and acknowledge the sacrifice they are making by serving their country.”

While the Top-Rated Awards ran through the end of October, Move America Forward was one of the first to qualify for the year. In addition, we have been added to GreatNonprofits #GivingTuesday Guide-an interactive guide to top nonprofits throughout the years. Look for this near the holidays.

“Savvy donors want to see the impact of their donations more than ever,” said Perla Ni, CEO of GreatNonprofits, “People with direct experience with Move America Forward have voted that the organization is making a real difference.”

MAF is Proud to Honor Fallen Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler


The Pentagon has confirmed the October 22 death Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler, 39 of Roland, Oklahoma.

Master Sgt. Wheeler, a Delta Force leader was killed in a special operations against ISIS when he was involved in a firefight during a rescue mission to free captive Kurdish forces according to Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Wheeler was part of a night ops mission to rescue hostages held by ISIS in northern Iraq.

Wheeler was awarded the Purple Heart after his death, according to an Army statement.

Approximately 70 hostages were rescued in the mission  targeting a prison north of the town of Hawija.

The remains of Master Sgt. Wheeler were flown into Dover AFB, New Hampshire and met by members of his immediate family. Wheeler, a 1994 Muldrow High School graduate is survived by a wife and four children.

Master Sgt. Wheeler joined the Army as an infantryman in 1995 and completed his initial training at Fort Benning in Georgia.

He had been assigned to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, since 2004 and was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan 11 times in support of combat operations.

Thank You for Your Service!
November 11, 2015 is Veterans Day


Wednesday, November 11, is Veterans Day.  Please take this opportunity to thank all of those who have served our great nation. To all of our Veterans, we at Move America Forward say “Thank You!” Your sacrifice and service has kept us safe at home.  Please take the time to thank your friends, co-workers or loved ones this year who have served our country.  In honor of America’s brave veterans, please take the time to fly your flag.
If you are a veteran,check out some of these discounts available to Veterans.

How is Veterans Day Different from Memorial Day?

Veterans Day is sometimes confused with Memorial Day, however, Veterans Day honors the service of all U.S. military veterans, whereas Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the the men and women who gave their lives in service.
We’d like to offer you the opportunity to send out a special troop support package in honor of your loved one who has served. . Simply enter your order and in the message area please enter your message to our troops and let them know in whose honor you are sending your package.

Semper Fidelis – Thanks for 240 years of Faithful Service to our USMC



November 10, 2015 marks the 240th Birthday of our United States Marines. The USMC has been part of every war the United States has been involved with since their founding in 1775. Today there are more than 200,000 active duty and reserve troops serving both state-side and abroad. Always ready, willing and able to defend and protect our shores


Give Thanks for our Blessings
Thanksgiving is a holiday rooted in the tradition of gathering around the table with loved-ones to share a feast and quite literally offer Thanksgiving for the gifts in our lives and the prosperity we share. We take the time to count our blessings, bow our heads in praise and remember family and friends who can’t be with us to share the day.  At Move America Forward we’re thankful to each and every one of you who send packages and messages of support to our deployed to let them know they’re not forgotten.

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


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

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

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

 

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

We Make Holiday Giving Easy!
Before you know it you will be asking yourself where another year has gone. Let MAF make it easier to remember our troops. If your company, group, school, club or organization would like to send soldiers holiday packages, now’s the time to get in touch with our Group Gift Coordinator and get your program underway. There’s still time for us to put together a custom program for you that could include sponsoring a group or unit, sending packages to soldiers from your home state, or supporting members of a particular branch of the service. We want to be able to do everything possible to make your program special, so if you’re even thinking about “We should really do something to support the troops” this holiday season, send an email to LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org
KRLA Veterans Day Package Drive
Listen to KRLA AM870 on your radio dial or click here to listen live through Iheartradio starting Saturday, November 7, 2015 for our annual Veterans Day and Thanksgiving package drive in partnership with KRLA.
Signing Up a soldier for a Support Package is Easy
If you have the address of someone deployed on active military duty to sign them up to receive a package.from program, or copy this link: http://www.moveamericaforward.org/soldier-sign-up/ and e-mail it to them so they can register themselves.
THANK YOU HIGHLIGHT
“From the bottom of our hearts THANK YOU!”     My name is SPC Putnam, and I wanted to let you know how amazing my care package was to me. I want to say thank you so much for what you do and how much you support us. It really makes a difference to us soldier’s knowing we have so much support back in the states, while we are away from our family, friends, and loved ones. It puts a smile on our faces every time we receive a care package. It’s even better when it’s from a complete stranger. We soldiers know we have family and friends that will most likely send us something, but when someone that we don’t know takes time and money and spends it on us it makes our heart bigger, and fills us with joy. So thank you and everyone that supports you and everyone that is associated with Move America Forward. From the bottom of our hearts THANK YOU!

   -SPC PUTNAM
Amazon Smiles makes giving even easier!

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

How does Amazon Smile Work?

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

CLICK HERE TO SET UP AMAZON SMILE

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

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

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

Monthly Smiles Club Needs You!

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

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

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

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


 

October Monthly Newsletter – 2015 Edition

Area 51 Seeking Support!

It’s a routine occurrence here at MAF to receive support requests from our deployed troops for individuals and units. Imagine our surprise when we received a series of troop support package requests for an address that included Area 51! Well that certainly caught our attention!

Well this request didn’t come from little green men, even though that would be fun!  This request was actually from one of our units in Afghanistan and their address just happened to include “Area 51.”

We want to make sure this group receives some love from the home front during their deployment. If you would like to support one of our deployed soldiers or units like the members of Area 51, why not take a moment to Send a Halloween Package Now.

Spooktacular News!

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

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

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  pumpkin spice gourmet coffee, beef jerky and soldier friendly field towels from Hooh-Ahhs and many other treats and necessary items.

Check us out on Social Media

 

Thank You Highlights

“We Received a Wonderful Surprise Today…”

 

Dear Move America Forward,I am writing to you on behalf of the US military and deployed civilians in my office.  We received a wonderful surprise today when 10 boxes from Move Forward America came in the mail.  We thoroughly enjoy the tastes and comforts of home (candy, coffee and other goodies) but we also enjoy reading the notes and well wishes from all over the United States.  We are in the process of responding to those notes but I wanted to acknowledge the care packages in the quickest possible manner.We are not allowed to have cameras or cell phones in our building for security reasons so I’m unable to enclose a photo of us with the care packages.  However, here’s a fairly recent photo of our office.  The smiles resemble the ones we had today after the mail run.  🙂 Thanks for all you do!All the best,
Doreen

From: Wendy Mason
Sent: Sunday, September 13, 2015 11:50 AM
To: Lisa Baron <lisabaron@moveamericaforward.org>
Subject: Many ThanksDear Ms. Lisa Baron,Words seem not enough to thank-you for the tireless work you and your organization do for those serving our country.  I know the sacrifice your family has made for we Americans….My husband is retired USMC, now a Government Civilian current serving in Afghanistan.  He and his colleagues certainly enjoy and appreciate the care packages.  I, as his spouse wish to express my heartfelt thanks for remembering and caring for all who are contributing to keeping our country safe.Blessings,
Wendy Mason


Holiday Trio

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 who 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 will 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 ass 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 order your package today by clicking here or the button to the left.

Then select the recurring button that says “Yes, I would like to make a re-occurring gift” and we will automatically send out a package in the same amount billed to your same credit card in November and December as well.

Just like that you can mark one item off your Holiday check list and you have the satisfaction of knowing our troops will receive a great package from you!

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

How does Amazon Smile Work?

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

CLICK HERE TO SET UP AMAZON SMILE

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

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

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

If you love our work then tell the world at Great Nonprofits! You have an opportunity to help us make even more of a difference in our community.

Great Nonprofits is a review site like Yelp or TripAdvisor. They honor the most highly-reviewed nonprofits with their 2015 Top-Rated Award.

Won’t you help us raise visibility for our work by posting a review of your experience with us? All reviews will be visible to potential donors and volunteers. It’s easy and only takes 3 minutes!

Click Here, HELP US WITH YOUR REVIEW TODAY and say why you support our TROOPS!


MAF offers a special word of thanks to all of our awesome donors and want to take a moment to offer special thanks to those who REALLY stepped up and donated over $100 to the Operation: Mail Call.  Join the MAF Heroes Wall today and see your name on the list.

JOIN MAF’s HEROES WALL

We have supplies to ship 1,000 boxes of care packages, but without money for postage all these boxes full of Girl Scout cookies, coffee, personal hygiene packs, and socks are just sitting here in our Sacramento warehouse.  We need your help to purchase postage and get them out of our warehouse, where they are doing no good, and over to Afghanistan and Iraq, to our troops that so desperately need them.

Congrats to Jon Holmberg our Troopathon Winner of the Stag Arms AR-15

Jon is one of our long-time faithful supporters and a member of our Monthly Smiles Program and also happen to be the Troopathon winner randomly selected to receive this awesome AR-15 generously donated to MAF by Stag Arms.

Jon served this country as did his father before him and he was thrilled when we informed him he was our lucky winner, congrats Jon and thanks again to Stag Arms for their generous support.

 


August Monthly Newsletter

Happy 225th Birthday to the United States Coast Guard!
Semper Paratus

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 modern-day U.S. Coast Guard.

We thought it would be fun to honor Coast Guard Day by highlighting some of the more notable “Coasties” who have served this nation though the Coast Guard.


Caesar Romero

Broadway and Hollywood star Caesar Romero was born in New York City, in 1907 the son of an Italian-American Father, and a Cuban immigrant mother.

Romero already had several major Hollywood movies under his belt, such as the1934 classic “The Thin Man” and “Week- End In Havana” opposite Carmen Miranda in 1941 among many other notable films.

In 1942 Romero enlisted in the United States Coast Guard serving aboard the USS Cavalier an assault transport vessel that saw action in the Pacific Theater. Romero rose to the rank of a Chief Boatswain Mate during his time in the service and received an honorable discharge at the end of the war. Romero went on to work in dozens of more films and television shows.

Romero is remembered for his iconic portrayal as the Joker in the 1960’s Batman television series. Romero passed away at 86 on January 2, 1994.


Rudy Vallee

Musician and actor Rudy Vallee grew up in Westbrook, Maine. Vallee graduated from Yale where he performed with the Yale Collegians. As a member of the Yale Collegians he became known for using a megaphone to project his voice. After graduating Yale, Vallee worked in the heyday of radio and was famous for the catch phrase “Heigh-Ho everybody, this is Rudy Vallee speaking.” The band was an instant success and was soon picked up to play on WABC Radio. Although Vallee continued to work in radio, he also began working in Hollywood and did his first film “Vagabond Lover” in 1929.

In 1941 he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard as a band director in the 11th district band. Vallee rose to the rank of Lieutenant and led the 40 piece band to great success.

Following his service in the Coast Guard Valle went back to his roots in film and television starring in such hits as “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” and like his fellow Coastie Romero, also worked on the TV hit Batman.


Arnold Palmer

Arnold Palmer is considered one of the greatest male golfers of all time with an impressive four Masters championships as well as the U.S. Open and the British Open titles, and two Senior open championships among his many achievements.

Palmer, who has played golf since the age of three attended Wake Forest on a golf scholarship but left after the death of a close friend and enlisted in the Coast Guard for three years where he served as a Yeoman but still competed in golf as a member of the Coast Guard. After completing his service he returned to Wake Forest and professional golf.

Palmer is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and a recipient of the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2004 he competed in the last of his 50 consecutive appearances in The Masters event.

Palmer is a recipient of both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.


Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey continues to be one of the most recognizable and popular professional boxers of all time. Dempsey held the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship title from 1919 until 1926 and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

During World War II Dempsey served as lieutenant in the Coast Guard Reserve.  As a member of the Coast Gard he served  as “Director of Physical Education.”  And made many personal appearances at fights, camps, hospitals and War Bond drives.

In 1945 he was on the attack transport USS Arthur Middleton for the invasion of Okinawa.  In July of 1945 he was assigned to the Commander, 11th Naval District for assignment to Military Morale Duty.  He was released from active duty in September 1945.

These are just a few of the many notable celebrities who have served in the United States Coast Guard.

 


MAF JOINS COALITION OF GROUPS FOR
RALLY AGAINST IRAN DEAL IN LAS VEGAS


On Tuesday August 18th MAF joined a large coalition of groups for a rally against Obama’s Iran Deal in Las Vegas, Nevada at the district offices of Senator Harry Reid.
Some of you might remember that this is not the first time we have protested Harry Reid. In fact, we’ve protested Reid at this exact same office location! Back in May of 2007 we organized a huge protest outside of Reid’s office calling him and Nancy Pelosi out for their insistence that The Surge was failing and that we should pull troops out of Iraq immediately. We called Reid and Pelosi the “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” and we even hired some professional animal handlers to bring a pair of chimps to the protest holding some white flags, representing Reid and Pelosi wanting to surrender and abandon our mission in Iraq.Tuesdays rally was about the importance of opposing Obama’s nuclear deal, which gives Iran a clear path to develop a bomb, and gives Iran access to over $100 billion in assets that they are free to use to fund their various terrorist surrogates operating throughout the Middle East.

 We were joined by local activist Danny Tarkanian (above)
and famous businessman/author Wayne Allyn Root (below).
Reid is one of the undecided Senators, and it is critical we push him to oppose Obama’s nuclear agreement. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, another Democrat, has already announced he will oppose the Iran Deal, and there are several other undecided Senators like Chris Coons of Delaware who we have to pressure. Getting Harry Reid to oppose the deal could be the critical vote. Tuesday’s rally sent a message to all Senators that real patriotic Americans want them to oppose Obama’s Iran deal!

 


MAF is Proud to Honor those Killed in the Chattanooga Terrorist Attack

On July 16, 2016 shots rang out at the Chattanooga Armed Forces Recruitment Center as radicalized Islamist  Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire from behind the wheel of a rented silver Mustang convertible where he discharged approximately 25-30 rounds, wounding a U.S. Marine before escaping the scene  Abdulazeez then drove roughly seven miles to the U.S. Naval Reserve Center on Amnicola Highway in Chattanooga where Abdulazeez rammed through a security gate, drove to one of the centers buildings, charged inside and fatally wounded  2nd Class Logistics Spc. Randall Smith who died on July 18 from his injuries. After shooting Smith, Abdulazeez exited the back of the building and entered a motor pool area where he began firing his weapon killing four more marines in the fenced motor pool area including  Lcpl. Squire “Skip” Wells, GySgt. Thomas Sullivan, Ssgt. David Wyatt, and Sgt. Carson Holmquist before reentering the building where Abdulazeez was gunned down by responding police officers.
In addition to those killed, a marine recruiter and a responding police officer were both shot with non-life threatening injuries.Lt. Cmdr Tomothy White (USN), who was not injured in the attack discharged his personal weapon in an attempt to engage the gunman which allowed a group of unarmed service members to escape over a fence. White will not be charged for firing his weapon although there was initial speculation that he could face charges. It is believed at least one of the service members killed in the attack also fired at the terrorist.After five days of mounting criticism President Obama bowed to public pressure and ordered flags be lowered to half-staff in honor of those slain.Please take a moment to pray for the heroes of the Chatanooga Shooting2nd Class Petty Officer Randall Smith, United States Navy

Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, USMC

Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt, USMC

Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” K. Wells, USMC

Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, USMC

An ongoing FBI investigation will determine the classification of the shooting, which will determine if these five will be eligible to be posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

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, just copy this link  [ 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.

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, 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.

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

 


I believe it is important to share the stories of our services members, which is why I reached out to WWII Navy veteran, John “Jack” Ehrbar.  As our population of surviving WWII veterans rapidly shrinks, I am hoping to share some of their first- hand accounts of life in the service during WWII while they are still with to share their stories.

Jack’s Story

“The Army was after me and I said ‘No Way!’ My father had to sign for me, because you had to be twenty-one to be drafted and I was only twenty at the time.”  So on September 29, 1942 Jack enlisted in the United States Navy.

“So I was off to Great Lakes for four weeks of boot, what they call boot camp, then I came home for a nine day leave and after that went back to Great Lakes for sixteen months of radio school. Morse code, typing, I really learned to type in the Navy. I mean they really gave it to you for a month… I got to the point I could type 50 words a minute in Morse code.”

After completing of his training Jack was a 3rd class radioman. Jack must have impressed his Navy instructors since he was asked to stay on as an instructor following his training, and was promoted to a 2nd Class radioman. Jack remained as an instructor at Great Lakes until spring of 1944.


Jack’s first official Navy portrait postcard sent to his mother from Great Lakes

Jack was then sent to Galveston, Texas where he reported to an LCI – Landing Craft Infantry with orders to Bora Bora via the Panama Canal.  Jack’s vessel was the group flagship in a four ship contingent where Jack had charge of the radio shack.

After a brief liberty on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal it took 19 days to reach Bora Bora. The LCI’s had no names, just hull numbers and after all these years Jack could rattle off the hull numbers for all four LCI’s in his group, LCI-976, 977, 978 and 979.  Jack was the radioman aboard LCI-978. The small group had no escort ships save the dolphins that swan along the side of the vessel.

The group was making ready to shove of in Bora Bora but could not locate one of its crew members, Jack recounted seeing the tardy crew member walking up carrying a bucket of dirt. Jack asked him “Now what the hell are you doing with that?” to which the crew member replied “I’ll be damned if I’ll go 19 days without seeing land again!” Jack chuckled, shook his head and muttered, “Screwball.”

After a refueling stop in Bora Bora  they were off to New Guinea but by then the Japanese were no longer in control. Jack remembers checking out the remains of an old Japanese Zero in the jungle and slurping water out of a crystal clear stream before returning to the ship. From there it was off to an island south of the Philippians in preparation for the invasion of the Philippians.

Jack recounted in preparation for an operation, they would clean up and just make everything look good first. They would change the sheets on their bunks which had no mattresses, just a ledge, but better than a net hammock according to Jack. They had just picked up some Army men in preparation of the operation and some of the Army officers came down to their staff area, where Jack and the other staff bunked looking for quarters, and Jack told them “Sorry Sir, but you will have to go to the other side of the hold, none of these are for you.”, to which the Army officer replied “Those enlisted men have got it better than we do!”

So the LCI put the Army members ashore on the island and then they ended up in the Leyte Gulf two days after the invasion, and McArthur was already ashore so they were ordered to pick up twenty of cases of Canadian Club from a destroyer to offload to McArthur and the officers who were now onshore! Number one order: “Make sure we didn’t take anything!”

“Believe it or not, we would have been sitting ducks if the Japanese hadn’t turned back, it just looked like a mountain of gunfire from the Japanese planes that were flying over. But the Japanese turned back because they were really going to be intercepted anyway. So they turned back.  There was one guy in our sister ship who did get killed from a Japanese plane bullet and afterward I saw a couple of the Japanese bodies floating in the Leyte Gulf.”

After everything was pretty secure they went to one of the nearby islands where they could get booze brought in from Australia. As Jack put it “We hadn’t had a good drink in a long time, we had this homemade stuff the cook made, not very good; grapefruit juice and whatever, so anyway we all decided we needed a drink and you could get booze from Australia and we had money. In any event we paid $75.00 for 2 liters of booze, three of us .It was expensive; almost a month salary, but we didn’t give a crap. So we went ashore while the tide was out and the ramps to the beach were ok, and the three of us went down and walked a short distance. So we drank both of them and got drunk as a skunk. Chad Orm was one buddy and Dalton Neal was the other guy, he was the yeoman. Of course we passed out on the beach and when we woke up at 2:00 a.m. the tide was in and the ramps were covered in water, so we’re supposed to get back to the ship and Dalton Neal says ‘Watch this, I’ll run right up that ramp” and of course he missed it by about three feet and ended up in the water.”


Jack (far left) with his shipmates off Cebu Island, April 1945

So we were still in the Philippians when the war ended in August of 1945, so then we went to Formosa, they call it Taiwan now, where we didn’t go ashore and then we took some Chinese troops to Shanghai, we went to Shanghai twice.”

Jack did have a girl back in Chicago who he wanted to marry, but when he got home he received a “Dear John” letter. In Jack’s absence she married her high school sweetheart. “Do you know what she said to me? ‘You’ll probably marry the girl next door’, almost, almost” Jack laughed as he recalled.

Jack ended up marrying Ruth, his sweetheart and nearly the girl next door with whom he raised three great children, Corrine, Mark and Mary Lynne. Jack and Ruth were married for 45 happy years filled with love, and laughter and countless wonderful meals from Ruth who was an excellent cook and baker, her family still talks about her homemade pecan tassies and fruit kolachkis with near reverence. Ruth passed away in 1993 leaving a big hole in the family but so many wonderful memories.

Several years later Jack did remarry and once again he chose a woman who lived very close by, sadly Colette, his second also passed away several years ago. It seems his long ago Chicago sweetheart knew her Jack pretty darned well.

Jack Ehrbar is in his mid 90’s now and still lives in his own home with his son Mark. He’s a dapper gent with eyes the color of faded denim that sparkle behind his glasses denoting his quick wit  and fantastic memory and I am so happy I was able to share his stories with you here today.

I hope you enjoy reading my column and I would love to hear your thoughts and stories as well. If you have served or have family members who have served I would encourage you to allow me to share your own story so I can help tell all the wonderful stories about our brave troops that deserve to be heard.

I hope I gave you something to smile about, so pour yourself a nice cup of coffee, or in my case a tall icy glass of sweet tea, count your blessing and have a great day!

Lisa

I would love to hear from you, even on our darkest days we all have blessings and I would love to share yours. Contact at lisabaron@moveamericaforward.org and use the subject line Count Your Blessings.

We Had a Packing Party!

We had local volunteers in the MAF Headquarters working hard to prepare another 800+ care packages for our troops on the front lines. The packages have been boxed up and will soon be headed for deserving troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. As you know, there are still over 10,000 American troops deployed across two fronts in the war on terror.

Hundreds of boxes were packed, labeled, and made ready to ship! Supporters local to the Sacramento area came in to lend a hand, but if you live somewhere else around the country, you can still help by making a donation! We need more generous donors to sponsor these boxes so we can ship them off to Afghanistan and Iraq! Click here to donate now!

TWEETS FOR TROOPATHON!



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 Japanses city of Hiroshima at 8:15 a.m.

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


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

August 24-25, 1814During 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, 1963Rev. 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.

May Newsletter 2015


Watch your emails for the Date of our Annual Troopathon 8 Live Event!


We are excited for our upcoming Troopathon 8 Live coming this summer, we will share the date once we have confirmed. Please join us as we broadcast live over the internet for packed with great guest speakers sharing their stories and offering support to the brave men and women serving far from home as we remember and honor their sacrifices.

Troopathon 8 Live will kicked 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 past year’s guest list which included Oscar nominee Gary Sinise, Bill Whittle, Dennis Miller, legendary Coach K of Duke University and syndicated radio host Roger Hedgecock, and radio host and best-selling author S.E. Cupp.

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!

 

Hats Off to You Super Mom!

Many of our Deployed Mom’s celebrated Mother’s Day  with only the hopes of an email, card from home or for the lucky ones a chance to chat with their families via the internet as they serve far from home this year.  Of course, they accept this separation dutifully as part of their commitment to our nation, and they do so proudly. But let’s all make certain that those serving in part to protect their children and everyone else’s are looked after too!

If you missed out on the chance to send a package to one of our dedicated deployed moms, why not take a moment to send your thanks now with our new Beat the Heat care packages?    They’re not just for moms either, any of our troops would welcome al the heat busting goodies, including sunscreen, lip balm, Ohh Ahhs alcohol free wipes and more designed to keep out soldiers cool as temperatures rise!

To all our supporters who did take the time to send a Mother’s Day package we say thank you for supporting our troops!

Our Troops Truly Appreciated your EggCeptional Easter Support!

Thanks to your generous support, Move America Forward was able to send over $25,000 of 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!

So thank you to supporters like Lucia U. , David W., Howard U., Brenda D. and Diana C. among many others who stepped up to make sure our troops received Easter care packages!

THANK YOU HIGHLIGHT
“Nothing like the comforts and tastes of home!”

We are always thrilled to hear from the soldiers who receive packages though Move America Forward.  Sometimes we receive cards or letters back and sometimes we hear from the soldier directly via email.

This thank you note was an email from a unit of soldiers who received a whole group of support packages to share.

As you can see, they really special receiving the packages and if you haven’t heard back directly from a soldier you have supported, who knows, your package just may have been among this special shipment!



Memorial Day: Fly your Flag to Honor those who Gave All!

Monday, May 25th, 2015 is Memorial Day. It is seen 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.

Please take a moment out of your day to remember those who sacrificed their lives in service to the United States of America.
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, just copy this link  [ 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

Our 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, 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.

 


 


U.S. Army Medic Spc. John M. Dawson,
killed in Afghanistan on Apr. 8,2015. (DoD)

Spc. John M. Dawson, 22, of Whitinsville, Massachusetts, died April 8, in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he was attacked by small arms fire while he was on an escort mission according to a statement issued by the Department of Defense.

Dawson was assigned to 1st Squadron, 33 Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, deployed out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Dawson, an Army medic, who enlisted about a year after high school  in 2012 was shot  in an apparent insider attack by an Afghani soldier  in Jalalabad, a city about 90 miles east of Kabul.

Dawson is the first soldier killed since December, 2014, the longest period of time without a causality since the September 11, 2001 attacks. His awards include the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Ribbon, the Combat Action Badge and the Air Assault Badge.

Dawson is survived by his parents, Rhonda Dawson and Michael Dawson, both of Whitinsville, Mass. His funeral was held on Monday, April 20, in Upton, Mass.

 

TROOP TWEETS


If you don’t have a Facebook or haven’t had the time to check in with us lately, we thought we’d share a few of our recent posts:



 


I believe it is important to share the stories of our services members, which is why I reached out to one of our Twitter followers, Cy Wagner, with whom I had exchanged a few notes and photos regarding our dad’s time in service during WWll as both our fathers had served with the legendary First Marine Division and both had survived some of the bloodiest battles of WWll including Guadalcanal and Peleliu.

After a few exchanges I approached Cy about sharing his dad’s story with you all here in my column. Although Cy’s Dad, Lester is gone now, I am happy to have a forum to share some of Lester’s story and in doing so shine light on the sacrifices made by this remarkable man during his rather extraordinary life.

 

Lester’s Story

Lester Dale Wagner was one of 15 children born to Grover Wagner the mayor of Carey, Ohio a sleepy village in Wyandot County knows for its limestone quarries and close knit families. Even being one of eight children, my mind boggles at the idea of raising fifteen children… fifteen children!

Cy said his mom Kate was “one tough but loving lady” and I can only imagine his grandmother must have been equally so to have raised such a gigantic brood!

Like many men of Lester’s generation, when his country called, Lester did not hesitate in joining the fight to protect his home, his family and his way of life. Lester, as well as his brothers served during WWII. According to Cy, “I know we had an Uncle Woody or Woodrow who served in the Army Air Corps and Eugene who served in the Navy.”

Lester left behind a young wife, who, in his absence, gave birth to their son she named Larry and whom she raised for four lonely years without a complaint before Lester would return home and finally meet his son.  “She is the last of a breed of women who stayed home raised kids- never drove- back then the doctor would come to the house. She really hung in there while dad was away.” Said Cy with clear admiration for him mom.

Half a world away in the Solomon Islands, Lester’s missions with the tough-as-nails 1st Marine Division took him into the Battle of Guadalcanal then on to Bougainville to help the Allies wrestle control of the island from the Japanese forces.   As a member of a tank crew, Lester fought in some of the most brutal conditions in the stifling heat of the Pacific Theater. In one day alone during the Bougainville campaign, Lester and his incredibly brave tank crew knocked out over 120 Japanese pillboxes at and 10 pillboxes more at Cape Gloucester.

Lester moved on to Peleliu where the 1st Marine Division was nearly decimated by the brutal fight they encountered with the Japanese troops as the U.S. troops attempted to take a strategically located air field on this tiny coral island. The U.S. command had estimated they could take the island in a four day fight; however, the Japanese had heavily fortified the island, digging tunnels and hideouts which led to a two month bloody campaign with the highest casualty rate of the Pacific Campaign during WWII.

Although Lester and his tank crew fought bravely, they were not to be spared from the devastation. According to Cy, “My father would be severely wounded and the only surviving crew member from an artillery round that hit them while fighting on Bloody Nose Ridge on the island of Peleliu.”.

Lester, injured and fighting for his life was transported to a Navy hospital ship with devastating injuries to his legs.  While onboard Lester was awarded a Purple Heart. “The wounds he sustained caused him to have one short leg and he had to have special shoes to compensate.”

The injury led to Lester’s discharge for medical reasons where he was lucky enough to return home to Kate and his young son Larry but not before spending a year recuperating in a VA hospital.

Lester and his wife Kate were both quietly proud of the sacrifices they, and many of their great generation made to save the world from tyranny.

I am honored that I was able to share the heroic story of Sgt. Lester Dale Wagner, U.S. Marine and his family with you.  Special thanks to Lester’s son Cy Wagner for taking the time to share it with me and with all of you who are reading this.

I hope you enjoy reading my column and I would love to hear your thoughts and stories as well. If you have served or have family members who have served I would encourage you to allow me to share your own story so I can help tell all the wonderful stories about our brave troops that deserve to be heard.

I hope I gave you something to smile about, so pour yourself a nice cup of coffee, or in my case a tall icy glass of sweet tea, count your blessing and have a great day!

Lisa

I would love to hear from you, even on our darkest days we all have blessings and I would love to share yours. Contact at lisabaron@moveamericaforward.org and use the subject line Count Your Blessings.

 

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 7, 1915
Germany torpedoes the British ocean liner Lusitania off the coast of Ireland, with 1,100 lives lost, including 114 Americans on board.  The U.S. had previously remained neutral; however, the public outcry hastened America’s involvement in World War I.

May 8, 1942The Battle of the Coral Sea began, marking Japan’s first defeat during World War ll. The battle ushered in a new era of naval warfare as this was the first time two opposing naval forces fought engaging aircraft alone without the ships sighting each other.

May 11, 1969The Battle of “Hamburger Hill” began during the Viet Nam War. After U.S. troops engaged in a 10-day siege marked by bloody hand-to-hand combat with the North Vietnamese and finally taking the hill, American military leaders soon abandoned the position which was quickly retaken by the North Vietnamese.


May 14, 1942
During 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, 1862President  Lincoln signed the Homestead Act  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.

MAF Sends Extra-Special Gift to the Biggest 49ers Fan in Uniform

Earlier this year, Move America Forward sent an extra-special care package to a very dedicated football fan serving on the front lines. Inside this care package was a one-of-a-kind 49ers football and today we received confirmation that this timeless piece of pro-troop NFL memorabilia made it into the hands of this deserving troop!

 

 Good Morning Sir/Ma’am!My friend and I here in the middle east sent you a request for a care package a few months back and I am emailing the pictures back to you of the wonderful gift I received!

I truly appreciate the care package that was sent.  It is organizations like yours that make this strenuous and stressful time away from family and loved ones a lot easier and I can’t thank you enough. Your gift will be cherished for generations.

Go NINERS!!!

Sincerely,
TSgt Shawn S.
F-16 EFS Munitions Specialist

 

We are very glad to help troops deployed overseas, especially with such an extra-special gift like this. But don’t forget there are still tens of thousands more troops still serving overseas and they need our help too!

 


IRAN SAYS THEY WILL PROTECT “AID SHIP” TO YEMEN

Weeks ago there was a showdown with Iran after the US sent our aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt to the Gulf of Aden to monitor incoming traffic to war-torn Yemen. One convoy of up to 9 Iranian ships that seemed bound for Yemen turned around and went back to Iran once the US fleet was in their path. We don’t know what those ships contained but clearly they did not want the US to know what was in those vessels.

Now Iran is saying they plan to send a new fleet to Yemen with humanitarian aid and that they will escort this fleet with Iranian warships to protect them from possible US intervention.

These ships are purported to contain 2,500 tons of aid supplies, but we should be highly suspicious of that claim. A tactic that Iran has used before, claiming to be noble humanitarians sending aid, but secretly mixing guns and bombs into the supplies to help arm the insurgency.

Don’t forget last year when Israelis Defense Forces raided a fleet of ships headed for the Gaza strip, supposedly to deliver “humanitarian aid”. What the IDF found aboard those ships were bulletproof vests, knives and ranged weapons hidden under a few boxes of medical supplies.

Due to their past behavior we have every reason to suspect that Iran will try again with this new fleet, to smuggle weapons to the Houthis. We hope that the US works with Saudi Arabia to blockade this fleet until every box is inspected to make sure Iran is not doing it again!

Yemen remains in chaos with half the country under the control of the Houthis, a group of militant Islamic extremist rebels who ousted the government and are fighting to for control of the rest of Yemen. Since the Houthis are supported by Iran, it has long been suspected that the Iranians are providing military and financial aid to the rebels who have been killing with as much ruthlessness as ISIS in Iraq/Syria.

 

April Newsletter 2015 Edition

MAF Happy to be Invited to Attend Ribbon Cutting of New Veterans Service Center

Scott Raab, Move America Forward’s Outreach Director jumped at the invitation to be present to honor our Veterans at the Grand Opening of the new Veterans Service Center on March 25, 2015 at the new Mather, California location.

According to Scott, “Any opportunity to shine the light on our military veterans is a true honor, just being there to shake a hand or offer a willing ear for one of our brave veterans just makes my day!”

 



Every week the Post Office delivers another batch of Thank You notes from soldiers who’ve received packages through Move America Forward. Since some soldiers aren’t always able to send a thank you, we thought you’d enjoy reading some of their notes.

A thank you we received from TF Thunder while they were deployed:

Thank you very much for the items you sent us. We cannot be more grateful for people like you and your unwavering support for deployed Soldiers..I greatly appreciate your prayers and your thoughtfulness!

Respectfully,

1LT Susan. A.
TF THUNDER
Helmand Province, Afghanistan

Army Wife and Mom Shares a Note with MAF

I am an Army Wife and Army Mom. My husband and my son are both currently serving in Afghanistan. The everyday struggle in keeping our family emotionally healthy & stable is a constant struggle. The boys appreciate everything they receive. It brightens up their day, and it reminds them they are appreciated and not forgotten.

Regards
Mrs. Eaton



Unit Commander Says Care Packages Were Like Christmas

As you can see from attached photo, we received 17 more care packages. I’m sorry we don’t have any photos of the opening of boxes (which felt a little like Christmas) but we had a terrible photographer. Oh, wait, it was me! Anyway, just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate folks thinking of us – there’s nothing like the comforts and tastes of home!

Best Regards

Doreen
Task Force Shafafiyat
CSTC-HQ ISAF

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If you don’t have a Facebook or haven’t had the time to check in with us lately, we thought we’d share a few of our recent posts:

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Troop Tweets

A Big Easter Thank You!

Thanks to your support our troops received hundreds of Easter care packages. This year was a very successful Easter programs thanks to you!  It’s nice to know while we were all here at home celebrating with family and loved ones, thanks to the generous support of Move America Forward donors, many of our troops received a little taste of home.

Although we did not reach our ultimate goal by Easter Sunday, we did get very close. Overall we raised about $21,772 with a final goal of $25,000.

Thanks to you, our troops will still enjoy the hundreds of care packages we have sent and will be sending thanks to your donations. When you are on a six, nine, or even twelve month deployment, a care package from a total stranger back home means the world to you. We’ve received many letters from troops who told us that sometimes these care packages are the only mail they receive all year. They make an immense impact!


Although Easter is now behind us, the troops always appreciate a package from home complete with a personal note from you. Why not take the time to send a package now if you have not done so recently.

We’d also like to take a moment to thank all of our volunteers who helped us pack up all those Easter package! We just couldn’t do this without you!

 

Congrats to Troopathon Alumni Coach K for Leading Duke to  his 5th Championship!

You can view Coach K’s Pro-Troop message here!

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, just copy this link  [ 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

Way to Go!!

Sponsors and family members have sent over 300 tons of goodies to our American soldiers through Move America Forward since we began our care package program over 10 years ago!


Sending a package? Don’t miss the opportunity to include your own personal message to go with your package! Whether it’s “We’ve got your back” or “Kick some backside” your troop will love reading the personal message you include with your package!

On Behalf of our K9 Troops and Their Soldier Partners MAF send a Great Big Thank You to Stone Ridge Veterinary Hospital!

The team at Stone Ridge Veterinary Hospital in Rochester, New York reached out to us  through staff member Deirdre Santos-Kaukeinen, LVT, to do a special K9 troop support package. We were so excited to work with them and help them reach our deployed K9’s and their handlers.

Thanks to Stone Ridge, in additional to all the regular goodies our troops enjoy receiving,  we were able to send out special K9 care packages on their behalf which  included Paracord survival dog collars, dog bandanas, Ruffwear collapsible water bowls and food sacks, and a few first aid kits as well.

According to Deidre, “Every year we participate in a Teamwork project; this year the theme is giving back to the community. The staff from our hospital in Rochester, NY identified showing appreciation to our active military as what they wanted to do. We also loved the idea of supported our troops and military canines at the same time.”


We were able to coordinate with Deidre to include their specialty items and to put together some great packages for our troops both two and four legged!

If you belong to a group that would like to do something special, we’d love to hear from you. Move America Forward tries our best to accommodate special company requests like these. If you need more info or have questions about doing your own program, contact Lisa Baron, our Director of Troop Support at Lisabaron@moveamericaforward.org.

 

 


I have been asked to contribute a new feature to our Monthly Newsletter. So I thought I would begin my very first one by telling you just a little bit about me. Many of you may know me through Monthly Smiles, and our Corporate Giving program. You may have spoken to me once or twice on the phone, or in the case of long-time supporters like Lucia U., Bud L., Larry M., Nancy H., or Tom D. to name a few, we may have spoken too many times to count over the years. Whether our acquaintance is brief or has deepened over the years to include chats about our children and spouses, I feel the impact of your staggering generosity and support of our troops each and every day. It humbles me and acts as a source of inspiration when I need a little boost.

I have always felt a calling to ensure our troops are honored and remembered. Perhaps it’s the fact that I was born on Veteran’s Day but more likely it is due to growing up listening to my father’s stories about his time as a Marine with the legendary First Marine Division during WWII.


Eugene J. Durk, USMC

Having fought and survived the grueling battles on Guadalcanal, Peleliu, and Okinawa my dad was a living reminder of the sacrifices made by most American men of his generation. Tucked reverently in my dad’s steamer trunk alongside his uniforms and mementos lies a tear stained letter written to my father in 1945 from his sister June informing him of the death of her husband Richard at Luzon in the Philippians. Although the tears shed on this letter dried nearly 70 years ago, this silent testament is a stark reminder that many more were not as fortunate as my father who returned whole and intact and went on to spend 61 years married to the love of his life, my mother Joan, and to raise eight children who were lucky enough to call him dad.

I was fortunate enough to marry my husband Michael, the son of an Army Veteran in 1990. At the time I met him he was a plank owning member of the 110 ft. U. S. Coast Guard Island Class Cutter Attu.  My husband spent nearly 25 years on active duty as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard. As a Caribbean Ninja as the crew called itself,  the Attu crew served on the front line on the war on drugs and had one of the best drug interdiction records in the Caribbean at that time.


Michael J. Baron, USCG (Retired)

During his time on  active duty as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Mike served in many vital roles from pollution and hazardous material response to drug interdiction and law enforcement and I am proud of his service to our country.

So, I am honored that I will have a forum to address more of our supporters through our monthly newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading my column and I would love to hear your thoughts and stories as well. If you have served or have family members who have served I would encourage you to allow me to share a story from you from time to time. 

We love our service men and women; after all, it is why we do what we do every day. I encourage you to share your pictures and stories with me, so I can help tell all the wonderful stories about our brave troops that deserve to be heard.

I hope I gave you something to smile about, so pour yourself a nice cup of coffee, or in my case a tall icy glass of sweet tea, count your blessing and have a great day!

Lisa

I would love to hear from you, even on our darkest days we all have blessings and I would love to share yours. Contact at lisabaron@moveamericaforward.org and use the subject line Count Your Blessings.

 



Not long after Liberals literally lost their minds over Tom Cotton’s open letter and the 47 Republican Senators who signed onto it. Now a bipartisan group in the House of Representatives, which including many Democrats (at least 120) who previously attacked Cotton, has done pretty much the same thing.
Washington (CNN) A veto-proof, bipartisan majority of House lawmakers have signed an open letter to President Barack Obama warning him that any nuclear deal with Iran will effectively require congressional approval for implementation.A group of bipartisan senators have penned a bill mandating that any deal be reviewed and approved by Congress, but the House letter notes that lawmakers have another way to halt an agreement – by refusing to roll back sanctions.”Should an agreement with Iran be reached, permanent sanctions relief from congressionally-mandated sanctions would require new legislation. In reviewing such an agreement, Congress must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief,” they write.The letter, which was signed by 367 members of the House and released Monday by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, follows a similar one, issued to Iran’s leaders and signed by 47 Republican senators, warning that any deal with Iran could be rolled back by a future president.

That letter sparked fierce criticism from Democrats, who said it was inappropriate meddling in delicate diplomatic talks and meant to undermine negotiations, and even some Republicans expressed reservations over the tactic.

CNN March 23, 2015

Though some might say this letter is different because X, Y, Z, they are not any different. The spirit is the same in both – a statement of fact that President Obama must seek the approval of Congress or his deal with Iran will never see the light of day.Democrats jumped all over Cotton for his letter, but their recognition of the truth now just proves that they were going after him because they saw an opportunity to score some political points. They were successful in getting the media machine to attack Cotton for his leadership on the Iran issue, but underneath the politics, many Democrats knew Cotton was right and that’s why they signed onto this new letter.

The issue of Congressional authority is even more pertinent now that Obama claims the Iranians have come to agreement. But just as soon as the administration announced breakthrough progress, cracks began to appear. For example, the Obama administration CLAIMS that Iran agreed to restrict enrichment to the first generation IR-1 Centrifuges which yield low concentrations of Uranium, but the Iranians claim they never agreed to such terms and would continue using IR-8 centrifuges that produce 20 times as much enriched Uranium. Obama also claimed that Iran agreed to completely end all research and development for the 10 years of the agreement, essentially extending their breakout period for as long. However, the Iranians immediately denied such claims and said they would continue researching for the 10 years of the agreement, ensuring that once the 10 years is up, they would very likely be in an advanced enough position to rapidly begin producing a bomb.

Clearly it looks like despite claims that an agreement was made, both sides differ entirely on what that agreement was, and negotiations likely broke down in the end. Both sides wanted to save face and buy more time. It seems we can’t trust either side, Obama, or the Iranians to tell the truth. MAF remains committed that Congress MUST have oversight over these murky negotiations where we can’t tell fact from fiction.

Drop in Monthly Support, We Could Sure use Your Help!

Monthly Smiles is a vital part of successfully supporting our troops during their deployments. Support has dropped out 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 – or in some cases rejoining our Monthly Smiles Program we would love to have you.

Simply reply to this email with your budget in $25.00 increments and we will contact you to get you started up.

Our waiting soldiers would just love receiving one of our special packages stuffed full of goodies like beef jerky, gourmet coffee from Rogers Family Company and much more in your name.

Thank you for consideration and your support of our troops!

March Monthly Newsletter

Peeps are Back for Easter

What’s an Easter care package without the sugary fluff of brightly colored marshmallow Peeps? Easter is full of traditions and one tradition we here at MAF like to carry on is our commitment to making sure our seasonal Easter packages for our troops contain Peeps to remind our troops that a long distance hug from home isn’t really that far away after all.  Of course we will still send all the other great treats soldiers crave like, Rogers Family gourmet coffee, beef jerky, Oreo cookies, Gatorade, lip balm, Ohh-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. Peeps are only available for a limited time, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to include this iconic Easter classic in your troop support package.


Use Amazon Smile to Do Your Shopping AND Support the Troops at the Same Time!

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

How does Amazon Smile Work?

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

CLICK HERE TO SET UP AMAZON SMILE

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Greenwood Elementary in Toledo, Ohio, and Sacred Heart, St. Ignatius and Presentation Schools from Sacramento for the Valentine’s Day Cards!


Greenwood Elementary in Toledo, Ohio was one of several schools to make Valentine’s Cards for our Troops

For the past several years Move America has reached out to schools both locally and across the country asking for students to make home-made Valentine’s Day Cards to be included in our troop support packages.  Thanks to the dedication of teachers like 1st Grade Teacher Patti Imrie and her Principal Mrs. Lane from St. Ignatius, students enthusiastically participated in creating one of a kind cards for our troops to enjoy. The students at St. Ignatius have participated for several years in a row.

According to 3rd Grade Teacher, Rannae Hansen of Greenwood Elementary in Toledo, Ohio who participated for the first time this year, “I have a total of 71 third grade boys and girls. The students’ backgrounds vary greatly from homeless to higher middle class. In general, our kids face a variety of challenges, however, even through their struggles they are a great group of kids with big hearts.”

According to Mrs. Hansen, “They absolutely loved making these Valentine’s cards. Many students wanted to make additional cards but Mother Nature had other plans (snow storms) which many students wrote about in their letters.” Mrs. Hansen went on to add “One of my students has a parent currently serving in the Army Reserves and another student’s father was a Marine.”

When we reached out to Presentation School, they didn’t hesitate to pitch right in again as they had in the past.  Carrie Donohue coordinated everything smoothly on her end and in no time at all we had beautiful cards from the students at Presentation to include in our troop care packages.

And as always we were able to count on the great students and staff at Sacred Heart School to contribute adorable homemade cards for the troops. We love doing this coordinated effort with the schools, it allows people of all ages to reach out to our troops and show them they are loved and supported during their long and often difficult deployments away from family and loved one.

Our 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, 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.

Thanks from Our Troops

We are occasionally asked if the troops really need and appreciate the support package, well here’s the proof!

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


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.

 

Thank you for Helping us Answer the Call!
We asked you to help is support three special units; the 831st Transportation Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Battalion, and the Special Missions Wing SOAG.

Thanks to you we met our goal and were able to ship out all the packages we had earmarked for this drive. These supplies will be a nice luxury to the troops who receive them, but words can’t express how meaningful and impactful your messages of comfort, support, encouragement and love will be!



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“Major nations hold talks on ending U.N. sanctions on Iran – officials” – On Reuters, By Louis Charbonneau
Major world powers have begun talks about a United Nations Security Council resolution to lift U.N. sanctions on Iran if a nuclear agreement is struck with Tehran, a step that could make it harder for the U.S. Congress to undo a deal, Western officials said. The talks between Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – the five permanent members of the Security Council – plus Germany and Iran, are taking place ahead of difficult negotiations that resume next week over constricting Iran’s nuclear ability. Some eight U.N. resolutions – four of them imposing sanctions – ban Iran from uranium enrichment and other sensitive atomic work and bar it from buying and selling atomic technology and anything linked to ballistic missiles. There is also a U.N. arms embargo.
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Rumor has it that President Obama instigated this latest move by the UN security council as an attempt to circumvent a Congress after Tom Cotton’s now famous letter reminding him that Congress must ratify his treaty. Congress is highly suspicious of Obama’s ability to deliver a strong deal with the Iranians. Going to the United Nations is a disturbing move from Obama, showing that Obama is willing use other countries to put pressure on the US instead of the other way round. Luckily, former ambassador John Bolton was quick to assure us that the UN doesn’t have the real power to stop any US or Israeli moves against Iran, if we needed to.
“A U.N. Vote Is Irrelevant to the Iran Deal” – The Wall Street Journal, by John BoltonFirst, even the U.N. will require Iran to comply with any commitments made to the Security Council’s five permanent members and Germany. Bureaucracy-loving diplomats and Secretariat personnel will probably create a council committee to monitor Iran’s performance, but neither the U.S. nor any other U.N. member must accept the committee’s judgment that Iran is in compliance when it has contrary information. Washington can act on what it knows, whether or not it discloses the extent of its knowledge.

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Taking it a step further, Bolton also pointed out that the US always has the option of pulling our funding from the UN, which gets about a quarter of its funding from the US. Doing so would cripple the UN financially, but as MAF has pointed out the corruption and uselessness of the UN in the past, we would also suggest to the next US President to consider pulling out of the UN altogether, especially if they don’t have our backs in stopping Iran from getting nukes.
The General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and other U.N. bodies would doubtless be summoned by Iran and its allies to pass resolutions critical of U.S. or Israeli behavior. Let them. There are few better scenarios imaginable for provoking a far-reaching debate about the U.S. role in the U.N. One could start with the most basic issue: eliminating all funding through “assessed” (meaning essentially mandatory) contributions, and moving all U.N. agencies to voluntary funding. We still firmly believe that the US would be just fine without participation in the United Nations  – John Bolton