January 2014 Newsletter

THANKS TO ONE AND ALL!!

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

If you sent a package and have not yet received a thank you, please be patient. Sometimes it’s very hard or even impossible for a soldier to drop a note in the mail, as much as you would all love to hear back from the soldier you have sponsored.

Registering a Soldier is Easy

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

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

We are inviting school children from across the nation to send us their Valentine’s Cards to be included in our special Valentine’s packages for our troops.

Our goal is to have every state in the nation represented in our special Valentine’s Care Packages for the troops, which include our regular care package goodies plus some extra special Valentine’s goodies to let the troops know there is lots of love coming their way.

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

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

Companies Pitch In to Help Out

Many companies support the troops through our Corporate Sponsorship Support Program. By raising funds doing everything from selling dress down days to holding bake sales and even holding silent auctions, and donating products like our delicious Christmas blend coffees, hundreds of corporate support packages have reached our troops! Thanks to Corporate Sponsors like Rogers Family Company, Stag Arms, JDA Professional Services, Inc., The Schwartz Foundation, Munich Re America, Somerset Hills Shopping Center, Inc., and many more many troops have received packages with special letters from their corporate partners. If your company would like more information on how you can send support packages through Move America Forward, contact lisabaron@MoveAmericaForward.org, and Lisa will be happy to help you put your own corporate program together.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Start the New Year out with a Smile

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

Did you Know?

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 2013 Newsletter

MAF in the News

We are always excited to see Move America Forward in the news because we know when the media highlights our troop support care package program, our soldiers WIN. That’s why we were excited to see Breitbart.com highlight our care package program for the Holiday Season.  Thanks Breitbart.com for helping us spread the word on supporting our troop!

Holidays are for Sharing

If you want to send a big bunch of Christmas Cheer, we offer several packages that are meant to be shared by two, four or more soldiers. Just click on our Happy Holidays Shop to see what’s special for the holidays, and check out our gifts designed to be shared.


Thanks to our Corporate Partner Rogers Family Company

Gourmet Coffee for our Troops!

When Move America Forward approached Rogers Family Company about the possibility of partnering up to provide high quality coffee in our care packages, Rogers Family Company responded with an enthusiastic “Yes!” For the last few months all of our care packages have included their delicious blends including some special seasonal offerings like Peppermint, Chocolate Truffle, and Pumpkin Spice!

“Rogers Family Company is dedicated to doing whatever we can year-round to make sure our troops feel supported, and during this time of year, we are increasing our efforts. In the last two months, Rogers Family Company has donated thousands of bags of coffee to MAF which will be included with the much needed care packages” according to Rogers Family Company spokesman and blogger Chris Swift.

Swift and The Rogers Family Company understand the importance of reaching out to our troops in a tangible display of support. “At some point, each and every one of us has felt a deep loneliness.  Having someone reach out, pat you on the back, and simply acknowledge your existence can put a smile on your face.  Now, imagine a total stranger doing the same thing.  A person you have never met, reaching out and giving you a hug, just to say thank you for being you.  That’s powerful!” said Swift

Recently Swift had the opportunity to visit our MAF offices to personally assemble their coffee in our Care Packages and meet some of our dedicated volunteers. “I had the unique opportunity on November 20, 2013 to hang out with a group of volunteers as they packed up care packages bound for Afghanistan.  Kids and parents, side by side in a highly-efficient assembly line. In a two hour period, these 10 volunteers put together 290 care packages, breaking the previous record of 232 packages.  The group was gleeful when they shattered the record, AND were ready for more, but the second shift of the day was on their way in to start the process all over again.” said Swift.

MAF is proud and thankful for the opportunity to include Rogers Family Company gourmet coffee in all our care package to our troops. Please take the time to spread some holiday cheer and provide our troops with a special package including Rogers Family Company coffee and other delicious seasonal treats!

 

Our Group Gift Department
Makes it Easy

Our Group Gift department makes it easy for any size company or group to support our troops – all you have to do is let us know your budget, and how you’d like your soldiers selected, and we’ll do all the work. We’ll offer you a variety of options for packages, and select soldiers that meet your criteria – whether it’s home state, branch of service or gender. We can even include a customized message from your company, group or organization in every package.

Imagine opening up your mail one day and reading this:

“Thanks for the great package of goodies. It’s always a great thing to receive mail here in Afghanistan. It has been hard being away from family and I love the Move America Forward program – it’s great for those of us who never get much mail. Thank you again for your kindness.” Stephanie.

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

When MAF Gets the Call
– Here’s What We Do!

In mid-October MAF received a telephone call out of the clear blue from a gentleman in Houston, Texas. He had 90,000 Holiday Greeting Cards to donate to MAF.

Wow, 90,000 holiday cards for the troops fighting the war on terror. We could include a dozen or so in each care package. They could easily be shared by the troops. While we live in the age of the internet and our troops often have the opportunity to make internet contact with their loved ones and friends, there is nothing more special – even in this day and age – than receiving a greeting card. (No different than when our donors add a special message along with their donation for us to include in each care package).

So we said YES. The only request was: MAF had to figure out the pickup and delivery back to headquarters in Sacramento by the end of October. We came up with Plan A, Plan B and eventually implemented Plan C.

What was Plan C?

MAFs Executive Director would fly to Houston, rent a truck, load the product and drive back to Sacramento. After all, he is our “miscellaneous” go-to guy.

Well you know such plans can sometimes have their bumps. Actually the whole Plan C worked pretty well…we got the cards back to Sacramento.  But…

It was raining in Houston on Wednesday. The truck was not rented ahead of time and was only found after a third location visit. Four hours lost. Then the truck was changed. The first one offered had 99,000 miles on it while one nearby looked new and had only 7800 miles. Newer truck, easier ride, better fuel economy!

Then there was the loading of nearly 200 boxes, for a total weight of nearly 8,000 pounds. The storage location was deserted with no one around to help load the truck. Well, after nearly 3 hours of loading in the high humidity Houston (Californians are NOT used high humidity), the truck was on its way.

The first overnight was in San Antonio. It is a straight shot west on I-10 through the rolling hills of Southwest Texas. Throughout the drive were massive lightning displays. Turns out just 75 miles north, in the Austin area, the storms had dropped over 14 inches of rain in just a few hours causing massive flooding in the surrounding area. Yes, our holiday cards remained dry!

From San Antonio, the truck next overnighted in El Paso. And the final night in Blythe which is at the California-Arizona border, on the banks of the Colorado River. Then on Saturday is was a full day’s drive to Sacramento – with one “luxury stop” at Central California’s famous Harris Ranch for a gourmet hamburger. (Every time you see an American in military uniform, thank them….we enjoy our hamburgers thanks to them.)

One side trip was made while driving through to Phoenix when the truck went 30 miles off I-10 to show Debbie Lee, MAF spokeswoman, our truck load.

Yes, it was after dusk. The traffic in the Phoenix area on late Friday was slower than slow so our plan in seeing Debbie was a few hours late. The truck spent an hour with Debbie who marveled at the quality of the cards, not to mention the generous donation. Debbie suggested a back way return to I-10. Well the back way worked perfectly but not before some second guessing as it was largely a route through the pitch dark desert for 45 miles.

On Monday morning the loaded truck was at Total Service Logistics, Inc., a state of the art warehousing, transportation and distribution firm, located just a mile from MAF headquarters. TSL’s owners are fantastic MAF supporters and offered to house the boxes for free. Then out of the clear blue they offered to ask their service club members to make it their holiday project to sort the 90,000 cards into categories to make our deliveries to the troops more impactful, rather than random. More on that in the coming weeks.

That’s what we do when we get the call. We are so grateful to the donor of the cards and to all of our supporters who contribute monetary donations, time, ideas and free products to help make the tours of duty of our troops fighting the war on terror a little more comfortable.

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

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

If you prefer, copy this link and e-mail it to your soldier so they can sign up themselves. Once the soldier has registered they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring Americans like you.
MAF shipping Holiday Care Packages until December 31st! Make Sure to Get Your Donations in Early!

MAF Volunteers, Staff and supporters of every kind are all pitching in to make sure every package ordered gets in the mail by Christmas. Santa’s elves 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.

 


Thank You Highlight:

“This is Chitta, we just received a care package sponsored by your organization. Thanks so much!”

MAF Makes Your Christmas Shopping Easy!

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

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

Gift of Monthly Smiles!

MAF even makes it easy to give year round .You can give someone aMembership 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.

ALREADY DONE WITH THE CHRISTMAS SHOPPING?

You can still Sponsor a Care Package and send a box full of goodies and Christmas spirit to a soldier, sailor, marine, or airman RIGHT NOW!

This time of the year most of us our focused on the holidays and the preparations. We have just finished Thanksgiving and I hope that all of you were blessed to celebrate with family and friends.

I was blessed to have 2 Marine families at our holiday table that was lavished with way too much delectable food. My son Kristofer and his friend Adam, their wives and 5 and ¾ children, as well as my cousins, focused on what we were thankful for.

We had a vase and throughout the day we put slips of paper with what we were thankful for into the jar. At the end of the day we gathered and read the notes.

As you can imagine there were duplicate themes of faith, family, and friends. My youngest grandson who just turned 2 had me write his note as he voiced in his limited vocabulary, “for you.” He also had me write another one later in the day and said “Uncle Marc,” Grandkids are such a blessing…

We set a place for my son Marc this year at the table. It’s been 7 years since he was killed in Ramadi and no one has to remind us that he won’t be there. Time does change things but the void never goes away.

I’ve been to numerous weddings and formal military parties where they set a place to honor the fallen teammate. They turn the glass upside down representing that the hero won’t be there to toast, the lemon on the plate represents the bitter loss, and salt for all of the tears that have been shed.

Through the years I’ve come to know so many other Gold Star families who will forever have that empty seat at their table. That place setting not only represented Marc but each and every hero who has sacrificed their life fighting for our freedoms. They gave their all for their teammates, for you and for me.

Our troops and their families give so much on a daily basis that most will never recognize. They give time away from their families that can never be recouped, even when they aren’t deployed they give intense amounts of time to training; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They choose to serve and give up careers that financially would provide much more for their families. Many are wounded and lose limbs, sight, and are physically scarred for life. They must adapt to wheel chairs, prosthetics, service dogs, numerous therapies trying to restore some type of a new normal in their lives. Many suffer with PTSD, TBI and thoughts of suicide and struggle with scars that cannot be seen.

Thanksgiving may be over for another year, but I will daily tell our troops, and their families Thanks for Giving!! The sacrifices you have made and continue to make for me and for this country are greatly appreciated and will never be forgotten.

As we enter December and Christmas this year, please celebrate the hope we have because of those who sacrifice for our freedoms. Baby Jesus born in a Manger sacrificed his life on the cross so you could be free from sin and spend eternity with Him, and our troops who sacrifice so that we can enjoy freedom in America.

As you celebrate pick a family of a fallen hero, and a deployed family and bring a little extra joy and support to them during this Holiday Season. Then go to America’s Mighty Warriors on FB and post what you did to bring joy to these families.

Merry Christmas to you and special love to those who are deployed and the families they are away from!


As 2013 draws to a close, we at MAF want to take a moment to solemnly remember all the brave members of our armed services who gave their lives in service to our great nation. To the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, and best friends who bravely gave their all, your light will shine bright in our hearts today and every day.

Name Branch
Viola, Alex A. U.S. Army
Vazquez, Richard L. U.S. Army
Robertson, Forrest W. U.S. Army
Grant, Christopher O. U.S.M.C.
Turnbull, Lyle D. U.S. Army
Quinn, Patrick H. U.S. Army
Moreno, Jennifer M. U.S. Army
Hawkins, Patrick C. U.S. Army
Peters, Joseph M. U.S. Army
Patterson, Cody J. U.S. Army
Lopez, Angel L. U.S. Army
Collins, Jeremiah M. U.S.M.C.
Baysore, Jr., Thomas A. U.S. Army
Gibson, Jonathan S. U.S. Navy
Jones, Landon L. U.S. Navy
Nevins, Liam J. U.S. Army
McGill, Timothy R. U.S. Army
Strickland, Joshua J. U.S. Army
Wickliffchacin, James T. U.S. Army
Brown III, William D. U.S. Army
Thomas Jr., Robert E. U.S. Army
Lobraico Jr., Todd J. U.S.A.F
Bowden, Joshua J. U.S. Army
Ollis, Michael H. U.S. Army
Young, Ricardo D. U.S. Army
Togi, Jason U.S. Army
Alvarez, Kenneth Clifford U.S. Army
Hostetter, Jonathon M.D. U.S. Army
Banner Jr., George A. U.S. Army
Hicks, Jamar A. U.S. Army
Grace Jr., Keith E. U.S. Army
Herrera, Octavio U.S. Army
Welch, Nickolas S. U.S. Army
Burley, Nicholas B. U.S. Army
New, Stephen M. U.S. Army
Lawson, Eric T. U.S. Army
Nouv, Caryn E. U.S. Army
Russell, Jonam U.S. Army
Smith, Stefan M. U.S. Army
Nichols, Rob L. U.S. Army
Maddox, Anthony R. U.S. Army
Zimmerman, Sonny C. U.S. Army
Tuttle, Benjamin W. U.S.M.C.
Milliard, Errol D.A. U.S. Army
Stapley, Tracy L. U.S. Army
Clayton, Hilda I. U.S. Army
Rogers, Justin R. U.S. Army
Garver, Corey E. U.S. Army
Sanchez Jr., Javier U.S. Army
Johnson, Justin R. U.S. Army
Alt, Ember M. U.S. Army
Ellis, Robert W. U.S. Army
Moody, William R. U.S. Army
Brown, Jared W. U.S.M.C
Thomas Jr., Jesse L. U.S. Army
Leonard, Jaimie E. U.S. Army
Clark, Todd J. U.S. Army
Sisson, Justin L. U.S. Army
Pierce, Robert A. U.S. Army
Mullen, Sean W. U.S. Army
Stoeckli, Kyle P. U.S. Army
Ramirez, Ray A. U.S. Army
Raymundo, Mariano M. U.S. Army
Nunezrodriguez, Joe A. U.S. Army
Drake, Christopher R. Nat. Guard
Flores, Dwayne W. U.S. Army
Aguon, Eugene M. Nat. Guard
Rhea, Trenton L. U.S. Army
Name Not Released Yet U.S. Army
Baker, Jeffrey C. U.S. Army
Daehling, Mitchell Kirk U.S. Army
Gilbert, William Joseph U.S. Army
Sonka, David M. U.S.M.C.
Christian, Eric D. U.S.M.C.
Murach, Thomas Paige U.S. Army
Phillips IV, Francis Gene U.S. Army
Prescott, Brandon Joseph U.S. Army
Cardoza, Kevin U.S. Army
Landrum, Brandon J. U.S. Army
Voss, Mark T. U.S.A.F
Pinckney, Victoria A. U.S.A.F
Mackey III, Herman U.S.A.F
Santiago Jr., Trinidad U.S. Army
McClure, Charles P. U.S. Army
Simpson, Michael H. U.S. Army
Fannin, Daniel N. U.S.A.F
Dickson, Richard A. U.S.A.F
Nishizuka, Reid K. U.S.A.F
Cyr, Brandon L. U.S.A.F
Hess, Robert J. U.S. Army
Blanchard, Aaron R. U.S. Army
Austin, Barrett L. U.S. Army
Yoder, Jarett M. Nat. Guard
Ruffner, Matthew P. Nat. Guard
Name Not Released Yet
Santos Jr., Deflin M. U.S. Army
Robles-Santa, Wilbel A. U.S. Army
Ward, Christopher M. U.S. Army
Steel, James Michael U.S.A.F
Reagan, Curtis S. U.S. Army
Cable, Michael C. U.S. Army
Wade, Tristan M. U.S. Army
Groves III, James E. U.S. Army
Proctor, David T. U.S. Army
Pike, Christian Michael U.S. Navy
Blass, Steven P. U.S. Army
Henderson, Bryan J. U.S. Army
Knutson, Sara M. U.S. Army
Scialdo, Marc A. U.S. Army
Shannon, Zachary L. U.S. Army
Schad, Rex L. U.S. Army
Pedersen-Keel, Andrew M. U.S. Army
Suggs, Cody D. U.S. Army
Bunn, Larry D. U.S.A.F
Davis, Jonathan D. U.S.M.C.
Schoonhoven, Mark H. U.S. Army
Chambers, David J. U.S. Army
Wittman, Aaron X. U.S. Army
Sims, Markie T. U.S. Army
Mondragon, Enrique U.S. Army
Price, Job W. U.S. Navy
Robinson, Leonard U.S. Navy
Lipari, Kevin E. U.S. Army
Guillory, Michael J. U.S.M.C.
Trent, Nelson D. Nat. Guard
Reid, Nicholas J. U.S. Army
Williams, Wesley R. U.S. Army
Checque, Nicolas D. U.S. Navy
Orgaard, Tyler J. Nat. Guard
Linde, Darren M. Nat. Guard
Denier, Anthony J. U.S.M.C.
Monahan Jr., Christopher M. U.S.M.C.
Ebbert, Kevin R. U.S. Navy
Shanafelt, Zachary U.S. Army

*as reported 11/18/2012 – 11/17/2013

CLICK HERE TO SEND CHRISTMAS CARE PACKAGES NOW!

November 2013 Newsletter

We Honor Our Veterans!

Monday, November 11, is Veteran’s Day. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have served our great nation. To all of our Veterans, we say “Thank You!”

We also wanted to take a moment to honor some of Move American Forward’s Family Veterans.

Debbie Lee — Most of you are aware of the ultimate sacrifice made by Debbie Lee’s son Marc Lee when he was killed on August 2, 2006 helping to save the lives of his teammates. We honor Marc’s sacrifice and he is always in our hearts.  In this month Debbie’s Corner we will hear Debbie Lee talk about being Marc’s mom as well as her brother Jim, her eldest son Kristopher and her son-in-law Christopher all of whom proudly served.


Marc, Christopher and Kristopher

Lisa Baron – Many of you may know me through Monthly Smiles, our Corporate Giving program or our Monthly Newsletter. 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 listing 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)

My husband spent nearly 25 years on active duty as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard and 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.

Diane Nagy — My uncle Michael Nagy was flying one of the last planes shot down in WWII and we honor our veterans this Veteran’s Day. Please remember all our brave who have ever sacrificed and continue to sacrifice to keep our flag flying at unreachable heights. It is because of them, that we have the freedoms we enjoy, and for them, that we continue to fight for our freedom!


Michael Nagy, US Navy

Michael was a gunner for a Navy Torpedo Bomber on his way home after completing his last mission. His route home crossed the path of the aircraft carrier USS Independence en route to Japan, which was short two torpedo-bombers. Mike and his crew volunteered to fly in the place of one of the missing aircraft, and joined them for “one last mission.” Mike never returned from that mission.

A few years later, his brother John (my father) while serving in the Army, went to Maizuro Harbor in Japan to search for Michael, in hopes he might still be alive.  It was there that he learned from a villager that Michael had indeed given his life, when his plane was shot down and paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Scott Raab – There is nothing in my life that I am more proud of than enlisting in the United States Navy. I served as a Communications Intelligence Analyst and Anti-Terrorism and Force Protection instructor to members of every branch of the military and our civilian counterparts. As a disabled combat veteran now working through Move America Forward to help those who took an oath to  protect and defend our Constitution, I am extremely humbled every day by your generosity and kindness.

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

My fondest memory was the day I came back home. It’s hard to describe that moment, however, I can tell you that the reason all of us work so hard to make sure we reach ever single Marine, Soldier, Airmen and Sailor possible is because that day takes so long for families to get to.


Scott Raab, US Navy and Grandfather (WW2 Vet)

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

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

We know many of you have a veteran in your circle of family and friends. We are asking you all to please take the time to thank your friends, co-workers or loved ones this year who have served our country so proudly.

We 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.



 Did you know?

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

November 6, 1860 – Abraham Lincoln was elected as the 16th U.S. President of the United States.

November 10, 1775 – Happy 238th Birthday United States Marine Corps!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

We Give Thanks!

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

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

 



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

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

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

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

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

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


Me and My Brother Jim, an Air Force MSgt

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

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

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

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

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

Marc’s last letter home talked about how we could change our world by doing more random acts of kindness. He ended that letter with a challenge “to my family and friends, pass on the love, the kindness, the precious gift of human life.” I would challenge you on Veterans Day to accept Marc’s challenge and fill your day with random acts of kindness for those who have served.

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

 



MAF Honors Fallen Hero Army Nurse Jennifer Moreno

1st Lt. Jennifer Moreno, 25, died in an improvised explosive device attack along with three other U.S. service members on Oct. 6 in the Zhari District.

Lt. Moreno belonged to an elite joint Special Operations cultural support team which accompanied  Ranger and Green Beret units.

According to Army Ranger Regiment spokesperson Tracy Bailey, the team was hit during a night mission that prevented a high-profile suicide attack in the city of Kandahar. According to Bailey a person wearing a suicide bomb detonated near the Ranger-led patrol, and then a series of other bombs exploded.

In addition to the four fatal casualties, 30 soldiers were wounded by the explosions, Bailey said.

Moreno, originally from the San Diego  was deployed out of Madigan Army Medical Center. Army records show that Moreno was the first soldier to die in Iraq or Afghanistan while serving under Madigan’s flag.

Earlier this month, in a statement, Col. Ramona Fiorey said the whole medical community at Madigan was “deeply saddened” by Moreno’s death.

“We’ve lost a superb officer and a caring nurse who served with marked distinction and honor throughout her career,” Fiorey said.

This was Moreno’s first deployment.

Three others were also killed in the enemy attack: Sgt. Patrick Hawkins, 25, of Carlisle, Pa.; Sgt. Joseph Peters, 24, of Springfield, Mo.; and Pfc. Cody Patterson, 24, of Philomath, Ore.

Moreno is survived by her mother and two sisters in San Diego and one brother currently serving  in the Army.

HOLIDAY DUO

It’s November already!  So, 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 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 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 for November from the order button above and we will automatically send out a package in the same amount billed to your same credit card in time for Christmas.

Holiday Support Made Easy

The Holiday’s are just around the corner.  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

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


“I Am Happy to Serve My Country”


TOP TWEETS OF THE MONTH




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

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

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

October Monthly Newsletter

MAF is Proud to Honor Fallen Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis


The Pentagon says Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis of Staten Island died August 28, 2013 in Ghazni Province from wounds received during a firefight with insurgents. Ollis was an infantryman in the 10th Mountain Division’s 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team based at Fort Drum in northern New York.

Ollis was an ROTC student at the Michael J. Petrides School , Staten Island  and enlisting shortly after graduating in 2006. After serving in Germany and Fort Campbell in Kentucky, he arrived at Fort Drum in November 2011. He previously had done combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. His unit was deployed to Afghanistan in January.

Shortly before his death, the 24-year-old  Ollis learned he had been awarded the Bronze Star as had his father before him who had served in Vietnam.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo had flags on state government buildings flown at half-staff on Wednesday, September 4 in honor of Staff Sgt. Ollin.

“Along with all New Yorkers, I extend my sympathy to the friends, family and fellow soldiers of Staff Sgt. Ollis,” Governor Cuomo said. “We mourn the loss of this young soldier but we will remember and honor his service to our nation.”

Ollis is survived by his parents Robert and Linda Ollis, and two sisters.

Move America Forward Monthly Smiles member Thomas DeMarzo of Staten Island who has known Ollis and his family since Michael was a small boy has ordered a Monthly  Smiles package be sent out to a soldier serving in harm’s way on monthly basis in the memory of Michael Ollis as his way of honoring Michael’s service and sacrifice.

Farewell and Following Seas to Best Selling Author and Patriot Tom Clancy

Patriotic Author Tom Clancy, renowned for his best-selling military thrillers passed away October 1, 2013 at a Baltimore hospital. Clancy was 66.

Clancy’s writing career spanned over three decades as he rose to prominence with such works as “Patriot Games” and  “The Hunt for Red October.” Clancy is best known for his technically detailed espionage and military plot lines that are set during and in the Cold War and his best known recurring character CIA operative and later politician Jack Ryan who is featured in more than a dozen of Clancy’s works..

Clancy’s newest novel which will feature Jack Ryan one final time in “Command Authority,” is scheduled for a December 3, 2013 release date.

Many of Clancy’s novels were also produced as blockbuster movies and top-selling video games. Four films based on Clancy novels featuring Jack Ryan have been produced. Ryan is portrayed by Alec Baldwin in the 1990 film “The Hunt for Red October”, Harrison Ford in “Patriot Games (1992)” and “Clear and Present Danger (1994)”, and Ben Affleck in the 2002 film “The Sum of All Fears”. A fifth film entitled “Jack Ryan: Shadow One” is scheduled for release in 2013 with Chris Pine in the role of Ryan.

In addition to films, Clancy lent his name to a series of popular video games such as the “Splinter Cell” and “Ghost Recon” series and he was also a part-time owner of the Baltimore Orioles.

Clancy, well known as a political conservative and prominent supporter of the National Rifle Association, made headlines when he blamed liberal lawmakers for gutting the CIA and indirectly causing the attacks on September 11 on The Bill O’Reilly Show shortly after the attacks.

Clancy also authored several non-fiction military themed works including “Special Forces: A Guided Tour of U.S. Army Special Forces” and “Battle Ready”.


“MAIL MAKES OUR DAY”

Did You Know…?

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 24, 1945 – The United Nations was founded.

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 offer 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  for October from the order button above and we will automatically send out a package in the same amount billed to your same credit card in November and December as well.

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

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

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

On Sept 29th I sat staring at my computer to write this with a heavy heart.  The last Sunday in September was declared Gold Star Mother’s Day by Congress in 1936. I became a Gold star Mother on Aug 2, 2006 when I was notified that my son Marc Alan Lee had been killed in Ramadi, Iraq becoming the first Navy SEAL to lose his life in Iraq.
This was never a club that I or any other Mother aspires to join. We are Mothers who birthed a child who gave their lives fighting in combat defending our freedoms. Becoming a Gold Star Mother is not something that you congratulate someone for as an uninformed radio host did on an interview I did. Yet it is an honor knowing that our children made the choice to serve and defend the freedoms we enjoy every day and selflessly sacrificed their lives.

 

We were blessed that God picked us to be their parents and that we had them for the years that we did. As painful as it was to lose Marc after 28 years, I can’t imagine not having him at all. I have so many amazing memories of him that will be passed down from generation to generation. Marc’s spirit is still very much alive and still impacting people all over the world when people hear his heroic story or read his last letter home.
As Mothers, children are one of the greatest gifts and blessings we have and we’ve given our very best for this Nation. Losing a child is documented as the toughest loss to bear. I’ve often thought how much more difficult it must be to lose a child from a drug overdose or drunk driving accident. Where you just want to shake your child and say “what were you thinking?”
It doesn’t get any more noble or honorable than for your child to give all of their tomorrows so that every American can enjoy their todays. Through the centuries our troops have fought, bled and died for the red, white and blue, that represents America! As Mother’s we never envisioned having that same red, white and blue flag draped over our child’s coffin as we said our last goodbyes. The flag, our national anthem, taps, bagpipes playing amazing grace, hold a new level of understanding and emotion to us. We do understand the price for freedom, and have paid deeply!
Thank you America for remembering the sacrifice of our loved ones who gave their final breath defending the values we hold dear. Thank you for honoring the families of the fallen.
Since Marc’s death I have dedicated my life to honoring and supporting our troops and the families of the fallen. The parents, spouses, children, siblings, and teammates of our fallen heroes all need our support and love as they process through the grief. We at America’s Mighty Warriors are always here for you and recognize the price you have paid so that we may remain the Land of the free and home of the brave. We will never forget!!!
Remembering,
Debbie Lee

Spooktacular News!


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

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

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

Move America Forward was honored to donate well over 300 of our Wounded Warrior Care Packs (WWCP) to a yearly event recognizing veteran needs by the Veterans Affairs Voluntary Services Committee(VAVSC), “September To Remember”. The WWCP program was started to help alleviate the costs to hospitals that provide these type of personal hygiene products every month nationwide, so they can focus on other services like providing a hot meal or helping veterans get to and from their appointments. The event was well attended and many other Volunteer Service Organizations also were in attendance.

Our Wounded Warrior Care Packs (WWCP) were specifically designed in partnership with Veteran Affairs Voluntary Services (VAVS) to ensure it provided exactly what doctors and veterans needed for their overnight stay while seeking treatment for Traumatic Brain Injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder or physical therapy after losing limbs in the line of service.

Our Veterans put everything on the line for us when they put on the uniform. We may never be able to repay them for protecting our freedoms but thanks to supporters like you we are able to show them that we appreciate everything they have done.

Whether it’s sending a care packages to the front lines in Afghanistan, giving a veteran a WWCP or just writing a message, anyone can make a huge difference to those who sacrifice so much. What will you do?

TOP TWEETS IN SEPTEMBER


 

 


FUND THE VA AND TAKE CARE OF OUR VETERANS!

Don’t use our veterans as political pawns!

Veterans risked their lives to protect our country and many have paid dearly and sacrificed greatly.  Many have lost limbs and have been severely injured fighting our enemies and protecting our country.

Unable to work many veterans rely on these checks to survive and support their families.  Many of our VA hospitals are housing veterans that are recovering from battlefield injuries and we can’t stop taking care of them just because Washington can’t agree.

Today’s politicians need to take a lesson from George Washington when he said “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by our nation.”

Demand your elected official take care of our Veterans!!!

Here are a few comments from others who have already signed!

Shawn F. from Springdale, PA writes:
It is time to put petty feelings aside and fund the government, especially those things that help our soldiers and veterans. Our veterans fought so that we could be free and we repay them by keeping them from their own memorial. It is time for this to end.

Leland B. from Norwalk, CA writes:

If you are living in freedom, THANK A VETERAN as they made it possible

Sarah B. from Gouldsboro, PA writes:
I tweet in the name of a great grandmother which links me to 5 brothers who served as colonels in Revolutionary War. My passion for Vets runs deep.

#   #   #

All Donations are Tax Deductible

Donations by Check Can be Sent To:
ATTN: Scott Raab
Move America Forward
8795 Folsom Blvd. Suite 103
Sacramento, CA 95826

To sign up a deployed service member to receive a care package or to request care packages if you are a deployed service member, visit www.moveamericaforward.org or call (916) 441-6197.

Your September 2013 Newsletter is Here!

MAF HONORS FALLEN HERO
STAFF SGT. JOSHUA J. BOWDEN


The Department of Defense  has announced the death of Staff Sgt. Joshua J. Bowden, 28, of Villa Rica, Georgia. Bowden  died of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked  his unit with small arms fire.  Bowden’s unit was on dismounted patrol on Aug. 31, in Ghazni, Afghanistan when the incident occurred.

Bowden was assigned to the 242nd Ordnance Battalion (EOD), 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), out of Fort Carson, Colorado as an explosive ordnance disposal specialist.

Bowden joined the Army in 2005. He was on his second deployment. He previously deployed to Afghanistan from 2008-2009.

 

His awards include the Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor device, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, Parachute Badge, Air Assault Badge and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Badge.

Bowden was a 2003 graduate of Alexander High School in Douglas County, Georgia where he was a dual-sport athlete and was the captain of the school’s soccer team in his senior year.

Tom Worthan, Douglas County Board of Commissioners Chairman offered his condolences to Bowden’s family.

“We grieve with Josh’s family and friends over the loss of this brave soldier who died defending freedom,” Worthan said. “We know that God has a special place in Heaven for these souls who willingly stand between us and evil. We will be praying for Josh and his family during these difficult days.”

 


16 GRATEFUL SOLDIERS APPRECIATE A PACKAGE FROM HOME

 

THE PRICE OF FREEDOM

September 11, 2001 – Terrorists Attack on U.S. Soil

September 11, 2013 – Terrorists Attack U.S. Consulate in Benghazi

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

On September 11, 2012 terrorists once again attacked the U.S. on the grounds of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Although first reported as an unorganized local protest surrounding a movie, it soon became clear this was a directed and organized strike which needlessly cost the lives U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, former SEALs Glen Doherty  and Ty Woods  along with  foreign service worker Sean Smith.

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

Send a package today

and Move America Forward will include a U.S. Flag pin in your package as well as your personal message of support to our troops.

 


A patriot is a person who loves, supports, and defends their country and its interests with devotion. I was honored to be surrounded by patriots this past month!  It started in Texas as the Patriot Tour kicked off its seven city events in Houston.  Marcus Lutrell, Taya Kyle, Chad Fleming and I shared moving, heroic stories of sacrifices that were made by patriots so that America can continue to be the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.”

It brings so much pride and comfort to be around so many patriots, who are devoted to supporting and defending our great country!  I typically don’t speak on Aug 2nd as it can be an emotional day, but on the seven- year anniversary of Marc’s passing I was in Austin for night two of the Patriot Tour. What better way to honor and remember him than to share Marc with thousands of patriots, how he lived, who he was, and the sacrifice he made.

I returned to Texas the middle of the month to host other Navy SEAL Gold Star families to a retreat. These families had patriots who gave their final breath devoted to the values that keep America free. It was an honor to let these families, who have given their very best for this nation, know that we will NEVER forget their hero and his sacrifice!

These are patriots who sacrificed greatly and whose lives were changed by the actions of a few terrorists who attacked our great nation, leaving death, devastation, and destruction on American soil.

Innocent lives were stripped from thousands of Americans, leaving their families and our nation whirling in the shock and pain. We tried to process what had happened and how could depravity reach so deeply into the souls and minds of these terrorists to commit such evil actions.

Yet we watched a nation that stood together, we watched patriotism rise to probably the highest level I have known in my lifetime. People generously donated time, resources and finances to support and rebuild America. Flags lined the streets of hometowns everywhere, and unity was felt across our land.

The lives of everyone of these families that I shared the stage with this past month or loved on at the retreat, had a loved one sacrifice their lives defending their teammates, their families, this country, because of the attack on us Sept 11th. Their actions let the families who lost loved ones that day, know that we would not tolerate the terror inflicted on us.

 



Send a package today
and Move America Forward will include a U.S. Flag pin in your package as well as your personal message of support to our troops.


As we approach Sept 11th, we need to remember those who died that dreadful day, those who have given their lives fighting since that time and that the enemy would still love to inflict more pain, death and suffering. That was evident on Sept 11, 2012 as our embassy was attacked and we lost four more patriots in Benghazi.

We must choose to rise to the same level of patriotism we saw the weeks following 9-11. We don’t need to wait for another tragedy for that to happen.

You don’t have to join the military to be a patriot. I’m challenging you today to raise the level of patriotism  and devotion with which you love, support, and defend our country and its interest.

As Marc said in his last letter home, “I find that being here (Iraq) makes me realize the great country we have and the obligation we have to keep it that way.”

May God continue to bless you, our troops, and America!
Debbie Lee


Calling All Shutterbugs!

We love receiving thank you notes back from soldiers when they receive packages from our supporters.  It lets us all know how much our support means.  We also love receiving pictures.  That’s why we are starting up a Photo of the Month Feature.  We’d love to receive a photo with a brief note about you or if you are deployed or the friend or loved on of a deployed soldier.

Just email your photo and a brief note to LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org and look for your submission in the coming months.

Did You Know…?

September 5, 1774 – The First Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia with 56 delegates, representing every colony, except Georgia. Attendants included   John Adams, Patrick Henry, George Washington and John Jay, future First Chief Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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

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

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

September 13, 1814 – The Battle of Baltimore began with the bombardment of Fort McHenry.  Francis Scott Key anxiously watched the attack aboard a nearby ship. Key anxiously watched the British attack overnight and at dawn saw the American flag still flying over the fort, inspiring him to write a poem which was later coupled with the tune of a popular song and became the U.S. National Anthem in 1931.

September 17, 1862 – The Battle of Antietam marks the bloodiest day in U.S. military history as General  George B. McClellan led Union troops against Confederate forces led by Robert E. Lee near Sharpsburg, Maryland. By nightfall over 22,000 men were dead, wounded, or missing from both sides of the conflict.

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

September 29, 1789 – Congress establishes a regular Army under the Department of War, consisting of several hundred troops

August Monthly Newsletter

 



Freedom comes at a cost! We have all heard the quote “Freedom is not Free” and most Americans enjoy those freedoms but have not had to pay much, if anything at all. Our family has paid deeply, not financially with our life savings, but even more precious than gold, with a life.

I’m sitting in my Heroes room as I type this and am surrounded by pictures of Heroes who have paid that price and have fought, some bled and many have died so that we could be free. Next to me are the uniforms that my son Marc Alan Lee wore on the battlefield, jumping from aircraft, training or attending an official ceremony.  His combat boots and dive gear sit on the floor next to me and on the shelf is the final cloth that we would associate with Marc, the folded flag I received at his funeral.

It’s hard to believe that Aug 2nd it will be seven years since I was notified that Marc had heroically sacrificed his life so that his teammates could live and our freedoms would be protected. As you can imagine that is the most devastating news a parent could receive and the toughest day of my life.

In 115 degree temperatures, carrying 150 plus pounds of gear, and fighting for 2 hours in the worst battle in Ramadi, Marc and his teammates never quit. They persevered, steady, in their course of action, with purpose, in spite of difficulties and obstacles. Marc’s buddy Ryan had been severally wounded and twice Marc stood up into the direct line of fire to provide cover to get the medic up on the roof and then again to get everyone down. They RESCUED Ryan and sent him off for medical attention and they returned to their base. Discouraged, exhausted, physically and emotionally, thinking that Ryan had probably died, they stripped off their gear and got some water to refresh themselves. The Chief came in and informed them they had just found 30 of the terrorists who had just attacked them. Without hesitation Marc answered “Roger that lets go get them.”

They didn’t whine and complain, they didn’t listen to what their body was telling them, but they let their minds take control and they persevered and went back to the battlefield. Marc’s final actions that day would find him standing into the direct line of fire, persevering, even in the face of death. He never quit!!!!

Losing a child is the deepest pain anyone could ever experience and I wouldn’t wish that even for my enemies. Time changes the frequency and depth of that pain, but it never completely goes away and as we approach the anniversary of his death it resurfaces. The wounds of grief are healing, but this is one of those times you see the tender scars, yet…………..I’m reminded of Marc’s actions, and recognize perseverance is exactly what has helped me to heal and encourage others through their grief process.

The days following Marc’s death I knew God would give me the strength to survive. It wasn’t what I was feeling at the time, but what I knew in my mind. Just as Marc and his teammates didn’t listen to their physically exhausted bodies but let their minds take control, I choose to do the same.

I will be honest and tell you that there have been tears flowing as I write this and think of Marc and how much I miss him, his crazy sense of humor and antics, his ornery grin, his beautiful brown eyes, his amazing hugs, his ability to love so selflessly, his faith, and love for his family.

Perseverance is described as “steady, persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement.” Marc displayed that throughout his life and I think that is one of the main character qualities in a SEAL.

I made the choice in the midst of the grief, difficulties, obstacles and discouragement to never quit and persevere. The purpose: to honor and remember Marc, the course of action: to thank and support those who have paid for my freedoms and the families left behind, the state: steady and faithful with God’s love and joy.

Just above me I have a wall with pictures of my family, biological and adopted.  All of them were very connected with and deeply loved Marc. It has been a blessing and pleasure to embrace my new family, my “adopted boys” and watch them as they marry and have babies and live life. They were Marc’s final gift to me.

So as you remember the sacrifice Marc made on August 2, 2006, please also remember the sacrifice of each of our fallen heroes and their families. I would encourage each of you to read Marc’s amazing last letter home and accept his challenge, and do a random act of kindness and then pass a copy of his letter to the person you do it for!

HOOYAH MARC LEE! YOU ARE NEVER FORGOTTEN!

MAF Remembers Medal of Honor Recipient Air Force Col. Bud Day, 88

Retired Air Force Col. George “Bud” Day, a Medal of Honor recipient who served as an enlisted Marine during World War II and as an Air Force pilot in both Korea and Vietnam died Saturday, July 27, at his Shalimar, Florida home surrounded by family. Day spent over 5 years as a POW in Vietnam and was Arizona Sen. John McCain’s cellmate at the notorious “Hanoi Hilton”

Day was shot down over North Vietnam on Aug. 26, 1967. He bailed out, but with significant injuries including a broken right arm and knee and temporary blindness in one eye. Day eluded capture for 10 days before being taken prisoner where we was brutally tortured but never divulged sensitive information thus earning him the Medal of Honor. In all, he earned more than 70 medals during service in World War II, Korea and Vietnam including more than 50 for combat.  In addition to the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, he was awarded the Air Force Cross, the highest combat award for airmen.

In Vietnam, he was John McCain’s cellmate. During his imprisonment he was tortured so badly that after being freed in 1973, he never recovered full function of his hands and arms.

“As awful as it sounds, no one could say we did not do well. (Being a POW) was a major issue in my life and one that I am extremely proud of. I was just living day to day,” he said in a 2008 interview with The Associated Press. “One really bad cold and I would have been dead.”

In a Twitter post Sunday, McCain remembered Day as “my friend, my leader, my inspiration.”

Born Feb. 24, 1925, in Sioux City, Iowa, Day enlisted in the Marines in 1942 while still in high school. After returning home, Day graduated law school and passed the bar exam in 1949. In 1950 Day joined the Iowa National Guard and attended flight school. He was called to active duty in the Air Force the next year and did two tours as a bomber pilot in the Korean War.  Day volunteered for service in Vietnam where he was assigned to a fighter wing in 1967. After the war and his release, Day retired to the Florida Panhandle in 1977 but remained active in veterans’ rights issues.

Day is survived by Doris, his wife of over 50 years, four children and fourteen grandchildren.

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

As part of  our fund raising efforts for Troopathon 6 held June 27, 2013, Move America Forward  received generous donations of a limited edition San Francisco 49ers Football from the 49ers  and a Weber SPIRIT® E-310™gas grill from Weber Grill.

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

THANK YOU SF 49ERS

Congratulations: BRENDA H. – Danville, CA

 

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

THANK YOU WEBER GRILL

Congratulations: BUCK O. – Tucson, AZ

 

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

CONGRATS TO THE LUCKY WINNER OF THE MAF + STAG ARMS AR-15 GIVEAWAY!

MAF is proud to announce the conclusion of our TROOPATHON AR-15 GIVEAWAY made possible by STAG ARMS. We made this special giveaway free and available in order to help spread the word about Troopathon and our efforts to support the troops overseas! Thousands of patriots signed up to win and we are pleased to announce that one of them has been selected and notified!

Congratulations to Jim E. of Michigan whose name was picked by random drawing as winner of the STAG ARMS AR-15! Jim will have a choice of 3 different STAG ARMS models, each available in left-handed or right-handed configuration.

When notified as being the winner, Jim E. had this to say:

“I’m super grateful! My family and I love to enjoy the outdoors and shooting together. I support our troops 100% and I hope they all come home safely.”– Jim E. Winner of
STAG ARMS AR-15
THANK YOU HIGHLIGHT
 

AUGUST 4, 2013 CELEBRATES NATIONAL COAST GUARD DAY

U.S. Coast Guard Day honors the military branch that protects our waters and shorelines.

On August 4, 1790, the Revenue Cutter Service was created by the U.S. Congress. Congress authorized the construction of ten cutters. These ships were built to  enforce U.S. tariff laws. The Revenue Cutter Service was the predecessor the U.S. Coast Guard.  The name “Coast Guard” was first used in 1915.

Celebrate U.S. Coast Guard Day by learning more about the responsibilities and functions of the U.S. Coast Guard. They are now playing an even more extensive role in Homeland Security to protect our country.

We salute Coast Guard personnel today and every day.

It’s Hot, Hot, Hot!  Help our Troops tackle the Heat and Grime with Hoo-Ahhs® Field Towels!

We all know how great a shower feels after a long hard day of work but often our soldiers are out in the field and just don’t have the luxury of showering off all that dirt and grime. Move America Forward  proudly includes  Hoo-Ahhs® sturdy, non-shredding over sized per-moistened field towels in all our troop support packages.  MAF has always included hand wipes in our packages, but we felt there had to be a product out there that could really tackle the grime and sweat our hard working troops deal with every day without leaving them sticky and dried out like an alcohol based wipe.

Hoo-Ahhs® are alcohol- free and moistened with an unscented aloe and vitamin E based formula that’s  gently on skin but strong enough to clean off greasy camouflage paint, sweat, sunscreen and insect repellent.

If you haven’t sent a support package in a while, why not SEND A CARE PACKAGE NOW, including Hoo-Ahhs® and lots of other great treats and necessities for our troops.

TOP PRO- TROOP TWEETS OF THE MONTH





 

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

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

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

July Monthly Newsletter

Thanks for Making Troopathon 6 a Big Success!

Move America Forward’s Troopathon 6 “Salute Our Troops” was broadcast live Thursday, June 27, 2013 from the Richard M. Nixon Library in Orange County, California.

We owe this year’s success to the generosity of our supporters who, even in these tough financial times, responded so positively to our call for aide.  Without the outpouring of support, we would be unable to complete our mission of putting packages into the hands of our brave troops.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, host of the #1 rated hit HUCKABEE on the Fox News Channel and his highly rated Cumulus Media Networks’ syndicated radio program, The Mike Huckabee Show joined award-winning radio talk show host, author, columnist, journalist, TV anchor, and reporter Melanie Morgan;  Debbie Lee,  a Gold Star mother and founder of America’s Mighty Warriors; Larry O’Connor talk radio host, editor and news commentator in hosting Troopathon 6.


Troopathon hosts Debbie Lee, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Melanie Morgan, and Larry O’Connor


The Lindy Sisters performed several songs


Mike Huckabee plays bass with John David Kahn on guitar

Our dedicated team worked tirelessly to make sure this year’s Troopathon would do our troops proud. Thanks to our dedicated hosts and awesome guests, we were able to raise $321,041 to continue our mission of sending package to the brave men and women serving far from home.

Help us reach our goal! Donate HERE!


 


Thank You Highlight: “My wife is always glad to hear I am being taken care of”

Hot and Humid!

We all know that this summer has already served up some record heat here in the states, but July is traditionally the hottest month in Afghanistan with temperatures forecast to reach a sweltering 119 degrees in some regions of Afghanistan this week. According to a recent article in Army Times a soldier on extended foot patrol carries an average load ranging from 87 to 127 staggering pounds!  With this in mind Move America Forward is happy to include Gatorade mix with our package so our troops can replenish some much needed fluid and electrolytes lost during what for these heroes is just a routine work day.

If you’d like to send a package to our troops that will include some thirst quenching Gatorade, click here.

We’d also like to thank some of our very special Troopathon Angels for their generous contributions of $1,000.00 or more.

 

  • Rick W. donated $11,000
  • Lucia U. donated $10,000
  • Mark Levin donated $7,500
  • Coalition to Salute America donated $5,000
  • Caryn B. donated $5,000
  • Richard U. donated $5,000
  • Freddie M. donated $3,000
  • Sandra B. donated $2,500
  • Sally R. donated $2,500
  • Juliet J. donated $2,500
  • The Rumsfeld Foundation donated $1,000
  • Susan C. donated $1,000
  • Kyra G. donated $1,000
  • Roy and Nancy T. donated $1,000
  • Alexander S. donated $1,000

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

Didn’t have a chance to watch Troopathon live? CLICK HERE to Catch some of our Highlights

A Special Thanks to our Corporate Sponsors


  • Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library
  • USTREAM.TV
  • KSFO AM 560
  • Cumulus Broadcasting
  • Breitbart.Com
  • Donationsafe
  • TNA Wrestling
  • Ultimate Fighting Championship
  • SIMULTV
  • Dymo Endicia
  • Action Military Surplus

 


 

Faith, Freedom, Fun,
Families, and Friends

June’s calendar was packed and filled with lots of work and tons of blessings. I don’t have the space in the newsletter to go into detail about all of the events but will touch on most of them. It started with spending  time with Chris Kyle’s family in Dallas and “passing on the love, the kindness, the precious gift of human life,” as my son Marc challenged us in his last letter home. Chris and I were very close and just as he adopted me to honor Marc, I will do the same for his family to honor him. That’s what family does!

When I returned home to the Heroes Hope Home we hosted one of the SEAL widows, and then the next week we had three widows and their nine children who had traveled from Texas for a week of all expense paid pampering, love, relaxation and hope. These Gold Star Families have given their very best for this nation and this is a simple way we can let them know we will NEVER forget the price they have paid for our freedoms.

June 21st I headed to San Diego for the Change of Command for Admiral Pybus who has led the command for all of our SEALs and support groups at WARCOM for the past 2 years. Admiral Pybus was on my door step the morning after Marc died and has been an amazing support and his friendship has been such a blessing. He is now leading the NATO special forces and has recently been pinned a 3 star Admiral!

June 27th was the Grand finale for the months of extra work that was invested to make Troopathon 6 our best production yet. Melanie and I were blessed to have Gov. Mike Huckabee and Larry O’Connor join us as Co-hosts along with an amazing lineup of guests from around the world. We were joined by some of our heroes serving in Afghanistan, former Navy SEALs, Gary Sinise, Gov. Rick Perry, Donald Rumsfeld, numerous Hollywood, Sports and talk radio celebrities who agreed with us that we needed to make sure our troops know they are not forgotten.

Our goal was to raise $400,000.00 dollars and we are currently at just under $350,000.00. You can still contribute at www.troopathon.org to help us successfully reach that goal.

 

I want to say a huge THANK YOU to each of you who watched the eight hour telecast and donated to send packages to our troops to let them know we love and appreciate the sacrifices they are making for our freedoms. We couldn’t do it without you and the faithful support from those who gave their time to be a guest or host at this year’s event. We each volunteered our time and talents because we recognize the huge sacrifice our troops are making for the freedoms we enjoy every day.

The next morning I left LA and headed to San Diego for the Change of Command for Capt. Green who has been commanding the West Coast SEALS for the past two years. He was in charge of ST3, Marc’s team when he died. I remembering receiving a call the evening Marc died from him in Iraq, he told me “If one of my four kids grows up to be half the man Marc was, I would be honored.”  He has been another faithful friend since Marc’s death. Captain Green is headed back into the combat zone, and as you pray for all of our troops, please remember him too.

As I drove that morning my mind was focused on our Operation Red Wing families as they remembered the tragic anniversary of June 28, 2005, which took an entire platoon of SEALs  with the exception of Marcus Lutrell. I have come to know many of these families and we carry each other’s burdens and support each other. I will “never forget and never quit.” Marcus wrote “Lone Survivor” to honor his fallen “brothers,” and tell their heroic stories. He has become another one of my “adopted boys.” I am blessed to be participating with Marcus in his “Patriot Tour” that begins Aug 1, 2013 as we continue to tell the stories of our amazing heroes and honor them for their selfless sacrifice. I would love to see you at one of our events. For more info go to www.marcusluttrell.com

As I look back on June I have so many things to be grateful for. Most of what I did this month wouldn’t have happened in my life if it weren’t for the loss of my son, my hero, my “Mighty Warrior.” He made the choice to give his life for his “brothers,” his family, and our freedoms. I chose, by God’s strength, to carry on, accept Marc’s challenge in his “Glory Letter,” and honor him by supporting our troops and their families. My “family” has become HUGE and I am blessed to have so many heroes in my life.

We couldn’t do what we do for our troops without the amazing support of each one of you! May God richly bless each one of you and protect our troops! Celebrating my Faith, freedoms, family, friends, that bring fun into my life!

Debbie Lee

 


MAF is Proud to Honor Warrant Officer Sean Mullen

Army Special Forces Warrant Officer Sean W. Mullen, 39, of Rehoboth Beach, Del., was killed by an improvised explosive device June 2, 2013 in the Lashkar Gah province of Afghanistan when his unit came under insurgent attack.

He enlisted in the Army in 1995 and trained as a Special Forces medic before completing Warrant Officer School last year.

Mullen was assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) out of Fort Campbell, Ky., This was Mullen’s sixth deployment in support of an overseas contingency operation.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, the Good Conduct Medal with four knots, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, the Iraq Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korea Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with numeral “2” device, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with one oak leaf cluster, the Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon, the Joint Unit Meritorious Award, the Army Meritorious Unit Commendation Award with one oak leaf cluster, Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Air Assault Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge and the Parachutist Badge.

He is survived by his widow, Nancy, his parents and one sister.

TOP TWEETS OF TROOPATHON


Calling all Troops!

Signing up to receive packages is easy!

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

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


Soldier Signup


Monthly Smiles

June 2013 Newsletter



For years I have been on a Campaign to reclaim Memorial Day and have purposed to educate and encourage people to go back to the reason that we as a Nation set apart Memorial Day. It is a solemn remembrance of our heroes through the centuries who sacrificed their lives on the battlefield for the freedoms we enjoy every day.

I have made suggestions of ways Americans could do this and thought I would share with you how this past weekend I remembered and honored those who gave everything for me.

My weekend started Friday afternoon with a presentation at the Colonade Retirement Community in Surprise, AZ. The majority of the crowd was prior Vets and as I shared Marc’s heroic story, there were many teary-eyed listeners, trying to contain their emotions. As I spoke about Memorial Day and looked into their eyes it was if a window to their souls had opened. They were thinking of their buddies whose names were on a Memorial Wall and had not returned home from Korea or Vietnam. No reminder was needed for them to Honor and Remember; they carried that loss with them every day.

Saturday morning found me on a flight to Austin, Texas to speak at Lake Hills Church, where Governor Perry attends. The last time I was in Austin was to bury Chris Kyle, one of Marc’s teammates who was like a son to me. In route from the airport to the hotel I stopped at Texas Memorial Cemetery to visit Chris’ grave and place flowers there. It had been raining and the grounds were wet and there was a freshness in the air.

 

Grave Site of Hero Navy SEAL Chris Kyle

It is so hard to explain the first time you go back to visit the grave after you have buried a loved one. I knew that I wanted to stay for a bit, but the ground was wet. I stood and just remembered what a gift Chris was to me and how he chose to honor Marc, his fallen brother and take care of his Mother. I wanted to be closer so I sat on the soaked ground. The tears began to flow, knowing that not just Chris’ family, his teammates or I had lost a special man, but that it was all of America’s loss.

It encouraged my heart to see people who didn’t seem to be visiting a specific person wandering through the cemetery and reading names on headstones in the military section. “Yes” I thought this is one of the things I have encouraged people to do on Memorial Day weekend to remember the sacrifices.

I didn’t have the chance at Chris’ funeral to wander through the cemetery so I took the time to do that. There were seven Medal of Honor Recipients, a Memorial to the Texas Gold Star Mothers, and heroes from every conflict who had been killed in Action. It was a beautiful peaceful place with little creeks, big oaks and untold volumes of history of heroes waiting to be told.

Sunday morning I spoke at Lake Hills Church in both services and shared Marc’s heroic story and my faith in Christ that has given me the strength to carry on in the midst of the toughest pain I will ever know. I reminded people what Memorial Day was about and encouraged them to teach their children.

I jumped on a flight that afternoon to Dallas and was picked up by Kevin another one of my “adopted boys.” His family was in Texas for the week, to honor and remember Chris’ and check in on Chris’ family. We headed to a nearby park where the Carry the Load event was being hosted by another former SEAL.

People were walking and running in several different cities with backpacks, symbolizing carrying their fallen loved ones, teammates or friends who had sacrificed their lives serving our country. Chris” parents and brother were there and we had planned to meet up. In the midst of pain and loss bonds between families of the fallen produces an instant connection. Knowing the loss of a son is not the reason we wished would have brought us together, but it brings comfort to know someone else understands. We greeted them as they finished their first 7 mile loop in memory of their son. About midnight that evening after I changed my heels for tennis shoes, I walked a 7 mile loop with Kevin to honor Marc, each SEAL who fell and on behalf of every Mother who has lost a son in combat.


Debbie Lee at the Dallas Carry the Load Remembrance Event

Kevin and I then jumped in our vehicle and drove about 40 miles to where another SEAL and “adopted son,” Ryan Parrot was running 100 miles in a 24 hour period to honor and remember the fallen. He was at 56 mile point and the experienced marathoner who was running with him had gone into kidney failure and had to be taken to the hospital. This was discouraging for Ryan and we were going for moral support and Kevin had decided spontaneously he would run the last 30 miles with Ryan. No preparation, and after an intense weight workout and a 7 mile walk earlier that evening. These SEALs are a rare breed that’s for sure.

Ryan was in the RV receiving medical attention when we arrived and he didn’t look good at all. He saw me and in exhaustion with as much exuberance as he could muster said “Momma Lee.” It was at that point that I saw a little spark in his eye. We were just the moral boost that he needed. I was pleased that I had done 7 miles, I can’t imagine 70 let alone 100 miles. I am proud to tell you that Ryan finished the 100 miles.


Ryan Parrot Honors the Fallen with His Grueling 100 Mile Run

Throughout the day on Monday I received numerous texts and emails with pictures of Marc’s headstone attached as friends and teammates visited Marc’s grave to remember the amazing man he was and how he had impacted the lives of so many. I am so grateful for all of those who friends and patriots who let me know they remembered Marc and would never forget his sacrifice.

Monday afternoon I was honored to attend with Chris’ family the dedication of the American Legion in Midlothian, Chris’ hometown, to the Chris Kyle Post. Another one of those bittersweet moments, as we would much rather have our loved ones with us than to have their name on a Memorial Wall, building, movie or book. Yet if we have heroes who sacrifice so much we must honor them and keep their memories alive. We owe it to them.

Dedication of the Chris Kyle American Legion Post
in Midlothian, Texas with the Kyle Family

I trust that most of you purposed to do something this past weekend to honor and remember those who gave their final breath for you. If not I would challenge you next year to establish new habits that will “Remember and Honor” not celebrate Memorial Day.

 

Remembering their Sacrifice,
Gold Star Mom Debbie Lee


Troop Tweets

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

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


Calling all Troops!

Signing up to receive packages is easy!

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

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

St. Mary’s 5th Grade Students Honor our Deployed Troops

At St. Mary’s School in Los Gatos, CA, Outreach is an important component of their curriculum.  Typically most of their outreach activities involve helping out the local community in some positive way.  However, for one of their projects this year, St. Mary’s 5th grade class decided to reach to be a little further.  “We wanted to let the brave servicemen and women still fighting to protect our freedom know that we have not forgotten them…that we are keeping them in our thoughts…and praying for their safe return home to their family and friends.  We wanted to make cards to show them our appreciation and what better organization to make this happen than MAF!” said class mom Sue Bozzini. Sue contacted us at Move America Forward and we agreed to include the beautiful hand-made cards with our Memorial Day Care Packages being sent to the troops – the perfect opportunity to show the troops how much the students at St. Mary’s care!




This wasn’t just a last minute effort on the 5th grade’s part either, “We set aside time for 4 weeks to work on our cards.  While the students were creating their cards, we asked them three questions:

1)    Why are we doing this?

2)    Why is this important?

3)    How does this project make you feel?

Their answers truly blew us away!” said Bozzini.  “The students could not stop raising their hands to give us their thoughts and opinions.”  In the words of the students:

Why are we doing this? ” So the troops can feel they have not been forgotten; we know their families are worried, we want them to do their best – to know they have our support; they are making a difference – they are not doing this for nothing; they are risking their lives to save people they don’t even know; I want to bring a smile to their faces – there’s a reason they are doing what they’re doing; we don’t want them to feel lonely; we’re supporting them; for America!”!

Why is this important?  ” It makes them feel appreciated – they are taking this huge risk away from their family and friends; help keep their spirits up; help them remember why they are there; it’s the right thing to do; it’s what God wants us to do; provide comfort to them while they’re away from home; puts things into perspective for me – we all have bad days but at home we are safe but the troops are always in danger; it makes me feel so fortunate; it’s like a ‘un’ birthday for a soldier  – an unexpected surprise gift; if they don’t know that people care, they might just give up – but, if we show them WE care, hopefully that will motivate them to keep going!”

How does it make you feel to write these letters?  ” It makes me feel good inside; makes me feel happy; makes me feel good but bad too because I feel greedy – I have so much and they are sacrificing so much; puts a smile on my face thinking I’m putting one on theirs; I like envisioning someone else reading my card; makes me want to do something more knowing that every little thing makes a difference; motivates me; I feel really good knowing I’ve done something good; and finally, it makes me feel a little important – like maybe this could be the one thing that keeps them going!”

“Our 5th grade class wants to extend a HUGE thank you to our troops and to MAF for giving us this opportunity to show the troops how much we care! Land of the Free because of the Brave…God Bless America!!” concluded Bozzini.

Although we have already shipped out our care packages containing the special cards from the students of St. Mary’s, it’s not  too late to take the time to send a  package (hot link this with newsletter ordering tag) to a soldier still waiting for a gift  from home with your own special message of love and support.

 

Troopathon 6 adds Governor Mike Huckabee and
Breitbart Editor Larry O’Connor as Hosts!

We are excited to announce  Governor Mike Huckabee and Larry.O’Connor will join our long-time hosts Move America Forward co-founder & San Francisco radio talk show great Melanie Morgan and Gold Star Mom and Move America Forward’s own  Debbie Lee to host the 8-hour Troopathon 6 broadcast live from  the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Orange County. California!

Past Troopathon events have raised over $3.6 million for our troops. Last year, Troopathon raised over $500,000 but we’d like to break that total this year!!

You can view the live stream at www.troopathon.org on June 27th!

Live will kick off with returning host Melanie Morgan and her co-hosts. We’re still in the process of lining up this year’s guests, but you can be sure there will be some great names like past year’s guest list which included Kelsey Grammer, Jon Voight and syndicated radio and television host Rush Limbaugh.

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

Don’t forget to check out how you can win a Stag Arms AR-15 Rifle in our Troopathon 6 Sweepstakes

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

Move America Forward is offering a FREE GUN GIVEAWAY to help promote our Troopathon fundraiser for the troops. This is an exciting new way to really spread the word about Troopathon by giving people an incentive – a chance to win a free AR rifle from STAG ARMS one of the leading tactical rifle manufacturers in the world!

PLEASE HELP US by blogging about this on your own websites and social media followings! Sign yourself up, and get everyone who follows you to sign up! Then tune in on June 27th to see who wins and also to see how much money we can raise to support our troops in Afghanistan!

Here’s the link to our entry form page: http://www.troopathon.org/sweepstakes

 

Let’s Hear it for the Red, White and Blue!

Friday June 14th is National Flag Day, let’s remember to show our pride by flying Old Glory at our homes and business establishments. As our way of celebrating  Flag Day, Move America Forward will include an enamel  United States Flag lapel pin with each package ordered on that day and with all of our Father’s Day packages.

Hat’s Off to You Dad!

Ask any service man how many milestone events in their lives they have missed due to deployment and without batting an eye, you will hear tales from these dads who have missed the birth of a child, countless birthdays and anniversaries, graduations and holiday’s like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Sure, you might detect the wistful look in their eye as they recount the wonder of meeting their child for the first time after a long hard tour away from home, but you will also note the unmistakable tone of satisfaction which comes only from knowing that their sacrifice makes a difference. Many of our Deployed Dads will be celebrating Father’s Day alone this year, and for some it may be their very first Father’s Day as a dad.

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

Let’s make sure these brave dads are looked after too!  We are delighted to announce our FATHER’S DAY care packages are ready to order on our website!

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

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

HMH 461 Sends Thanks for their Package

May Newsletter 2013

Shout out to our Moms!

So Many of our Deployed Moms will be celebrating with only a dog-eared photo of their children at hand as they serve far from home this year.

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

Let’s make sure these brave moms are looked after too! We are delighted to announce our MOTHER’S DAY care packages are ready to order on our website!

Don’t wait! Mother’s Day is May 12th and 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 this Mother’s Day!

Thanks to All Who Supported Wounded Warrior Care Packages

This past month MAF started a special program to reach out to our wounded warriors returning home.

We have developed a care package that contains the essentials for personal hygiene, grooming, and extras to help incoming patients receiving treatment.

Our Wounded Warrior Care Packages come in a durable, flame retardant “Cinch Bag” filled to the brim with items Walter Reed and the VA has requested. The Care Pack also has a special compartment keeps important hospital paper work separate from the rest of the bag.

Each bag contains essentials they will need like high quality hospital socks for cold floors, 10 piece oral care kits, toothpaste, non-alcoholic mouthwash, deodorant, lip balm, and other approved personal hygienic items. We also include a deck of professional playing cards, candy, and sugar-free chewing gum. For all those who have sponsored a package, we send our thanks.

Help us take care of our wounded Veterans who have returned home for treatment by donating a Wounded Warrior Care Package. These bags will be delivered to Walter Reed and to local VA hospitals and distributed to active duty and Veterans receiving treatment.

Memorial Day – Honor &Remember

This Memorial Day take time to remember our fallen heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. On May 27, 2013 Americans will come pay their respects at cemeteries, memorials and parades, There is also National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 p.m. MAF is asking our supports to proudly fly their flag in honor of our service members and our great country and if you happen across a uniformed member or a retiree proudly wearing their uniform or a commemorative cap, take the time to offer a hand shake or a hug.

Mark Your Calendar Now for Troopathon VI Live Event!

We are gearing up for Move America Forward’s 6th Annual Troopathon on Thursday June 27, 2013 from at 12 to 8 PM (PDT). LIVE from the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library.

This year’s theme, “Salute our Troops” was selected to honor the sacrifice and hard work of our troops in the name of liberty and freedom. Troopathon is MAF’s way of remembering that sacrifice and providing our sponsors with a way to say “Thank You.”.

We will keep you posted as we firm up this years exciting list of featured guests.
Thank You Highlight!

At Move America Forward we love hearing from our soldiers, and we know you do too!  We hope you enjoy reading this card just as much as we did.

 


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 tedner love and care our soldiers need to remind them that people back home support their mission.

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


Mother’s where would we be without them? Mom –the woman who carried us for 9 months, and then endured the pains of child birth, just so we could live. Yet that was just the beginning of the sacrifices that she would make. There would be many sleepless nights, stinky diapers, visits to the doctor for stitches; teacher conferences; wiping away tears; encouraging words; discipline; great sacrifices; and tons of selfless love and support. Many Mothers raised their children as a single parent as I did, which added to the struggles.
At the age of 23 I found myself divorced, with a 3 year old, 18 month old and pregnant. There was no child support, no help and at times it looked like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. My children were the reason I persevered, I had to. It was not easy and I won’t pretend that I was the perfect parent, my children could tell you otherwise, but I did the best I knew how.With three adult children and 8 grandchildren I know look back and question. “What happened to the tunnel???????” We survived, we made it, and each one of my children is impacting the world in their own unique ways. You often here me speak of my son Marc, the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq, but I am just as proud of my other two children Kristofer and Cheryl.
Each one of us need to honor the Mother that God gave us as we approach Mother’s Day, but I would also challenge you to reach out and honor a military mother on Mother’s Day.Our Gold Star Mother’s find this holiday to be extremely difficult. They have given their very best for this nation, and this is another one of those days that is a reminder of the loss of our fallen hero. If you know a Gold Star Mother take her to lunch, bring her flowers, chocolate, or a gift certificate for a spa day, just to let her know you remember and you have not forgotten that sacrifice.Our Blue Star Mother’s have raised warriors who daily are fighting for our freedoms. Many have their children in the combat zone and try to carry on and function knowing that their child is fighting the terrorists in the hills of Afghanistan.

The wives and mothers of our deployed warriors who are at home, raising their children and keeping the home functioning and running, filling the role of both Mommy and Daddy until their hero returns.

Hopefully you tell your Mom thank you often and love and honor her. If you are a Gold Star Mother, my heart understands and deeply embraces you today and I will never forget. To each and every Mother who raised a warrior who fought in any conflict for my freedoms, thank you, job well done. To those moms whose hero is deployed, I say, Hooyah, Hoorah, Hoohah, keep, keepin on!

I would love to hear back if you accept my challenge to honor a military Mother and what you did for them. You can reply to me at Debbie@moveamericaforward.org.

This Mother’s Day I will be thanking God that he gave me the blessing of being a mother to three children by birth, and so many “adopted” children by the brotherhood of service.

Remembering our Mothers,
Debbie Lee

What’s Trending Now

MAF is on Twitter follow us @M_A_F and like our page on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/moveamericaforward). Here are a few popular tweets from this past month!

 


Move America Forward is Proud to Honor Staff Sgt. Rex L. Schad

Staff Sgt.  Rex L. Schad, 26 was killed in action on March 11, 2013 in Jalrez, Wardak Province, while conducting a patrol brief with Afghanistan National Police. He was assigned to Company A. 3rd Battalion; 69th Armor, 1BCT, Fort Stewart, GA, serving as a Squad Leader on his 2nd deployment to Afghanistan.

SSG Shad was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea. During his seven years of Army service, SSG Schad has been awarded a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, three Army Commendation Medals, one with Valor; two Army Achievement Medals, two Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign with Bronze Star, Combat Infantryman Badge and Expert Infantryman Badge.
At his Military funeral in Oklahoma, his platoon leader, 1st Lt. David Swanson, who traveled with the body all the way from Afghanistan, said that Rex was the best squad leader in the Battalion and perhaps in the entire Division.

 

MONTHLY SMILES – WITHOUT THE HASSLE

Want one less thing to remember? Just give us criteria for selecting soldiers and your budget and we’ll do the rest – monthly, quarterly, or on any schedule you want.

Then you’ll be sure no matter how busy you get, you’re keeping those smiles coming. There’s no obligation, and you can stop sending packages at any time.

If you’d like to know more, send an e-mail to lisabaron@moveamericforward.org, and put Monthly Smiles Club in your subject line. Or order a package now and check the box that says you want to join the Monthly Smiles program.

April Newsletter

Wounded Warrior Care Packages for our Veterans

Move America Forward has always been dedicated to supporting our deployed troops serving in harm’s way.  Our highly successful program has delivered over 215 tons of care packages loaded with the items they want and need. Plus each is packed with helpful information and most importantly — a personal message from you.

Sadly, many of our troops still feel the effects of battle long after they return home. Over 8 million veterans are enrolled in the Department of Veteran Affairs System on which they rely for everything from routine checkups to life saving surgery. With this in mind, MAF is proud to announce this April we are launching “Wounded Warrior Care Packs.”

Our durable, flame retardant “Wounded Warrior Care Packs (WWCP)” come with an easy cinch closure to keep our filled-to-the-brim packs secure.

Each bag comes loaded with essentials our brave veterans need to make their hospital stay more comfortable. From our non-slip hospital socks for cold floors, to our 10 piece toothbrush kits, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, lip balm, and other approved personal hygienic items. We also include a deck of playing cards, candy, and sugar-free chewing gum to make our veterans feel a little bit more at home

Many of our troops are returning home from Afghanistan or Iraq with life-altering injuries sustained in the line of fire, protecting our freedoms and liberties. Some patients may even be Vietnam or Desert Storm Veterans who made sacrifices for our nation decades ago.

Please take the time to say thank you for those sacrifices and help provide for our wounded veterans by donating a MAF “Wounded Warrior Care Pack.” Each bag will be delivered to local VA hospitals and distributed to Veterans coming in for extended treatment. By making your 100% tax deductible donation you will ensure that sick or wounded veterans are getting exactly what the VA says they need.

wwcp_button3

Troop Tweets

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

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


MAF is Proud to Honor
Sgt. Michael C. Cable of Kentucky

Sgt. Michael C. Cable, 26, of Philpot, Ky., was killed March 27 in Shinwar District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, according to a news release from the Department of Defense.

According to Defense Department reports, Sgt. Cable had been on guard duty in  an area that was to be used for the swearing in of new Afghan police last week.

Upon completion of his duty, Cable was playing with several local children when he was stabbed in the back of the neck by an Afghan teenager believed to be approximately 16 years old. The attacker fled to Pakistan for protection and has reportedly joined Taliban forces there.

Cable was a fire support specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division deployed out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky..

Cable has been posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, and Purple Heart.  Serving since 2007, Cable had also previously been awarded the Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/Bronze Service Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge and the Air Assault Badge.

Cable is survived by his parents, Raymond L. Johnston Sr., and Vickie M. Johnston, both of Philpot, Ky., and his brother, Raymond L. Johnston Jr.

 

Local Girl Scouts Wow with Big Cookie Donation

Thanks to a generous donation from local Girl Scout troops, our care packages will also include Girl Scout cookies while supplies last. Everyone loves Girl Scout cookies, and thanks to some local area troops, our deployed troops will also enjoy munching on these springtime favorites as well when they receive their next car package from Move America Forward.


    Girl Scout Cookies Donated by local troops

Send a 100% tax deductible care package now so our troops can enjoy a treat from you!


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

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

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

A Big Easter Thank You!

Thanks to your support our troops received hundreds of Easter care packages. This year was one of our most successful Easter programs ever. 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 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.

 



Opening the MARC A LEE Training Center at SEAL Base Coronado


Waves brushed the sands on the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado on March 20, 2013 just as they have done for decades. Every Navy SEAL recognizes those sounds as this is the base where BUDs recruits begin their journey determined to earn their Trident.


Marc was all too familiar with those beaches, the grinder and the buildings on that base.  He endured surf torture, rock portage and grueling runs back and forth on that beach. The intense training at Coronado also included dives in the cold Pacific Ocean, commands to ‘go get wet and sandy’ followed by countless pushups, pull ups and extensive training.

Only 20-25% of those who start the training at BUDs to become a SEAL have the determination, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually to see their dream become a reality.

Marc graduated in class 251 and was proudly pinned with his Trident. In April 2006 Marc deployed with ST-3 Charlie platoon to Ramadi, Iraq.  During that time Ramadi saw some of the deadliest battles our service members faced and our nation suffered the loss of many brave heroes there.  After an intense two hour firefight and after selflessly exposing himself three different times to enemy fire, Marc sacrificed his life to save his teammates, for his country and for our freedoms.  Marc was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star with valor, Purple Heart and numerous other awards.

On my first trip to Iraq in 2007 I brought back some of the sands from the desert at Camp Marc Lee where he was stationed. The sands in Ramadi were quite different than those in Coronado and I know every one of our troops who had experienced both, longed to be back on the familiar soil of home.

It was the familiar sands on Coronado that brought hundreds of people to the base on March 20, on what would have been Marc’s 35th birthday. They were there to dedicate the new TRADET building where all of the SEALS train before each and every deployment.

The Navy, Marc’s Commanders and teammates choose to honor and remember Marc by naming this building after a hero who focused intently on pushing his body and training in every aspect of his life.

 

Above the quarterdeck at the front of the building large silver letters wrap around the framework of the Marc A Lee Training Center.  Upon entering the quarterdeck you immediately  recognize you are in a place of respect, awe and reverence, and if you didn’t know Marc you are introduced to a Mighty Warrior.

The walls and floor are painted black and there is a large rug with the Memorial patch woven through the threads. This is the Memorial patch that his teammates made and wore the rest of the deployment after his was killed. There is an almost life size etching of Marc on granite, with his famous words from his last letter home, “pass on the love, the kindness, the precious gift of human life.”

Strategically placed are his last letter home, awards, memorial knife, challenge coin, American flag, Navy SEAL flag and a screen flashing pictures of Marc.

 

Throughout the building are displays with Marc’s belongings telling the story of not just this young man as a Navy SEAL but as a soccer player, Bible student, athlete, “class clown” and a man who loved his family, friends, and teammates.

The ceremony was about an hour long and consisted of speeches made by Commander Green who was Marc’s CO at ST-3 when he died and now is in charge of the West coast SEALs, Jocko Willink who was in Ramadi with Marc as his task unit Commander and myself.  President Bush couldn’t attend but sent a letter that was read, along with a letter from Gen Sean McFarland.
The grinder was prepared for the celebratory occasion and after the ceremony family, friends, and teammates mingled and shared stories of how Marc had impacted their lives.

We ended the day with about 50 of Marc’s family, close friends and teammates at a birthday dinner hosted by America’s Mighty Warriors. We cut cake in Marc’s memory and remembered this hero who had not only changed our lives but lives all over the world.

The Marc A Lee Training Center will be an ongoing legacy to Marc and how he lived his life and will challenge, motivate and encourage every person who enters that building to never give up.

NAB Coronado Building Dedicated to Fallen Navy SEAL

Thanks to all who Answered the Call!

Thanks to you we were able to raise enough money to not only send each Marine a care package, but each Marine also got a special personal message which really makes each care package so much more meaningful to the Marines who received them.

The words we send directly from you to the troops truly make all the difference in the world, but don’t take our word for it, read what the 1st Marine Division Family Readiness Program Coordinator had to say in response to your efforts:

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am Bill Durdin, the 1st Marine Division Family Readiness Program Coordinator also known as, the FRO at Camp Pendleton California.First, I want to THANK EVERYONE who participates in the Move America Forward Care Package Program. I wanted to provide you some insights as to what your MARINES and SAILORS do when deployed.Your deployed WARRIORS work an average of 14 hour days. For those actually in Afghanistan and actively involved in the FIGHT, that number goes up dramatically. As anyone who serves or has had a loved who serves in a WAR ZONE can tell you, there’s very little time for sleep when actually involved in the FIGHT.

I can assure you, when your WARRIORS receive letters and care packages it means the WORLD to them!Honestly stated, there are times when actually in the fight, you ask yourself, “Is this really worth it and, do the folks back home really care?” But when they receive your care packages those thoughts go away.

Simply stated, it makes a difference when you know your efforts are APPRECIATED and RESPECTED by the folks back home!THANK YOU AGAIN FOR ALL YOU DO!

Your Marine Remain,
SEMPER FIDELIS!

Bill Durdin USMC Ret, MBA, M.Ed,

1st Marine Division
“The Tip Of the Spear”
Family Readiness Program Coordinator