March Monthly Newsletter 2013

Debbie Remembers Chris Kyle: American Sniper
Chris Kyle
April 8, 1974 – Feb 2, 2013

Chris Kyle, “The Legend” as his teammates nicknamed him, was tragically taken from us on Feb 2, 2013. Chris was the author of American Sniper and was the most lethal sniper in US Military History. As a Navy SEAL Chris was awarded numerous medals including two Silver Stars, and five Bronze Stars with Valor. I was blessed to not only know the warrior Chris was but to experience the complete package of a man balanced with selfless love, compassion and generosity.

Chris is survived by his wife and two children who he deeply loved and cherished.

Along with Chris at the Texas shooting range on February 2, 2013, close friend Chad Littlefield was also murdered and leaves behind a wife and a daughter.

Chris and I began to communicate after the death of my son Marc Alan Lee. I would receive emails and phone calls while Chris was still deployed. I realized that these men who served with Marc were his “brothers” and I adopted/inherited many new “sons.” Chris took that role seriously and we became very close, we really were family. So when I received the call that Chris had been killed I was devastated and in shock. I caught the next flight to Texas to be with his family. I have dedicated my life since Marc’s death to the troops and especially the families of the fallen. I have been there for too many families who have lost a loved one in combat or related to combat, but this was different. Chris was as close to a son as you could be without birthing them or raising them. Grief was all too familiar and I did not like this.

Within hours we began to see an amazing out pouring from the patriots in Texas who were deeply moved and had been impacted by Chris. It is still so hard to accept that Chris is no longer with us. I was so blessed to have known Chris and be embraced by him as his “Momma Lee.”

We had about 12,000 to 15,000 attend the services at Cowboy Stadium. The following day the funeral procession traveled 200 miles to bury Chris in Austin at Texas Memorial Cemetery.

We gathered at the Stadium at Midlothian High and were greeted by the Patriot Guard Riders. These riders are life savers, if it wouldn’t have been for them at Marc’s Memorial Service I would have been arrested for the confrontation that might have ensued when the Westboro wacko’s told me “I had failed my son and I sent him to hell” and that “He choose an occupation of murder.” Because they attended and sheltered me I didn’t see or hear the vile protestor’s. They ride for every fallen hero to honor and defend them. One of Marc and Chris’ Officers and I got off the bus in the pouring rain to present Challenge Coins to their President and shake the hands of each of those who rode. The funeral processions were led by about 80 riders and then were joined in Waco by about 800 more.

As we left Midlothian people were gathered on the overpasses to honor Chris and show their support. I was amazed as we continued to drive 5 miles away, and yet still people were standing on every single overpass, 25 miles and still every single overpass had people waving flags, saluting, some with signs “RIP Chris Kyle,” “Thanks you Chris, you will not be forgotten.” This was done in the pouring rain and many of them where there hours before when our advanced team and color guard drove by. Even though I was exhausted and had slept very little the past week, I knew I had to stay awake to see how many miles we would travel before there was an empty overpass. 150 miles…..still every overpass. Many had fire trucks and emergency vehicles, and it wasn’t just the overpass, the sides of the freeway had people standing on the shoulder in front of their business, school children stood with hands over their hearts, some people knelt as we went by, many had tears streaming down their cheeks.

As we passed through many of the major cities people were on all three levels of freeways as they laced over the interstate. I remember my heart sinking a little in disappointment as we neared an overpass and no one was there, then as we got closer I saw it was under construction and you couldn’t get up there. We traveled 200 miles and EVERY overpass had people paying their respects and honoring Chris. I had never seen anything like this in my life.

Chris hated the spotlight, he was uncomfortable doing book signings, taking pictures, and visiting with people. That wasn’t why he wrote American Sniper, he wrote it to honor Marc, Ryan and his teammates. He wanted to give the average American a glimpse into what our troops and their families endure and sacrifice. He gave away all of the proceeds to the book. He wrote the book to challenge people that when they come home our responsibility is “to serve those who served us.”

After Chris and I had been at book signings or in a group of people where he couldn’t walk five feet without someone stopping him for a hand shake or autograph, he would say “I hate this part, I am not a people person”. Yet if you stopped him even if there was a line a mile long behind you, he would have made you feel that you were the only one and it was sincere. As we drove that 200 miles and I saw all of those people I couldn’t help but think, yes son, you are a people person. People all over the world love you.

Chris is buried at an amazing, historic cemetery, and the private burial ceremony attended by family, close friends and teammates will forever be etched in my heart. The cemetery was surrounded three deep on the outside perimeter by the PGR riders and their flags along with who knows how many other patriots.

I stood directly across from the SEALS in formation. My oldest son was on my right and Medal of Honor recipient Mike Thornton on my left, and Chris’ casket between the SEALS and I. In front of the casket set Chris family. It was all I could do to not break down when the folded flag was given to Taya, and Chris Mother.

Following SEAL tradition, at the end of Chris’  funeral each SEAL removed his Trident and solemnly  walked to the casket, and then placed his Trident on Chris’ casket and with one slam of the fist pounded it in to the casket. It left me speechless and in tears, as it has each time I have witnessed  these brave warriors saying goodbye to one their brothers. Each SEAL then returned to formation and bagpipers played  “Amazing Grace.” The SEALs all then gathered around the casket and knelt. If they could reach the casket they place their hand on it, if not they placed their hand on the shoulder of the SEAL in front of them and bowed their heads.

 

When the bagpipers stopped in deep voices of the Brotherhood, they yelled “HOOYAH, CHRIS KYLE!”

Forever Grateful,
Debbie Lee

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.

Share MAF with a Friend

The more soldiers that register, the more we need to reach out to individuals, groups and organizations who’d like to show their support. If you know an individual, company or organization who’d like to support our troops, would you please pass this newsletter along, or copy this link and e-mail it: (http://www.moveamericaforward.org/march-monthly-newsletter-2013/)

Nothing says Easter like Marshmallow Peeps!

 

 

You loved them when you were a kid and we are proud to include the squishy goodness of authentic Peeps in our Easter Care Packages for The Troops. Of course we will still send all the other great treats soldiers crave like Jelly Belly candy diplomacy jelly beans, gourmet coffee, beef jerky, Oreo cookies, Gatorade, lip balm, our new Hoo-Ahhs field towels, deodorant and more.

We know nothing lifts a lonely soldier’s spirits like a letter from home, that’s why when you send an Easter package though Move America Forward your personal message of support will be included with our treats. Most of our deployed soldiers are used to spending holidays away from loved ones but let’s make sure they know we are thinking about them and sending our love today. Peeps are only available for a limited time, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to include this iconic Easter classic in your troop support package.

Check Out our New 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 is proud to announce we’ve partnered up with Hoo-Ahhs® to include their 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.

Hoo-Ahhs® Field Towels are the brain child of a supply sergeant who noticed during a field exercise that many of his fellow soldiers used baby wipes for basic personal bathing since no shower facilities were available in the field environment. The sergeant realized that baby wipes were great for babies but not really manufactured or packaged with soldiers in mind. They did an adequate job of “freshening up” before hitting the sack, but definitely fell short when trying to remove real dirt and grime. And the small size of the wipes, sweet fragrance and bulky packaging were not conducive to the needs of a soldier in the field.

MAF is so excited to bring these over-sized (7″ x 10″) field towels to our troops and know our troops will be grateful to receive them.  If you’d like to be among the first send out a package with our new Hoo-Ahhs®Field Towelstake a moment and send a package today!


Another great partner joins MAF: Military OneSource

Military OneSource provides real help, anytime, anywhere, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to military members and their families. Every deploying troop is briefed on the free services before they leave and we are proud to include an informational packet in each of our Care Packages. Through the Department of Defense Military OneSource provides comprehensive information on every aspect of military life including deployment, reunion, relationships, grief, spouse employment and education, parenting and child care, and much more.

Military OneSource has policy and programmatic information, helpful resources, products, and articles and tips on numerous topics related to military life.  Services are available 24 hours a day by telephone and online.  In addition to the website, Military OneSource offers call center and online support for consultations on any number of issues such as spouse education and career opportunities, issues specific to families with a member with special needs, and financial support and resources.

Military OneSource also offers personal non-medical counseling services online, via telephone, or face-to-face.  You can receive non-medical, short-term counseling, as well as assistance with financial management, taxes, career services, health and wellness, and much more.

This personalized support is available 24/7 no matter where you live or serve and it’s a great addition to our efforts here at MAF.

Monthly Smiles Club Keeps Morale High Year Round

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

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

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

If you have a question or would like additional information, contact:

Lisa Baron, Monthly Smiles Director at:
LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org.

February Monthly Newsletter 2013

MoveAmericaForward.org

Debbie Remembers Chris Kyle: American Sniper

January brought me into another New Year filled with so much to be grateful for and look forward to. I had the opportunity to be part of Warrior Appreciation Night in Las Vegas in conjunction with Shot Show 2013, an annual tradeshow for the shooting, hunting, and firearms industry.

Any day that I am able to greet, thank and love on our troops who have fought through the ages is a great day for me! I heard so many amazing stories from our warriors who have sacrificed so much for me, for you, for America. Many of those in attendance were our wounded warriors who left pieces on the battlefield and have returned home determined to not give up and to persevere and become the best they can be with the difficulties that confront them as they adjust to their new “normal.”


Debbie and Chris Kyle at his Home in Texas

I was blessed by spending three packed days at Shot Show with one of my “adopted boys,” Chris Kyle the author of the best seller “American Sniper.” Unimaginably, Chris’s life ended tragically along with his close friend, Chad Littlefield at a Texas gun range on Saturday, February 2, 2013.


Chris Kyle  April 8, 1974 – February 2, 2013

Chris was the most lethal sniper in history, but beyond that he was a loving father and husband.  He dedicated his book, “American Sniper”  to my son, Marc and another teammate who died Ryan Job.  Marc’s final gift to me was his teammates and I’m blessed to have each one of them in my lives and experience their love.

When I attended events with Chris, it wouldn’t be unusual to hear him shout across the aisle “Hey Momma” as he introduced me to another patriot who wanted to say hello and thank me for Marc’s sacrifice.

I am so moved and blessed by Chris’s generosity and love and his death is a soul crushing loss for me personally and for all who knew and loved him. Our Navy SEALs are as President Bush told me “The elite of the elite” yet these are some of the most compassionate men I have ever met in my life.

So as we look forward to February, a month that celebrates love, let’s remember to shower our love and gratitude on our warrior and their families. They have basically signed a blank check and are willing to give up their lives for our freedoms, just as my son did.

To each one of you who are serving or have served and your families I say THANK YOU and am sending lots of hugs and love your way. As a nation we can never repay the debt we owe you. YOU ARE LOVED!

For Chris, I can only hope that Marc and Ryan greeted you at heaven’s gate to thank you personally and embrace you in the brotherly love and camaraderie shared by all warriors. Chris’s life was well lived even as it was cut woefully short. I will hold you in my heart and will be forever thankful for your presence in my life.

Forever Grateful,
Debbie Lee

 

Local Students Share their Love for Valentine’s Day!

Thanks to the generosity of students from St. Philomene School, Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary School,   Saint Joseph School,   Victory Christian School and Capital Christian School, all Sacramento local area elementary schools, our February care packages will include hand-made Valentine’s cards full of love and support for our troops.

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

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

According to Sr. Maria Rose, O.P, principle of PBVM,   “during Catholic School’s week we had a ‘patriotic day’ in which the students made these cards. Thank you for giving this opportunity to our students!”  Several of the schools, including Capital Christian School were so excited they personally delivered their Valentine’s cards right to our office on Folsom Blvd., where they were treated to a quick tour thanks to MAF’s Outreach Director, Scott Raab and got to see our packages as they were being prepared for shipment to or troops.

“Our students had fun making them. Thank you.” beamed Katie Nelson, Elementary Principle of Capital Christian School.

“On Friday, January 25 our whole school got together to make Valentines’ Day cards.  We are a small school, 101 students.  Thank you again.” said Gretchen Novis, of St. Philomene School.

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

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.

MAF is now a Proud Member of the
Inter-Service Family Assistance Committee (ISFAC)


Captain Woolard, Commander Base Alameda;
Deborah Burrow, Family Assistance Specialist;
Scott Raab
, MAF Outreach Director;
Danny Gonzalez
,
MAF Communications Director

Move America Forward accepted an invitation from the Red Cross to take part in the Northern California Inter-Service Family Assistance Committee (ISFAC) Quarterly Meeting. ISFAC (Inter-Service Family Assistance Committee) is a voluntary Military cooperative partnership, organized to provide multi-service networking for training and assistance, to ensure Total Force Family Readiness. The event headed up by Deborah Burrow is to bring agencies offering various resources and information together to assist Military personnel and their Families in the Northern California region.

Mrs. Burrow welcomed MAF as its newest member at the January Meeting on Coast Guard Island, Base Alameda. “Thanks so much for attending our ISFAC meeting and being a speaker. Your program is wonderful and I know you will be a great resource and support for our troops.”

“Officially joining ISFAC is just one more way we are able to support the troops” said Scott Raab, Director of Outreach. “We are committed to helping as many troops as possible cooperating with ISFAC, and all the great service organizations, like the Red Cross, who make up their membership.”

Have a Heart for Valentine’s Day!

Take time to share your love with one of our thousands of deployed troops this Valentine’s Day. To make our Valentine’s package even more special MAF will include yummy Valentine’s candy conversation hearts and extra special home-made Valentine’s cards provided by local area school children in addition to our regular great treats like Oreo cookies, premium beef jerky, Jelly Belly jelly beans, locally roasted and ground fresh coffee and much more.  Everyone loves to get a reminder on Valentine’s Day that they are loved, let’s take the time to give some of that love to our troops!

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

Monthly Smiles Club Keeps Morale High Year Round

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

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

Soldiers Send Thanks

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

If you have a question or would like additional information, contact Lisa Baron, our

Monthly Smiles Director at LisaBaron@MoveAmericaForward.org.

MAF Troop Bowl a Big Success

Just as the Baltimore Ravens pulled off an exciting 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in this year’s Super Bowl, MAF fans participating in our Super Bowl Troop Bowl package drive gave the victory to our Ravens fans who beat out the 49er supporters by the thin margin of 2%. Although it was all in fun, it’s great to see our sports fans come out to support our best team ever, our deployed troops.  Thanks Troop Bowl fans, you are all winners in our books!

 

January 2013 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.

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