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!

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