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.

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, or you yourself are on active deployment, send an e-mail to Director of Troop Support Lisa Baron lisabaron@moveamericaforward.org. Once signed up they’ll be eligible to receive packages and messages of support from caring fellow Americans.

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, hundreds of corporate support packages have reached our troops! Thanks to Corporate Sponsors like JDA Professional Services, Inc., The Schwartz Foundation, Munich Re America, Somerset Hills Shopping Center, Inc., DYMO Endicia, See’s for Soldiers, 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.

WELCOME ABOARD!

MAF WELCOMES SCOTT RAAB

Scott Raab, Outreach Coordinator (left)  and Danny Gonzalez, Communications Director (right) ready packages for shipping during our Christmas Rush

MAF’s Lisa Baron who heads up our popular Monthly Smiles Program was excited to learn we were getting a new team member, Scott Raab, who would be joining our small but dedicated group as our Outreach Coordinator.  We asked Lisa to share her conversation with Scott as our way of introducing Scott to our supporters.  You’ll be hearing a lot from Scott in the future through our emails and news coverage.  So keep an eye out for Scott, we think he’s going to bring some exciting new ideas to the table. Lisa Baron: What drew you to MAF?

Scott Raab:  First and foremost I am a veteran and have always wanted to help out other Veterans since I left the service.

Scott Raab (left) with shipmate

LB: Tell me a little bit about your time in the service.

SR:  I signed up for four years in the United States Navy, extended for one year from 2002 to 2007 at which point I was honorably discharged. I was deployed as part of the Ronald Reagan Strike Group. I was a CTR2(SW), The SW stands for surface warfare.

LB: What does your perspective as a vet bring to the job?

SR:  I have a personal connection to every man and woman serving overseas. As a veteran I can understand what they appreciate, what they are going through, and I understand their sacrifice. I want to make sure we honor that sacrifice in a meaningful way.

LB: What are you hoping to bring to MAF?

SR:  My number one goal is to grow MAF and ultimately reach more military currently serving.  I want to build my relationships nationally to help more troops.  Ultimately I’d like to see MAF even more of a vocal advocate, actively fight for their mission here while they, (the troops) are fighting for us over there.

LB: As a Military member, did you often come across fellow service members that got little or no mail from home?

SR:  I was one of those troops. It happens a lot more often than people think.  I can specifically remember the two times that I received support packages.  It really wasn’t so much about what was in the packages, it really just meant so much to be remembered.

LB: How does receiving a package impact troop morale in your experience?

SR:  It has an incredible impact and raises morale in some of the roughest circumstances, no matter how much is sent, it can never be enough.  Providing a way to for people to support our troops is key.  It was a given that sharing and trading would go on, it’s like sharing with your family. Your fellow soldiers, they are your family.

LB: How does the military perceive stateside support?

SR: By and large the troops feel supported by family and friends and the general populace.  But when you are over there you are really thinking about the guy next to you.  I believe they know they’re fighting for everyone back home and that there is overwhelming support for their sacrifices. It’s just important that we do take the time to thank our troops.

LB: What were some things you would have liked to see in your care packages when you were on active duty?

SR: I loved phone cards, coffee, beef jerky; but a letter from home is always the best.

LB: What is the hardest thing about deployment?

SR: Being away from home, not being able to see and talk to your family. That’s the hardest part, you know the missing birthdays, the birth of a child.  Soldiers routinely miss those events.

LB:  Is there anything additional you’d like us to know about yourself?

SR:  I’m really excited to work for MAF, it’s been a great start and I’m looking forward to being part of an ever growing Move America Forward as a way for our troop’s voices to be heard.

 

 

 

THE GRINCH COULDN’T KEEP CHRISTMAS FROM COMING!!!

On Monday morning December 17th, we were appalled to find that care packages boxed, addressed and awaiting shipping had been stolen. Thieves had broken into a locked shipping trailer and helped themselves to care packages.  The Care Packages were addressed with the name of the Armed Forces member it was intended for and ready for delivery to Afghanistan.

“It’s really overwhelming to receive so many phone calls and hear from so many people who just want to help make sure that Christmas gets to Afghanistan.” Scott Raab, MAF outreach Coordinator continued to say “It’s hard to imagine who would take them; it’s the 6th year MAF has done special Christmas care packages and we are really hoping to make up for everything taken.”

A police report has been filled out with the Sacramento Police Department and measures are being taken to make sure that it doesn’t happen again, but the group’s founder says the damage has already been done.

“Our volunteers, who worked for hours over the long weekend preparing those packages to get shipped out, are devastated.” said Melanie Morgan, who co-founded the group in 2004. “We have 68,000 troops serving in Afghanistan and we would hate to think that some might not receive Christmas cheer this year because of some heartless Grinch out there who stole those packages. We hope he grows a heart and does the right thing, but in the meantime we are fundraising to get care packages to the troops as quickly as possible.” concluded Morgan.

Thanks to the generous outpouring of  support of our MAF supporters we were able to replace our stolen packages. Donations including 850lbs of See’s candy  from “See’s for Soldiers” and a donation of $4,000 from our shipping software vendor, DYMO Endicia, helped cover the additional shipping costs for approximately 300 care packages.

 

It’s hard to believe that 2013 is already here. It seems like it was just yesterday when we were worried about Y2K2 and what the outcome would be. My first grandson was born that year and since then I have been blessed with 7 more precious grandchildren. Wow, where has the time gone? This begins my 7th year with Move America Forward. Hmmmmmmm maybe there is a pattern starting here?

As we start this New Year we have so many blessings that we can count no matter where this past year has taken us or what challenges we may have had to endure. We all have a choice in life to focus on the negative or count the blessings. Choosing to count our blessings is healthy and brings peace and contentment to our lives. I think it is also important to not just count those blessing but to let those know who have been blessings, how grateful we are that they blessed our lives.

Each one of you that are reading this have been a blessing to me! Many of you have faithfully donated, shared your encouraging words of support, and prayed for our troops, for me and for the impact of Move America Forward. THANK YOU does not share the depth of my gratitude.

It was a tough year for so many as our economy continued to take a nose dive, yet when I called many of you to help fund the Troopathon you became MAF Angels and generously donated $5,000.00 dollars so that we could produce our annual event that provides the majority of the funds to send the care packages to our heroes serving overseas. Many of you were struggling to keep your head above the water and you sacrificially gave to send care packages so our troops felt your love and appreciation!

Many of you who were close to our corporate offices volunteered hours to lovingly hand pack those care packages which sent love, warmth and hope to our troops.

Every morning we wake up and enjoy the freedoms we have in America because of our brave warriors who have fought, bled and many have died defending those very freedoms. Through the centuries, through numerous conflicts, and different branches of the military our troops have courageously stood and sacrificed greatly for you and I, and we will never forget. The gift of freedom was free to most of you, but it was not cheap. Our military and their families have served multiple deployments and sacrificed greatly for America and the freedoms and values we cherish. To each one of you who has served or is serving words cannot express the love, appreciation and gratitude that as Americans we have for you, that is why we do what we do!

Since Marc’s death I have dedicated my life to the troops and their families, and without your support we wouldn’t have been able to impact the lives of so many of our troops. It is because of you that we have been able to stand and speak out on their behalf and to send the 215 tons of care packages overseas to remind them, “We’ve got your back over here.”

If you haven’t done so already I would encourage you to sit down and focus on those blessings and begin your list. For just one week keep your note pad handing and jot down those things you are thankful for, even if you have to begin with having hot water in your shower this morning. :O) Then pick up your phone or send a note to those who have blessed your life.

With your continued faithful support we look forward to impacting, honoring and supporting even more of our brave warriors who are willingly to give it all for you!

I’ve already started my list! May your New Year be filled with blessings!

Debbie Lee

MAF Honors Retired Gulf War General and Viet Nam Veteran Norman Schwarzkopf

H. Norman Schwarzkopf
August 22, 1934-December 27, 2012

 

General Norman Schwarzkopf, leader of U.S.-led coalition forces during the first Gulf War in 1991, died at his Tampa home on December 27, 2012 from complications of pneumonia at age 78.

Schwarzkopf retired in 1992 following his last assignment as commander of United States Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.

Schwarzkopf’s notoriously short and explosive temper earned his infamous “Stormin’ Norman.” moniker, a nickname he was not fond of according to reports. Although quick tempered, he was also quick to tear up when he spoke with passion of the men and women under his command.

Schwarzkopf, a member of West Point’s class of ’56, earned his engineering degree and after stints in the U.S. and abroad, he went on to  earn his master’s degree in engineering at the University of Southern California and later taught at West Point.

In 1966 Schwarzkopf volunteered for Vietnam where he served two tours and earned three Silver Stars for valor, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and three Distinguished Service Medals. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s he served in various posts across the United States and Western Europe.

Schwarzkopf is popularly known as commanding the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait in 1991.

Former President H.W. Bush, who has been in an intensive care unit in Texas, called the general a “distinguished member of that Long Gray Line hailing from West Point.”

“General Norm Schwarzkopf, to me, epitomized the ‘duty, service, country’ creed that has defended our freedom and seen this great Nation through our most trying international crises. More than that, he was a good and decent man — and a dear friend,” Bush said.

Schwarzkopf is survived by his wife, Brenda, and three children.

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