Sunday, April 29, 2012

Random thoughts..

It has definitely felt weird this weekend, Not to be traveling from DC to Gettysburg and cheering on the bicycle riders as we've done for the past 5 years ..fortunately(?) I've had a bit of a stomach virus this weekend, so I suppose I wouldn't have made it anyway,but still..feels weird.

A co-worker's Marine son is deploying soon, and as we gear up here at Casa McClenney to support him, it's certainly brought up a lot of memories for me of when our Army MP deployed

and also thoughts of  the things I Didn't blog about, while he was deployed.

Like when posting my 'pictoral history' above, I didn't mention that after we had hugged him and walked away, I burst into sobs once we were out of earshot/eyesight..and then couldn't walk back to the restroom to get tissues, because the restroom was right by the line he was in and there was No Way I was going to let his last sight of me before he left, be my bawling my eyes out.  That was just something I'd decided for myself, other mother's sending off their children to war Have cried in front of them..I just wanted the last thing before he got on the plane for him to feel was the Love, and the hugs..he already knew we were worried about him, how could we not be?and I didn't want him to worry that we were worried, if you follow all that. (sheesh, I'm about as incoherent as I was in 2007:)

(which led my husband to think I'd lost my mind at the time,lol, because he kept saying 'go get some tissues' and I kept blubbering 'I Can't!' but was unable to blubber out the reason why)

And I didn't blog throughout the deployment about the' elephant in the room', that fear that is always just at the back of your mind.The stuff you don't talk about, because to voice it opens up the reality that it's a possibility.

I didn't even realize how great that fear Was at the time, until the day I had just wakened up from working night shift and walked downstairs, and the doorbell rang.
No one ever rings our doorbell, and for just a moment I was completely Petrified with fear, and glued to the floor, shaking from head to toe and terrified of answering the door.

It turned out to be a group handing out religious tracts, and I have no memory of speaking to them (but they've never come back since!) but the good thing about that episode was that I mentioned it to my husband when he got home, and it actually led to a discussion about what we'd been avoiding discussing. I didn't realize until that day that my husband and I were both also sharing a second fear..that if, God forbid,the knock on the door came? both of us worried for the other that we would be home alone. 
We were also greatly, greatly blessed during his deployment, to have the support of so many family and friends and fellow Soldiers Angels members and just random online friends.
As I said when Dustin came home , we are forever grateful, and we can never say Thank You enough!

One of the ways we Can continue to say 'thank you', though, is to pay it forward.And hopefully we can pass along the blessing of support and prayers and caring that we were so blessed with ourselves.

well, I said to start out with that this post was 'random', it certainly seems to have been ! but that's just some of the things that have come up this week.

May 19,2012 in Richmond,VA ..Parade to Honor Iraq War Vets

Concretebob's posting at United Conservatives of Virginia alerted me to this
Victory Parade

(darn it, a weekend I have to work..but that doesn't mean You can't go! and spread the word, would you? the parade page is here and click on Richmond )

Surfing the Web..

A 'surf' of the web for items I feel might be of interest....

I've always loved following 'military artist's blogs...and as this piece from rbportrait blog
Big Pine shows..there's so much more than 'just art' to be found on his blog.

I'd also like to recommend Flipping Tires from the same blog.

Charlie Sherpa of  Red Bull Rising posts  Coming Soon: A 'Red Bull' Feature Film

From the NYT blog At War interview with Gen.Patton's grandson,Benjamin
I was led to his website    I WAS THERE Film Workshops for Soldiers

From the blog Well,Happy and Safe, this post was interesting
Wartime Postmaster Details the Work of Mail Delivery in WW II

and on the same subject of mail, this article in Stars & Stripes
Letters Found during Iwo Jima battle tell an Uncle's story has gotten an enormous amount of mail out to our troops during the course of the wars, and they are having a fundraiser from now until July 4.

(hat tip to Major Pain of One Marine's View for posting the word about this)

It's too late for the print edition, but there's still time to post
Mother's Day messages online via Stars & Stripes

speaking of Mother's day, I finally registered for the Milblog conference! (which is the Friday and Saturday of that weekend) and am so excited to recently learn from this update that the guest speaker is going to be Scott Waugh, Producer/Director of Act of Valor !

well..that's the surf! until next time..

Monday, April 23, 2012

This..should be viral..IMHO

H/T to Knottie's Niche for posting about this

They Shall Live is" a documentary film chronicling the lives of American Gold Star Mothers, an organization comprised of mothers who have lost sons or daughters during service in the United States Armed Forces. This is a story about love, loss, and the validation of life. This is a story about the strength of community and human resolve."

There's a Kickstarter page HERE 

as of this posting today..39 backers have pledged $3,066 (towards their goal of $12,000)
 and 33 days left to make it to their goal.

Please consider pledging...and pass this along,would you?

My favorite Australian blogger is having a giveaway for ANZAC day

Read about it here Marion's meepings:ANZAC Day

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Surfing the Web..

Wherein I pass along links I think others might find of interest, from my 'surfing' around the web..

United Conservatives of Virginia reminds us of Combat Veterans Running for Congress

( I recently followed Pete Hegseth during his deployment to Afghanistan, and if I lived in MN, I'd be voting for him! same goes for David Bellavia if I lived in New York!)

Laughing Wolf posts over at Blackfive about  An Unexpected Opportunity  for those wishing to support( one of my favorite charities!)  Cooking with the Troops

Marion's Meepings (an Aussie 'Angel' :) checks in with a March Catch-Up 

Charilyn recently posted a Nate Update  This woman is one of my Heroes, her faith and love and commitment is inspiring...if you don't know her son's story, read the whole blog. She blogs in part to'help spread the word about the consequences of untreated PTSD'.

News from Afghanistan

Mare Contrare (Write Softly) is embedded again in Aghanistan, and posts
Afghanistan Through My Eyes:Spc Weichel

Have you been following Ramblings from a painter ? check out Moving to Maiwand

and Old Blue has a post up at The Sandbox: Checking the Checkpoint

.. several posts about Military Working Dogs..

Off the Base reposts the Military Dog Picture of the Week  (and lots of great links in that post,too!)

and this story led me to another book I want  and also to this blog post on One Marine's View

and lastly,from  My Yellow Ribbon
 Until Tuesday Author,Luis Carlos Montalvan,Talks about his Incredible Service Dog

and that, my friends,is the 'surf'! until next time..

Wreaths Across America Theme for 2012

The Wreaths Across America Theme for 2012 was announced awhile back and it's

“Then, Now, and Forever – Let’s Make It Personal”

If you have an idea for an image or graphic that conveys the 2012 theme of “Then, Now, and Forever – Let’s Make It Personal” –they invite you to Drop them a Note   

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards 2012

and was pleased to receive an email this past week alerting me that this year's State Honorees and Distinguished finalist have been chosen.

What are these awards? Created in 1995, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represents the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service, and is a truly remarkable program! Each year, the program’s judges select 102 State Honorees-two from each state and the district of Columbia- to receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. where the students will tour the capital’s landmarks, attend a gala awards ceremony, and visit congressional representatives on Capitol Hill.

While in D.C., 10 of the State Honorees will be named National Honorees on May 7th. These honorees will receive additional $5,000 awards, gold medallions, crystal trophies and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for nonprofit charitable organizations of their choice. This wonderful trip is designed to not only thank the students for all their hard work, but to also recognize their efforts and encourage others to follow in their footsteps.
The program has a YouTube page and this PSA tells a bit more about the program.

You can search the honorees Here  and once the list of honorees appears, you can sort it alphabetically by name, project type, honor, or state by clicking on the appropriate column heading.

Since this blog is all about 'supporting the troops', I wanted to feature those State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists whose volunteer service was devoted to supporting servicemen and women.

The two State Honorees were:

Rebel Rauterkus   17, of Freedom, Wyo., a member of the Lincoln County 4-H and a senior at Star Valley High School in Afton, raised more than $2,000 for the local American Legion Post by buying and raising two hogs, which were then raffled off to the public. Rebel, whose family members are active volunteers, appreciates how much local veterans do for her community and how little they ask in return. When she heard that the organization was in need of money, she knew she had to help. Her family had raffled off prize-winning hogs in the past to support local causes, so Rebel decided she would use money from her savings account to do the same. “When I met with members at the American Legion, they thought I needed money,” said Rebel. “When I said I wanted to make money to give to them, there were overcome with emotion. Several wept.”  As a 4-Her, Rebel knew the qualities she wanted in a hog. “I traveled to several breeders and (pig) sales and knew exactly what I was looking for,” she said. “Show pigs require lots of time, exercise and loving care.” After she had chosen her “boys,” as she referred to them, Rebel had 161 days to raise “the best quality meat on the market.” Last September, Rebel’s efforts paid off at the raffle when community members lined up for a chance to win Rebel’s pork. “The response and results were overwhelming,” she said. With her donation, the Alpine American Legion Post 46 will now be able to make more improvements to their ball field and continue to provide full military honors services at veterans’ funerals, she said.

Krystal Shirrell 18, of Brownsburg, Ind., a senior at Brownsburg High School, has engaged in a variety of activities to assist and support U.S. veterans and soldiers. While attending a workshop organized by her sister to make hats for cancer patients, Krystal heard someone talking about how patients undergoing kidney dialysis treatment often struggle to control their body temperature. Shortly afterward Krystal was at a Veterans Day banquet when she learned that many veterans need dialysis, and an idea took shape: she could make lap blankets to help kidney-damaged veterans stay warm during treatment.  Krystal spent up to eight hours making each blanket. She also taught middle school students and senior citizens at a local nursing home how to make the blankets. So far, she has delivered more than 250 of them to the local VA hospital. On one visit, she learned about the VA’s domiciliary program for homeless vets, and immediately wanted to do something for these veterans as well. She conducted a collection drive that provided more than 5,000 needed items for vets in the program, and she hosts monthly bingo nights for them, too. In addition, Krystal designed a “thank-you” coloring sheet for elementary school students to send to veterans, and launched a campaign to send decorated Christmas trees and care packages with special gift items to troops over the holidays. Krystal says she wants to “let veterans know the younger generation has not forgotten them and is reaching out with thanks and support.”

and the Distinguished Finalists( two to 10 runners-up in each state are named Distinguished Finalists and receive a bronze medallion) were:

Morgan Bowen  18, of Americus, Ga., a member of the Sumter County 4-H and a home-schooled high school senior, launched "Operation Desert Support" in 2008, a program that sends homemade stockings filled with care items to American troops. Morgan, who has helped to distribute stockings to nearly 900 troops and has recruited and organized 400 volunteers, has also secured donations through a letter campaign, media stories, and drop-off boxes throughout the community.

Elise Bruening  18, of Montville, Ohio, a senior at Madison High School, raised more than $16,000 in her "Six Days to D.C." benefit bicycle ride for which she cycled 325 miles from McKeesport, Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C. Elise, a volunteer with Honor Flight Cleveland, raised money to sponsor trips for World War II veterans to visit the World War II Memorial.

Ashley Easterly   16, of Friendswood, Texas, a senior at Friendswood High School, founded "Suitcase 4 Soldiers," an organization that sends suitcases full of snacks, games and the comforts of home to soldiers serving overseas. Ashley's first suitcase went to her father serving in Iraq, and since then she has raised more than $5,000 in grants and donations to support the program.

Jennifer Hoffstadt  17, of Dover, Del., a senior at Caesar Rodney High School in Camden, collected more than 2,000 greeting cards from students in the Caesar Rodney School District and sent them to soldiers through the American Red Cross "Holiday Mail for Heroes" program. Jennifer, whose dad and other relatives are in the military, also volunteers with the USO and has raised money for families of fallen soldiers; she also volunteers with the Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity.

Lauren Kelley  12, of Nashville, Tenn., a seventh-grader at Christ the King School, founded "Project: PJ," for which she collected and donated 45 backpacks filled with pajamas, personal care items, toys and books for children of veterans that were left homeless after the flood of 2010. Lauren, who wanted to help when she heard that soldiers were coming home from service "homeless" when their houses were washed away, plans to continue this project to help others in need.

Charlotte McCauley  16, of Atlanta, Ga., a sophomore at North Atlanta High School, has organized a project that has donated 12,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to troops in the Middle East for the past two years. Charlotte, a Girl Scout since she was 6 years old, secured low-cost shipping, worked with Girl Scout leaders in her service unit to approve and promote the project, produced a how-to video, and rallied more than 1,300 Girl Scouts to support the project.

Cole Pitts   17, of Alvin, Texas, a senior at Alvin High School, volunteers as a dive buddy with Dive Pirates, a nonprofit organization that enables injured Iraqi war veterans to scuba dive with trained partners. Cole, whose aunt founded "Dive Pirates," has helped to raise $100,000 to support the program.

Kudos to all these young volunteers for the many ways they have volunteered to support our troops and veterans!
 and Kudos to Prudential for the Spirit of Community awards, that recognize and support young volunteers!

You can also follow the Prudential Spirit of  Awards on Facebook and Twitter