28 November 2012

Sinful Treats relaunches 'Treats for our Troops' campaign

Nursing staff on one of the LRMC medical/surgical wards pose with some of the absolutely scrumptious baked goods from Sinful Treats. The "Treats for our Troops" were sponsored by the Sinful Treats bakery and their customers. Photo: Soldiers' Angels.

The Elk Grove Citizen reports about our friends at Sinful Treats, who are again doing a drive to treat our troops at Landstuhl. True to their name, they are absolutely SINFUL and a huge hit among the patients and staff here.

You can sponsor a treat for as little as $2 at the Sinful Treats web site here.

Local dessert shop to re-launch campaign for troops
By Raina LeGarreta

Sinful Treats Gourmet Pastries and Desserts in Elk Grove are once again launching their campaign to donate familiar, tasty delights to United States soldiers overseas.

The Citizen reported last year that Mariel Black, owner of the Sinful Treats Gourmet Pastries and Desserts shop in Elk Grove, thought of a way to send soldiers treats and get the community involved.

She wanted to offer the troops something they were familiar with; tasty desserts that would remind them of home.

Black was inspired to send the goodies overseas by her cousin whose husband was stationed in Germany; the community of Elk Grove was more than receptive to Black’s idea.

Black soon chose to donate the treats through Soldiers’ Angels, a nonprofit organization that provides aid and comfort to men and woman of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

Before she knew it, her “Treats for Troops” drive took off.

Black was put in contact with M. Phillips, vice president of Warrior Medical Support Europe, who facilitated the project in 2010, and will be doing so this year.

“I’m honored to distribute the delicious treats to our patients and staff again this year... I’d like to take care of these donations personally,” Phillips wrote an email to Black.

Sinful Treats completed the project in 2010 by packaging the treats and sending them to a U.S. hospital in Germany where American troops are treated.

Although the workload of Black’s business prompted her to hold off on doing the successful desserts drive last year, many people were curious as to when she’d start it up again, encouraging the shop to get their “baking hands” ready.

Black received a letter from Brittany Paredes - the wife of a U.S. soldier who is stationed in Germany – that encouraged her to start the donation project once again.

“Our local military hospital Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is the middle ground when transporting injured soldiers from Afghanistan,” Paredes wrote. “I’ve been reaching out to various organizations asking for a care package donation, or simply a few letters of appreciation.”

Paredes wrote that her goal was to help bring a smile to the brave men and women during their recoveries.

“We’re really excited to start this up again,” Black said of the campaign.

In November and December, the treats can be purchased online at SinfulTreats.net, by phone at (888) 994-6385, or by visiting the shop located at 5650 Whitelock Parkway, Ste. 110.

The desserts can be purchased for $2 each, or you can buy five treats for $10.

If you choose the second payment option, Sinful Treats will add one more to make it six desserts.

The treats will be sent to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in January.

“I was told that after the holidays things quiet down and many soldiers feel forgotten at that time… we figured January would be the best time to send the packages over,” Black said. “We will cover all packaging and shipping cost and guarantee that every single treat gets to Germany.”

This time around, Black is encouraging people to write notes or letters to the soldiers, which will be included in with the treats when shipped.

“I thought it would be an added surprise for the soldiers to receive notes of appreciation from us here at home,” Black said. “Last time we sent 540 treats. This time we’re aiming for at least 1,000 treats."

Thank you Mariel, everyone at Sinful Treats, and your sponsors for launching the 'Treats for our Troops' drive again this year!

You may sponsor a treat for as little as $2 at the Sinful Treats web site here.

A critical care nurse at the LRMC Intensive Care Unit poses with some of the absolutely scrumptious baked goods from Sinful Treats. The "Treats for our Troops" were sponsored by the Sinful Treats bakery and their customers. Photo: Soldiers' Angels.

24 November 2012

MEDEVAC HH-60s arrive in Afghanistan

The MEDEVAC helicopters for C Company, 2-149 General Avaition Support Battalion are carefully downloaded from a C5 Galaxy. C Company, 2-149 General Aviation Support Battalion from the Texas National Guard will work with the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade in Afghanistan. Photo: Capt. Christina Wright (101st Airborne.

22 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Soldiers enjoy a Thanksgiving meal on Combat Outpost McClain, Afghanistan, Nov. 22, 2012. The soldiers are assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Roland Hale.

We're thankful for so many things - for the blessings that come with being citizens of our great nation, for those who defend our freedoms, for those who care for our wounded, and for generous and patriotic Americans who support them. THANK YOU to all of our donors for caring about our warriors here at Landstuhl hospital!

We hope you and your family have a warm and happy Thanksgiving and reflect on the many blessings that we share as Americans. We ask that you remember the families of our Fallen who will have an empty place at their Thanksgiving tables.

12 November 2012

Standing for the Fallen on Veteran's Day

Thank you Standing for the Fallen and the Marine Corps League in Lafayette, Indiana for your ongoing support of our patients at Landstuhl. Semper Fi!

Veterans stand for hours to raise money for wounded soldiers
Published : Sunday, 11 Nov 2012, 6:27 PM EST
Holly Campbell

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Marine Corps. League member Mark Dolfini was just one Marine standing at attention at the intersection of Highway 26 and Creasy Lane Sunday afternoon.

"We come out here, we stand at attention from four to sometimes 24 hours at a time," Dolfini said.

The event is called Standing for the Fallen. The Marines are raising money to buy supplies for wounded warriors receiving treatment at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

"Pretty basic things. Things like calling cards, sweatpants, good quality shaving razors, and shaving cream. Things that we provide for them so that they don't have to worry about it when they get there," Dolfini said.

The Marines took turns standing in front of the American and Marine Corps flags for a total of 6 and a half hours. Dolfini said helping provide wounded heroes with the supplies they need is why he is Standing for the Fallen.

"To a guy like me, a veteran, it's everything," Dolfini said about the opportunity to give back. "None of this would matter if it wasn't for our guys keeping us safe and it's only seven percent of the population that does this and people don't realize how few people are actually keeping us safe, so to me it's everything."

Fellow Marine Corp League member Bob Mantle said he's here for the same reason.

"Help out my fellow Marines and other services and the needs that they need when they get off the line injured or whatever so they can get these supplies and make them more comfortable," Mantle said.

Donations and supplies collected will go to the Soldiers Angels group at hospital in Germany.

11 November 2012

A Veteran's Day 'Note to Self'

Thank you, Veterans. Love you guys!

America's Veterans, the Heroes Among Us

[Originally posted 11 November 2007.]

This is how I remember Veterans when I was a kid. Some of them were younger than this, like my Dad and his friends. But of course they seemed a lot older to me at the time.

They were just regular guys, like my Dad. They were his buddies at the Volunteer Fire Department, or they were cops, or they were the local shopkeepers. Some of them, like my Dad, got on a bus every day and commuted to the city to work office jobs. They were my parents' friends who showed up at the neighborhood 4th of July picnics and played horseshoes, or who got tipsy at the New Year's Eve parties.

A couple of times a year, though, they were different. Memorial Day. Veteran's Day. That's when they put on their uniforms and, although there was joking, they got a little more serious. They stood up straighter. They were proud. Not of themselves, you understand. They were proud to have served, proud of their fellow veterans, and they were proud of our country. You could tell they were thinking about old times, and old buddies. And there was a bond; they were a band of brothers.

Here's a story about one of these regular guys from a town near where I grew up.

An Army medic, Staff Sergeant Max Warshaw, was awarded 11 medals and a Combat Medic Badge in World War II.

He received his first Bronze Star medal in 1942, in the North African Campaign. His regiment was fighting the Germans in Algeria. He risked his life by exposing himself to the enemy to help his regiment's wounded lying in open areas.

Two days later, Warshaw was wounded by shrapnel. "An artillery shell blew up right near me," he recalled, "it didn't knock me out and I didn't require hospitalization. However, for many years I would still need to have artillery shrapnel removed."

In 1943, Warshaw received his first Silver Star medal for gallantry in action in Tunisia.

On D-Day, he landed with his outfit in Normandy, where he was one of the first to hit Omaha Beach. It was for his heroism on June 14 and 15, 1944, that he received his second Bronze Star medal.

His division kept pushing the German Army back to its own country. It was in Aachen, Germany, on October 13, 1944, that Warshaw received his third Bronze Star medal. He constantly exposed himself to the enemy to administer first aid to the wounded.

Three days later, he was again awarded the Silver Star medal for heroism and gallantry beyond the call of duty.

On November 25, 1944, Staff Sergeant Max Warshaw was captured by the Germans. They gave him a medical kit to care for the other prisoners of war. He was liberated five months later and sent to England for medical care.

Can you tell which one is him?

I can't, either.

It doesn't matter. It's all of them.

10 November 2012

Happy birthday, Marines!

Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we've fought for life
And have never lost our nerve.
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven's scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.

Happy birthday to the United States Marine Corps!

09 November 2012

Well Done, We Love You

Captain Matthew Charles Ferrara
14 October 1983 - 9 November 2007

Silver Star
For exceptionally valorous conduct during Operation Enduring Freedom on 22 August 2007 at the "Ranch House" near Aranas, Afghanistan. While assigned as a platoon leader in Chosen Company, 2D Battalion (Airborne), 503D Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 1LT Ferrara's courageous leadership and calm demeanor under fire were instrumental in repelling an overwhelming attack by an enemy force three times larger than his own. During three hours of intense combat 1LT Ferrara expertly led his men in the defence of the Aranas Outpost until he was able to call for air strikes Danger Close to his own position to neutralize the enemy threat. His actions reflect great credit upon himself, the Rock Battalion, the Bayonet Combat Team, and the United States Army.

I am a UH-60 pilot who flew over nine hours in support of a mission on the night of November 9th 2007 in the vicinity of FOB Bella Afghanistan. The events that happened there are something that I have thought of daily even though I saw many things over my 13 months in country.

My company was responsible for all of the resupply missions, air assaults, and air movements in Matt's area. I had the unique opportunity as an Aviator to see almost all of the terrain Afghanistan has to offer and can say without a doubt the area of Bella and Ranch House were the worst. I flew on many days in and out of Ranch House before it was closed down and on many days while they were under contact and know I flew Matt and his Soldiers on multiple occasions.

Shortly before November 9th I was asked to sit on a board to approve or disapprove awards that were recommended and the one that stood out during the hours of reading citations was that of Matt's Silver Star recommendation. His is without a doubt one of the most courageous actions I heard during the hours of reviewing them.

To see and know the area Matt had to work in daily and the smarts and ability to defend it with the relatively small numbers up there were amazing, and he did this from the front. I am thankful we had leaders like him up there to take care of his guys. The hair on my neck stood up when I read what he had done even though I listened to much of that morning's events over the radios.

I was not the MEDEVAC pilot on November 9th but was the Air Mission Commander that night for the operation and was one of the first UH-60s there dropping ammo out our doors for the guys and getting everybody consolidated when the ground reinforcements from Bella showed up.

There was a knot in my stomach when I connected Matt's name with the award citation I had read and recommended for approval shortly prior to the 9th. I knew as soon as I heard his name that night who he was.

An impressive story that night was who I talked to when I first got there and tried Matt's frequency on the radio. Somebody with broken English answered, an Afghan gentlemen named Alex who ended up being Matt's interpreter. He had taken the radio when he heard me calling. He wasn't sure of their position on the mountain so we found them by having Alex key the microphone: We listened to the sound of our rotor system in the radio and found them by making our noise "louder" or "quieter" in the headsets.

I guess what I'm getting at is Matt trained everybody down to the interpreter to a level that an interpreter from Afghanistan was able to get the helicopters there.

(Compilation of emails sent to the Ferrara family, edited.)

Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest respect are with Matt's family and the families of his brothers-in-arms who gave their lives for each other, their loved ones, and their country on 9 November 2007. We will remember them always.

* * *

SGT Jeffrey S. Mersman, 23, of Parker, Kansas
SPC Sean K.A. Langevin, 23, of Walnut Creek, California
SPC Lester G. Roque, 23, of Torrance, California
PFC Joseph M. Lancour, 21, of Swartz Creek, Michigan
Marine Sgt. Phillip A. Bocks, 28, of Troy, Michigan

* * *

To the MEDEVAC and other flight crews who worked that night: You have our undying gratitude for bringing them all home. May God bless you and keep you.

"They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right."

- Ronald Reagan

"We believe in fighting to keep all people safe and free to be themselves, because it is the right thing to do."

- Linda Ferrara