26 May 2013

Memorial Day 2013

On Memorial Day, we pause as a grateful nation to honor the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in our defense.

We often think of them as stoic Heroes of wars fought long ago represented by white gravestones standing in silent memory across our land.

But they were also sons, daughters, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends.

And in their sacrifice lies not just our liberty, but also the pain of those left behind.

As we honor our fallen Heroes, we also remember their loved ones and pray for those living with the pain of loss.

Nothing can ever replace their loss, but we pray they can find strength knowing that their loved ones died while fighting in defense of our country's founding principles.

If not for their commitment to a cause greater than themselves, we would not be here to enjoy the freedoms we have today.

As we pause to remember the high cost of freedom and honor those who paid the ultimate price to protect it, let us resolve to live lives worthy of their sacrifice.

God bless our Fallen Heroes and their families. We honor your sacrifice, and will love and remember you always.

For some, every day is Memorial Day.

24 May 2013

Flags In at Arlington

Soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), march into Arlington National Cemetery, Va. in preparation for "Flags In", May 23. Soldiers from the regiment placed flags in front of more than 260,000 gravestones and approximately 7,300 niches at the cemetery's columbarium. The Old Guard has honored America's fallen heroes through this tradition for the past 65 years. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jose A. Torres Jr.)

Hundreds of members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, or The Old Guard, placed flags at each of the more than 220,000 graves in Arlington National Cemetery, Va., May 23, 2013. The flags will remain through the memorial weekend. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jose A. Torres Jr.

15 May 2013

We're Still Here!

We know you don't hear much about the war on the news anymore, but over 60,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines are still deployed to Afghanistan.

Patients are still being medevaced to Germany every day, and we're currently experiencing a severe shortage of clothing items such as sweatpants, sweatshirts, and t-shirts.

Most-needed items:

- Sweatpants and Zippered Hoodie Sweatshirts (M, L, XL - black or gray)

- Plain white undershirts and plain t-shirts (M, L, XL - short sleeved, crew neck, any color)

- Lounge/sleep pants/pj bottoms (M, L, XL - any color or pattern)

Details and the complete list can be found here.

(Many of our needed clothing items can be purchased online at Hanes or Walmart and sent directly to us. Here's an example from Walmart and another example from Hanes. If you choose this method, please email us with your order number and/or call your order a "Gift from... " with your name while placing your order so we can track and confirm your shipment.)

Airmen and soldiers assigned to the 76th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron offload a patient by litter from an ambulance to a HC-130 for medical evacuation. The 76th ERQS serves as an ambulance of the air for Operation Enduring Freedom. Photo: Senior Airman Tyler Placie

Please help if you can. Thank you for your prayers and your support!

13 May 2013

Prince Harry Visits Arlington, Walter Reed

A card from Prince Harry is part of a wreath that the Prince will place at Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, where veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are buried. AFP photo.

From Donna Miles of American Forces Press Service, who's done a lot of outstanding stories about our wounded and recovering warriors over the years:

The prince, who visited Arlington National Cemetery earlier today [10 May], arrived at the bustling Bethesda hospital in his British Army camouflage uniform to hear about the technologies being used to treat wounded warriors, particularly amputees.

A British Army captain who has deployed twice to Afghanistan, Harry mingled easily among the wounded warriors in the hospital here, talking with several individually to ask about their injuries, their treatment and their prognosis for leaving the hospital and moving on with their lives.

Photo by Tim Rooke, Rex Features.

Visiting the computer-aided rehabilitative environment lab, Harry cheered on Army Spc. Corey Garmon during his first session on a large, round contraption that looks like a cross between a treadmill and carnival tilt-a-roll.

The prince leaned on a bar surrounding the device as Garmon, who lost both legs to an improved-explosive-device blast in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in July 2012, walked along a rolling stone path through a forest -- all virtual and projected onto a giant screen in the darkened room.

“We’ve got nothing like this back in the U.K.,” he told Garmon, who received his prostheses in November.

“He was very interested in our technology and how we can work together in the future,” [Walter Reed commander Navy Rear Adm. Alton L. Stocks] said. “But the thing he was the most interested in was meeting with the warriors and the families. He has deployed himself, so he feels that bond, and that was obvious.”

Harry visited the hospital’s Military Advanced Training Center, where dozens of wounded warriors were undergoing their rehabilitative regimens under the watchful eyes of their caregivers.

The prince walked through the room, shook hands with the patients, posed for photos when asked to, and spoke with them quietly, individually, about their wounds and recovery. He laughed with them, occasionally grimaced when they described their injuries, and became, as one soldier said, “just like one of the guys.”

Britain's Prince Harry, center, talks with Army Staff Sgt. Tim Payne, right, and Navy Special Operator 2 Bo Reichenbach, left, wounded warriors undergoing treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., May 10, 2013. DOD photo by Donna Miles.

Army Staff Sgt. Tim Payne, a 30-year-old 10th Mountain Division soldier who lost both legs during a dismounted patrol in Kandahar in Afghanistan in July 2011, praised the treatment he is receiving.

“The care they have given us here is fantastic,” Payne said he told the prince. “You really can’t beat it, anywhere.”

An avid swimmer who does much of his rehabilitation in Walter Reed’s pool, Payne said he also told Harry he hopes one day to swim the English Channel.

“He said I’m crazy,” Payne laughed. “But overall, he seems like a really nice guy and I think it’s really nice that he took the time to come visit us.”

Special Operator 2 Bo Reichenbach, a Navy SEAL who was medically retired after losing both legs above the knee to an IED in Afghanistan’s Oruzgan province in July 2012, said he was impressed that the prince was so interested in hearing his story.

“He seemed like the kind of guy who would really like to spend more time talking with us,” Reichenbach said of the prince. “He was really interested in being here with us and talking about our health care. And we told him that we all want to be here, because for us, this is the best place.”

Stocks said he wishes more people could have the chance to experience what Prince Harry saw today at Walter Reed.

What makes it so special, he said, are the medical caregivers who connect with families from the day they arrive until the day they leave, the families who stand by their loved ones and the wounded warriors themselves.

“The people here are amazing,” Stocks said.

“I believe it would be a wonderful opportunity for everyone in America to spend a day or two on this campus,” he said, “and see the spirit of these families and the spirit of these warriors” and their determination to move forward in their lives, whether in the military or as full members of society.

“It is truly amazing, and not one that I have spoken to has any regrets,” Stocks said. “They are so proud to have served their country.”

12 May 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Today we thank and honor all of our wonderful Military Moms, especially those of the wounded and Fallen.

Thank you for sharing the most valued people in your life - your sons and daughters.

Thank you for enduring sleepless nights of worry and joyous homecomings.

Thank you for your strength, courage, and grace.

We love you. Happy Mother's Day!

10 May 2013

Remember Everyone Deployed!

It's R.E.D. Friday - Remember Everyone Deployed!

And remember we still have warriors being MEDEVAC'd to Germany every day. If you'd like to help, please click here.

Thank you for your support of those sacrificing so much for all of us.

04 May 2013

Normandy Invasion: Sentimental Derby bet to remember WWII Heroes


From WHAS11.com out of Louisville:
A big crowd on the backside usually signals a derby horse, but not this time. The stars on Friday were real life heroes from World War II about to meet the number five horse, Normandy Invasion. 
The year 1944 those allied forces coming ashore in Normandy to drive the Germans out of France. Alan Reeves now 91 was there working for then General Dwight D. Eisenhower. 
“I was never concerned -- I didn't think we would never win the war,” Reeves said. 
Reeves and three other decorated World War II veterans who took part in that invasion and all of them were honored at Churchill Downs on Friday. The owner of Normandy Invasion even thanked them himself. 
Owner Rick Porter invited these heroes to meet the horse. The naming of that horse inspired by a trip Porter took to the invasion site in France. Alan Reeves was watching TV one day and saw the horse racing and wondered what inspired the name--so he began calling. 
Four veterans from D-Day in town for our Derby Day stole the show on the Backside. On Saturday there is a chance that Normandy Invasion may steal the show. It’s a sentimental bet to remember the sacrifices of heroes still among us.

I love it when a plan comes together.