Friday, December 19, 2008

Goodbye and Thank You...

Dear Warrior,

As you prepare to leave WRAMC, please allow me to take a few moments to say, from the bottom of my heart, "Thank You". For allowing me to be a part of your life during a most difficult time. For trusting me to share your personal struggles and concerns. For inviting me to your wedding, to your Purple Heart ceremony, and for giving me pictures of your children and family. For allowing me to experience a mother's pride as I watched you shed the wheelchair, the crutches, and sometimes even the cane. For bringing a joyful tear to my eye when I received my first "standing" hug from you. For inspiring me, regardless of injury or illness, as you faced each challenge with determination and unending hope. For sharing the wonderful news that you were in remission, that you were returning to duty, or that you were finally leaving WRAMC to be reunited with your loved ones.

But most of all, thank you for all you have done in service to your country. I feel truly honored to have been able to spend time with a true hero...


Thursday, December 11, 2008

TIS THE SEASON--Christmas Party for WRAMC Wounded Warriors & Family

LDR--The Holiday Party for our wounded warriors at Walter Reed the other night was fantastic. The Savage Mill Manor House went all out in welcoming these heroes and they had a wonderful time. Here are a couple of emails we received:

Let me start off by saying thank you for the wonderful dinner that Soldiers' Angels hosted for us this holiday season!! I received a lot of wonderful feedback for the support of our warriors!! The kids loved their gift bags as well!

Thank you for the wonderful Christmas party. The soldiers appreciate your kindness very much. I just overheard a soldier talking about it this morning. Thank you too for the gift certificate. We appreciate what you do for the soldiers. You are truly an "ANGEL".

They had so much fun and loved the Sugar Plum Fairy and “The Cigarette Girl” didn’t they? Of course, no one can top the big man himself—Santa. The little ones really loved him, didn’t they?

MD - Well, what’s not to love about Santa? One year, he had all the children dancing while he played bongos!

Special Thanks go out to Chris Miller and her amazing staff from
Putting on the Ritz, Dan Sandys from Dan Sandys Entertainment Group, who always provides his awesome DJ and Emcee skills, along with extra entertainment such as our balloon making gal (who later morphed into the very lovely and VERY popular Cigarette girl) and Santa of course. A big Thank You also goes out to Patrick Barron for graciously paying for the buses to transport our heroes and their families from WRAMC.

There was no shortage of people who helped put this event together. From
our very generous founder, Patti Patton Bader, who made sure we had plenty
of gifts to give to the warriors and their families, to our local (and not so local)
Angels who helped gather up our warriors and their families - Thank you JB
and LOR.

The atmosphere was festive, the setting was lovely, the food was delicious
and there was no shortage of laughter and holiday spirit.

LDR—Yes, the food was delicious. Thank you for allowing me to eat this year! LOL

The warriors and their families really had a good time and enjoyed the gifts. The Soldiers’ Angels blankets, mugs and knit caps were a great hit. I think they enjoyed the “door prizes” too.

In addition to those you thanked above, I’d also like to say a “thank you” to someone else. Thank you—MD. You put this whole Christmas Party together and it was a perfect evening for all who attended.

I also heard from another “angel” who received an email from one of our guests. She told the angel that “she got to go and was a very happy girl said it was great!”

Thank you all who made this night happen!

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!!


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thinking of you...

Today is two weeks since you lost your loved one. As the milestones approach, one month, one year, the first holidays without your brother, without your friend, know that our hearts are with you, today and every day. There is nothing we can say to ease your pain, as you will heal, in your own way, in your own time. But we are here, to talk to, to listen, to offer a hug and maybe bring a smile to your face. We are here, always...

(JB, this is for you)


Saturday, November 22, 2008

On a personal note

On this Thanksgiving week, it seems appropriate to write about some of the things for which I'm thankful.

I am thankful for the many loved ones in my life, for my friends and family. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to meet some of the bravest men and women who give selflessly in the name of our country and freedom. I am thankful for small, happy moments, when all is right in the world, even if it is just for just a little bit. I am thankful for the many people who have crossed my path and left an indelible imprint on my life and my heart. I am thankful for beautiful sunrises and sunsets, for the changing seasons. I am thankful for the gift of another day, when I'm able to hear a child's laughter, to feel strong arms wrapped around me in a tender embrace, to chase my dog around the house, to hug my son and tell him I love him.

So as we break bread with our loved ones, let us not forget to truly give thanks for all with which we have been blessed. Let us remember those who are no longer with us, but will remain with us in spirit forever and be thankful to have shared a moment in time with them, even if it was much too brief. During this holiday season and always, may your blessings be many...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Marine Corps Marathon

The Marine Corps Marathon was run this weekend in DC and many of our wounded from all services took part. Here is a link to an article and video. Please take a minute and check it out. You will read and watch the video about 2 inspiring men.

I am extremely honored to say that SGT Blair is a member of our "Soldiers' Angels Family" and I am very proud to know him! This was SGT Blair's first hand-crank bicycle ride and he did pretty darn good.

I'm looking forward to attending next year's Marine Corps Marathon and supporting Michael and all the participants!

God Speed.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008


While my blog-father and fellow bloggers were hard at “work” in Las Vegas for the Milblog Conference this past weekend, the Soldiers’ Angels DC (WRAMC) Team and Jersey Team hosted 14 wounded warriors plus some of family members, to a few days at the Jersey Shore. What a wonderful weekend it was all around.

As MD said, there were a few hiccups……mostly concerning “the bus”. Ahhhh, “the bus”. The bus arrived a bit late and then circled around WRAMC for almost an hour. After many phone calls, KM went looking for it and finally located it. All was well—for a while.

The Jersey Gals had arranged a surprise for “the bus”. LO’s sister, Debbie, contacted the American Legion Riders and had arranged for a motorcycle escort up the Jersey Turnpike. Big hiccup here--The bus driver exited off the Delaware Memorial Bridge and did NOT take the NJ Turnpike exit. Now this normally would not have been a hiccup, but the bus was supposed to meet the riders at the first Turnpike rest stop. A larger hiccup ensued when the bus driver tried to find the way back to the Turnpike and took them way out of the way. Finally, the bus was turned around and they met the motorcycles. At any given time, there were between 30-100 motorcyclists escorting the bus and vehicle trailing it. Hiccup coming--The group accepted an invitation to stop at the Legion Post that put together the riders—which turned out to be a very good thing since the bus broke down!!! Thankfully, it made it to the Post where it stayed. A member contacted the local Board of Ed and the heroes arrived at the hotel in a school bus!!

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, walking the boardwalk, playing arcade games—just being away from the hospital atmosphere and enjoying themselves for a bit.

Friday night’s dinner was at the hotel restaurant where we presented 3 VALOUR-IT laptops—2 of the fellows were unaware they were receiving them and were very surprised. They all enjoyed the food and fun. Saturday, Jersey Angel RO hosted dinner for us all at her house. MMMMMMMMM, roast beef, ham, roasted potatoes….our warriors were in heaven—homecooking at RO’s house!

This trip did so much for these warriors and their family members. I’ve heard from a few them. One said it was the first time away with his wife since deployed; another—he’s going into the hospital for more surgery, so it was a needed time away; another had lost a family member recently and found the peace that was looked for while at the beach. As MD mentioned, another had his first look at the ocean. It was a healing weekend for minds and bodies.

The weekend couldn’t have gone off without the assistance and support of Patti, Soldiers’ Angels founder. Thank you! I’d also like to thank the following team members for their hard work—without you guys, this weekend would not have come off!! The DC Team: MD—DC (WRAMC) Area Coordinator, thank you for being the “bus queen” and getting those fellows on the bus and then keeping the bus driver on the proper route and being a proxy text receiver; JB—thank you for providing the “trail vehicle” and transporting the wheelchairs; KM—thank you for ALL you did (I do know what you did, you know!) I also know how much you like to text message LOL . The Jersey Gals: RO—thank you for opening your home and to cooking the most wonderful dinner. RO makes “the best ham” I’ve ever eaten!; LO—thank you for all the help, especially setting up for the arrival of the bus and motorcycles. To LO’s sister, Debbie—who arranged the motorcycle escort—Thank you! To Ann—thanks for all the work “in the kitchen”.

To all who helped make this weekend happen--THANK YOU!

The laughter shared by all of us—warriors and angels--was priceless.


Monday, September 22, 2008


Recently, I had the pleasure of being part of a small group who took some of our wounded warriors to the beach for the weekend. There was a great deal of planning and coordinating involved and though we experienced a couple of "hiccups", all went well in the end. There were a lot of people who helped make the trip a success: our fearless leader, LDR, who coordinated hotel rooms, transportation, meals and even a huge motorcycle escort for the second half of our trip, our very gracious local Angels who pulled out all the stops and hosted our wounded warriors for a delicious home cooked meal and many others who worked tirelessly to host our heroes for the weekend. There was plenty of laughter and joking around the entire weekend, as well as many wonderful conversations as we got to know each other a little bit better, but there is one moment that will forever stay in my heart:

Early one morning, I stood on the beach with one of our warriors, gazing out at the choppy waters under a beautifully clouded sky. As we stood watching for a few moments, he broke the silence by telling me this was the first time he had ever seen the ocean. Every ounce of effort put into this weekend was worth it to be able to share this one special moment with a warrior.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Farewell, Brave Warrior...

We witness miracles every day. Over time, we watch as our warriors, with unbelievable courage and determination, overcome injuries and illness that would defeat the best of us. It becomes clear from where the term "soldier on" came, as time and time again, we watch our warriors leave Walter Reed, reuniting with their loved ones or returning to duty.

Though their bodies may be broken, their spirits never are and they fight, with every ounce of their being to recover from the wounds of war. A sad reality of what we do though, is when our warriors' bodies succumb to the weakness of just being human.

Today, we heard the news that we lost another warrior. Someone who answered the call to serve our country, knowing full well the sacrifice that may be asked, had now made the ultimate sacrifice. Our hearts break as we realize you are no longer with us. While you walked among us, you graced us with your bravery, with your smile, with your kindness, with your warmth.

Your courage, strength of spirit and sacrifice will never be forgotten.

Rest in peace, brave warrior...


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lighthearted Fun

I was honored to visit the Fort Sill, Oklahoma WTU last month. Can I tell you how much I enjoyed the visit and how much I enjoyed Oklahoma?! I wish I had spent more time visiting the warriors and those wonderful people who are working with them, assuring they are getting the care, benefits and support our wounded warriors so deserve.

Pat (our FT Sill Area Coordinator) and I were guests at a BBQ there and we gave out our Soldiers' Angels Teddy Bears. Our heroes LOVED them! Look at where they turned up!!!

A great time was had by all. Good food; good company--what better company than our wounded warriors. God Bless them! LDR

Thursday, July 31, 2008

SOLDIER MUSIC.............1223

Last August, I went to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio for a Soldiers’ Angels event for the Wounded Warriors where I was privileged to meet Mr. Sylk and JohnJohn, also known as 1223. They also performed for the warriors at WRAMC and Bethesda over Veteran's Day.

They performed for us and this “old Jersey Gal” now likes Hip-Hop. Give it a listen. Their “Drive-On” is powerful stuff! Play it LOUD!! Also, listen to “Soldiers’ Angels Tribute”, the song they wrote in thanks for what Soldiers’ Angels and the “angels” do to support all our soldiers—from ALL wars.

These guys are "The Best" and I'm very proud and honored to have met them! Thanks, guys.


Attitude is Everything

Attitude by Charles Swindoll

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our Attitudes.

I read this quote on a forum I read regularly. THIS describes our wounded warriors attitude to a “T”. Our wounded and ill warriors were dealt a blow and they responded to it with this same philosophy. Circumstances can’t be changed and they are going to get on with their “new normal” and move forward.

Attitude IS everything. The positive attitude, the positive determination, the will to reach their “new normal” is remarkable.

Pity is not accepted by these warriors. Thanks—yes. Support—yes. Joy in their accomplishments—yes. Pity—no.

A few years ago, I had major surgery leaving me with a “new normal”. Seeing how the wounded and ill warriors approached their “new normal” gave me the strength and “attitude” to approach the surgery, recovery and life afterwards with a positive, upbeat “attitude”. I am sure, like me, they have times when they are blue and enjoy a “pity party”, but those times are few and far between.

If you ever have the honor and privilege to meet one of our wounded/ill war heroes, please thank them for their service, buy them a cup of coffee or lunch, talk to them about NASCAR, football, baseball, bicycle riding, etc. You will get a glimpse of the “attitude” that got the warrior through.


Monday, June 30, 2008


After posting a recent piece, I got to “reflecting” upon the many different people I’ve met and experiences I’ve had since the GWOT began. I would never have met any of these wonderful people nor had the experiences I’ve had, if not for the war. Each person I’ve met along the way has touched my heart and enabled me to continue on this path that I am on. Each person I’ve met, whether Angel, Warrior or Colleague, has helped me grow into the person I am today.

These people have come into my life because of the war. Then I think of the cost of my growth. The price paid--not by me--but of our warriors and their families. It is a steep price, full of sacrifice, bravery and, in some instances, pain on their part.

When I think of the Warriors and their family members I’ve met, how or what can I ever do to thank them? Those deployed heroes; those wounded heroes who are meeting their “new normal” head on—many wanting to get back into the fight. How do we thank their families for their sacrifices?

This war has changed us all. Our innocence of September 10, 2001 is forever gone. In its place is a new awareness, a sense of pride and patriotism. Our Nation has grown since September 11, 2001. Has it been a good growth? Yes, I believe for the most part, it has.

I thank God for each and every person that has come into my life since that fateful day….I just wish the price paid wasn’t so high.

Once again—thank you, heroes for keeping us safe. Thank you heroes from ALL the wars. Thank you.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Take a Few & Email Marines

Maj Pain posted this on Blackfive as well as One Marines View.

Please, make a few minutes and email these Marines words of encouragement and support. It will only take a few minutes and will make a world of difference to these warriors!


Friday, June 20, 2008


Wednesday night, my son drove his best friend to the Armory here in Jersey. He’s heading to Fort Bliss for training and then onto Iraq in the very near future.

After all this time, C is the first person we’ve known personally BEFORE they were deployed. We’ve “met” the warriors after they’ve deployed when we “adopted” them through Soldiers’ Angels; we’ve met them when they’ve come home and are in the hospital.

It was with heavy hearts we said farewell to C. The young man who I watched grow up and ride bicycles with my son; who was just as much at home here as he was at his house, was getting ready to deploy. He was holding back his tears, just hugging on us for such a long time. I held back the tears as I hugged him, this big 6’4” young man and told him that we are there for him. I hugged him and told him everything would be alright and immediately started praying that God keeps his hands on C’s shoulders. It hurts.

Saying “farewell” to C has caused me to reflect and admire upon the strength of our warriors and their families even more than I did. Many have said “farewell” multiple times. How heart wrenching. How strong they are.

Since the GWOT began, we have heard about so many heroes, but we don’t hear too much about the families of our warriors and the sacrifices they are making while their loved one is fighting the fight. The families of our warriors are the “quiet heroes” who send their loved one off to war and quietly keep the home-life running. We see the families of the wounded who arrive at the hospital and become advocates for their warrior, leading them through the maze of the military medical system. All this is done with strength and courage.

At the request of a couple of warriors at WRAMC, I recently posted about saying thanks to our warriors when we see them. I’d like to take that one step further and ask that we remember the families of our warriors. Say thank you to them as well. Ask how they are doing. Ask if they need anything. They are giving so much more than we will ever know.

Thank you all…….


(Yes, Patti, I will submit him to Soldiers' Angels when he is deployed and will have some "Angel Friends" reach out their wings to him as well)

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Power of a Cookie...

Being a member of the Wounded Team, I have the privilege of visiting our wounded warriors on a regular basis. Their strength, courage and determination never cease to amaze me and I leave inspired, each and every time.

Something that truly amazes me though, is how it’s not always the grand gestures, but the little things that can make a difference: how a simple “Thank you for your service”, a warm smile or just some home made goodies can bring a little bit of happiness to a young service member struggling with life experiences and the wounds of war.

I used to bring cookies and brownies occasionally, until I realized that this small act, of bringing something home made, was so very welcome and appreciated. I now find myself baking on a regular basis, bringing not just cookies and brownies, but pies, cakes and other assorted items. (“Buckeyes” anyone? yes, thanks to Daniel, I now know what these are…but I still haven’t figured out how not to make them have flat bottoms, ha ha ha) Every week when I visit, I see young men and women, their families too, cruising by the area where I sit, just to see what I’ve brought. Often times they may just swing by and sample a cookie and be on their way, some will sit and chat for a bit, sometimes they will stay longer. It is during these chats when the warrior or the family member may begin to open up. I have had some amazing conversations over carrot cake, giggles while they sampled cheesecake as well as dreams and sorrows shared over gingersnaps. For some reason, this small gesture inspires comfort and I am happy to take the time every chance I get, to be able to warm a warriors heart, if only for a moment.

So do the little things: say Thank You, shake a service member’s hand, welcome them home, pay for their meal, give a warm smile whenever possible and know you may be giving them more than you realize.

The power of a cookie…who knew…


Thursday, June 12, 2008


I saw “The Bus”.

After all these years, working with our wounded warriors and their families at Walter Reed, I saw “The Bus”.

“The Bus” that brings the wounded from Andrews Air Force Base to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The ambulance bus.

The “Walter Reed Bus”…………

You’d think seeing “The Bus” wouldn’t have affected me, since I’ve met and spoken with so many of our warriors and their families over the years, but it did. Those who know me personally know that I’m not too often at a loss for words, but that’s what happened.

I had just left the base and was heading home. Up ahead, I saw flashing lights and I didn’t think anything of them. I thought it was a fire truck. It wasn’t. It was “The Bus”. I was on the phone with MD and totally lost my train of talk.

On the ride home, I kept thinking about “The Bus”.

It is not “just a bus”. It is an ambulance carrying precious injured cargo—the heroes injured in their efforts to keep me & mine and you & yours safe here at home. How many warriors were on “the bus” when I saw it? I don’t know. But those lives are forever changed. All who rode in “The Bus” are forever changed as are the lives of their families and friends.

MD told me of a mom who hadn’t been there when the bus bringing her son to WRAMC arrived, but how wonderfully the nurses on the bus took care of him and made the ride as comfortable as they could for him. The medical personnel on this vehicle are tops!

………How DO you say thank you??? Thank you heroes!

(MD—I bet you thought I was going to talk about a different bus, didn’t you?).


Monday, June 9, 2008


We recently returned from a visit to DC where we met with some of our wounded warriors and had a chance to chat with them.

One of the warriors told me how wonderful it felt to be told “thank you” by someone in the airport. He’d been traveling with his wife and they were having lunch while on a layover. A lady quietly walked over to them, excused herself and said to his wife that she wanted to hug him to say “thank you”. This touched the warrior deeply.

Another mentioned how he’d been thanked by a little boy in the airport. He said it brought tears to his eyes. He hadn’t been thanked before.

I was asked by members of the “Soldiers’ Angels Family” at Walter Reed who we refer to as “The Posse”, “The Mafia” or “The Contingent” to help pass this along. These fellows saw this and asked if I’d help spread the word and keep spreading it. Please go, watch and do this when you see a Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, Marine or Coast Guardsmen. They are sacrificing so much to keep us safe.

Thank you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Memorial Day has come and gone. All over the country, Americans said “thank you” through parades, ceremonies, dedications. A truly “thank filled” weekend for our veterans and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

My small town had one of the largest parades I’ve seen on Memorial Day. Parade planners had invited a group from a veteran’s home in Jersey to ride in the parade. The bus had maybe 10 vets riding the parade route and I think that was more emotional than all the “grand marshals” put together. Yes, I clapped and waved as did those around me. Heroes of earlier wars getting the thanks and respect they deserve.

A simple thank you for your service goes such a long way to these heroes—not just on Memorial Day or Armed Forces Day. Keep it simple. Thank you for your service is a wonderful thing for them to hear. Some have never heard thank you before. Consider this when walking through a crowded place. It says it all.

You know, I read this quote recently and thought how appropriate to add in this post:

A veteran - whether active duty, retired, national guard or reserve - is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America", for an amount of "up to and including my life." That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it. -- Author Unknown

Since working with Soldiers’ Angels, I have had the extreme honor and privilege of meeting so many men and women who DO understand exactly what honor is. Men and women who raised their right hand VOLUNTARILY to protect us here in the United States and be defenders of freedom all over the world. Thank GOD for those men and women.

So, don’t forget—thank a vet. It doesn’t have to be on a holiday. Remember our heroes every day.

Thank you heroes!


Monday, May 19, 2008

A kiss from a WWII vet…and Gary Sinise touched me…

It gives me great pleasure to introduce a guest blogger "MD" to WWST. I hope to see more posts from her. Welcome MD!! LDR

Ok, everyone, get your minds out of the gutter, this is a sweet story…

As members of the D.C. Wounded Team, MF and I had the opportunity to represent Soldiers’ Angels at the America Supports You (ASY) concert at the Pentagon on Friday, May 16. It was wonderful to see so many home front organizations represented. It was amazing how many had similar stories to our founder’s, Patti Patton Bader: many saw a need and created assistance/support organizations to fill that need. We were given a table to display our information and needless to say, with so many people employed at the Pentagon, military and civilians alike, Soldiers’ Angels made quite a few new fans. Of course, it didn’t hurt that we shared a table with the Red Nose Institute whose founder wore a red clown nose the entire time, even keeping it on for the picture of all the volunteers!

Gary Sinise, a wonderful supporter of our military and star of film and small screen, performed with his band, the Lieutenant Dan Band. They were amazing and some of the band members were vets as well. The music was wonderful and we got a break from our Angel duties while the music played.

After the concert, the ASY staff asked all of the volunteers from the various organizations to line up in front of the stage for a picture with the band. While we were waiting for Mr. Sinise to finish signing autographs (as expected, the line was HUGE), I saw an elderly gentleman seated close to the stage. He was wearing a baseball cap that had WWII and Purple Heart embroidered upon it. I approached him, introduced myself, and as I handed him an SA pin and coin, I thanked him for his service. He took my hand and kissed it...As we lined up for the picture, he asked if he could be included and of course, we made sure he was standing in the very front. After the picture was taken, we all walked back to our respective booths to start cleaning up. This WWII vet noticed my SA backpack, on which I display various pins given to me by service members and their families. One in particular caught his attention – the Purple Heart pin given to me by a Colonel from the 82nd Airborne, as thanks for taking good care of his warriors as they pass through WRAMC. He told me he was a Purple Heart recipient, so I asked him if he would like my pin and his eyes lit up. Without hesitation, I removed it from my backpack and watched as he pinned it next to the Soldiers’ Angels pin already on his hat. This time, he gave me a kiss on the cheek, totally warming my heart and making my day.

Oh yeah, as we were lining up for the pic, Mr. Sinise and his band mates joined us once we were all set. Of course, the shorties were in the front (one shorty, reporting for duty, lol). Mr. Sinise touched my arm, wanting to make sure I was in the picture. I did my best not to swoon, sigh…

So it was a wonderful day all around: we spread the word about Soldiers’ Angels, we heard some great music, I received a kiss from a WWII vet…and Gary Sinise touched me…


Tuesday, May 13, 2008


What a wonderfully busy month we've had at Soldiers' Angels and the Wounded Warrior Support team!

We hosted a group of warriors to a weekend at the Jersey Shore where they were treated to a BBQ at Rosie's house, a dinner at one of the nicest seafood restaurants in the area, a night a the boardwalk playing arcade games. On Sunday, the Coast Guard station gave them a tour of some of the boats. All enjoyed the spa at the hotel. Our thanks to all who made this possible. Special thanks go out to Angels Rosie and Lynda. Love you guys!!

Our Fort Bragg and Fort Campell Wounded Warrior Teams are now up and running--Thank you Renee and Regina! They have jumped onto the wagon and are running with it! Next stop--Fort Sill!

That weekend took us to the Face of America Bicycle Ride. Soldiers' Angels (LDR) is on the Leadership Team of the ride and many of the volunteers were Angels! MD, "cheery side-kick" was all about the phones,LD took charge of the banners and oversaw a group, making sure the banners were hung along the route. KK booked the flights for the wounded warriors and made ground transportation for these guys/gals. AnaMarie flew in from California to participate! Many Angels from the local areas assisted as well. A few Angels rode the 110 mile ride as well, with Kathleen assisting as part of the Medical Team. It was so good to meet fellow Angels and say Hi!

I can not forget to mention Laughing Wolf, my blog-dad, and Chuck riding as "Team Chuck Z". I am so glad you guys "volunteered" to participate. :o) What can I get you guys to "volunteer" for next?? A good friend of LDR and MD became a member of "Team Chuck Z". What a trio they made!! (I'm so sorry, Carren. LOL)

We met so many wonderful people-the wounded and active duty warriors who came from around the country; the civilians who rode along; the volunteers who worked tirelessly to make this event go smoothly for all riders. People came from California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virigina, New York and "Jersey" to name a few.

So many emotions were felt over those days with tears of happiness, accomplishment and pride being shed frequently--from watching a wounded fellow in a hand crank bicycle being the first into Seamus' (and knowing EXACTLY how hard getting to the event had been for him with a missed flight and "lost" hotel reservations AND knowing his story)--Oh yeah--tears, but good tears. From walking past another volunteer/rider at the ride's end who was sobbing in the middle of the lawn. She'd ridden to honor her brother who was wounded and due to a family emergency he wasn't able to ride--Oh yeah--good tears and a new friend. :o) Dawn, the Volunteer Leader--another new friend!

The Leadership Team: Chris, Mark, Amy, Dawn, Michael, Charles, Larry, Herb (shirts),Susanne, John, Seamus. These guys are the best, working long hours and so very hard to put this event together. You are all #1 in my book!

On a side note: Laughing Wolf and I were able to have lunch on Friday with a warrior I'd written to while he was in Afghanistan. What a treat! Then it was back to work!!

It's been over a week and I'm still processing thoughts and emotions experienced. I'm ready to do it again in a heartbeat!

.............Yeah, April--What a Month!!


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Face of America

3 weeks from Saturday is the beginning of the Face of America Ride. Plans are progessing wonderfully. Participants are registering on a daily basis and the ride is growing! I can not begin to tell you how exciting this event is--for both the participants and volunteers!!

Soldiers' Angels has quite a few members participating in a number of areas. Some are riding, others are volunteering, MANY are making banners of support and encouragement that will be hung at the Kick-off Dinner, the rest stops and the End of Ride Celebration.

My blog-dad will be attending the ride to gather stories to share on B5.
Chuck is going to be there sporting the bicycle donated by
The Independence Fund . Chuck is riding as "Hell on Wheels 2008" - fitting, huh?! :o) I hear that other bloggers are attending as well!

So, if you aren't doing anything May 3 & 4 and you are in the Bethesda MD and Gettysbury PA area, please participate. Cheering sections are ALWAYS welcome and needed. Please wear a Soldiers' Angels tee shirt, hat or pin so we can recognize a fellow angel!

Thanks for your support.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

ALIVE DAY – March 31

This past August, I was asked to travel to San Antonio to attend the Soldiers’ Angels Convention. After checking into the hotel, the group of “angels” headed over to BAMC where Soldiers’ Angels was hosting a BBQ for the wounded warriors and their families.

I met so many wonderful heroes that day. A warrior from Fort Riley who I’d been speaking to on a fairly regular basis and who was at BAMC for surgery, found me in the crowd of “angels”. That touched me deeply.

There is one wounded warrior (I’ll call him AB) and his family from Texas that I will never forget meeting! (And look forward to meeting up with again at the FOA2008 Bicycle Ride). He’d been injured early on in the war, March 31, 2003, and the family had “just found” Soldier’s Angels in June 2007. AB’s mom and I had spoken a few times in the month prior to this event and when I heard I was going to San Antonio, we invited the family to the BBQ.

To tell you that AB and his family were an inspiration to me is a total understatement. He and his family took the hearts of each and every “angel” who attended this event! Speaking for most of us that met this family; we were humbled by the faith, strength, determination and love this family has and share with the world. We were able to surprise AB with a presentation of a laptop from the VALOUR IT program—much to his immense delight. Soldiers’ Angels also was putting its name on 2 rooms at the Fisher Houses at BAMC that day. We asked if he would do us the honor of choosing one. He was proud to do so.

AB was seriously injured March 31, 2003. He was a medic with the 82nd Airborne and was seriously injured going to the aid of an injured soldier.

Hero? In my eyes--YES!

March 31, 2008 is AB’s “Alive Day”. Happy “Alive Day” AB!

How DO you say thank you…………………….

Sunday, March 23, 2008

What Are You Doing May 3 & 4th?

If you aren't doing anything, come join us!!! For the second year in a row, Soldiers' Angels has worked with World T.E.A.M. Sports here in sponsoring the Face of America Bicycle Ride. Last year, 250+ riders participated with 50+ being severely injured or ill warriors from OIF, OEF and past conflicts. This year, organizers are hoping to grow the ride to 500 with 100 wounded/ill warriors.

What makes this ride--notice "ride" not "race"--unique is that it is truly a "team effort". All participants ride together as a group and all finish together as a group. The ride is open to all--civilian, active duty military, retired military, our wounded military.

This is the 3rd year I've worked a wounded warrior bicycle ride. I can not begin to explain the vast array of emotions spent over those days, by riders and volunteers. Last year, at the end of the ride, one of the wounded warriors I knew from WRAMC was so happy and full of joy. He said to me "L.........., this is the first time I've felt normal since I lost my leg". Can I tell you that I will work from morning to night making rides like this happen for these warriors!

Last year, the son who "I let turn 16---sigh" rode the ride. He grew up over those days and I've been told by those that rode with him that he is no longer to be called a kid. He earned "man" those days. This year, he's not able to ride due to a previous committment. He is a LT in the Explorer unit with our local fire department and they have a competition scheduled for that same time. There is next year!

Anyway, if you aren't doing anything May 3 & 4th, come join us in Bethesda MD to Gettysburg PA for an experience you will never forget! It will be 110 miles of many emotions--many will be overwhelming but in a very good way! Participants are always welcome and encouraged to ride. Volunteers are always needed!!

I know that's where you'll find me! You'll also find my blog-father Laughing Wolf who is planning on riding the ride and blogging on his site and Blackfive. I believe I've heard rumors that Chuck might ride too!

Sign up! The more--the merrier!


Thursday, March 20, 2008


5 years. We've been at war for 5 years. So many thoughts are swirling around this mind as I write those words. So many, many changes that we have all lived through--both good and bad.

First and foremost, I think about the Warriors. The warriors and their families that have sacrificed so much to keep me and mine safe here at home; the warriors and the families of the wounded and ill warriors who have made that sacrifice for us; the warriors and their families who have made the ultimate sacrifice. God Bless All. How do you say "thank you"…………………

I think of how this war has changed my sons who are very big military supporters in their own right. The innocence of their young lives was shattered on September 11 and as friends were deployed in the GWOT.

I think about how this war has changed me--this "Old Jersey Gal" who went from being afraid to speak in public, timid, shy and quiet (and afraid to fly) to fighting for our wounded and ill warriors; holding my own with Generals, Colonels and other officials to be sure "our guys/gals" are being taken care of in many different ways and speaking in public. (I am no longer afraid to fly)

I think about how this war changed a mom whose son was deployed and asked her to write to some of his buddies who weren't receiving mail and now oversees one of the largest non-profit military support groups--Soldiers' Angels. How do you say "thank you"………………

Public support of the war is not high. Our deployed warriors need to hear words of support and encouragement from those of us here at home. Soldiers' Angels has filled that need since 2003. How do you say "thank you"………………….

Working as I do with the WWST, I can only hope and pray the public support of our veterans of ALL WARS remain in the forefront. With all these heroes have gone through, a simple "thank you" means the world to them. Their response is "thank you--I was just doing my job". Truly humble heroes. How do you say "thank you"…………………..

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Hello and Welcome to the first attempt I've made at blogging!

In the future, I hope to share with you some of the wonderful things the Wounded Warrior Support Team accomplishes here in the States. I'll share stories about the establishment of a team in a new base, the VALOUR IT program, our Transitional Backpacks, some team happenings and upcoming projects.

Let me give you a brief background of the team. It was established in November 2004 as a "card writing team" to our wounded warriors. 20 minutes later, the WWST was born and has been on the fast track since! What a ride it's been!! Working in conjunction with the Wounded TLC Team (the card writing team), Soldiers Angels is providing support to wounded warriors throughout the United States and Germany, even at times to our warriors who are recovering in theater.

We have small, vetted teams in most medical facilities who visit the wounded upon request. Our visiting teams are not "door knockers", they visit on a request basis. With the inception of the WTU's and WTB's, our teams are growing in leaps and bounds, establishing Soldiers Angels support in bases throughout the country. The support provided by the teams vary from a simple hello to taking a warrior or family member to the store; from bringing the warrior and/or family member home baked cookies to just sitting talking, the WWST's are there.

Between the VA Hospitals and these WTU's and WTB's, the support of our wonderful angels is so needed!! These areas are the areas that are and will be needing support in the future. I'm proud to say that Soldiers' Angels is establishing support in these facilities!!