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!!