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Saturday, October 05, 2013

CARDS 4 OUR TROOPS

CARDS 4 OUR TROOPS

THERE ARE NO HALLMARK STORES IN AFGHANISTAN, KUWAIT OR GTMO !


THIS IS STICKY.....PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO READ THE BLOG.

Need Thank You Cards TO THE TROOPS....please sit down & write a note of appreciation for all they do for us.


I currently need

{PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW CAREFULLY....I REALLY NEED THE CARDS TO BE DONE AS I HAVE ASKED....I DO THIS BY MYSELF & NEED YOUR HELP TUCKING THE FLAPS & CARD BACKS INTO THE ENVELOPES....I'M SPENDING HOURS DOING THIS & NOT GETTING TO MAKE CARDS MYSELF}. It would also be very helpful if you can put 2 cards in a ziplock...leave ziplock open tho so I can enclose a note plus 2 All Occasion Cards.

I am a Former Army Mom/a Blue Star Mom. My only son (our only child actually) is now a US ARMY Veteran. In March 2007 I started sending cards overseas to the troops in care packages. I have made arrangements to send the cards in care packages. All Occasion Cards (Love You, Thinking of You, Hello, Friend, Missing you, Birthday & kids, etc. ) for them to send to their children/loved ones at home/something they can personalize) are always needed .....I have been getting requests for Get Well cards that can be sent to injured buddies too....packages are sent monthly so send cards as you would like. I will be taking any store bought cards I get to the local VA Hospitals and Fisher House....PLEASE TUCK BACK OF CARDS INTO ENVELOPES AS SHOWN BELOW. Can also use donations of envelopes and cardstock always. $20 will give us the bones for 300 Cards.....cardbacks and envelopes. BIG NEED RIGHT NOW IS PRIORITY MAIL & REGULAR POSTAGE as I am getting alot of requests for more cards from the troops & always want to comply.

Glitter-free cards should be blank inside for the service member to write inside to their loved ones (their words are better than anything you can stamp out usually), must be with regular envelopes...,
tuck the flap into the envelope
(no clear envelopes please),
then tuck the back of the card inside envelope too.
Also, if you use dark paper please put light color insert so they can write on that. We always want Thank you cards from you TO the troops....with a personal note inside (thank you for your service, you are in my prayers, hope you come home to your loved ones soon, etc, No hope you don't get shot, etc.). Due to security issues these envelopes (envelopes are not required for the thank you cards to them if you don't want to put them in one) must be unsealed.  You may use your email address as your hallmark on the back of the card if you like. This would be a great way to use the swap cards you accumulate.If you are interested in participating please email me with any questions you may have or to ask for the address to mail the cards to: pfcrensmom-cardsfortroops at yahoo dot com (change the -at- to @ or click the link & PLEASE DON'T DISRESPECT THE TROOPS BY USING THIS EMAIL TO SEND SPAM!). This is a year round project.


2013 Card Deadlines....

November 2 - Christmas
November 15 - Winter (non-Christmasy) & New Years

Thanks to the Troops are welcome all year (Please remember Armed Forces Day/May 18th, Patriot Day/September 11th, Veterans Day/November 11th-please send these a month ahead so can go in packages) ....take a moment to let them know how you feel about them.

Friday, January 20, 2012

NEVER FORGET!

A couple of weeks ago was the anniversary of my daughter Ashley"s death & nobody remembered. She died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) so she didn't grow up to go to school & make friends. The friends I had then pretty much all went away as they were having their babies at the same time & didn't want to be around us as a reminder of what could happen. Steve & I have no immediate family around so it's just us. It is absolutely the worst feeling in the world that no one remembers your child....almost like they never existed. So that is why it is so important that I remember all these young heroes as I do. Please take the time to let these families know that you remember their son's & daughters who gave their ALL for every one of us. A friend sent me a video a little bit ago that I want to share....it's very special & it's about a young Marine that I know alot of you know about, LCPL Jeramy Ailes what was from Gilroy, CA. What an awesome tribute.
http://www.mercurynewsphoto.com/blog/2010/03/14/honoring-jeramy/

Friday, December 16, 2011

A great giveaway....

Check this one out

http://keepsakesbymelissa.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-annual-end-of-year-christmas.html#links

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Run For the Wall May 27, 2011

After today, we will be in Arlington at the host hotel. Our ten day journey is almost over. That is not really true. This journey will never end for me. I will add the memories of this year to the past 2 years.

Our day starts early this morning. RG’s have to be out by 0515. I get to the American Legion Post for breakfast. Since I am working early, I have to go to the front of the line. Nobody objects because they know the RG’s are already at work. After breakfast I head out to relieve another RG so he can eat.

We hold our meeting inside the Post while everyone is eating breakfast. This is the final morning meeting and a lot of things are discussed. Cajun hands us our ride pins. They are really nice and I treasure mine. Then our duties are assigned. Once again we will be escorting each platoon into Arlington. Traffic will be very heavy and the RG’s need to make sure the platoons are tight and get in without any problems.

Preacher starts the last morning meeting and talks to everyone about what to expect. He then calls all the FNG’s, who are no longer FNG’s by the way, and tells them to line up. Those who started in California to the front followed by those that came aboard from all our other stops in the order they joined. Every year, the FNG’s get to go to Arlington as a group. RFTW is the only motorcycle group that is allowed to enter Arlington National Cemetery as a group. We have slots for 250 FNG’s between the Southern Route and the Central Route.

Then Preacher did one of the most touching and best things that I have seen done in my three years with RFTW. He called up Karoni, Pam, and Trish to the stage. Trish was not there so Karoni and Pam came up. At that point, Preacher talked about the laying of the Wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Last year we had a drawing open to all the veterans for one of these positions. Five Dollar Marty got the honor and Mustang, a long time member who was an Ambassador this year was named. What Preacher said was that this year there would be no drawing. He said he hoped everyone would understand his choice. Then he announced that Karoni and Pam would represent the Southern Route. Outstanding! Nobody could complain. We all knew who both these wonderful young ladies were. Both of them have been waiting for way too many years to find out where their MIA fathers are and when they will be coming home.

I was standing at the side of the stage and saw Pam’s face when this was announced. Karoni had her back to me. Pam’s face showed first shock then she looked at Karoni and they embraced. The emotion from these two ladies was overwhelming. I could feel it where I was standing. Then they both hugged Preacher to thank him. When they came off the stage it was all I could do not to start crying as I hugged them and talked to them. They are just so special. They are what POW/MIA is all about. It is why Run For the Wall keeps going. We must never let this issue die. We must always work for a full accounting of all our PPOW/MIA’s.

I saw Preacher outside later and walked over to him. I had to tell him what I thought of what he did. I told him it was probably the best thing I had seen in my three years with RFTW. I told him how proud it made me to be a member of RFTW and that I know how much Karoni and Pam were honored by his actions. He told me he knew because when they hugged him they were shaking. Way to go Preacher.

These are the things that make RFTW so special. These are the things that make you realize that you are not alone. There are people in this country that do care. If they are lucky they get to do RFTW to experience the things we all experience on this journey we take. I have said many times, the pain from the past will always be there. What happened in Nam is one thing. What happened when we came home is something completely different. It was like coming home to a foreign country. We were the enemy. We were reviled and shunned for doing what we were asked to do. None of us wanted to go to Nam. It was our duty to go. We had no choice and then the same people who sent us over there, treated us like dirt when we came back. That is what most of us are dealing with now and I still have issues because of that. But once again, I digress from what this is supposed to be about. The mission is what counts and so let me get back to that.

Since this is the last day of our journey, platoon 7 made up of trikes, sidecars, and bikes towing trailers left at 0700 for DC. They have been at the end of the formation the entire journey. They go early because they take a longer time to get down the road. The Advance Team also leaves early. These people work extremely hard every day. They are on the road before most of the formation leaves. They get to the first fuel stop and get set up and ready for when the formation arrives. They work extremely hard and get all the bikes fueled in a short amount of time. They usually don’t get to mingle for very long with the main body because they have to leave for the next fuel stop. They deserved the honor of getting into DC early.

Today is a short 243 mile ride into out host hotel. I almost forgot, at the morning meeting Preacher announced that the fuel stops this last day are donated. There is no charge to the riders. That is always welcome news. Our first stop is 68 miles out at Fuel City for gas. This is a pretty short stay as it was a short ride to this stop.

Once everyone is ready to go, we all head to our last fuel stop in Front Royal. This is a 104 miles away. The ride goes smoothly. As everyone gases up, we head over to the parking lot in front of a hotel. While we are there, we are fed a donated lunch by the Tree of Life Ministries. Again, this will be a quick lunch so that we can be on the road again as soon as we can.

Once all the bikes are on the road, the RG’s place ourselves in the front and back of our assigned platoons. As we did when we headed into Chattanooga we will try and keep the platoons tight and get them into Arlington without problems. The traffic will become heavier as we get closer to our destination. The final leg went surprisingly well. There were no problems at all.

When we arrived at the parking lot across the street for the hotel, we had a Marine Color Guard, at attention, as we entered the lot. Where did they come from, you ask? SgtMaj called the SgtMaj of Henderson Hall and requested the Color Guard. Of course it wasn’t that easy to accomplish but in the end, they were there. What it all comes down to is Marines taking care of Marines.

I left and went to the hotel that Barb and I were staying in. It was located at Bolling AFB about seven miles away. How, you ask, did we get a room there! Once again, SgtMaj called over to see if they had any rooms. They did and he arranged for Barb to get in a day early and we stayed to June first.

After checking in and leaving my gear off, Barb and I headed back to the host hotel. I was leading a group of riders to Marine Barracks at 8th and I. They put on a Friday Evening Parade. We have tickets for this, thanks again to a certain SgtMaj, and I will be leading the group. That is going to be fun since we have about 150 bikes to lead. After I briefed the riders, I told them I would be on channel 2 on the CB. I would keep everyone informed about about the progress and any turns we were making. Even with all that it was hard to keep everyone together. We did get separated and by the time I got to 8th and I, I only had about 100 of the bikes with me. We parked in a lot under the overpass and gathered up. What the Marines wanted was for us to break into groups of 25 to be brought into the Parade Grounds. As we did this, each group was brought over to the grounds and seated. Well it started to rain so the Marines took us under the shelter of the overpass. Then there was heavy thunder and lightning. After some time, the Staff Sergeant in charge got a message on her walkie-talkie that the event had been cancelled. It was because of the lightning. Since the viewing stands were all metal, it was determined that it was not safe with the amount of lightning in the area. Even though this was very disappointing, it was understandable. Like the Staff Sergeant said, “It isn’t about the Marines, it is about those of us in the stands.” I’ll be back next year and hopefully it will go on.

That is the end of this days activities. Tomorrow is the last official day of Run For the Wall 2011. It may also be the most emotional day of all. It is the day we go to the “Wall”. For many Viet Nam Vets this is sacred ground. It is a place of healing and talking with our brothers that sacrificed all. It has a profound affect on us all. Until I am able to finish that report, thank you all that have read and commented on this and I am truly sorry it has taken me so long.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Run For the Wall - May 26, 2011

Today we will be leaving Wytheville. But the town isn’t done with us yet. First, starting at 0600 they feed us breakfast. Some of the parents bring their young children to eat with us. That is always a treat. This year I ate early (RG duties) and didn’t get a chance to meet any of the young ones.

We all stage at the park again this morning. We are waiting for the school kids to join us. Everyone is anxious to see them. The FNG’s only know they will be there. Some of them know they will be putting on a show for us. Even though we have to be there early for meetings and the normal morning ritual, the students will arrive at 0900. We say the pledge of allegiance and are just waiting for the young students. We have pencils and beads and pins to give to them. They are all students of Spiller Elementary School in Wytheville. This is our eleventh year in Wytheville. The students in Spiller learn about Run For the Wall as part of their curriculum. Isn’t that amazing. They learn why we show up every year and what the Run is all about.

At about 0900 the students start arriving. We all go over to them and give them whatever we have. I have beads and pins. I hand them to the students and they hand me a paper star with their name on it. Some of the stars just thank us. Then a young girl gives me a rose. I told her I would leave it at the Wall for her but she didn’t say anything. After she walked away, I walked away from the rest of the children. I was real glad I had sunglasses on. As I have said many times, you never know what will set you off. It just happens and you have to deal with it.

After the kids all assembled at the Veterans Memorial, we did the pledge of allegiance again with the kids. It was time for the kids to entertain us. After a couple of short speeches the kids took over. They sang a couple of songs for us that made you feel good. These young grade school children really work at making this special. They do succeed and we appreciate every bit of it.

I had to leave for our RG meeting. Cajun gave out our assignments. I was assigned to his team. What we were going to do was block roads as we headed to our next stop. Our trip was going to be mostly on surface streets so we needed to make sure the platoons would all get thru. Otherwise, it would take us forever to get there.

Our first stop was in Montvale for fuel. Everyone filled their tanks and staged. From Wytheville, this was a 94 mile leg. We would only go 150 miles today. But we would be busy. After fueling, we headed for our next stop that is the Montvale Elementary School that is only 2 miles

As we pull up to the school all the children and their teachers are standing outside cheering. They have been waiting for us. As we dismounted our bikes the students went back inside. They wanted to get back to their classrooms. Our lunch was donated by the school. What we got to do, was go to different

classrooms to eat lunch with the students. This is special for us. As we eat, the students come over to us and ask us for our signature and where we live. I really enjoyed this a lot. I have a lot of fun with these young boys and girls. They make us feel special but in fact these young children are the ones that are special.

After lunch we go to the gym for a show put on by these students. They all sing songs and really entertain us. Like Wytheville, the youngsters really put their hearts into it. But after that we must leave for our next stop.

We are heading to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. The question always is, why is the Memorial in the middle of nowhere. The answer is pretty simple. The small town of Bedford, Va. suffered the highest rate of casualties on D-Day. This Memorial was built with private funds. No government money was used. The Memorial is beautiful and something you don’t want to miss if you ever get to this area of the country.

We only have a short amount of time to spend here. One thing we did do is made sure that everyone paid to get in. Everyone donated $5.00 to the Memorial. The people who maintain the Memorial say our group always gives them more money than any other group that goes there.

Once we are ready to leave, the RG’s once again leave first to set up at intersections to make sure everyone can get back on the highway as a group. As when we came in, the local Police worked with us to make this a much easier task.

Our final stop will be the Salem VA Medical Center. It is only 42 miles away so it didn’t take a long time. While there we will be given another donated meal by the VA. Once we got everyone there, several of the RG’s went to a restaurant to eat. We ended up in a pretty nice restaurant that served mostly seafood. Seafood and me don’t get along but I decided to see if they had something else. I ordered a steak that turned out to be real good. One of the things I like about being a RG is the camaraderie we all have. The dinner was really good for us. I don’t know about the other guys but it sure was nice to sit down, relax, and blow off a little steam. After dinner, we found out that SgtMaj forgot to turn his lights off. Actually, there is a problem someplace in one of the bikes switches. We were able to push start him and off we went. We checked into our motel and got ready for the next day.

It is kind of funny about the last day of our journey. You get so close to so many of the people on the Run that you almost wish it wouldn’t end. You wish you could just keep going and not end it. But tomorrow is the last day and we will be at our final destination. I will continue this after the final day is over.


Rich 'Yankee' Martin
Sgt. USMC
1965-1969
Viet Nam Vet
1966-1968

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