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Friday, December 26, 2008

Phones Donated to Troops Stolen

December 25, 2008
The Record, Bergen County, NJ

TRENTON, N.J. -- A box of cell phones and cards meant as a Christmas gift for troops was stolen from a state legislator's office over the weekend.

Thieves took about 40 to 50 of the one-use cell phones and phone cards from the office of Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Princeton, he said Monday. The package was going to be the second shipment of phones heading toward Afghanistan and Iraq via Fort Dix.

Constituents donated the items so that troops could call home over the holidays.

"This is the Grinch who stole Christmas, but this time it's from the troops," he said. "It puts a damper on the holiday spirit."

The offices were ransacked, a front window was broken, and a computer, a space heater, and a camera were also stolen, Gusciora said.

Police are investigating the burglary, he said.

The phones were donated as part of a nationwide effort called Cell Phones for Soldiers. The charity's Web site is

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from Iraq & Afghanistan

Don't keep it to yourself, pass it along. Pray for our warriors who are in harms way so that we may celebrate the joy of Christmas in safety and with our own families and friends while they do not. Remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and give thanks for them. Reach out to the families of our military and let them know they are not alone, that there are those that care.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Chairman Issues Holiday Message to Servicemembers, Families

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2008 - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff evoked the Revolutionary War's Battle of Trenton in the annual holiday message he issued to U.S. servicemembers and their families today.
Here is the text of Navy Adm. Mike Mullen's message:
"Throughout our history, when faced with war at this special time of the year, American Servicemen and women have risen with crisis and fought with valor – while providing their fellow citizens precious moments to enjoy the season's joyous spirit with loved ones at home.
"This tradition harkens to our first holiday season as an independent Nation, 232 years ago. The bleak winter of 1776 found this Republic and its leader, General Washington, with a difficult and uncertain future. At twilight on the twenty-fifth of December, faced with one of the darkest moments of the American Revolution, Washington's Army crossed the icy Delaware River to defeat enemy forces at the Battle of Trenton. Their bravery on that cold winter's night altered the course of the war, and, ultimately, our road to victory.
"Among Washington's troops that December was Thomas Paine, who appealed to the honor and patriotic duty of his fellow soldiers with these famous words: 'These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.'
"This holiday season, more than 280,000 modern-day patriots are deployed around the globe, ensuring their families and friends – and ours – can celebrate in peace and comfort. Let us take pause to honor their sacrifice.
"We also offer our thoughts and prayers to the wounded, their families, and the families of the fallen. Theirs is an emptiness we cannot know – made only deeper during the holidays. Although their sacred void can never be filled, let us look deep into our hearts and honor them all – for they richly deserve the love and thanks of a grateful Nation.
"On behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and our families, I thank you for all that you do for our country. We wish you and your loved ones a festive holiday season, and tidings of peace in the coming New Year."
Admiral, U.S. Navy

Biographies: Navy Adm. Mike Mullen

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

War Hero's Statue Stolen for Scrap

This absolutely makes me sick. This is not the first story like this I have heard...we have some locally too (monuments & thefts from cemtaries). More legislation needs to be passed so that no one will profit from such thefts & to make stiffer penalties towards the recyclers/scrap dealers who purchase scrap from these monuments!!

December 09, 2008
The Record, Bergen County, NJ

statue that honored Marine Sgt. Matthew Fenton was stolen to sell for scrap metal. Police said the man accused of taking the statue, Vincent J. McManus of Little Ferry, did not know the figure was made of glazed concrete until later.

Fenton, who grew up in Little Ferry, died of shrapnel wounds two years ago, after his Humvee was attacked by a suicide bomber in Iraq. He had wanted to join the borough's police department. The department made him an honorary member after his death, at age 24.

The statue stood outside Memorial School, Fenton's alma mater. After it was reported missing last Sunday, police made finding it their priority. Find it they did -- hidden under a trash can in
McManus's back yard.

"All of us at the police department took this very personally," Lt. Frank Novak told The Record.
We commend the Little Ferry police for their quick work. And we urge the state Assembly to quickly pass a bill that would better regulate the scrap metal industry. While a concrete statue and a piece of legislation in Trenton may seem worlds apart, they are, unfortunately, closely

Scrap metal has become easy money. Demand for raw materials in China and India has caused scrap prices to shoot up. An FBI report issued this year found the price for copper increased 500 percent between 2001 and 2008. Thieves sell stolen metal to recyclers, who sell it to scrap metal dealers, the report found. It cites criminal rings in Minnesota that earned $20,000 a month
by stealing copper from houses and warehouses and selling it.

Right here in North Jersey, municipalities are losing out because thieves steal discarded items like refrigerators that the towns usually pick up and sell, Staff Writer Stephanie Akin reported on Friday. Towns use the money for their waste management departments. It's not just appliances that disappear. Bronze vases from cemeteries, copper wires and pipes in houses and basketball
backboards are also targets.

The New Jersey bill would require scrap metal dealers to check the identification of people from whom they buy metal, and keep sales and receiving records for five years. Dealers would be required to report suspicious deliveries of scrap metal.

The state Senate passed the bill in June. The Assembly has not yet voted on it.

The new law might not stop all metal theft, but it could curb the zeal. Maybe then robbers would not grab a statue erected to honor a hometown soldier, even if it were made of bronze.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Free GSD & SVG Files

The Quilling Patch is offering free GSD & SVG files for the next 12 days. These can be used with Wishblade, Craft Robo, Cricut & Quickutz Silhouette machines. I have a Wishblade & I use it for my scrapbooks as well as for the cards I send to the troops. Go check it out.
Free GSD and SVG Files She also has a contest going on where you can win some vinyl to cut on your machine! I would love to win the vinyl as I am gonna try my hand at making some decals for car windows.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Blankets of Hope for the troops stolen: Please help!

This story has me cursing in my coffee this morning: Linda Ferrara, a California mother of a soldier killed in Afghanistan with three other sons in the military, organizes charity blanket drives for the troops. She and other volunteers hand-sewed patriotic blankets and other items worth an estimated $8,000. Ferrara had stored them in her RV while preparing to send them off. Over the weekend, some asshole(s) (pardon my language) broke into the vehicle and stole all the goods.

The story is here at Soldier’s Angels and at the Daily Breeze.

After her son died fighting country, Linda Ferrara wanted to do something
for soldiers like him who sacrifice their safety for others.

So in the year since Army Capt. Matthew Ferrara was killed in
Afghanistan, his mother has dedicated hours collecting clothes and crafting
handmade blankets for wounded soldiers overseas. The Torrance resident had
planned to ship the goods Wednesday to an Army hospital in Germany. Instead,
she’s despondent over the weekend theft of hundreds of socks, sweat shirts,
pajama pants, boxers, blankets and other items. “I don’t want to let them down,”
Ferrara said. “This wasn’t just stuff, this was going to wounded soldiers.”
…Soldiers’ Angels is an organization through which people can send care
packages to soldiers overseas. In Germany, Phillips supports wounded and sick
troops undergoing treatment at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Many of them are transferred there directly from the front lines and
have nothing more than the clothes on their backs, Ferrara said.
Already involved with the West Point Parents Club of Orange County, Ferrara recruited support from other parents and volunteers to collect items for the wounded soldiers. Her RV was packed with boxes, and the Parents Club had printed thank-you letters to the “wounded warriors” to be distributed with the clothes.
On Sunday morning, Ferrara first realized something was amiss when she found
empty boxes outside the RV and her inventory lists on the ground. Inside, she
discovered almost all the collected items missing. Also, some of the letters
were torn to shreds.
Compton sheriff’s deputies took a report and fingerprints, she said. Her insurance company has told her not to expect help. Because she planned to give the items away, they technically didn’t belong to her and aren’t covered by her policy.

You can help:
Anyone who is interested in donating items for wounded soldiers can email Linda
at or visit the West Point Parent Club of Orange County web site.
Ferrara says the organization can accept cash donations or brand new items
because the Military hospital does not allow used goods.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

'Sentinels of Freedom' Scholarships Help Wounded Veterans

I know the people mentioned in this article & I know the "Sentinels of Freedom" is a wonderful organization so I wanted to share it with you here. We met Sgt Thibeault with his family when he arrived here in April of this year....They are amazing people. I hope you will read this & check out "Sentinels of Freedom" to see what the do.
By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2008 - Thanks to a recommendation from the Army Wounded Warrior Program at Fort Riley, Kan., retired Army Sgt. Victor Thibeault of San Ramon, Calif., will study general education with the help of a "Sentinels of Freedom" scholarship that also benefits his family.

"The Sentinels of Freedom scholarship has helped me to secure gainful employment [and] a rent-free living space and a minivan for my family, not to mention the unwavering support of the local community," Thibeault said.

The Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation provides four-year "life scholarships" to help severely wounded veterans become self-sufficient.

Scholarship recipients receive assistance with rent-free housing adapted for physical needs, new furniture and other household supplies, career-placement and training, new adaptive vehicles based upon need, educational opportunities, and financial and personal mentorship. To date, the program has awarded 31 scholarships, with 20 more in the pipeline.
Mike Conklin of Danville, Calif., the father of three Army Rangers, started the Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation. Conklin said he was inspired to reach out to severely injured veterans after one of his sons was wounded in Iraq in 2003.
"Impressed by the level of care my son received in military hospitals and wanting to do something tangible to support U.S. troops, I created the nonprofit Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation," Conklin said. "The four-year program is meant for veterans with severe service-related injuries who have the aptitude, attitude and drive to become independent and successful members of society."
Scholarship recipients are called 'Sentinels' in honor of their sacrifice and commitment to guarding America's freedoms, Conklin added.
While in Afghanistan in 2003, Thibeault was injured when he was ambushed driving through a crowded market place. A Taliban militant threw a grenade through the driver's side of his vehicle, and it landed under his partner's seat.
"I grabbed it and put it in the center console of the vehicle, mitigating the effects of the blast," Thibeault said. "As a result of the blast, I suffered multiple shrapnel injuries and lost all the fingers on my left hand, except my pinky. I suffered damage to a large portion of my left side and leg."

For his wounds and for saving his fellow soldier's life, Thibeault received the Purple Heart and a Silver Star. Because of his heroism, he also was nominated to receive this scholarship.
"The scholarship has helped enforce a seamless transition from active duty to the civilian work force through a committed community dedicated to the welfare of severely disabled veterans," Thibeault said.
Thibeault is a senior support services technician for the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District. Along with his expecting wife, Maleney, and 2-year-old daughter, Delilah, he moved from Kansas to California to accept the scholarship and start working.
Any member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard who suffered severe injuries - amputation, blindness, deafness, paraplegia or severe burns, for example - in the line of duty since Sept. 11, 2001, can apply for the scholarship. Qualified candidates also must have "the skills, experience and attitude that employers look for" in filling available positions and must successfully complete all interview processes, Conklin said. Once they become Sentinels, he added, they'll receive support from a variety of sources.

"Sentinels succeed because whole communities come forward to help," he said. "Local businesses and individuals not only give money, but also time, goods and services, housing and transportation."
Thibeault agreed.

"This has created a nearly stress-free environment where I can focus on my life, education and family goals," Thibeault said. "The Sentinels of Freedom have exceeded my expectations of what a nonprofit veteran service organization can do and be."

Monday, December 01, 2008

CPT Rob Yllescas

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a friend of mine for a blood drive being held locally for a wounded warrior...his name was CPT Rob Yllescas. He had been hit by an IED in Afghanistan & had already used 140 pints of blood at the time the flyer was written due to many surgeries & loss of his own blood. I passed the flyer around to all I know in the area & did a search on Google for information on him. I found a blog that his wife was writing & I have been keeping up with his progress & praying. I also posted her blog on my blog list so others could read it too.

Well this afternoon I sat down to do a little catching up & sadly learned that Rob died today. Please keep the family in your prayers as well as all our hero's still serving in Iraq & Afghanistan.


This was on CBS's 60 Minutes last nite & I think it really needs to be seen if you missed it. What an amazing young women.

Watch CBS Videos Online

How Pvt. Monica Brown Won A Silver Star