Skip to comments.*MAF Honoring Heroes II Updates and Pictures---Syncro Report* (Updates daily)
Posted on 12/17/2008 6:18:34 AM PST by Syncro
On the road with the Honoring Heroes at the Holidays Tour going through Texas today.
Time is short, so I'm going to post some pictures and info from internal correspondence
The MAF team working around the clock on the bus
The Wal Mart stores in Texas have been great to us in allowing us to conduct our rallies right in their parking lots. It represents there deep commitment to our military men and women, and we should all pay special thanks to Wal Mart for what they do. Special thanks go to Maria, manager of the San Antonio Wal Mart SuperCenter
Nancy Ayala and Melissa Doyle were two military wives who were deeply touched by our campaign to support our troops. Both women know the pain of having a loved one away for the holidays and then getting the news that their husbands were casualties of the war in Iraq.
Nancy Ayala is the wife of Pedro Ayala, who is recovering from a vicious firefight when a bullet grazed his head. He is now doing well and still recovering at Brook Army Medical Center here in San Antonio.
Melissa Doyle is the wife of Richard Doyle, who was serving in Baghdad when his vehicle was hit by an IED. It rolled, and Richard lost his leg. He is also recovering at the Center for the Intrepid, another military hospital in San Antonio.
They both told us that they appreciate everything that Americans do for both active duty, but also veterans and military families.
They even wanted to help out MAF raise money for care packages for their husbands buddies who are still serving in Iraq!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Our first stop! Henderson, Nevada loves our troops !
We just finished our first rally stop since leaving Sacramento yesterday!
Henderson, NV has a great pro-troop community, especially the civic organizations who support the troops. There are a wealth of American Legions, VFWs wand Marine "Leatherneck" clubs in Henderson and Las Vegas.
At American Legion Post 40, where we staged this first rally stop, Ron Michalski is the commander and Earl Bishop is the Adjutant. Post 40 does a lot military family and veteran support as well as several community service based initiatives. For example they host a little league baseball tournament every year and they have also been collecting toys for the families of troops for Christmas.
In addition to Post 40 we also had members of American Legion Post 149 (Las Vegas) attending. Jon Sloan was present with friends Arthur and Pat Sloan who own this awesome PT Cruiser that has patriotic paint and decals all over the place making it basically a mobile promotion for our troops!
I'm in the bus right now boy are we tired!!! I need a nap but we are also on our way to Phoenix! Check back in with us later tonight for more details on how that rally goes!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Meeting Old Friends in Phoenix
Wow that was an amazing little reunion, and we even made some new friends too!
UPDATE: Russ from KNIX has posted OVER 60 PICTURES from the EVENT!!!! Thank you Russ!!!!
We just left the Phoenix rally, I have a lot to talk about so I can't write it all right now but here are some pictures real quick!!!
So the scoop that I failed to give you on our last post was the significance of meeting old friends out in Phoenix. Tonight's rally at the VFW reunited MAF with our old friend the Chaplain Rachael Coggins from the U.S. Army Reserve. We met Rachael in 2007 when MAF sent a team to Iraq to hand out Christmas and Holiday cards to the troops in Baghdad, where MAF also saw firsthand the kind of work our troops are doing in Iraq.
Before making it to Iraq we had to stop off in Kuwait, which is basically where almost everyone going to Iraq has to cycle through. We had to stay in Kuwait for several days waiting for visas to be approved for entering Iraq. While we were waiting there we befriended Chaplain Coggins who was able to show us all around the huge Kuwait base and engineered many opportunities for us to meet and talk to the troops.
She once got Melanie and Debbie Lee an audience of over 300 troops and they gave Debbie a standing ovation, it was really an amazing sight to see. She also organized a meeting where we were able to think troops on their way back home to America on emergency leave. Basically meaning there was a family emergency at home and we were able to thank those troops on their way back.
It was during that visit that Melanie met the recruiter who carried the hero bracelet of the Marine who he recruited and wanted Melanie to find the boys mother and give her the bracelet. She finally tracked down the other some months later but reunited her with the bracelet.
Well it has been almost a year now since we last saw Chaplain Coggins but in the time since we last saw each other she has returned to the U.S. and now lives outside of Phoenix, so she showed up at our rally today and reunited with Debbie Lee and Mary and I. It was awesome to see Rachael again and we even found out that she had gone and written a book about her experiences in Kuwait.
Being a chaplain, one whom the troops come to confide in, to talk about their problems and seek advice, Rachael had a lot of interesting perspectives and stories that different troops had told her about their service in Iraq or Afghanistan. Her book is a chronicling of those stories and she calls it Gateway to Iraq: A Chaplain's Story.
Rachael also informed us that Chapter 15 or the 24 chapter book is about MAF!!!
Can?t wait until it's available in stores!
We also met another gold star family at this rally. Nick and Martha Aguilar live in Phoenix with their family. Martha?s brother ,Emigdio Elizarras who was killed during an IED attack in Afghanistan on February 28, 2006. He was 37 years old and had 20 years in the U.S. Army. He volunteered to serve in the Middle East and was deployed with U.S. Army Special Forces. Here is a photo of their family.
Our hearts go out to the Aguilar family for their loss. Master Sgt. Elizarras sacrificed a lot for his country, as many have done. They have sacrificed more than anyone should ever be asked to and they did it without fear or without even flinching from their duty.
Where would this country be if we could not count on such men with nerves of steel and infinite determination?
Way to go, Syncro!!
God Bless you, Syncro.
Perhaps I’ll see you at the GOE on April 4.
HELP KEEP OUR PRO-TROOP BUS TOUR ON THE ROAD
Only a few days left to collect care packages for our troops
Support MAF, Gathering of Eagles and FreeRepublic this season, more than ever we need people to stand up, ask questions and tell the truth.
Eagles UP! Prayers UP!
MERRY CHRISTMAS, Everybody
You folks are the best! God bless you, God Bless America and God bless our troops.
Thank God for our heroes!
I'll certainly bump that, thanks Spirit.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The HEART-land of Texas
Calvin R. Collins
Welcome to my first blog post for the second annual "Honoring Heroes at the Holidays" tour.
Today was a momentous day in Texas. We departed El Paso this morning at about 0900 CST and made our way across Western Texas tracking the I-10 Eastbound toward San Antonio. While en route this morning, Debbie Lee received an interview request from Fox News Channel for a special segment on "Your World: with Neil Cavuto." We agreed to have a car service pickup Debbie from the Wal-Mart in San Antonio at about 1440 this afternoon. Arriving in San Antonio at roughly 1334 local time we had about a half hour to setup at the Wal-Mart on Austin Highway. Once again management was kind enough to let us park the big red bus on the sidewalk in between the two store entrances.
Immediately we were greeted by several members of the media: KTSA 5500 radio, KENS CBS Channel 5, KABB Fox Channel 29, and of course our friends at Univision too. While Debbie Lee gave a heartwarming recount of the altruistic actions of her hero and son, I had a nice interview with Alicia from KTSA 5500. As you may know, Debbie Lee is a Gold Star Mom whose son, Marc Alan Lee, was the first Navy SEAL to lay down his life for freedom in Iraq.
This young man made the ultimate sacrifice when he turned into the direct line of enemy fire in order to protect his fellow SEALs and provide cover fire. After successfully aiding his teammates reach their destination, Marc eventually succumbed to a deadly sniper shot. The base in Ramadi was soon named Camp Marc Lee in honor of his heroics.
You really must hear the entire story directly from Marc's mom, Debbie- if you haven't already. Debbie is a consummate speaker but she also speaks from the heart and reveals a very human look into life, love, sacrifice and death. Debbie's recitation of what the true definition of a hero is really gives one pause to consider their role models in life and no doubt aspire to take life to more exalted levels.
As Debbie wrapped up her hero's tale, the Fox News Town Car arrived. As she departed in the black limousine with tinted windows, we waved a temporary farewell to Debbie until our rendezvous in Austin later today. Then we were greeted by the voice of an angel as Diana Nagy performed her hit song, "Where Freedom Flies, which she co-wrote with her mother in honor of our troops and their constant defense of our country and freedom. Diana also sang the National Anthem and God Bless America. I think anyone who has the privilege to listen Diana sing this precious song while watching our beautiful stars and stripes flutter in the winds of freedom would be hard pressed to hold back the tears- tears that overcome you when we realize that you are insignificant but for the fact that an altruistic and benevolent Creator equipped a small percentage of Americans like Marc with the courage to lay down their lives in order to defend our freedom and preserve our way of life.
That's what it means to me when I look at our flag fly free and proud over the land I love dearly. Marc's selfless sacrifice and pure bravery, along with all those who gave their lives before and after him, represents a price which has been paid in full for us to exercise the freedoms we enjoy in America today- freedoms that people in other countries die in pursuit of everyday yet never fully attain.
During the rally in San Antonio, I had the opportunity to interact with many other American patriots in the crowd. I met a lovely woman, Gale Sayers, who just exuded a certain kind of warmth which cut sharply right through the crisp winter air of San Antonio. Gale was accompanied by her daughter who stood in the crowd embracing a friend while Debbie spoke and Diana sang. I had a chance to interact with a lot of patriotic supporters today but Gale just continued to warm my heart with a quiet radiance. Gale told me about a close friend of hers who is currently deployed in Iraq, West Point graduate and US Army Captain Morgan Brown. It is so important for us to recognize the REAL heroes in life; young men like Captain Morgan and Petty Officer Second Class Marc Lee, who willingly give themselves up so that others may reap the rewards of their hard work.
Another person I choose to salute is a man named William. I met William today at the rally as he approached me with a wrinkled smile asking about getting a Move America Forward sweatshirt. At first glance, it was easy to assume that William might be homeless and looking for freebies because of his salty exterior and haggard appearance. However, William was NOT a bum. As I handed him a sweatshirt with all intentions of just giving it to him- he immediately handed over a very generous donation and asked that we continue to take care of his brothers who serve. William announced that he had been back from Vietnam for thirty years now. I saw how proudly he sported his Vietnam Veteran's cap and I not only thanked him for his service to our country but I welcomed him back home.
Every single moment of every single day of this tour is a priceless moment never to be forgotten. You meet not just folks who have served and who are currently serving, but you also meet moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, coworkers and neighbors who have a piece of their heart which has been sacrificed as well. We must remember this Christmas Holiday Season that everyone who is serving overseas leaves behind many people who pray for their safe return; not failing to mention the many who will be forced to wait longer for their reunions than others.
The boys and girls who serve this country become men and women quicker than you can imagine. They serve because they love all of us- so that even people they don't know can exercise their God-given freedoms back home. Please continue to support America's bravest by sending them care packages this Christmas. When these mighty warriors receive this little piece of home they are truly touched. Write them a personalized message and let them know that you love and appreciate them- they are strong warriors with big hearts who believe in their mission and are willing to lay their life down so that others may live a better one.
Until next time... (stay tuned for Danny G's recap of the rally in Austin this evening)
||BAKER (BATON ROUGE)
||14507 PLANK ROAD
@ WAL MART
||SPANISH FORT (MOBILE)
||30500 STATE HIGHWAY 181
@ EASTERN SHORE SHOPPING CENTER
MAF Blazes Across Texas! Houston, Last Stop in Lone Star State
Move America Forward continues the Honoring Heroes at the Holidays II tour and is sprinting across Texas. El Paso, San Antonio and Austin are over and only Houston remains before the tour moves on to Louisiana.
Check out our blog posts with pictures for:
Las Vegas / Henderson, NV
El Paso, TX
Scott Kimrey is Blue Star Dad who takes time to do something nice for a Gold Star family during the Christmas season. He is so typical of our MAF supporters around the country, who have stood up for our troops year in and year out. We so appreciate your support.
We also want to give thanks to Curtis Tipton, the Wal Mart manager that made room for us at the front of the parking lot. Wal Mart has hosted every one of our Texas stops, and we truly appreciate their commitment to American soldiers.
----by Mary Pearson via email
The guy with the heavy duty lenses/cameras I have seen at many rallies concerning support for our fine military.
that is Carson George who is actually a Gold Star Dad
here is carson with VP Cheney
here is he again at a MAF rally also in Houston, last year
Most excellent effort, cause & reporting, my friend!
God Bless you all and Merry Christmas Sync!
Ping to some Christmas Cheer!
Thank you for a wonderful ping. So many stories yet to be told of what so many of our own have given of themselves for US. May God Bless and Protect them.
Merry Christmas to ALL
Thanks Syncro, great job!
It is nice to see Wal Mart is not afraid to come out in support of our military. So many business would be afraid to offer their parking lot for such an event.
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!
Sync YOU are just plain AWESOME!
Here is some of his reporting:
Wednesday, December 17, 2008Shivering cold? Hay, it was only 27 fair n' height.
MAF Blogger Danny
Permalink Shivering cold in Austin is warmed by our spirits!
Our rally in Austin took place pretty late in the day, 5:00 actually. That doesnt normally seem like a late time for a rally but being that its winter time now we run short of daylight around that time. But, lucky for us, we were holding this rally at a Wal-Mart and we were graciously allowed to park between the two entrances and have the lights shining down upon us.
Also it was really nice just to be back in Austin again. I missed it quite a bit actually, since I moved away from here in 2006 after I graduated from school, I have not really been back since. MAF has driven through Austin several times on tours, but we have never made a stop in the city that I still hold close to my heart. I forgot how cold it got though! In fact we were all freezing our butts off while Debbie Lee talked about Marcs story and while Diana was singing her beautiful songs.
Since we are doing some Wal-Mart stops this tour, one of the factors that we dont normally get when we do these rallies are the passerby factor. Interestingly, we have met SO MANY interesting supporters who have never heard of MAF but were just coming to Wal-Mart to get some groceries or an Xbox 360 and just happened to stumble upon a MAF pro-troop rally.
Hermania Price was coming to get a new ring. Her husband, Sgt. 1st Class Mark D. Price is in Iraq serving in the Army today. They married just over two years ago and Hermania has moved them into a new house so when Mark comes back home from Iraq, he will be coming home to a new house full of home projects and things to fix!
Hermania had Debbie Lee and the whole crowd huddled around her in the cold as she told us why she happened to be coming in to this Wal-Mart and why she thought it had to be Gods will. She actually got a call from Mark in Iraq who was hysterical and upset because he had been standing up on a pile of rubble in Iraq when his ring just fell off and became completely lost in the pile. He was so upset he wanted her to run out and buy a new ring and get it out in the mail and back to him immediately!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
TWO Navy SEAL moms together in Houston
Our rally in Houston, TX was also at another Wal-Mart. Our tour is structured so that we started out with some VFWs and American legion type halls, with a big chunk of Wal-Marts in the middle and finishing it off with a couple more non-Wal-Mart locations.
George Carson from Families United was there and taking pictures. He was telling Debbie Lee that they are working on another event for Texas coming up soon and that he is also looking forward to going BACK to Iraq to work again as a contractor.
We also had Sharon Burns, another Navy SEAL mom and her friend Tonie Ruddick who both live in Victoria, TX so they drove a little ways to get to our rally. Debbie Lee met Sharon Burns son Jared at a SEAL function, a funeral actually, I believe, and has kept in touch ever since. Debbie was extremely excited to finally meet Mrs. Burns finally and talk about what its like to have a Navy SEAL in the family, where you often dont know where they are deployed or how dangerous the mission is.
We also met William Myers who lives in there in Houston and was just coming up to buy some fish for he and his wife to have dinner when he saw our rally. Myers told me that he is a Gulf War vet who served in Kuwait and Iraq during the first Gulf War. He recalled that he spent almost 6 months in Iraq both during the ground war and in the months after where he managed supply lines and humanitarian aid in the northern regions of Iraq controlled by the Kurds. I talked to him about some of the work we had done with the Kurdistan Regional Government and he was very well versed in the situation In in Kurdish Iraq.
Debbie Lee, Melanie Morgan and some of the crew are going to see our troops (9,000 or so) in Cuba and give them cards, letters and goodies.
Wal-Mart Coca-Cola Sign.... Roger that.
Awesome, all y’all!
We are delighted and excited to be able to personally tell the United States military personnel at Guantanamo Bay how much we appreciate their service to America. We especially appreciate those who have had the difficult duty of containing the worst terrorists, who are imprisoned at the Navy Facility.
Move America Forward has been conducting a nationwide tour to support sending care packages to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The tour began in Sacramento Country with a parade to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the California Vietnam Memorial and will now end at the U.S. military facility in Cuba.
With Americans focused on the economic problems facing our country, we have to ensure that our troops in harms way are not forgotten during the Christmas and Hanukkah holiday season. Our care packages are heading to Iraq and Afghanistan, but it is also important to remember our troops who are keeping the terrorists at bay just 90 miles from our shores.
Going with me will be Gold Star Mom Debbie Lee, whose son Marc Alan Lee was the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq. We went to the Middle East together last Christmas to personally distribute Christmas and Hanukkah cards to our troops.
With so many politicians irresponsibly criticizing the job being done by American troops at Guantanamo Bay, we thought it was important for us to go there and personally tell them that the American people are 100% behind them despite what a few self-serving politicians have to say.
Posted: 12:25 PM Dec 19, 2008
Last Updated: 12:25 PM Dec 19, 2008
Reporter: Christina Kremer
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
American soldiers are in the line of fire, even during the holiday season.
The organization "Move America Forward" is on a mission to give troops care packages to show support.
An event called "Honoring Heroes at the Holidays" was held Friday morning at Governor's Square Mall encouraging people to give what they can to those who make the biggest sacrifices for our freedom.
"My son Marc Alan Lee was the first Navy Seal that was killed in Iraq in August 2nd 2006 and he stood in the direct line of fire 3 times that day,on purpose, to save his buddies. But he didn't just do that for his buddies but he did that for you and for me." says Debbie Lee, Marc Alan's mother
"Move America Forward" is heading to Jacksonville, FL Friday afternoon and will then travel to Guantanamo Bay to deliver the care packages to U.S. troops.
To find out more on how to give a care package visit moveamericaforward.org
Check for updates, more pictues etc are posted now.
All the best - heading to Cuba!
Merry Christmas to you buddy.
The promised updates are on another thread. Follow the link
Updates on This Thread from Post #22, 26 and 40 on.
Great thread S! thanks for keeping us posted of all the happenings
Merry Christmas and a healthy prosperous new year.