January 31, 2009 at 3:43 pm | Posted in General Troop Support | Leave a comment

Pinellas golf tournament benefits soldiers’ support group

By Demorris A. Lee, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Saturday, January 31, 2009

Army Maj. Charles Ziegenfuss plays in the Franco Harris/Lydell Mitchell Gridiron Golf Tournament at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club on Friday.
Army Maj. Charles Ziegenfuss plays in the Franco Harris/Lydell Mitchell Gridiron Golf Tournament at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club on Friday.


Army Maj. Charles Ziegenfuss was not concerned that every time he tried to hit a golf ball Friday morning at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, it trickled in a different direction. Ziegenfuss, of Indiana, Pa., was glad just to be able to grip the club. “They asked me what my handicap was,” Ziegenfuss, 36, said with a laugh. “I have nine fingers.”

In 2005, the 15-year soldier was a few feet away from an improvised explosive device when it exploded. When he came to, Ziegenfuss did not have use of his hands.

In three years he has undergone 35 surgeries. One was to reconstruct his right thumb from skin drafted from his thigh. He lost his left pinkie and has no feeling in his left hand.

It’s people like Ziegenfuss that NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris and Penn State teammate Lydell Mitchell were trying to help Friday during their 12th charity golf tournament.

The Franco Harris/Lydell Mitchell Gridiron Golf Tournament, featuring 120 golfers (including about 30 former NFL players), benefits Soldiers’ Angels, an organization that supports American troops overseas by writing letters and sending care packages.

Ziegenfuss starting getting help from Soldiers’ Angels at Walter Reed Army Medical Center when he received a call from founder Patti Patton-Bader.

“She asked me what I wanted,” Ziegenfuss said. “I said a laptop so that I could communicate with my troops. It didn’t dawn on me that I couldn’t use my hands.”

To assist Ziegenfuss, Soldiers’ Angels purchased software that allows users to completely control a computer with their voice. Ziegenfuss said Soldiers’ Angels have provided more than 3,000 laptops with the software for soldiers.

“It’s nice to be in a position to be able to have a positive effect on people’s lives,” said Harris, who won four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers and rushed for 12,120 yards in 13 seasons.

When he played for the Baltimore Colts, Mitchell rushed for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. Named to three Pro Bowls, he led the NFL in pass receptions in 1974 and 1977.

“We try to get involved in the community,” Mitchell said. “To give back and to help a person is a wonderful feeling. We can’t cure the world but we can certainly give back and try.”

Between $40,000 and $80,000 is usually given to the selected charity, said Luana Harris-Scott, the tournament’s event coordinator and fundraiser, not to mention Harris’ sister.

Funds are usually given to a children’s hospital but Harris-Scott said it was decided to change the focus this year.

“Sometimes we forget about the people in our own back yards,” Harris-Scott said. “The soldiers put their lives on the line for us every day and we wanted to do something in return for them to show our appreciation.”

Soldiers’ Angels became a formal organization in 2004 after one of Patton-Bader’s deployed sons said soldiers were not getting mail.

Now the organization sends 10,000 care packages to soldiers a week and 25,000 letters a month. They have adopted 300,000 soldiers and donated 25,000 laptop computers.

Ziegenfuss initially came across the organization because he was looking for ways to get mail for soldiers in the company he commanded.

But after his injury, Soldiers’ Angels came to his aid.

“Getting the computer helped me start my recovery,” he said. “It showed me that I can live my life with these injuries.”

Still on active duty, Ziegenfuss visits injured soldiers regularly.

“When I walk in the room, I tell them, ‘Your life hasn’t changed. I’m not here to visit a wounded guy, but to visit a solider,’ ” he said.

Demorris A. Lee can be reached at 445-4174 or


Best Phone Call. Ever.-And a Call for Action shared by Pam @IWT

January 31, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Posted in General Troop Support | Leave a comment
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This is a blog entry by Pam at   IRAQ WAR TODAY  

Best.Phone Call. Ever. — And a Call for Action

A week ago, at lunchtime, my phone rang. It was my personal cell phone, and I was at work. Didn’t recognize the area code, so I didn’t answer. I did, however look up the area code.  

‘Waco, Texas?’ I thought. ‘Who the hell do I know in Waco, Texas?’

I travel for work, but I haven’t been in Texas in a while (and I’ve never been to Waco), so I didn’t think that was it.

Only one other option I could think of – a Soldier.

It rang again. Same number. Though I had to leave in a few moments for a business meeting, I picked it up.

The caller had a mischievous tone in his voice as he asked me how I was doing, and whether I was in CT or travelling that day. ‘OK, I’ll play,’ I thought. There were only a couple of people this could be. Not too many people had this number.

He asked me about my dogs, my work, my family.

And then he asked about the squirrels – an inside joke that only one person outside of my house knew about.

It was my first Soldiers’ Angels adoptee – the one who calls me Big Sis, and who I call alternately SuperSarge, Li’l Bro, or my favorite Cav. Scout.

I’d never talked to him in person before. And unbelievably, after a minute, I had to say,

“You’re not going to believe this, but I have to go. Can I call you back?”

When I did, it turned into a two-hour conversation. The last time I’d heard from him, he was feeling pretty low. Medevac’d out of Iraq his last tour, he’d been going through a pretty tough time, with treatments, evaluations, and the fact that his future military career was in question due to his medical issues.

He’d told me then that at his lowest, he’d re-read a book I sent him – a book full of thank yous and other messages. He said the book kept him focused on the fact that a lot of people were pulling for him, and he couldn’t let them down.

This day, he sounded good – cheery, a bit of a smart@$$ – exactly the way I figured he’d sound based on letters, emails, and instant message conversations.

At one point, he expressed amazement at the fact that I’d known him for four years now. He said I was one of very few people who had seen him at his best and his worst. I told him what I’ve told him a number of times before – that I would be there anytime he needed me.

He told me that thanks to some great people, he was making progress – getting treatment that was working. He said that the place he was at was awesome, and not enough people knew about them.

He also mentioned that he was working to arrange a ski trip for him and some buddies – they had a ski place that was donating equipment and tickets, but they still didn’t have ski jackets, pants, etc. In fact, he wasn’t even sure what the heck they needed – “I’m from Louisiana!”

He wondered if I knew of any place that might be willing to donate ski jackets, pants, etc.

I didn’t, but I did know where to get help. I immediately (with him on the phone) emailed Patti about the trip, what they needed, etc.

Within a few days, they were all set and ready to purchase jackets, pants, etc. – all the cold weather clothing they needed.

When the folks at the clinic asked my Li’l Bro how the heck he’d pulled that off, he reported that he’d said:

“You know how I say I’m the Hand of God on the battlefield? Well, God never goes anywhere without his Angels.”

HOOAH to that.

Patti didn’t hesitate when I asked. Not one second. Her response was “we’d be honored to help.”

And that’s the response I – and so many others – always get when Soldiers’ Angels is asked for help. SA never looks for what can’t be done, but always for what CAN be done. When hurricanes damage barracks, when fires damage FOBs, when it’s hot as heck in Iraq, when wounded heroes need ski gear – it’s “What can we do to help?”

What mattered most in the world to me and to one wounded Hero on that Friday afternoon was getting some warm weather clothing so that six Heroes could go skiing. And again, it was “what can we do to help.”

In the aftermath of a political campaign based on the catch phrase “Yes we can,” SA shows what that really means, but goes further. SA isn’t just “Yes we can” – it’s “Yes we will.”

Unfortunately, as things stand now, the reality of charities / non-profits is that donations are drying up. Whether the economic slowdown / recession / whatever you want to call it has actually hit or not, people perceive that things are rough, and they’re tightening their belts. Unfortunately, one of the things they’re giving up is donations to groups like Soldiers’ Angels.

What that means is that more than 500 Heroes are currently waiting for Angels.

And SA is looking at escalating action in Afghanistan, and continuing efforts in Iraq, and saying, “Yes, we can – but we need your help to do it.”

I’ve seen SA get family members tickets to see wounded heroes, provide voice-activated laptops to wounded heroes, ensure that wounded troops in Germany don’t feel alone, and bring the holidays to tens of thousands of deployed Heroes.

It doesn’t take much to be a part of it.

$5.00 sends a cool scarf to a Hero, to alleviate the misery of the desert heat.

$13.00 sends a 150-minute phone card.

$29.00 buys a kit to make a Blanket of Hope that you can send to comfort a wounded Hero.

$32.00 helps send a Welcome Home pack to a Hero.

$45.00 – $55.00 provides a welcome thank you to a veteran, or provides much-needed necessities to our Heroes, who often arrive at the hospital with nothing.

Or why not adopt a Hero? A letter a week / a package a month is all it takes. The USPS provides free mailing supplies to those who are sending to deployed troops, and they’ve got flat-rate priority mail shipping. My average package from the East Coast to an APO starting with 09 is about $6.00 – $8.00 to ship. Homemade treats, goofy gifts to bring a laugh, books, magazines – the contents don’t have to be remarkable. The recipients, though, certainly are.

Without my involvement in SA, I would never have met my friend the SuperSarge, who I’ve talked to on the phone several times since, and who is one of the finest people it has ever been my privilege to know (seriously, Li’l Bro – you rock). Without SA, I would never have blogged. I would never have been to Walter Reed and had the chance to meet some incredible Heroes. Five minutes to sign up online changed my life, put me in the company of Heroes, and made me a better person. And my Li’l Bro would never have gotten a message book that provided a lift in one of his lowest moments. That’s what SA does; what it means.

It means that Heroes half a world away, or right here at home, know we care.

How much is it worth to have the chance to thank a Hero? One less latte at Starbucks? A night at the movies? That jar of pennies?

It really doesn’t take much – but it might mean everything.


America’s Heroes at Work – Supporting employment Success of Returning Service Members with TBI & PTSD

January 26, 2009 at 6:37 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Americas Heroes at Work

America's Heroes at Work

“Supporting the Employment Success of Veterans with TBI and PTSD

DOL Launches Employer Educational Initiative – America’s Heroes at Work


The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently unveiled America’s Heroes at Work, a unique program designed to help employers support veterans who are coping with two increasingly common battlefield injuries – Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Launched in August 2008, the initiative equips businesses and the workforce development system with the tools they need to help those affected by TBI and/or PTSD succeed in the workplace—particularly service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.


By many accounts, hundreds of thousands of brave men and women are expected to be coping with TBI and PTSD as they reenter civilian life.  And although their injuries may not be visible, veterans experiencing combat stress or a brain injury may face difficulties, especially with respect to employment.  They may suffer from headaches, vertigo, balance problems, anxiety and sleep disturbance, among other symptoms.  They also may have cognitive symptoms including short-term memory deficits, poor concentration and decision-making difficulties.  All of these can interfere with everyday activities, inside and outside of the workplace.


However, DOL wants employers to know that often simple workplace supports can help individuals with TBI and/or PTSD succeed in their jobs, and that employment can play a major role in their recovery.  It has launched a comprehensive Web site — – that offers support and education concerning ways to assist returning service members with TBI and PTSD in their transition and beyond into the work place.  Specifically, it educates employers, human resources professionals, the workforce development system, and vocational rehabilitation professionals on accommodations they can make for employees living with a brain injury or combat stress.  It also provides a toll-free phone number that employers can call for personalized assistance related to accommodations for veterans with disabilities (800-526-7234).


Examples of accommodations for people with TBI or PTSD include lighting adjustments to prevent headaches, tape recorders to help with memory, or a quiet workspace to support concentration.  Other promising practices include job sharing, job coaching, flexible schedules and workplace mentoring.


The America’s Heroes at Work Web site educates employers on these supports and offers additional resources such as easy-to-understand fact sheets, reference guides, training tools, and helpful links.  It also highlights some real-life success stories of veteran employees with TBI or PTSD and the satisfied employers who hired them. is merely the centerpiece of a targeted, ongoing DOL outreach campaign that will help increase awareness of TBI and PTSD issues among the workforce system, and educate employers on how to help those with TBI and/or PTSD succeed—whether their employees are veterans, first-responders or any one of the millions of Americans experiencing a mental illness or the effects of a head injury.  


Additionally, America’s Heroes at Work aims to dispel some of the myths related to people with TBI and PTSD by stressing the facts—that 80% of TBIs are mild concussions that will heal fully, and that PTSD is nothing an employer should fear.  After all, veteran employees, including those with disabilities, make exceptional employees who will bring bottom-line benefits to one’s business.


America’s Heroes at Work is managed by DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) in collaboration with other federal agencies engaged in TBI and PTSD programs, including the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services and Education, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration and others.  Educational materials on the Web site were produced collaboratively with the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and TBI; the Defense and Veterans’ Brain Injury Center; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and the Job Accommodation Network.


For more information, visit  “

Soldiers Needing Adoption Critical

January 22, 2009 at 9:08 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

<a href=”;col=1&amp;row=1&amp;value=942&amp;category=%0A&amp;series=%0A“>Soldiers’ Angels </a> hero adoption waiting list is over 900 today.  All these heroes waiting to be adopted are currently serving overseas, away from their families and could use some additional support form you. Won’t you please consider adopting a hero today? All is takes is the commitment from you to write a letter a week and send one small care package a month during the length of the deployment. To adopt a hero, click <a href=”“>here</a> now. 

If adoption does not suit you and you would like to get involved with Soldiers’ Angels, there are many opportunities for everyone to get involved. Just click <a href=”“>here</a> to find out more.

~May no soldier go unloved~

Christmas Mission of Gratitude Complete!

January 22, 2009 at 4:55 am | Posted in Fisher Houses | Leave a comment
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After weeks of snow storms that had angels snowed in, our Christmas Campaign evolved into Operation Happy New Year. Our mission of gratitude was finally complete with deliveries made on January 11 to the VA’s & Fisher Houses. 
Many angels, churches, organizations including Soldiers’ Angels & The Elks, clubs, families and friends pitched in to make this a very successful campaign!       

Thanks to Angel Susan Katris, we arrived at the Vinning Sparks office building in Seattle and saw box upon box of games donated by Rick Rayl and the company BD&A (Bensussen Deutsch Associates) Susan had been busy wrapping most of the 400 games before Christmas and the employees got in the spirit and donated all the batteries included for one of the games. It was absolutely overwhelming to see so many boxes and know that these would help our goal of giving something to each Veteran/FisherHouse Family a reality. The only problem was how to transport them to the VAs! It was all of a sudden very evident we needed either a semi trailer or a lot of vehicles! 

We got busy wrapping the remainder of the games, sorting stockings, candy, blankets and other items donated by so many generous people. The stockings were filled to the brim with such thoughtful lovely and the blankets…many handmade were heartwarming to see. 

Thanks to Susan Katris, Lori Thompson, Gail Jensen & her son Daniel, Lindsay Herbst, Kathy Bergman, Tracy Patterson,KT Layton, Dawn Day,Jewell & Tony Morelli and myself (julie Morelli) we sorted and packed up our vehicles to convoy to the Puget Sound HCS (Seatte & American Lake) and the Fisher Houses. 

It was lovely to visit with the Veterans & their families at the Hospitals. They were incredibly appreciative and enjoyed the visits more than anything. That’s the thing…the visits are the real gift….and from all the feedback received, we warmed the hearts of many. 

I remember our first Walmart event to help this endeavor beginning with the horrible experience of angry people hurling insults about the military, the attending angel feeling so hurt and me thinking oh man..we are in trouble! Then the next day with the advice and encouragement of Patti and a few adjustments, we turned it around to be such a showing of goodwill that continued all the way to the final delivery. In such difficult times, people really pulled together to make a show our gratitude to our Veterans.

My heartfelt thanks to every single person that helped on this project. I appreciated all the advice, help to spread the word and donations you were able to generate.  You made a difference Smile Wings 






Lindsay, Susan, Tony & Jewell busy wrapping Games donated by Rick Rayl at BD&A (Bensussen Deutsch Associates)

Lindsay, Susan, Tony & Jewell busy wrapping Games donated by Rick Rayl at BD&A (Bensussen Deutsch Associates.


Thank you Angel Susan Katris for wrapping all these games!!! Thanks also to Vinning Sparks for the use of the office & all the Vinning Sparks employees for donating the batteries for the games. You made so many happy with your efforts!

Thank you Angel Susan Katris for wrapping all these games!!! Thanks also to Vinning Sparks for the use of the office & all the Vinning Sparks employees for donating the batteries for the games. You made so many happy with your efforts!


Angels KT, Gail, Organizing stockings

Angels KT, Jewell & Gail, Organizing stockings




The beginnings of our stack of Blankets. It got much higher! Thanks to all angels, companies and organizations who donated the blankets!

The beginnings of our stack of Blankets. It got much higher! Thanks to all angels, companies and organizations who donated the blankets!

More Beautiful blankets!! Thanks to all the people who bought and made these lovely gifts!

More Beautiful blankets!! Thanks to all the people who bought and made these lovely gifts!



Another Beautiful Creation!

Angel Kathy Bergman holds another beautiful creation!

Angel Lindsay & Tony working hard!

Angel Lindsay & Tony working hard!

Angels, Tracy, KT, Daniel Tony, Gail and Jewell sorting candy & stockings. Yes all those boxes are ready to go!

Angels, Tracy, KT, Daniel Tony, Gail and Jewell sorting candy & stockings. Yes all those boxes are ready to go!

Angels Kathy and Lori sorting!

Angels Kathy and Lori sorting!


I missed some people in these photos!  Thanks for helping everyone. It was a great effort by a ton of people 🙂  You made a difference by remembering !


January 17, 2009 at 7:11 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We have launched our Operation Valentine to spread some love and appreciation to our Hospitalized Veterans during National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week Feb 9 – 14th! 


Football Greats Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell Host Angels and Heroes

January 15, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Posted in General Troop Support | Leave a comment
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Steelers star Franco Harris is hosting a golf tournament fundraiser for Soldiers’ Angels in Tampa (site of the Super Bowl) this week.  He’s great guy and strong supporter of the troops, as he’s proving here.   Milbloggers Chuck Z, Toby Nunn and Andi Hurley are among those representing SA at the event.  Here’s an early report from a press release going out at 0430 Eastern (Friday):

Football Greats Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell Host Angels and Heroes


2009 Grid Iron Golf Tournament in Tampa Spotlights Soldiers’ Angels

Led by football greats Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell, the 2009 Grid Iron Golf Tournament in support of the troops kicked off last night with the Immaculate Reception & Dinner at Timpano Italian Chophouse in Tampa.  Military support non-profit Soldiers’ Angels is this year’s beneficiary of an event that has been conducted concurrent with each Super Bowl since 1997 and has resulted in over $180,000 raised for a variety of charitable causes. The golf tournament itself is underway today at the renowned Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Tampa, Florida.

“It’s wonderful that these football heroes chose to honor America’s heroes on the battlefield and the homefront. We are so appreciative of the generosity shown to Soldiers’ Angels by these stars,” says Soldiers’ Angels volunteer Andi Hurley, a military spouse and founder of  Other Soldiers’ Angels representatives attending the event include co-founder Jeff Bader, Treasurer Mark Concialdi, Team Development Director and veteran Toby Nunn, and wounded active-duty soldier Major Charles Ziegenfuss.   

As a Pennsylvania resident and proud Steelers fan, Major Ziegenfuss is thrilled to be in Tampa during Super Bowl week. “I just met Franco Harris,” he exclaims.  “For a Steeler fan that’s like meeting the Pope.  I tried to thank him for the tournament, and he thanked me!”

Fellow veteran Toby Nunn agrees that this is a special event.  “Some lucky celebrities are getting the privilege of playing golf with real heroes like Major Ziegenfuss and Staff Sergeant Adam Bruha.  The golf course is terrific, and the fellowship couldn’t be better.”

Established in 2003 by the mother of two young veterans, Soldiers’ Angels is fast becoming one of America’s premiere military support organizations. With an army of volunteers operating through over 30 different teams and projects, the organization supports deployed soldiers and their families, comforts families of the fallen, provides care and support in military hospitals and VA facilities, and much, much more.

ABOUT SOLDIERS’ ANGELS:  A volunteer-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Soldiers’ Angels provides aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, as well as veterans and military families. For more information, see www.soldiersangels.orgor call 626-529-5114. Tax ID# 20-0583415

For more information about the tournament, contact Luana Scott at 619-279-5879

Free Disney Vacations for Troops!

January 12, 2009 at 6:03 pm | Posted in General Troop Support | 1 Comment
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Thanks CJ at a Soldier’s Perspective  &  You served website for this news! I also found some other discounts that may come in handy over at Mouse Misers.

Happy Magic making!

Disney Offers Free Vacations To Troops

As Disney Parks ask “What Will You Celebrate?” and invite guests to turn their personal milestones into magical family vacations in 2009, America’s military personnel will have one more reason to celebrate: Free multi-day admission to Disney’s U.S. theme parks.

With the “Disney’s Armed Forces Salute” offer, active and retired U.S. military personnel, including active and retired members of the United States Coast Guard and activated members of the National Guard or Reservists, can enjoy complimentary, multi-day admission into Disney’s U.S. theme parks, great rates at select Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort hotels, and additional special ticket offers for family members and friends.

“For so many of the men and women who serve in our U.S. military, time together with their families is cause enough for celebration,” said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “We are grateful for their service and hope ‘Disney’s Armed Forces Salute’ will allow our troops to create wonderful, magical memories with their family and friends.”
At the Disneyland Resort in Southern California:

Through June 12, 2009, each active or retired member of the U.S. military can receive one complimentary three-day “Disney’s Armed Forces Salute” Park Hopper ticket valid for admission to both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure parks. During the offer period, active or retired U.S. military personnel also may make a one-time purchase of an adult or child three-day “Disney’s Armed Forces Salute Companion” Park Hopper ticket for up to five family members (including spouse) or friends for the price of an adult 1-Day Park Hopper ticket.

Disneyland Resort hotels are also offering special room rates for active or retired military personnel. For example, at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, active or retired members of the military and their families may find hotel rooms starting at $119 per night during value season, with great savings during other times of the offer period. This offer is available through June 12, 2009, and the number of rooms available at these special rates is limited.

For information regarding “Disney’s Armed Forces Salute” at the Disneyland Resort, or to make reservations, military personnel may call 714/95….
At Walt Disney World Resort in Florida:

Through Dec. 23, 2009, each active or retired member of the U.S. military may obtain one complimentary 5-day “Disney’s Armed Forces Salute” ticket with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More options. This ticket is valid for five days of admission into the four Walt Disney World theme parks, plus a total of five visits to a choice of a Disney water park, DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park or certain other attractions. During this offer period, active or retired U.S. military personnel may also make a one-time purchase of up to a maximum of five 5-Day “Disney’s Armed Forces Salute Companion” tickets (one theme park per day) for $99 per ticket, plus tax, for family members (including spouse) or friends. Although this ticket for family members and friends does not include either the Park Hopper or Water Park Fun & More options, this ticket can be upgraded to add either such option, or both, for an additional $25, plus tax, per option. All tickets and options are non-transferable and must be used by Dec. 23, 2009.

Ask about the great rates that may be available at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels for active or retired U.S. military personnel during this offer period.

For information on the “Disney’s Armed Forces Salute” offer at Walt Disney World Resort or the Disneyland Resort, or to make reservations, active and retired U.S. Military personnel may call the ITT office on their base. Information about “Disney’s Armed Forces Salute” offer at Walt Disney World Resort is also available at

Through the years, The Walt Disney Company has demonstrated its support of United States’ servicemen and women through a variety of initiatives. Disney’s support for the U.S. Marines’ Toys for Tots program started 58 years ago – when Walt Disney became one of the original sponsors. Since 1995, Disney’s Operation Uplift program has sent over 90,000 postcards to troops worldwide, thanking them for their service. The company also supports U.S. service members and their families as a sponsor of the USO and its centers. Each year, Operation Disney Care packages, containing Disney DVDs, books, magazines and games, are sent to centers around the world to help entertain the servicemen/women and their families, Disney Minnie Grants are used to host family appreciation events, while Disney VoluntEARS donate many hours participating in local USO projects.

I say Way to go Disney! I wish they’d give free admission for Military Members all year round!


January 9, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I just received an email from Dr. Bridget Cantrell, passing on information given to her by Gold Star Mom Doris Kent who lost her son Jonathan. She wanted to make sure we all spread the word.    

Hi all,
I don’t know if this information gets disseminated far and wide so I thought I would forward it. Free airfare to get to the TAPS seminar in Washington DC for Memorial Weekend. My family and I went in 2005 and the families were taken to Arlington Cemetary where we had seats just a stones throw from the President. Please help spread the word to other Gold Star families.

always with much love and hope,
Doris Kent

HERE IS THE EMAIL SENT BY Bonnie Carroll from the Tragedy Assistance Program. 

Dear Friends,

We hope that you found comfort, support, and the beginning of healing if you attended one of the TAPS National or Regional Seminars last year. And we are hoping that you are planning to join us this year at the 15th Annual TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar & Good Grief Camp for Children on May 22-25 in Washington, DC. 

This is a very special gathering at which we remember the love we have in our hearts, celebrate the life we were so blessed to know, and share the grief journey together even though we experience individual heartache and pain.

TAPS is proud to sponsor free air travel for those participants who need financial assistance to attend the national seminar. There are a limited number of airline tickets, and they are available on a first come, first served basis. 

If you are interested in taking advantage of this one-time offer, please email TAPS before February 1, 2009 at registration @ with the information requested below, and we will work on getting you free airfare. We want you there!

Name, address, and relationship to deceased for everyone in the household who will be attending the National Seminar. If the person is under age 18, include the date of birth.
Telephone number where we can best reach you.
A little information about your deceased loved one – whatever you would like to share.
A statement that you have read and understand the entire email, including travel restrictions, cost of registration, and hotel costs.
A sentence or two (or more, if you like) telling us why you hope to attend the National Seminar.

After we receive your email response, TAPS will begin the process for obtaining the airline tickets. In order to make sure that the tickets are used for the purpose intended, you will be required to register for the seminar aft er we reserve your tickets. To register, go to and simply click on the National Seminar button on the right near the top of the home page. TAPS is pleased to offer a seminar registration fee of $185 for each adult and $50 for each child. Registration fees defray the cost of the included meals, ground transportation, workshops, and conference materials. We are honored to be able to charge attendees only a fraction of the costs we incur. Once you have registered each person for the seminar, TAPS will complete the confirmation process for the airline tickets.

Please be aware that you will also need to register for your hotel rooms. The Gaylord National has deeply discounted the price so that the TAPS nightly rate is $139.00 plus a $15.00 resort fee. This does not reflect the tax which will be added upon checkout. You can register for your hotel rooms right from the TAPS site, too. 

Please read carefully the limitations for the free air travel:
Flights are limited to domestic travel within the United States
Specific flight times cannot be requested.
Flights will be scheduled to arrive in Washington, DC on May 20th or May 21st.
Flights will be scheduled to depart Washington, DC on May 25th or May 26th.

We are so hopeful you will be with us, and so grateful to be able to offer airfare!

With love and care,



Dr. Sanjay Gupta to be Named Surgeon General??

January 7, 2009 at 7:24 pm | Posted in General Troop Support | Leave a comment
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Found this article through a link to Ace of Spades HQ thanks to Blackfive. More than the info about Dr. Gupta possibly becoming the next surgeon general, I  found the information linked at the bottom of the article to a story of Dr. Gupta operating on a Marine in the FRSS to be of particular interest. What they are doing on the frontlines to give our wounded warriors the best fighting chance of survival is phenomenal.  


ACE OF SPADES HQ  ARTICLE is as follows:

January 06, 2009

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta To Be Named Surgeon General?

Quick…name the current Surgeon General (no fair using Google or any search engine). Yeah, me neither.

Well, it looks like the celebrity president is about to have a cable celebrity as Surgeon General.

The Obama transition team approached Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, about becoming U.S. surgeon general, according to sources inside the transition and at CNN….The transition team is impressed with the combination of Gupta’s past government experience, as a White House fellow in 1997 and a special adviser to then-first lady Hillary Clinton, along with his medical career as a neurosurgeon and his communication skills, the transition source said.

Gupta is a member of the staff and faculty of the Department of Neurosurgery at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. He regularly performs surgery at Emory University Hospital and at Grady Memorial Hospital, where he serves as associate chief of neurosurgery.


I have to say I could not care less about who become Surgeon General but Gupta seems to have a lot in his favor. He’s likely to want to go back on TV, so I doubt he’ll be as stupid as Joycelyn Elders. He’s also cuffed Michael Moore around over Moore’s film Sicko. Most importantly, while in Iraq doing a story for CNN he operated on and saved the life of a Marine. That makes him okay with me.

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