Thursday, May 31, 2007

Our Very Own Angel Robin Meets Lt. Dan Himself

Robin, who is one of our Soldier's Angels managers and has been involved in this group forever was in Washington, DC for the Memorial Day parade and event. While there, she met actor Gary Sinise, and.....I'll let her tell the story.
I was lucky enough to see him and introduce myself. I am not shy when it comes to SA. He was at the Parade to ride on the float with our wounded warriors from Walter Reed

I thanked him ( on behalf of SA) for being a spokesperson and stepping up on so many occassions to speak on behalf of our troops and the wounded.

He told me that when he was visiting Anaconda he got one of our backpacks and he talked about one of the special blankets that was inside. You could see his eyes light up, remembering.

He told me the backpacks are REALLY needed and was so glad we sent them/ He hugged me...yep I got a hug from the man himself. No pictures to prove it buy my daughter Rachael is my
witness. -Robin

Mr. Sinise is very involved in supporting our troops and in my opinion, is one hell of an guy. I am constantly reading about one activity after another that he is involved with in supporting our troops. He's not a celebrity who wears a ribbon on his jacket and leaves it at that.

And the realization that he remembers our First Response Backpacks for the wounded and those wonderful Blankets of Hope we send, well I'm a little star-struck.

Thanks Gary, for all you do.


Sunday, May 27, 2007


I'd like to simply dedicate today's entry to the memory of some people who did not hesitate to serve:

My wife's great-great grandfather:
Samuel Runnels - 11th Mississippi Infantry, Battle of Vicksburg
My wife's grandfather:
Alonzo Runnels - US Army, WWI †

My Uncles:
Paul Swendsen - US Army forward artillery spotter - Europe, WWII †
Carl Swendsen - US Army, WWII †
Roy Swendsen - US Army Air Corp, South Pacific, WWII †
Henry Godskesen - US Army Engineering Corp, WWII †

My Father-In-Law:
Charlie Runnels - US Navy, Korea †

My cousin:
Harlan Roy Swendsen - US Navy, Vietnam †

My Brother-in-law:
Carlos Hernandez - US Army Huey Helicopter Crewman, Vietnam †

For all you did for us....we remember


Saturday, May 26, 2007


My brand-new contact Nancy at TF Med in Afghanistan has asked for help. They see lots of pediatric patients and writes:

It is amazing how much we take for granted and have that is unheard of here. For instance, we took a picture of one little fellow and his Dad--when we took the photos, his Dad asked for copies and we printed them off on a color printer for him. He was so excited--I don't think pictures are common here at all. so this may have been their first exposure ever to photos.

There is one picture that "Little Smalls" as we call him (the gun shot wound to the abdomen) We also nicknamed the burn fellow "Little Bit". They are adorable and in so much need of love and nurturing that it breaks our hearts also.You and your group are so great to help us meet these needs. We can't thank you enough!!Nancy

This is a small boy the nurses nicknamed Little Smalls who was shot in the abdomen. Nancy said this little guy just won all their hearts. No wonder, with those eyes.

The medics could really use some help with the following items:
-baby formula
-baby bottles
-baby food
-baby clothes
-children's clothing
-baby blankets
-stuffed animals, coloring books, markers (a small "care package" with these items in a gallon-sized ziploc bag would be great)

If you can help, email me for the address.

This is Little Bit. He was burned in an IED attack.

Charlie Med. Camp Ramadi - what a MASCAL looks like

Here are some links to a couple of blog sites with some absolutely stunning movies made by two medics at Camp Ramadi, where my good buddy Jason works. You will see what a MASCAL looks like, as wounded arrive by helicopter, humvee, APC, IP police cars and pick-up trucks. Just amazing.
We have sent them a ton of support and this has been one of our real success stories at Soldier's Angels.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Trip to Washington, Walter Reed and serenity

I attended the 2007 Milblog conference early this month. You've all read about it by now, very impressive experience, all in all. I got to play with the big kids, those bloggers who actually post new, important and interesting stuff every day, instead of me, who can usually never figure out something to say.

Anyway, DC is still about the same, still full of traffic and bureaucrats. Hasn't changed at all since I lived there. But I got my picture taken with Abe for about the 4th time, beginning when I was in High School. He hasn't changed in all those years, and neither have I, honest.
I also got a chance to visit Walter Reed for the first time in 34 years. That's where I was stationed during the Vietnam War, and it was quite an experience to go back. Soldier's Angels hosted a BBQ for the patients at Mologne house, and I got to meet several of them. I've never talked to a more inspiring group of people in my life. I like to think that some of them were treated at CSH's that I've helped to send supplies to. Made me feel good.
DJ and I walked around, introduced ourselves and passed out cigars, which were a big hit. One group of guys were a Dad and three friends? brothers? who were visiting a young patient in a wheelchair. They all gratefully accepted a stogie, and we got to chatting. Found out the young guys were all Marine Corps officers, just graduated and damned impressive to talk with. I still felt compelled to mess with them, just a little, being from a strictly Army family myself. But we had fun.
The cigars were a donation from Uncle Mikey, at in Richmond, VA. Mike is a hell of a guy, Vietnam Vet and retired Army officer. We spoke by phone before my trip and he helped me put some stuff in perspective about my own military experience. I really wasn't sure I'd measure up to visiting those wounded heroes, not sure I'd know what to say to them.
I also realized that I'd been carrying around a heavy load of stuff for 30 years. I went direct from Basic to Walter Reed to be a computer programmer. No idea that I'd walk into a hospital full of amputees and burn patients who came straight from Vietnam while I was moaning about basic training and my life in general. Ever since, I always felt guilty about what little I did, while they gave so much. And that I had no way to help them while I was stationed at the hospital.
Mike helped me realize that my contribution did matter. Everybody's does. Seems simple now, but hell, what a load off my shoulders. And that's the moral to today's story - no matter how small your contribution seems, it does make a difference. Now get out there and do it.

Senator Hillary gives speech to veterans

And the vets were prepared.....