Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial 100

In 2005, a Marine Reserve Unit, 3rd Battalion 25th Marines deployed to Iraq.  They lost 48 of their brothers throughout that deployment.  In 2010, three of the Marines that served with those lost created the Memorial 100 to honor those lost.  The event became a relay run for the Memorial Day Weekend in an effort to "interrupt" the holiday weekend and remind people that Memorial Day was set to remember those lost.

For the first two years, the relay was held in Virginia, beginning at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond and ending at the Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington D.C.  From point-to-point, the course was 106 miles, broken apart by several different runners.  Each leg was run by two people, one carrying the American Flag, the second carrying the Hope For The Warriors® flag.  In 2011, they also raised funds for Hope For The Warriors®.

This year, the location was changed to New York.  Relay participants started at Orient Point, NY and the relay moved 100 miles west, ending at Ground Zero. 

The group also added first responders to the participants and quickly gained support from several great New York groups.  They included:  FDNY Marine Corps Association, FDNY Retired Firefighters, NYPD USMC Association, Suffolk County Police, Nassau County Police, Riverhead Police Department, Southold Fire Department, Southold Police Department and the NYPD and FDNY.

The Memorial 100 Run was a perfect fit for the people of Long Island and New York.  Residents lined the street, cheered for the runners and honored those lost.  As one participant shared, it was a life-changing event.

The entire group arrived at Ground Zero on Sunday morning and were joined by many first-responders.  It is easy to understand the respect each group--military, fire and police departments--share for each other.  All serve in spite of the risk to their personal safety and all have lost friends in the line of duty.

One highly respected man that the group thanked was FDNY Captain John Vigiano.  Captain Vigiano lost two sons on 9/11, one who was with the FDNY and the other NYPD.  Since that time, Captain Vigiano and his wife have dedicated their time and efforts to supporting not only first responders in New York but also wounded service members and military families.  He has given overwhelming support to Hope For The Warriors®.

The group presented Hope For The Warriors® with a beautiful piece of art work.  The battaltion logo and the Hope For The Warriors® logo are painted over the city of New York, connected by 48 stars--one for each fallen service member in 3/25. 

Thank you to everyone that participated in the Memorial 100.  Thank you to those that ran, those that volunteered their time, those that donated and those that cheered.  This was truly an event that honored our fallen service members.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day: A Day to Honor

On Saturday morning, as I waited in the line at my bank, one of the employees turned to me and asked about my plans for the holiday weekend.  Did I have a picnic, bbq, or party planned?  Was I going out of town? What fun adventures did I plan for my extra day off?  At no point did she ask whether I was somehow, honoring those lost on behalf of our freedoms.

Today's post is a speech written by a Gold Star Mother.  She gave this speech last week at an event in Alabama.  This weekend,with our extra day off, I hope that each of you also remember and honor those lost.  And please remember our Gold Star Families--their pain continues.

Cpl Matthew Bolar, United States Army
"Good morning, I am Anne Adkins and like a lot of you in this room today I’m a mom.  I’m the mom of Cpl Matthew Bolar who was killed in Iraq on May 3, 2007.  I am here to represent the Alabama Department of the American Gold Star Mothers."

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday's Photo

A picture is worth a thousand words.

We were excited to ring the NASDAQ bell as part of Fleet Week
and to begin Memorial Day Weekend.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday's Photo

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Our Jacksonville staff prepares for thousands to run in the
Run For The Warriors® this Saturday.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday's Photo

A picture is worth a thousand words.

A mother honors her son at the Harmon Meadows Run For The Warriors®
Photo provided courtesy of Joey's Studio

Monday, May 7, 2012

#1 Fan-A Wish Granted

Little boys are notorious for giving their mothers all sorts of grief, and then, when they grow up, it seems as though many of them have a special place in their heart and life for their mothers. One Army Specialist was that boy.   

Growing up with his mom as his #1 fan at all football games and events, nothing changed when he pursued his dream of a career in the Army. Through deployments and training, his mother was there for it all—even when that meant giving up everything to help him through his rehabilitation after sustaining injuries from an IED in 2005. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Riding for Julian

Friendships made in high school and college often create life-long friendships. Adam Fujita and Julian Brennan spent their academy days as close friends, and their bond continued after graduation.

LCpl. Julian Brennan, a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, found his niche in theater and the arts growing up. After graduating AADA, however, he followed what he felt to be his true calling into the Marine Corps. His family’s tradition of service, highlighted by his grandfather who fought in WWII, led this Brooklyn boy to enlist. On January 24, Julian became the second New Yorker to die in 2009; he was killed by a roadside bomb.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New Logo, Sharper Focus

Hope For The Warriors® was founded in 2006 by a group of military wives.  These women witnessed firsthand the impact of the wars on service members and their families.  Our “vintage” logo represented the wounded service member and our desire to support that warrior.

From day one, our organization has also addressed the needs of the entire family.  Family includes not only spouses and children but also parents and siblings.   That is the first reason that we are excited to reveal our new logo. 

Our organization, staff and programs remain dedicated to each service member and family member that we assist.   Our new logo does not change who we are, rather, it better reflects our commitment to the entire family, restoring their sense of self, restoring the family unit and restoring hope.   

Hope For The Warriors® also recognizes that regardless of when the war ends, our combat veterans will continue to need our support.  Many of our wounded were never carried off of the battlefield.  They completed their deployment and came home.  Their wounds were not noticed until they attempted to transition back into a civilian community.  Our new logo better reflects the span of wounds—both visible and hidden.

We will also roll out a new website as we approach summer.  Be sure to visit www.hopeforthewarriors.org for a new look and an improved layout, making it easier to navigate programs and events.

We hope that you share our excitement as we continue to meet the shifting challenges of our military families.  We are proud of the work that has been accomplished in the last six years and we are ready to meet new challenges head on.