Old Glory

Monday, June 27, 2011

WWP Fundraiser "in loving Memory of CPL Chad S Wade"

What a great weekend!  We participated in a fundraiser Chad's buddies ("The Nuts" and some of their girlfriends/wives) along with Emily Shumates parents, Mike & Wendy Jones hosted a fundraiser in Rogers, AR Saturday for the Wounded Warrior Project in memory of CPL Chad S Wade.  You may remember that we requested donations to go to the WWP in lieu of flowers at Chad's funeral.  We didn't have our Wings for Our Troops kicked off at the time and we wanted to give back so this was the perfect fit, especially since some of Chad's buddies were going to need some medical attention when they returned home from their injuries so what better way to give back.  Neile Jones of KNWA https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/NeileJonesBatie
covered this fundraiser as well as interviewing Tebo and I to learn more about Chad and Wings for Our Troops www.wingsforourtroops.com She did an amazing job and was so warm and caring.  Please go to her Face Book page and like her and check out all the amazing things she is doing not only for our community, but for our troops as well.

The fundraiser this weekend was what I would consider a huge success.  Approximately $2,400 was collected for the WWP and it was heart warming to see the support from the community like we did.  There were many veterans there as well as some active military and those who just love our military men and women and wanted to do something to give back.  It was a great day.  The chicken cooked by Whitey Smith and the Chicken Cookin' Crew did a great job!  I have no clue how much chicken they actually cooked Saturday, but we were the 2nd chicken cook they had that day!  Can you imagine?  Not only were they grilling over hot grills, but the temperatures were in the upper 90's.  I never heard one complaint and there were lots of smiles and laughter going on.  We had a representative from Senator John Boozman's office was there as well as congressman Steve Womack.  They presented us with the reading from the House floor that took place in December.  It truly was an honor that Tebo and I were proud to be a part of.  It is our hope and prayer that no military man or woman goes unappreciated for their service and sacrifice.  In addition, it has become our mission to make sure every military man or woman has the opportunity to go home before and after deployment to spend precious time with their loved ones.  

Representative from Senator John Boozman's Office

Me with the "Nuts" and "Baby Peanut"

WWP in memory of Chad

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Very exciting stuff going on...

We have so much activity going on either with Wings for Our Troops "in loving memory of CPL Chad S Wade" or with the Wounded Warrior Project and we couldn't be more excited.  Let me update you on a few things taking place.  First Wings for Our Troops foundation is off to such a good start that we are looking into going forward with our 501C-3 status (non-profit tax deductible status).  I hope to have all the confirmation and next steps for that before next week.  We also have our official logo now, courtesy of Whitney Killebrew of whitneyelainedesigns.com

In addition to the logo we now have a pamphlet, also courtesy of whitneyelainedesigns.com
and our Tyson print shop for the first printed copies rolling out! 

This weekend in Rogers, AR there will be a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project in memory of Chad.  His buddies and some of their parents will be grilling chicken (donated by Tyson Foods, Inc) and merchants will be donating proceeds to the WWP and the local barber will be doing hair cuts for donations that will go to the WWP.  There will be orange ribbons on door fronts and a special presentation at 1:00 PM (central time).  It's all very exciting and anything we can do to support and honor all our troops is always a worthy cause. 

Also, my sister, Amber Paige Banks, in Asheville, NC at Fun Depot on July 8th to raise money for our foundation.  So, if you just happen to be in Asheville, NC that day stop by for some fun and games for a great cause.   You can find Amber Paige Banks on Face Book and check out more about this fundraiser.

We have another donor that is creating a new t-shirt design for their Christian Rock Band, "TAKE IT BACK" that will donate proceeds from that t-shirt to our foundation.  As soon as they have the  t-shirt created I will share a picture of that with you here and through our website at www.wingsforourtroops.com They are reaching young people (really people of all ages) for the Lord and will incorporate our foundation in their good works.  You can find them on Face Book if you just search for TAKE IT BACK.  They are doing great things!

Things are shaking and moving and it won't be long and we will be able to purchase our first ticket for a Marine to go home before or after deployment.  I cannot wait until that day comes and I can share that news with you! 

Thanks to all who are already heavily involved and committed to seeing this come to fruition.  Doesn't it feel good to pay it forward and especially for these men and women who make it possible for us to live safely in this crazy world of ours?   It sure does for me.

Check out our website at www.wingsforourtroops.com courtesy of http://www.tektrendz.com who not only created our website, but are hosting it for us as well.  Donations can be made directly from our website or by mailing a check to Wings for Our Troops to 3901 SW Staverton Drive, Bentonville, AR 72712.  We have already collected a little over $1,000 to date and that's before any major fundraisers.  It's mostly been just word of mouth.  How amazing is that?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A visit from our "Bonus Boys"

The guys from Chad's Battalion were released on June 3rd for post deployment leave.  Five of his closest friends decided to take a road trip to AR to see us before going to see their own families.  It was four Mairnes and two wives that made this trip to see us and then a fifth Marine came down from Missouri to join us on Sunday.  They drove 23 hrs from San Diego, CA to Bentonville, AR.  I thank their families from the bottom of my heart for allowing us to steal some of their family time when I know they were just itching to put their arms around their sons.  They arrived ahead of schedule (they tried to blame sweet little Ashley for speeding, but I'm pretty sure it was the boys)... :) arriving around 7:00 PM on Saturday night.  We had a great long weekend.  Tebo cooked for them and just catered to us all.  Thank you to my precious husband for that.  He was amazing.  My sister flew in from NC and my other sister and parents came over from OK to join us.  We just sat around and visited and let the guys just relax and do whatever they felt like doing.  It was wonderful.  On Monday Tebo and I took them to the cemetery so they could pay their last respects to Chad and it was the most tender time I've ever experienced.  They each had their chance to say good-bye and just loved on Tebo and I.  After their time there we went to eat lunch and Tebo took us all to Fast Lanes to ride go-carts and play laser tag.  So let me describe the fun we had.  First they road go-carts and I didn't drive the first time, because I wanted to take pictures (which didn't turn out so good since it was so dark, but I gave it a shot anyway).  They had so much fun, but all these Marines and Lindsey let the tiniest girl beat them!  You go Ashley!  Then we played laser tag.  I didn't intend to participate because I had never done it before, but Tebo convinced me to and it was more fun than I expected.  What was really fun is coming around a corner and hearing RoRo scream like a girl (sorry RoRo).  LOL!  Who knew I was so quiet?  Anyway, I don't know who (if anyone) I shot, but the cutest thing ever was not one of those Marines could shoot me.  Every time they would come up to me they would say, Oh sorry mom, and pull their laser guns back to their chests.  It was so sweet.  I did have to fuss at Zach because he kept running in front of my line of fire and I got tired of shooting him!  :) 
Monday evening Seth, Shawn, and Lindsey left to head to their families in OK.  Seth bought Chad's motorcycle so he road it over there and I have to say... as much as I hated that bike it was much harder to watch it drive away than I anticipated.  I couldn't imagine anyone else buying it though than Seth.  He just better be super careful or else!  Then Zach, Ashley, and RoRo stayed with us until early Wednesday morning.  We just hung out and had a good time.  I did get some one on one time with each of my bonus sons and we got to share our hearts and just make sure each other was okay and it was so needed by me for sure.  It was so hard to watch each of them leave, but that was me being selfish.  I just wanted to hang on to them as long as possible.  I know their families were glad to finally get their hands on them and I will forever be grateful for them giving up some of their own precious time they had with them for us. 
Once they left the reality sunk in that now I don't have an event or visit or ceremony to prepare for and look forward to.  Suddenly it became real and it scared me to death!  I'm so blessed to have my bonus kids from Tebo and will always have my Marine bonus kids and my husband and family and close friends, because they truly carry me through each day.  Most of them probably don't even realize how much they actually help me, but they do.  Just knowing they are there when I need them is enough.  I guess it's just time to start facing this awful truth and focus on our Wings for Our Troops foundation.  Once we purchase that first ticket for a Marine to go home will be a great day!  I can't wait.  This is us paying it forward and those will pay it forward and so on.  How wonderful is that?
Boys will be boys

Angelina, Butters, & Paige

Just chillin on the deck

Pretty sure she is telling big stories :)

Poor RoRo, they wouldn't leave him alone

It's go cart time (btw, Ashley won)

Hey Mom!

No Lindsey, you can't take the Jeep home

Just having fun

Me and two of my boys

Ashley & Paige

What a great night

Solving the world's problems

With friends like these they need no enemies (ha!)

Trying out his new bike...

We are making big progress!

For those just joining us on our Wings for Our Troops blog I will give you a quick run down of what this is all about.  We, as I am sure most people, thought that when our military men and women went home before and after deployment that the government paid for those trips home.  WRONG!  It comes out of their already modest salaries and if they can't afford to make the trip home and don't have family or friends that can help them out financially, then they just have to stay on base until they deploy.  Well, on December 1, 2010, we lost my only child in Afghanistan while in combat.  We had the most amazing pre-deployment leave visit with him.  We were fortunate enough (mainly thanks to my amazing husband) to help he and Katie come home for that visit.  It was 11 days of heaven right here in NW Arkansas.  After December 1st I couldn't imagine not having had that time with him.  Tebo suggested that I revisit my idea of helping our military men and women get home before and after deployments as my new project to focus on.  This foundation is not to help them get home just to hang out with friends and do whatever they want.  This is focused specifically on them getting home before and after deployments.  They, as well as their families need this time before and after and certainly even more so if they have lost a brother in combat.  I believe in their brotherhood they have and I know it helps them a lot, but I also believe their true healing doesn't begin until they are home with their loved ones.
We have our website up and running.  Check it out at http://www.wingsforourtroops.com/ and you can also find us on Face Book by searching for Wings for Our Troops.  We have been so blessed with people wanting to donate proceeds from items they sell to our foundation.  It's their way of paying it forward.  I would like to mention these people myself and you can also find links to their websites/blogs on our website.  Daisy & Elm Jewelry and Rosaries can be found on Face Book by searching that name or her blog at http://400wakeups.blogspot.com/.  Her husband is deployed to Iraq right now and she still finds a way to help others.  She makes R.E.D. (remember everyone deployed) jewelry (one of a kind) for Fridays and donates 50% of those proceeds to our foundation.  She has amazing other jewelry as well so I encourage you to support her and enjoy some beautiful one of a kind jewelry. There will be no one out there that will have the piece you purchase.  Also, there is another blogger, Underground Vintage Studio, that is donating proceeds from specific pieces she makes to our foundation.  You can find her at http://undergroundvintage.blogspot.com/.  She has amazing items that she makes and you will love them!  Her brother actually served with Chad and is in his Battalion and this is her way of paying it forward as well. Check out her blog and support her as well as she does her part to support our troops.  In addition to these wonderful ladies, one of Chad's buddies he went to school with and played baseball with has a Christian Rock Band called "Take It Back".  You can search for them on Face Book and My Space to find them and read all about them.  They have a band member that was also in the military and they have created a t-shirt that the proceeds from the sale of that t-shirt will go to our foundation as well as a separate donation the band is doing personally themselves to support this worthy cause.  I'm just blown away at all the support we have already started receiving from all over the world for our foundation.  It won't be long now and we will be able to join the 501C-3 non-profit status and who knows, this could become my full time job.  I would love that.  I love nothing more than helping people and especially when it's for a good cause.  This is a good cause.  Our men and women serving and fighting for our freedom should not have to pay out of their modest salaries to go home to spend precious quality time with their family and friends before or after deployments.  This is just so wrong to me and I want to make a difference and make sure not one misses a chance to love on their families due to money. 
We are currently having fundraisers starting in North Carolina (Thank you BFF Sister) as well as many people having already sent us checks made out to Wings for Our Troops.  To date we have already collected a little over $800 for our foundation and things have just gotten started.  I think that's an amazing start. 
We also have our official logo now that will be added to our website any day now and it is our goal to have it as recognizable as any other logo you may be familiar with.  We want everyone to know that they can make a difference in a soldier's life and their family's life by helping get them home.  We hope to have things worked out soon where people can donate miles or travel points as well, but we aren't quite there yet.  I truly cannot wait until we help our first soldier get home.  It is almost too much to contain myself. 
Our family and friends have jumped on board and even people we've not even met yet are joining in to help.  That tells me there are so many people out there that truly do care.  I love that.  Just think, if all of us pay it forward, what kind of world will we have.  That excites me!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our California Trip... May 2011

May 24, 2011 Tebo and I arrived in California to honor and celebrate Chad's life as well as show honor to his brothers.  It was phenomenal!  If something that sad can be phenomenal, this was it.  The USMC could NOT have been more gracious and loving to us and we felt like they were honoring us more than us honoring them.  The ceremony took place on what would have been Chad's 23rd birthday.  As hard as that might sound to have been for us, it was actually more peaceful I think than had we been home.  We had the ceremony, which was amazing all in itself, but Tebo and I wanted to thank Chad's brothers by providing a cookout for them and just to thank them for their service and for loving Chad like they do.  It was a huge success!  Those young men and their wives (those who are married) really let their hair down and relaxed.  They loved it and boy can they eat.  LOL!  Tebo grilled 52 burgers, 36 brauts, and 24 hot dogs and we only had 2 patties left.  We think there could have been close to 50 people show up in total and while not all ate and some ate a little extra, we had just enough food and I believe everyone had a great time.  Tebo and I had an idea before we left that we would buy as many Mountain Dew t-shirts as we could and hand them out at the cookout and take a big group picture.  The Mountain Dew t-shirts didn't really mean that much except Chad had one that he wore all the time.  He didn't even drink the drink, but he loved that silly t-shirt.  I use to tease him about wearing it all the time and people thinking that or his Braves shirt were the only two shirts he owned.  He so didn't care (which is a fabulous trait of his).  We all changed into our Mountain Dew t-shirts and took our group picture and had a ball with it.  What was so funny is I was shocked at how difficult it was to get a bunch of Marines into formation.  Really?  Isn't that what they are known to do?  Well, someone mentioned that sometimes it can take them 4 days of practice to get it right and I would just like to say that we did it in about 20 minutes.  Maybe they should hire me to be a new D.I.  LOL!  All in all the trip was amazing.  We had a great time and enjoyed seeing all Chad's buddies and just getting the chance to tour Camp Pendleton again (again for me, first time for Tebo) and visiting the cross where people (mostly Marines) leave items to honor the fallen that mean something special to them.  We were no exception.  It was very peaceful there and while I really did believe I was having a heart attack on the way back up the "hill" (I'm not so sure they didn't replace that hill with Mt. Everest before we got there), it was very rewarding to go and share that moment with those Marines.  I wouldn't trade the experience (or near heart attack) for that time at the cross for anything.  I have to say returning to AR was more difficult that I thought it would be, but we knew our bonus boys would be coming for a visit in less than two weeks so that gave us something more to look forward to.  I will write about our visit a little later, but I don't want to take anything away from our precious trip to California.  It truly helped us with some closure and to finally get a chance to wrap our arms around our bonus boys (and their wives) after a very grueling deployment.  Tebo and I can't thank these young men enough for doing all they could to take care and protect Chad.  They truly are brothers for life and that makes them our family for lives.  This includes their precious wives and babies.  We are more in love with all of them than we ever thought we were before.  We truly are blessed beyond our wildest imagination. 

At the Cross - Amazing

Our special Chad stuff we left (the guys left his picture)

Dinner on Thursday Night

Tebo & I with our boys

Our Mountain Dew Gang!