Old Glory

Friday, December 21, 2012

It already feels like Christmas

We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to send a soldier home after spending 9 months in Afghanistan.  She just returned from Afghanistan this past Friday and was trying to get home for post-deployment leave in time for Christmas.  Craziest thing ever, she got stuck on the highway heading to the airport due to an accident.  When she arrived they had already boarded the plane and when the gate agent called to see if they would hold the plane they did not (I know, it ticked me off too).  She was struggling getting another flight before Christmas and it also meant eating up what little precious leave time she had just waiting to find a new flight.  In a crazy sequence of events they got in touch with Wings for Our Troops "in loving memory of CPL Chad S Wade" and we were able to get her on a new flight tomorrow.  She will be home for Christmas and as an added bonus, her father reached out to me and said he had not had all his daughters home at the same time in over four years.  What a happy daddy he must be right now.
WFOT could not do this without the kindness of others giving to our foundation which makes all of this possible.  For all of you that have ever given or helped with this foundation, you should feel very good and proud for giving back to a soldier that has sacrificed so much.

Merry Christmas to all our Troops and my God be with you always!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Amazing Young Men...

I hope all Gold Star families are as blessed as we are.  Since losing Chad two years ago tomorrow, there has barely been a week during this almost two years that I haven't heard from at least one (sometimes all of them) of them at least once a week.

I've spoken with some Gold Star moms whose fallen heroes were in other branches of the military and they never have heard from any of the guys in their son/daughter's unit.  I'm so sorry for them for not having that connection like we do.

There is truly nothing like the brotherhood I have seen in my son's unit.  They genuinely love him and they love me and my family. 

It's not only the guys from the USMC that continue to check on us and love Chad just as much.  His high school buddies love him and miss him so much as well and I see it every day.  They too with either reach out to us or send a picture of their children just to brighten our day. 

None of these young men and women have to do this, they want to do this.  They do not do it out of duty or obligation either.  You can tell they truly do love us and miss Chad like we do.

I want to honor them today as I weep for my son, I have tears of joy for knowing these guys will forever be a part of our family.  There is more comfort and peace we get from that than words could truly express.

Thank you to all the "Nuts & Nutetts and our bonus boys from the USMC, Across the street Justin, Brandon, and the families of these amazing young men and women for raising amazing kids to be the thoughtful and caring young adults they are today.  You did good!

As we face the two year mark of Chad leaving this earthly world please know that each and everyone of you make him and us proud by going on with your lives and honoring Chad by keeping us close to your hearts and most importantly for loving and remembering Chad always.  We love you for that!

In Afghanistan

Probably having way too much fun

Brothers to the end

4th of July in Iraq with RoRo

Seth and Chad

Some of our adopted sons (honoring Chad's Mt. Dew t-shirt)

Rob and Abby

Zach & Chad

Both Desi & Tyler and Emily & Clint honored Chad at their weddings (so grateful)

Getting ready to load the bus at Camp Pendleton heading to Afghanistan

One Booher sporting his t-shirt Reed had made

These guys continue to show up and honor Chad... We love ya'll!

Spratt and Zach once again, honoring Chad

I'm sure they were behaving... Chad, Spratt, & Seth in Cali

I think he thinks he is too cool for school.  :)

Beach fun!

Oh no, if Chad is dancing, he is feeling pretty good... :)

Some of the "Nuts" honoring their buddy... Love you guys

Amazing Love

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our unseen heroes

We are all about making sure our troops know we appreciate them and we are supporting them now more than ever we see this on a daily basis.  There are some "unseen" heroes that don't get the same type of recognition and/or support and appreciation that our troops receive.  To me, those "unseen" heroes are the spouses and families.  They sacrifice so much of their lives to support their Marine/Soldier and if their Marine/Soldier is injured they are the ones that are the main caregivers and continuing to fight this war on the home front.  My heart goes out to all of these heroes seen and unseen and I want to bring attention not only to them, but also a group of volunteers that are helping these young men and women and their families move on after becoming a Wounded Warrior.  Please take the time to check out this link "Homes for Our Troops" at http://www.homesforourtroops.org/site/PageServer?pagename=MarshallKennedy and listen to one of our local Marines, SGT Kennedy and his wife's story.  You will be touched.  We are joining the effort to build this home for this Wounded Warrior as well as many others throughout Tyson and in our community.  It is heart warming to see how much love and appreciation is out there for these young men and women as well as their families.
During this holiday season let's not just pick up a gift, but give of your time.  Obviously financial support is always needed, but not everyone is blessed enough to do that, but we can all give some of our time to help.  I would imagine nearly every community has organizations that could use volunteer workers or help with fundraisers, etc.
If you have children, what a great way to teach them the gift of giving of yourself above receiving a toy or a new outfit.  Show them by example how we can support our Troops while they are deployed and when they return home.  I guarantee you will not only give them a lesson they will forever remember, but one that will help them in their years to come.
Thank you and God bless this charity "Homes for Our Troops".

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day is fast approaching and I wanted to take my chance to thank our Veterans.  I would like to take it a step further as well by thanking those who are still serving today and our fallen heroes. 
I would encourage you that when you see someone in uniform or you can just tell they are or were in the military to take a moment to say thank or better yet, purchase their meal, coffee, etc. to show how grateful you are for their service.  It will make their day and as an added bonus, it will make you feel good.
I do want to address some idiotic things I've unfortunately either over heard or read lately and this is for those people who say some of the most ignorant things about our military and the war.  One of the comments I've read lately was that our military troops deserve to die.  Really?   That is beyond ignorant to me.  You obviously have no one close to you serving or that has been killed in action, but remember, there are people out there reading your stupid comments that do or have lost a loved one (me for one, lost my only child to war) so imagine how these people feel when seeing your hateful words.  I for one hope you struggle sleeping at night and when you look in the mirror I hope you see as much ugly looking back at you that I feel for you when reading your words.
Yes, I get that they volunteered to join especially during a war, but guess what you idiots that make those idiotic comments, if it weren't for these young men and women volunteering, there would have been a draft and I have to believe many of you saying these things would have been drafted and you would be one of them, but you were forced to go and these young men and women entered on their own free will for whatever their reasons were.
Many of them enlisted after 9/11 to make sure we never had to expeirence that again in our country.  Some (like my son) enlisted because he knew he needed to get on a better path and college wasn't for him so he felt this would give him the skills and experience that would help him get into law enforcement.  Some enlist so they can actually pay for college if they couldn't afford it otherwise, so before you start throwing your hurtful words around stop and think if they hadn't volunteered you might be on the front lines yourself so you above anyone else should be the first to tell them thank you rather than wishing them dead.  I truly hope you lay your head down each night on your pillow and toss and turn all night long until you can see things a bit more clearly and less selfish!  Shame on you that say things like that.  A spouse, parent, family members, and friends can see your words and they are struggling each day to just take a breath and then you go and write something like that.  May God have mercy on your soul and you know who you are!
As for me and my family, we will always thank and appreciate everyone of our military men and women and will always support them in every way possible and our foundation is just a small way for us to do that.
I am proud to say that we have extended our foundation to all branches of the military now.  If anyone out there reading this knows someone who is an active enlisted Marine/Soldier and they need help getting home before and/or after deployment, please send them our way.  We are ready to send another one home so their family and loved ones can spend as much time with them as possible before they leave again.
To all our veterans past, present, and future...  THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS!  You will always be appreciated by us and never listen to those idiots out there that just have to have something stupid to say.  It won't take much to be bigger than those people so be the bigger person and never let their ignorance make you feel bad.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

2nd Annual Golf Tournament Fundraiser

On your mark, get set, tee off!  Saturday, October 13, 2012 my sister and her friends along with High Vista Country Club Mills River will be hosting our 2nd annual golf tournament for Wings for Our Troops "in loving memory of CPL Chad S Wade"!
If you are in the Asheville, NC area and would like to participate, here are the details:
Wings for Our Troops
2nd Annual Golf Tournament
Saturday October 13th 2012 at
“High Vista Country Club ~ Mills River”
Please contact Amber Banks (828)712-0542, Jennifer Cole (828) 691-5962
Sign up in advance requested. Please contact us!!!!!!! Thank you

~ Shot Gun Start @ 1:30p.m. ~ 12 – 12:30 Registration~
~4 Man Captain’s Choice ~ $320.00 per Team Entry ($80ea) ~
~ $100.00 to sponsor a hole ~
~ Red Tee’s and Mulligans will be sold ~

~ Prizes for: Longest Drive and Closest to the Pin, 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners~
~Raffle Tickets for sale $1ea or 6 for $5 ~ Great Gifts~
~ Dinner will be provided to all “Golfers” at the Country Club after the tournament~ Friends or Spouse may join for dinner for $12.00
 ~ Donations accepted ~

Please Contact us in advance to secure your spot, this is a wonderful cause and you can follow us on here at www.wingsforoutroops.com and on Face Book (look for Wings for Our Troops) and like us!
We are hoping this will become an annual event and continue to raise money to help our active marines get home before and/or after deployments.  We are continuing to reach out to find folks to pick up this cause with other military branches allowing us to help all our military service men and women get home! 
I want to give a special thank you to my sister, Amber Paige Banks and her sister in law, Lisa Banks Saye for all their hard work in putting this tournament together and getting all the sponsors and working with High Vista Country Club to make all this happen.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Never Forgotten

Today marks the 11th year of the tragedy of 9/11.  It is certainly a day that everyone will remember and will (if not already) be in our history books.  I believe most all will remember this day for different reasons and have different feelings regarding this day.  There were horrific losses that day and every day since.  For me and my family the way 9/11 has changed our lives is not because that was the day my son would decide to elitist in the Marine Corps.  In fact, we were living in my sister's house in AR and he was at school and while we talked about the events of that day once we were all home, we didn't make it a huge scary thing in front of him.  He didn't talk about being a Marine that day or anything like that, but it is because of 9/11 that would ultimately change our lives forever.
When Chad decided to enlist into the Marine Corps we were at war.  We were at war because of 9/11 and the events that took place that day at the hands of terrorists.  Because of 9/11, my son lost his life in the line of duty.
I am changed forever for the second time in my life along with the rest of my family and it was at the hands of the Taliban that I lost my only child that day on December 1, 2010.
My heart goes out to those families that lost loved ones on this day 11 years ago and for every life lost since that day whether on American soil or foreign soil.  Regardless where or how, 9/11 has changed and touched the lives of so many Americans and in ways that will never go away.
I don't worry about us as a country ever "forgetting" about 9/11, I worry about us forgetting that there were lives lost and still being lost and forgetting about the patriotism we all felt when we all came together again as a united nation as time continues to move along and our men and women are still at war.
Let's not forget that we are still at war and our children, spouses, loved ones are still very much in danger and losing lives every day.  They are still defending and protecting us from terrorists and making it possible for us to do what we do every day.  Fire Fighters still fight fires and protect us, our police continue to serve and protect us and our military continue to put their lives on the line for us each day.  So while we pause on this day to remember, please wake up tomorrow and keep remembering these men and women continuing to serve and protect us and willing to pay the ultimate price for us.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Snow Update

Thank you Lord!  SGT Joe Snow has returned to Camp Pendleton from Afghanistan.  Saturday, September 2, 2012 Molly welcomed her Marine home from deployment.  You might remember SGT Snow more by CPL Joe Snow as the Marine we "Wings for Our Troops" sent home for pre-deployment leave before he left for Afghanistan in January.  While deployed he picked up Sergeant!  CONGRATULATIONS!  
It's not just about SGT Snow, however.  His wife, Molly, stayed behind while he served our country and maintained their home (actually moved while he was gone), worked, went to school, and kept a very positive attitude throughout this deployment.  Many times I think our military wives/families are forgotten about while their Marine/Soldiers are deployed.  They are sacrificing and serving too in a different capacity, but serving and sacrificing none the less.  Good job Molly for being that faithful and sacrificing Marine wife that you are so that Joe could do the job he was charged with.
As Americans and as now your friends, first, welcome home SGT Snow and congratulations for having the other half of your heart back home Molly.
It was not only our pleasure to meet you both and have the privilege of helping you get home before deploying, but it was our honor to do so.
Enjoy your much deserved time together and I pray you get some down time to just be together and enjoy each other.
We are always supporting you and all our military!  Semper Fi

Friday, July 27, 2012

A different kind of post...

Today is a bit different than the normal things I post out here, but I believe it to be very important.  As most people know that either know me or follow my blogs that I have adopted oh about 150 (and still counting) Marines (and other branches as well).  They are all my bonus boys/girls.  This really started when Chad was in boot camp and I wanted to get to know the guys he was spending all his time with and it just grew from there.  They all started calling me "Momma Bear" and it stuck.  I'm super good with that and I'm also a very fortunate momma bear as they continue to stay in contact with me.  It is very rare that a week goes by that I don't hear from at least one of them or one of their wives.  It's a great feeling to know they still remember us and love us despite the demons and some with PTSD they are dealing with.  So here goes a different kind of post today...
I've been following a blog called "Voice of Warriors" http://voiceofwarriors.com/2012/07/responding-to-hidden-wounds/ and it has some really good information to offer to assist not only the veteran but their family and friends as well.  I encourage anyone who has a family member, friend, or just wants to learn to help these men and women with these hidden wounds to go out and read as much as you can.  It will make a difference in some one's life one day.
So here is the burden on my heart today and has been since before Chad and his unit deployed to Afghanistan.  As much as I would give anything in this world to have my son back, I believe the Lord spared him from something far worse.  Chad has my heart and I know my heart could not handle all that these young men experienced over there and especially after losing one of their own.  Chad would have never recovered from the loss or the trauma he would have gone through and watched others go through.  I hate that my son lost his life over there and as a parent I would have taken that hit for him in a second, but that was not God's plan.  Now I see the toll the war and losing one of their brothers in arms has done to his buddies that came home.  They are fighting these silent wars within themselves and very few people know about it or know how bad it is or how to help.  This includes the ones closest to them (wives, parents, other family, and friends).  Most of them are either too proud to admit what they are going through or just don't know how to put it into words.  Another issue I see is these young men that were with my son don't want to add more burden to me and Tebo or to their families.  That is admirable, but honestly, how can we help them if we don't know what is going on or how they are feeling.  Some are fighting themselves with survivor's guilt and feeling as though they let us down, including letting Chad down.  They didn't let Chad or us down.  Chad was doing his job and he was where he wanted to be.  He would have had it no other way.  That is easy for me to know, because I'm his mom, but these guys promised to take care of him and protect him and bring him home.  They feel like they have failed and let us all down.  They didn't!  The Taliban let us all down and they did it intentionally! 
If I had one wish to make it would be that God restores their hearts, minds, and souls and allows them to pick up the pieces of their broken hearts and live a full and happy life.  Let me take the sad stuff and them take all the happy stuff.  That's what a mom's job is all about anyway.  I can't just stop being a mom because Chad is no longer on this earth.  I still have his wife to make sure she is ok and moving forward in life.  I have these bonus boys to make sure they get past this the best way they know how and live out their dreams and I have their wives that need encouraging along the way to stay strong and never give up on them.  If I was left for nothing more than that, then I need to do the best job I can to make sure I succeed.  Yes, I have an amazing husband and bonus kids from him as well as parents and siblings and other family and friends in my life, but this has brought a whole new dynamic to our lives that we signed up for the day we told Chad we would support his decision to enlist into the Marine Corps 100%.  We basically enlisted with him and our contract is not up. 
We as Americans have an obligation to the young men and women that volunteered to serve in our Armed Forces to support them even more when they return home.  Don't get me wrong, care packages are a necessity and I know most people really enjoy getting those together and take such pride in knowing they did something good for our troops fighting in this war, but it doesn't stop when they return to American soil.  The real work to help and support them starts when they return home.  Whether it is donating to a foundation like the Wounded Warrior Project http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/ or Wings for Our Troops "in loving memory of CPL Chad S Wade http://wingsforourtroops.com/ or any other military foundation out there or mentoring a veteran that might be suffering with PTSD or hiring a veteran like so many companies are doing these days.  Whatever it might be that you feel you are called or burdened to do or help with, do it.  Don't sit around and wish you did or just talk about doing it.  Get out there and really do it.  We owe these young men and women our freedom, safety, and our lives.  They sacrificed theirs for us and so have their families.  This is the very least we can do. 
I challenge each and every person who may be reading this to first and foremost ALWAYS thank a veteran (past, present, & future) every chance you get.  If you have the opportunity to pay for a meal for them or buy them a tank of gas or just help them with a broken down vehicle, do it.  I promise you will get back far more than they will every time. 
These young men and women need us like we needed them after 911.  Let's show them that we are there for them and we are answering the call just like they did.  The only big difference is that you will still get to sleep in a bed tonight, you will still have the meals you want or need for the day, you will still be able to get into some air conditioning most likely, and you aren't leaving your family to go to a war zone and have to worry if you will make it back home or even worst, if you will be able to bring all your buddies back home with you. 
Thank you in advance for stepping up and doing more or doing your part to support our Troops.  Supporting our Troops is something we tend to say a lot, but how many of us are really doing that (outside of care packages)?  Lets do more and lets do it often.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Do you know one???

Do you know a Veteran?  One that served years ago or recently?  If you do, know this!  They hurt.  They won't tell you they hurt, but they do.  Heaven forbid if they lost a brother in combat... If that is the case or they saw war time, they hurt more than you and I could or ever could know.  If you are married to one who lost someone in battle, love them more than you ever loved them before.  If you know one or are married to one that saw battle, love them more than you ever loved them before.  If you are a parent of a child (and yes, whether they have been to war or not, they are still your child), love them more than you ever have before.
These young men and women NEED us.  They may NEVER tell us that, but they need us.  They have seen and experienced things that no one should ever see or experience, but more than that, they don't know how to relate to you or myself anymore.  They might feel lost.  They might feel pain we don't even comprehend.  Love them!  Love them hard and without ceasing.
Our Veterans and our men and women currently serving need us to love them unconditionally.  So many of us do not know what loving someone unconditionally means, but let me break it down the easiest way I know how.  That means you love them NO MATTER WHAT!  Regardless of how they do or DO NOT show emotion or how they are feeling.  No matter how they treat you or those around them.  No matter how they react to things like a car accident, fireworks, the National Anthem!  Love them!
My heart breaks as much for the guys Chad left behind than even for Chad.  Chad is in a better place, but for those friends he left behind, they are struggling to move forward.  Some are experiencing divorce, some have depression, some don't know what to do next.  Yes, could their marriages been struggling before?  Sure.  Could they have had underlining issues that caused depression to be more evident than it might have otherwise been?  You bet, but one thing if for certain.  They have seen things and felt things you and I will never experience and they shouldn't have to, especially at their young ages.
At a time when this country is more aware of war time than times past (although that breaks my heart) I still don't think the general public truly gets it.  These guys are kids!  They are between the ages of 18 years old and less than 30 years old (on average)...  What were you doing at those ages?  My guess is you were NOT fighting in a war and seeing your friends/brothers/sisters die in the line of fire.  It's just a guess, but I would almost put money on the fact that most of us will NEVER see that in our life time.  Why does anyone think that is something you just get over when you come home?  Well, let me tell you as the "bonus mom" of many of these young men.  You do NOT get over it!  You live with it 24/7 and your relationships, jobs, LIFE suffer the consequences of what they have seen.  They deal with the fact that they promised someone they would bring their loved one home and didn't.  They deal with survival's guilt.  They deal with the fact that they made a promise to each other that they would take care of the family that was left behind for the rest of their lives.  They live with the nightmares every night when they TRY to close their eyes and not remember.  They live with all this on top of trying to be "normal" in their every day lives.  There is NOTHING "normal" anymore.  These young men and women have seen things they should not ever see in their life time and they have experienced losses no one their age should have to experience, especially in the way they have lost.
Yes, is our country as a whole more aware of our Veterans than ever before?  You bet, but is enough being done to help these young men and women?  I am not so sure.  I'm one person and every other "Gold Star" parent are only one person at a time wanting to make things better for these young men and women our sons and daughters have left behind and all the while these young men and women do not want to burden us and they want to FIX what they know in their hearts they can't fix.
LOVE THEM!  I don't care what you have going on in your life right now, you still have the capacity to love these young men and women when  you get the chance.  Whether it's a hand shake, a thank you, a free meal, a donation to a worthy military cause, or a helping hand (not a hand out).  Whatever it might be, you have the capacity to do that.  We all do.  I can do more and I vow to do so, but there has to be more than just myself and my family.  It will take the entire country.  It will take OUR PRESIDENT, each American citizen... "They" say it takes a village to raise our children...  Really?  How about it takes a country to raise our HEROES!  That's how I feel.  I want to protect every young man/woman that served with Chad.  I want them to feel love and security.  Some are out and in the civilian world (and struggling, some can't freaking find jobs, really?) and some are still active.  LOVE THEM!  Our Veterans should NEVER NOT have a job.  It's our duty and responsibility to ensure each and every one of them returning from war has a decent job and one they can be proud of.  After all, when we were all having Christmas morning or birthdays or Thanksgiving or I don't know, just a Saturday morning in our living room, they were in a war zone.  Don't you think that deserves something more than an "Atta Boy"?  WELL, I DO!  If I could hire every Veteran and wrap each and every young man/woman in my arms that lost someone I would.  My son is in a better place than these young men and women who returned home without all their brethren in arms...  This much I know for sure.  I didn't technically go to war, but I was there and a piece of me will forever live in Afghanistan, but for those young men that came home without Chad will forever live in their own hell and that breaks my heart more than not having my son on this earth.  My son is safe and ok for the first time since he lived in my house and slept in his own bed under my roof.  These young men and women are still fighting a war that I will be damned will win over them.  If I'm left on this earth without my son for any other reason in this world, but to make sure my son's buddies are ok, then so be it.  It's not just his buddies from war, it's his best friends he went to school with that are going through the next stage in their lives without him.  They struggle every day and while it might be different than what his brothers in arms live through every day, it's still their own war they fight every day.
Thank a military man/woman EVERY TIME you see one and make sure you do something selfless every chance you can, because they do it daily.
Thank you to all our military, past, present, and future!  You ARE appreciated for all you do and all you do without.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

WFOT Another Fundraisers Success!

What an amazing day yesterday (June 23, 2012) with Whitey and his chicken crew!  We were raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project "in memory of CPL Chad S Wade" and we raised just over $1,500.00!  This money will go a long way to help our heroes if they return home injured.  The turn out was absolutely amazing.  Some of Chad's buddies from school (when I say buddies, I include the girls, because they are always faithful to show up and work so hard) were there to help us work.  It was an extremely hot day, but there were no complaints from anyone!  The Rogers, AR Fire Department Station 1 was there to fly our American flag high and proud as well as a custom motorcycle to sell raffle tickets for $5.00 each for a chance to win this bike.  They will also be selling raffle tickets and Fayetteville, AR Bikes, Blues, and BBQ this year.  There is still time to buy a ticket for a chance to win (just think, you could be the cool kid in town).  :)
As a little "funny" (if you want to call it that), I prefer to call it "excitement"... We were basically at the end of the fundraiser and a pick up truck pulling a fairly long trailer turned in front of traffic and basically took the bumper off a van.  You could read his lips from where we were and you knew right then he knew what he had done.  With all these witnesses he actually thought he could run and not get caught...  Foolish idea.  We had one of Benton Counties finest and we all watched this guy zig-zag through the Harps parking lot trying to get away and we watched the van was turning into the parking lot.  The truck and trailer left the parking lot and that van was right on his tail.  Benton County's finest (probably shouldn't mention his name so I won't) tore out with his truck and followed.  They caught up with him as he pulled into a gas station and "tried" to act as though he didn't know what had happened (whatever dude, remember, my sister read your lips (good job Deb.)  As they were waiting for an on duty police officer our "Finest" ask the man driving the van if he was a Marine and he said yes sir, I am.  Oops!  LOL  This guy messed up.  Our "Finest" told him we had just finished working a fundraiser to help them out and he said, yes I know, I saw you there.  The on duty officer arrived and our "Finest" return to the fundraiser and they called us to say, "Well, we just helped another Marine"!  Ooh-rah!  What are the odds of us having a fundraiser for our Heroes and then turn and have a true hero need us in a different way.  It was a good feeling to see the good guy win and the bad guy have to pay for what he did!
We are so blessed to have the friends and family we have to help us help so many!  Thank you to all that continue to support and encourage us.  It's appreciated more than we can truly express.
If you would like to check out our pictures from yesterday go to our Face Book http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.314154825341375.71518.100002405793511&type=3
or search Face Book for Wings For Our Troops!  Like us and check follow our progress.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

WFOT Fundraiser Chicken Cook

What a success!  Saturday, June 16, 2012 we held a fundraiser for Wings for Our Troops "in loving memory of CPL Chad S Wade" in Rogers, AR with Whitey and his chicken crew and Chad's friends from high school and some of the parents including Wendy and Mike Jones.  We raised $2,452.00 from chicken sales and t-shirt sales.  We sold out of chicken by 12:00 noon!  We were thrilled to say the very least.  It was a hot day, but amazing at the same time.  Chad's friends (mostly the girls) came out to help work and collect money and do the running back and forth.  I had my amazing husband, two of our girls (Tia & Candi), Nathan, my sister, Paige and her husband, Rodney.  Emily's mom and bonus dad and Desi's mom, Erin's mom, Best Sign Group in Rogers, AR, and so many more.  Billy Booher, Chris Reed, Cody Neely, and several other friends of Chad's and/or friends of his friends.  I can't remember all the names (I apologize), because we had an amazing turn out.  We are so blessed to have this many friends and family that want to be involved and help out for something that means so much to Tebo and I.
We have another chicken cook this coming weekend and all the proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project in Chad's memory.  We did this one last year and now beginning this year we will have an annual chicken cook for Wings for Our Troops and Wounded Warrior Project.  I can't think of a better way for these young men and women to spend a few hours on a Saturday giving back to those that give/gave so much!
Thank you to all that not only worked and participated whether it be donating the chicken (Tyson Foods, Inc.) or donating t-shirts (Innovative Ink), the Rogers Fire Department (station 1), etc., but also to those that came out and purchased chicken and t-shirts or just made a donation and didn't take anything in return.  We truly appreciate your generosity more than we could ever express... Check out a few pictures to show how hard everyone worked...
Rogers Fire Department Station 1 hung with us all day and flew our flag!

Wendy Jones is a rock star!  Couldn't have done this without her!

Nathan, Rodney, & Candi helping us work

Erin, Emily, & Clay... They were working their side of the street!

Thank you Best Sign Group for an amazing banner in record time! 
My amazing husband with our Whitey sign

Whitey and his crew with their TIT (turner in training) Paige (my sister)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chicken Time.... Join us!

Join us for our 1st annual Whitey Chicken Cook for Wings for Our Troops "in loving memory of CPL Chad S Wade" in Rogers, AR this Saturday, June 16th!  Last year we actually held a chicken cook for the Wounded Warrior Project in Chad's name, but this year we are holding two separate fundraisers for each.  We will be located in front of the Harps Grocery at 2nd Street and Locust Street in Rogers.  We will begin selling Whitey's grilled chicken at 10:30 am... 1 half for $3.00 or 2 for $5.00.  All proceeds will go to Wings for Our Troops to help a Marine get home before and/or after deployment.  Let's show them we have their back while they protect ours.
Join us for some fun and good chicken for a very worthy cause.  Chad's buddies from high school will be there to help and so will many of Chad's family.
The weather promises to be great and what better way to spend a little time on Saturday than giving back and paying it forward.
Make sure you get out there early, because in the past we have sold out before noon!  This will give you great food and you won't have to worry about cooking or cleaning up a mess...
We look forward to seeing you there!
Some of the "Nuts" that worked last year... 

From Semper Fi night in Springfield, MO

Monday, June 4, 2012

It's almost Chicken Cook Time!

Wings for Our Troops "in loving memory of CPL Chad S Wade" will be hosting a chicken cook with the legendary "Whitey" and his crew Saturday, June 16, 2012.  It's most likely the best grilled chicken (donated by Tyson Foods, Inc.) you will ever eat and cheaper than you will find anywhere else and you don't have to clean up the mess.  The best part is you will be helping send a Marine home before and/or after deployment! 
We will be located at the Chicken Pit in front of Harps in Rogers, AR at 2nd St and Locust St. (the pits are by the railroad tracks).  If you want to be sure and get your chicken before it's all gone you should arrive by 10:30 am.  In the past his chicken has sold out before noon!  It's that good people!
Chad's buddies from school will be working this fundraiser and they are passionate about helping other Marines as they are so grateful for the time they got to spend with Chad on his pre-deployment leave before he left for Afghanistan (KIA 12-1-10).  Please show your support not only for our Troops that will benefit from this foundation, but support these friends that lost someone very close to them.  This is their way of giving back and paying it forward. 
Please come out and join us in this endeavour

Friday, May 18, 2012

We are now on Twitter!

Finally!  I've been a bit intimidated by Twitter (no real reason, just me), but I finally got brave enough to venture out and set up our account.  You can find us at https://twitter.com/#!/Wings4OurTroops and follow us on Twitter now!  I will post upcoming events and just as soon as we send another Marine home you will see it there as well! 
We do have a fundraiser for WFOT scheduled for June 16, 2012 in Rogers, AR in front of the Harps in downtown Rogers.  Whitey will be grilling his famous chicken and the "NUTS" will be there with all their amazing wives (yes, I said wives... some will be married by then), fiances, girlfriends, and all their friends as well as Benton County Sheriff hopeful Mike Jones and his wife Wendy.  If you are in town and can spare the time please join us for this very worthy cause. 
There are lots of Marines (and hopefully other branches) that need to get home before and/or after deployment and without our help they may not be able to afford their trip.  These men and women make a very modest pay check and this visit home is on their own dime.  I know it sounds crazy and to me it so is, but it's the facts...
Support our troops and show them we care by helping us raise as much money as we can (this is a non-profit foundation) to get our Marines home!
You can also check out our website at http://www.wingsforourtroops.com/ to check out events past and future as well as the story of our 1st Marine we sent home.
Thank you in advance for all your support and encouragement.  It is greatly appreciated not just by us, but I know by all service men and women that will benefit from it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spouse Deployment Anthem

I came across this amazing video that a military spouse made regarding deployment.  She is a musician (Olivia Perez-Breland) and she composed this heart wrenching deployment video and then just to show she could do it all she directed, produced, and edited the video herself.  Warning, this will most likely make you cry, but it is absolutely beautiful.  I know it could apply to parents as well as spouses, but it is definitely from a spouse's perspective and worth watching and listening to.  I believe as a whole most Americans do a great job of supporting our troops, but I do believe at times the spouses get forgotten about during deployments and field training that takes them away from home sometimes up to 30 days at a time.  Let's not forget that they truly sacrifice a lot as well and we need to support and lift them up.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

1 year anniversary

WOW!  It's hard to believe that this week marks a year ago that the guys from Chad's Battalion returned from Afghanistan.  As the Radio Operator, Chad did his job!  He may have only made it through about 5 weeks of deployment, but he did his job and did it well.  I couldn't be more proud of him and couldn't be happier that his brothers in arms made it back safely.  They did have some wounded warriors and that makes my heart sad, but they are pushing through like true Marines and making the best of their lives and grateful to have this opportunity as well I'm certain. 
I know that all the young men that served with Chad left a piece of themselves in Afghanistan and I know they may in some way even struggle with some survivor's guilt.  I hope if any of them ever read my blog that they know they should not ever have survivor's guilt.  Chad was doing what he wanted to be doing and he made that choice very clear and he loved each and every one of those guys and would have it no other way.
As his mom, I would have given my own life for Chad (as I am sure any parent would do), but that was not in God's plan.  There isn't a moment that I take a breath that I don't miss my son, but I do find some peace in knowing he is in God's arms and that he is finally safe.
I also know that I have been blessed with about 100 Marines that will forever be "bonus sons" to me and Tebo.  They go out of their way to check in with us on a regular basis and there aren't many people who can say that about their child's friends/brothers.  I hear from at least one of them every other week and some times more often and I heard from every one of them on Mother's Day.  It's amazing what just a text, phone call, or Face Book message does for a mom when her own son can't reach out.  I guess in a way he did, just through them.
I'm not angry that the other guys came home.  In fact, completely the opposite.  I'm so thankful and happy that they made it home and most of them have re-joined the civilian life and I believe they have all secured jobs or are attending college now.  I couldn't be more proud of them all.  They are moving forward and living life and that is exactly what I know for a fact that Chad wanted for them.
I do wonder what Chad would be doing right now.  He might be in law enforcement somewhere (something he always wanted to do) or starting a family (he would have been an amazing father) or just living the dream somewhere, but instead he will forever be 22 1/2 years old and living in heaven with the angels and never hurting or being afraid again. 
So for all my "bonus sons" congratulations for coming home and for your 1 year anniversary back on US Soil and for those that are still serving, you stay safe and know that you always have a cheerleader in me...  To all of you, THANK YOU!  Thank you for your service, your sacrifices, loving me & Tebo, and most importantly, for loving my son the way you do.  You are never far from my thoughts and always in my heart.
Chad, you have always been my heart, always my hero, now you are my angel!
At Camp Pendleton before boarding the bus to leave for Afghanistan 2010

In Afghanistan 2010

Chad on the radio in Afghanistan 2010

Chad's memorial 5-25-2011... Seth, Zach S, Zach W, Shawn

Monday, April 30, 2012

No more blue stars turning to gold

It's my prayer and hope that there are no more losses of our trops, but I'm not nieve enough to think that is reality.  There are no real words for how my heart feels and most likely never will be, but I can at least say that although this horrible thing has happened, I have been blessed with an amazing family and friends to help get through this (if that's even possible). 
No parent should ever have to bury their children.  I can tell you first hand, it's the absolutely worst pain you can ever feel.  Knowing he is in a better place and not suffering or being shot at every day is a good feeling, but that is always over-shadowed by the pain and sadness that comes from knowing I will never see him, touch him, help him, smell his smell, or ever see his children on this earth again.  It's heartbreaking and at times it feels like it will actually kill me physically.
I struggled yesterday missing him terribly especially when sitting on the deck listening to the country music station and Allen Jackson's song "Wanted" started playing.  I immediately started to cry.  I couldn't hold them back even if I tried.  I sent my sister a text and told her it was playing and she said "And I have my Mt. Dew t-shirt on!" (one of Chad's favorite t-shirts for those that may not know).  Of course, I cried even harder after reading that.
Today I was just digging around online and found a video that my sister made that apparently if I knew it was out there I had forgotten.  It was so sweet and while it made me cry (of course), it also reminded me that I am lucky to have the support system I do and to have a family that loved Chad so much.  I know they miss him too and I know they feel like they lost a part of me too when he died (and they did), but knowing they are there for me helps me get out of bed every day.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNtPZs2KPFg&feature=related
There are many days I don't want to get up, but I don't have a choice.  I have to go on and still help take care of my family, but some days are so much harder than others and I suppose that will remain the case for the rest of my days on this earth.
So much has happened in our family since Chad left this earth and I know it would be so hard for him to see what some of us have had to go through.  I was worried about that one day and I don't know how many other Gold Star parents (or any parent that lost a child) feel this way, but I wondered.... does he see us struggling, does he know the mistakes we make, does he see us upset?  I finally had to ask a pastor friend, because I was so burdened by things he might be seeing down here (you know how people always say, oh he is looking down from heaven).  Well, I never thought about it until this pastor friend told me that the answer to that question was no, because that would be hell.  I had never thought about it like that before, but it made perfect sense when he verbalized that to me.  I don't worry about him seeing things on this earth that might hurt him or upset him anymore.  Now I just thank God for little things that give me a little imaginary hug when I need them most, like rainbows, orange butterflies, hearing Allen Jackson's song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wa9w5VFfhao&ob=av2e, etc.  That does give me a small amount of comfort when those little things happen and even more comfort knowing he can't actually see what is going on down here on earth. 
I know certain things about Chad that others may or may not know and one thing I do know is he would never want his wife so live a sad and lonely life the rest of her life.  He would want her to find love and happiness again and live a full life.  I know he doesn't want to see his family going through so much grief or his friends struggling so much from missing him or feeling guilty that it was him and not them.  I know Chad, he would never want that.  He would not want any of us to have any regrets or to stay in a sad place.  I just know that would never be his heart.  Therefore, I do believe what my pastor friend said to me, because I know that would make Chad sad and he doesn't want us to be sad. 
I hope that every parent that has had the unfortunate experience of losing a child believes that their child would never want them to stay in state of sadness or feel guilty.  Those children love us and the way we would hope that our children would go on with their lives and find a way to be happy, that's what I believe they want from us.  They understand we will be sad and miss them (they expect that), but they would never want us to stop living life and finding happiness when we can.  That would make them feel so bad. 
I hate not having my baby boy on this earth more than I ever thought I could, but it was God's plan to take him when he did and to spare the lives he spared.  Some days are easier than others to see that, but I do know that Chad would never want his family, wife, and friends to live the rest of their lives like that.  He would want us to all live, love, laugh, and be happy.  I know this as his momma bear. 
My double rainbow

My orange butterfly... stayed by my side all afternoon while working in the yard :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

My Thirty-One Fundraiser!

We have so many amazing people helping us raise money for this very worthy cause.  Here is another option for Mother’s Day gifts, birthday gifts, or just a little something nice for yourself.   Kim Brow is hosting a fundraiser through her Thirty-One business (www.mythirtyone.com/kimbrow31). Right now during April for every $31 you spend, you can get any purse in the catalog for 1/2 price (This sale is only through April so hurry!).  For every $31 spent in May, you can purchase the All-In-One Organizer for just $5 (that’s a great deal). 
So here is how this will work and what you need to do.  During April & May, Kim will donate 25% of her total commission to Wings for Our Troops “in loving memory of CPL Chad S Wade”.  Mother’s Day is coming up May 13th so the timing is great!  Here is what you do…  Go to www.mythirtyone.com/kimbrow31 and once you are there go to “my events” and look for the Wings for Our Troops Fundraiser and order from there.  Again, 25% of her commission from orders made from that link will go directly to this foundation to help a Marine get home to his/her family before and/or after deployment.  These young men and women deserve so much more, but this is a great way to show them how much we truly appreciate their service and sacrifices!  Happy shopping!
April Special - Spend $31 and get any purse 1/2 off (April Only)

May Special - Spend $31 and get the All-In-One Organizer for $5 (May only)

25% of all purchases made under "my event" and Wings for Our Troops fundraiser will go to the foundation!  Thank you Kim Brow!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wings for Our Troops Fundraiser via Mary Kay

Mother's Day is coming up and summer will be here before you know so there will be needs for "new" colors for summer so what better way to get what you need and help a Marine get home before or after deployment than purchasing through this fundraiser!  A close friend of mine and her daughter, Darci & Brandi Harris, are donating 30% of all subtotals on orders (for all items) now through May 11, 2012.  That's right folks, 30% of your subtotal on any purchase through them will be donated to Wings for Our Troops "in loving memory of CPL Chad S Wade".
Here is what you need to know.  If you would like to purchase something you can go to http://www.marykay.com/ and pick your items and then email Darci at harrisfamily05@att.net and give her your item numbers and how you would like to pay for it.  If you would like to send her a check just let her know that in your emailed order and she will email you her mailing address.  If you prefer to pay through Pay Pal you can go to http://www.paypal.com/ and enter her email address harrisfamily05@att.net and that should get you where you need to go.  Obviously, should you have any problems, just send Darci an email and she will help you out.
This is a great way to take care of yourself or your moms and still support our Troops!  What an awesome way to do both.  Thank you in advance to all who have already participated and those of you that will.  You have just made the day of a Marine and his/her families!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Not my normal kind of post...

This isn't my normal post, but I was sent this from my bestie today and it struck something in me, more for Chad's buddies that might be struggling (or any person in the military past or present) with either survivor's guilt, PTSD, or just with what you had to witness as well as the families that are potentially dealing with the loss of a child, spouse, or best friend at the hands of this war.  For me, I needed to hear this and I hope it doesn't offend anyone, but rather gives some comfort and food for thought.  It's not too lengthy so I encourage you to read it if you just need some encouragement and perspective on things.  I know for me it won't take away what I am feeling, but I do believe it will help me understand that like all of you, I'm not in this alone.
Week of April 20
Thirsty on the Cross
by Max Lucado

Jesus’ final act on earth was intended to win your trust.
This is the final act of Jesus’ life. In the concluding measure of his earthly composition, we hear the sounds of a thirsty man.
And through his thirst—through a sponge and a jar of cheap wine—he leaves a final appeal.
“You can trust me.”
Jesus. Lips cracked and mouth of cotton. Throat so dry he couldn’t swallow, and voice so hoarse he could scarcely speak. He is thirsty. To find the last time moisture touched these lips you need to rewind a dozen hours to the meal in the upper room. Since tasting that cup of wine, Jesus has been beaten, spat upon, bruised, and cut. He has been a cross-carrier and sin-bearer, and no liquid has salved his throat. He is thirsty.
Why doesn’t he do something about it? Couldn’t he? Did he not cause jugs of water to be jugs of wine? Did he not make a wall out of the Jordan River and two walls out of the Red Sea? Didn’t he, with one word, banish the rain and calm the waves? Doesn’t Scripture say that he “turned the desert into pools” (PSALM 107:35 NIV) and “the hard rock into springs” (PSALM 114:8 NIV)?
Did God not say, “I will pour water on him who is thirsty” (ISAIAH. 44:3NKJV)?
If so, why does Jesus endure thirst?
While we are asking this question, add a few more. Why did he grow weary in Samaria (John 4:6), disturbed in Nazareth (Mark 6:6), and angry in the Temple (John 2:15)? Why was he sleepy in the boat on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:38), sad at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:35), and hungry in the wilderness (Matt. 4:2)?
Why? And why did he grow thirsty on the cross?
He didn’t have to suffer thirst. At least, not to the level he did. Six hours earlier he’d been offered drink, but he refused it.
They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get. (Mark 15:22–24 NIV,italics mine)
Before the nail was pounded, a drink was offered. Mark says the wine was mixed with myrrh. Matthew described it as wine mixed with gall. Both myrrh and gall contain sedative properties that numb the senses. But Jesus refused them. He refused to be stupefied by the drugs, opting instead to feel the full force of his suffering.
Why? Why did he endure all these feelings? Because he knew you would feel them too.
He knew you would be weary, disturbed, and angry. He knew you’d be sleepy, grief-stricken, and hungry. He knew you’d face pain. If not the pain of the body, the pain of the soul … pain too sharp for any drug. He knew you’d face thirst. If not a thirst for water, at least a thirst for truth, and the truth we glean from the image of a thirsty Christ is—he understands.
And because he understands, we can come to him.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Proud of our Flag

Posted on FB today was this photo (see below) and a story about a man that was not allowed to fly the American flag in his yard by his home owners' association so, he fixed them.  He repainted his house (which I am sure breaks a covenant as well), but he made his point.  The thing that probably bothers me more than him being told he couldn't fly the flag was that a person who I will not name had the nerve to go out to this picture and say "What's so special about d American flag" (first take note of the grammar, really?).  I couldn't believe it, but this person was put in their place quickly by lots of true blooded Americans and it wasn't even by the person that posted the picture.  I loved that!  I will say that based on the comment of the un-named person, I'm assuming they don't call America home (at least I hope not).

Got to love this!  I so do!

Then my faith was restored again after reading what this "un-named" person wrote when I saw this (also posted on FB)...  I love all our military men and women, but there's just something about those Marines and especially the kids!  Absolutely love this.  Make sure your sound is on so you get the full impact.  Also, don't stop watching too soon, because as soon as the music stops, watch those kids go right back to being kids like you would expect.  They know what is important so for our "un-named" person, take note!

If this video doesn't move you, your mover is broken.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The ugly truth

So many people in this world aren't truly aware of the nightmare our military face once they return home from war.  I stay close to this mainly because I feel such a connection with all the young men that served with Chad and those that are still serving.  Trust me, I was one of those people that truly did not understand what our veterans deal with as well as those that are still serving once they have experienced war.  I started educating myself when my son, CPL Chad S Wade, enlisted and had his first deployment to Iraq.  I prayed every day he was in Iraq that he would come back the same young man who left.  I was always more worried about his mental state and his heart while deployed that first time than his actual physical safety.  I can't explain why, but that's how it was.  Now, once he deployed to Afghanistan, I will admit my fears were equally shared between the mental and physical safety and at the time I couldn't really explain to myself let alone others as to why I felt that way, but it's apparent now that the Lord was preparing me for the worst.  We were fortunate that Chad had no mental issues after Iraq and he seemed to re-acclimate back into the "real" world pretty well.  He had some adjustments to make right at first, but the Marine Corps and his buddies helped each other through those bumps in the road and made a huge difference.  In addition, Chad not only had an amazing family to support, love, and encourage him he also had his upcoming wedding to focus on.  I do believe all those elements helped him not dwell on what he had experienced in Iraq, but to stay focused on the here and now as well as building a future.  I'm grateful for that.  However, Afghanistan was a different story.  I had a horrible feeling about this deployment from the very beginning and apparently rightfully so.  He had been in his final destination there for 5 weeks when he stepped on an IED and died. I knew his brothers in arms would need their families even more now once they returned to the states (this is when our foundation was born) www.wingsforourtroops.com.  When I read this article today http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/opinion/sunday/kristof-a-veterans-death-the-nations-shame.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all&smid=fb-share it broke my heart.  I want to do something to help these men and women, but I have no clue what to do or how to start so if there are any suggestions out there please share.  My heart is just full of love and pride for these men and women and I just feel like I need to do more to help them.  Even if it's just listening to them, I need to do something to help them.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

On line acution - Huge success!

For all that participated in the FB online auction through After Glow Beads, THANK YOU!  You all raised $1,275.00 for Wings for Our Troops "in loving memory of CPL Chad S Wade".  WOW!  I'm just blown away by the support, love, and encouragement our troops must be feeling to know this many people are behind them. 
We are hoping to have some very good and exciting news to share with you very soon.  More coming.  After Glow Beads is planning to host another FB online auction so if you weren't able to participate the last time, you will have another chance in about a month or so.  Stay tuned! 
If you haven't visited these two ladies that have been so instrumental in supporting our troops and Wings for Our Troops please do.  Check out http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150619305953217.411902.314762198216&type=1for After Glow Beads and http://www.daisyandelm.com/ for Daisy and Elm Jewelry & Rosaries.  You will be amazed at what these women can do. 
Help support the small businesses and in the meantime continue to help support our military troops.  It's the very least we can do with the sacrifices they are making for us each and every day.

Don't forget to wear your RED on Fridays for Remember Everyone Deployed!  Always remember that any given day there are American troops on the ground, sea, and in the air fighting in a dangerous war to ensure our freedom. 

Thank you again for all your support and feel good knowing you just helped some Marines get home before and/or after deployment.

R.E.D. Friday jewelry (sample) from Daisy and Elm Jewelry & Rosaries (check out more on her site)

R.E.D. Friday necklace (sample) from After Glow Beads (check out more on her site)

Friday, March 30, 2012

KISS looking to hire military veteran!

How amazing to see the band KISS looking to hire one of America's true heroes as a roadie for their summer tour with Motley Crew.  Of course I'm hoping they hire one of "my" heroes, but any military veteran they hire will be amazing.  I'm just glad to see people out there supporting our military once they re-enter the civilian workforce.  So many of Chad's buddies are still looking for work since getting out of the Marine Corps and I would love nothing more than other companies/people get behind our military men and women and give them a job or a career.  Check out what KISS is doing and if you ever get the chance to personally thank them, please do and never forget to thank our troops (past or present) for all they do for us all!


KISS (courtesy of ultimate classic rock.com)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Soldiers Deck of Cards... via YouTube

There is no introduction or explanation required.  Just check out this YouTube video.  My aunt sent this to me and it is so worth watching.  Always remember our soldiers.

Soldiers Deck of Cards - YouTube