GUESS where I was today!!!
On the South Lawn at the White House!!!!! The President gave a speech on the South Lawn of the White House this morning, recognizing Military Spouse Appreciation Month. The President presented six military spouses the Presidential Volunteer Service Award today for exceptional support to their communities and the nation.
The men and women honored today are incredible.
Colleen Saffron founded “Operation Life Transformed” after her husband, Terry, was injured in May 2004 serving in Iraq. The nonprofit group trains families of wounded troops so they can work from home while caring for their loved ones.
Ramona Vazquez founded “Nate's Open Door Baby Pantry” in honor of a Coast Guardsman she had befriended who died in Iraq, becoming the first Coast Guardsman killed in military action since the Vietnam War. The program provides diapers, formula, clothing, toys and furniture to military members and civilians at no charge.
Bob Davison has made a difference everywhere his wife Lisa’s Air Force career has taken her during the past 12 years, Bush said, rattling off examples. While stationed at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, Davison raised $10,000 for the local Fisher House. At Lakenheath, England, he raised nearly $120,000 for short-term food aid for military families facing tough times. At Scott Air Force Base, Ill., he was a volunteer with Operation Home Front, a national nonprofit group that helps needy military families. Most recently, he works with Operation Home Front at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., where he’s raised more than $350,000 in donations, including more than 1 million phone card minutes for deployed servicemembers.
Ellen Patton’s husband, Mark, is a Navy captain, and her son, Eric, a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. “She loves her military, she loves her boys, and she loves to sew,” Bush said. “So she put these … loves together and began to volunteer with Quilts of Valor Foundation.” The group provides wartime quilts to every single servicemember wounded during the war, and Patton personally has made 80 quilts for wounded troops and veterans, Bush noted. She also tracked down many of the sailors injured during the 2000 attack on USS Cole.
Dawnle Scheetz learned of terrible conditions young Iraqi children endured when her husband, Army Reserve Maj. Larry Scheetz, deployed in 2006. In response, she started Operation Schoolhouse, a project to collect school supplies and clothing and toys for poor children in Afghanistan and Iraq. Over an eight-month period, Scheetz collected 5 tons of supplies, all packaged and shipped to the front lines and distributed by U.S. troops.
Kaprece James developed the first year-round youth leadership program to teach professional leadership and interviewing skills. She raised money so young people could assemble 500 disaster kits for enlisted Marine families and founded a newsletter for deployed Marines’ families. All the while, she was a cheerleading coach for children on base.
Monday afternoon I received an invitation in my inbox "requesting my presence" for the event. That gave me SIX DAYS to throw together travel plans.
I managed to get what had to be THE LAST seat on the flights to D.C. and from D.C. Actually, until last night around 6p.m. EST I didn't have a seat on the return flight. Thankfully one opened up. I will be heading home in a few hours and I'll upload pictures then (I managed to forget to pack the USB cable for my camera).
The bummer about the whole thing is that, in order to jump on this opportunity, I had to tap my MilBlogging Conference fund. So that is now empty and it's time to start building that fund up again. So, should you find yourself with a few extra quarters in your pocket and no place to put them, feel free to hit my "SWIM FORREST, SWIM" TIP JAR (I'll be putting up a link to the right soon).
The whole thing was incredible and I think I'm truly in shock. What a wonderful experience!
at May 06, 2008
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