January 2018

1/1

Care Pack Ministry: I am happy to report almost 300 care packs out in December and we are still shipping and quite a few “stateside” care packs continue to go out to veterans across this great country!!

Task Force Hope: we have two camps to schedule between now and April, one of those being in Alabama!! Contact me if you can help- we need sponsors, we need items for camp, fuel cards for the veterans, and care pack goods and postage dollars.

The world we live in: on Saturday night someone fired 3 rounds into our beloved Operation Creekside trailer. I keep it in my church parking lot here in Brentwood. One round went clean through and the other two we found the bullets inside!

The damage is minimal, just heartbreaking stuff you know, when you’re doing mission work!! I’m going to have to relocate the trailer- the church parking lot is not safe- welcome to Brentwood!!

We are looking at doing a lot more with Christian Berets in MiWuk Village, a great place to host our camps and I am also trying to keep my Ford running- we are looking at a nice GMC truck in Oakdale at Family Truck & Auto. We have purchased 3 vehicles from this dealer for our veterans and Ron is really helping us on these purchases. I hate stuff for me, but broke down on the side of the road is becoming too common- hopefully we can put this together soon.

My vets deserve better service from me. I am really excited about 2018 and the opportunities that God will put in front of us. I thank my veterans of Task Force Hope for helping each other and for reaching out to vets in need…..

Best, Ed

December 2017

12/26

As we look forward to more mission work in 2018 , I want to thank those who believe in our mission and help us continue to serve those who serve and who have served! I spent Christmas with one of my veterans who would have otherwise been alone. You may know the drill; see family and loved ones that you can see(my son and I spent Friday night with our Task Force Hope veterans and families), then do your best!!

I was able to catch up on my “stateside” care packs this weekend and have six ready to ship out today! Most holiday care packs by groups across the US have been delivered, so as a year round mission, we continue to ship- we think the encouragement should be consistent!!

For 2018, we will do “business” as usual- keep sending the care packs to deployed US troops and to veterans here on the home front, and we will support the veterans of Task Force Hope, and families of the 22TooMany.

Task Force Hope Alabama: coming in April of 2018- details soon!! We are very excited about this and will be working with US Navy veteran BJ Cotton, who is also walking the Appalachian Trail to benefit our cause!!! AT Hiker!

22TooMany: I serve as the chaplain and family outreach for this group. The families that have lost loved ones to PTSD related suicide are dear to my heart. One of my Marines said, “thank you for taking care of my people” when I visited a Marine mom in Ohio that lost her son to suicide. I told him that these are my people!! So in 2018 look for more missions to meet these families……..

To help us, you know the drill- we kindly accept donations of any amount. Fundraising will never be my focus, but be thinking about what areas of our mission that you or your business could help with……

Care Packs
General- Most Needed
Task Force Hope- veteran support, camps
22TooMany- family outreach
Tow Vehicle for Operation Creekside Trailer

Still Encouraged, Ed

Romans 12:12

12/23

From 250 plus care packs delivered to troops deployed or in route, to Christmas dinner last night with the veterans of Task Force Hope, this “freight train” of hope mission for troops and veterans continues to roll…..

We have already rec’d some word back from troops that have rec’d care packs and a letter from the Coast Guard Commander in Puerto Rico. A Marine in Nebraska got gifts for his kids, a soldier in Brentwood rec’d and unexpected surprise from one of our sponsors and Christmas was literally saved for one of our 22TooMany families in Washington state- this one a blessing out of nowhere!!

As we gear up for 2018, I want to tell you all some more about last night. My son and I spent several hours at one of my Task Force Hope veteran’s houses last night, with his family and with a couple other of our guys with their families. I shared on Facebook this morn that it was like “heaven on earth” just being there and seeing my guys doing well!

These young men, who have served our country, and all having different levels of post traumatic stress are doing well- you can tell when you spend time with their families. Their wives are incredible women, to hang in there and to be supportive. Their kids didn’t sign up for any of this- dad with post traumatic stress and the difficulties, but again, these families are doing well….

At one of our first Task Force Hope camps, one of my Marines said to expand your unit. Let trusted people in. These men have done just that! We stood in the kitchen last night, in a close circle, and Del, our host looked over at me and said, “Ed”. That’s all he said and heads were bowed and we were in prayer. I can’t explain what it means to me to be in fellowship with these guys and their families…..

And knowing some of their stories, I am impressed. Our veterans are a tough bunch, they are resilient, but everyone needs a hand now and then, not a hand out, but a hand up. I love what I do. Another Marine says to me, “thank you for taking care of my people.” And I say, “these are my people and your welcome.”

There’s another week in 2017 and we’re still workin, our veterans and troops are worthy.

Best, Ed

12/19

All the goods are on the way!! Including big boxes of toys for a Marine’s kids in Nebraska and also for kids from one of our 22TooMany families in Washington state. I have always said that our mission is nation wide….an interesting side note: received a check this week with a note saying this is a blessing regarding James 1:27, please do as the Lord leads. The Scripture refers to widows and orphans and unfortunately in this “business” you will know folks in this group, so I mailed out that blessing today and added some to it- blessings can overflow, also found in Scripture……

Care Pack Notes” I took US Navy veteran Ray Ansick with me for the mast big haul to the post office- nothing like having an 82 year old helper, but he pushed the cart into the PO for 4 trips and another 85 care packs out. Over 250 shipped in the last 6 days. Ray and I then went and picked up a power chair for a Viet Nam veteran who is now in assisted living. We have more to ship out and several large boxes going to one of our deployed troops that is helping at an orphanage in Afghanistan. I can’t thank the Discovery Bay Post Office enough for the excellent service, not only now but year round!!

I picked up a box of 22TooMany hats today and they are available. These cost us $20 each, so I can’t just give them away. If you’d like a hat, please let me know. I do give them to our Task Force Hope veterans- any help with this expense is appreciated….

We are going to ship out everything we have and get ready for 2018. Continued support for deployed US troops is a must.

Best, Ed

12/17

Update: on Tues Dec 12, the morning of our big 5th annual Holiday Troop Care Pack Event I was in a wreck on the way to the Discovery Bay Post Office, hit by a senior driver that did not see me and the broadside impact sent my vehicle into a barrel roll down the road for two complete flips!! My rental car was totaled. I had it less than 20 hours. My Enterprise friends will be happy knowing it was a Hertz Rental!!

I went from the ER directly to the event. A Navy Corpsman took me home to get my stuff and the Operation Creekside trailer and the pack was on!! See Facebook for pics, we had a fantastic event!! Wednesday I was really sore and we only got 16 care packs out. Thursday we shipped 57 and Friday 89. A couple more on Saturday and 165 are on the way!!

I can’t thank my son Joseph enough for coming over every day to help and driving me to the post office- I had the rental because my truck was broke down in Sonora. He has helped me do this mission for almost 10 years now, just like the Siemer kids- great little workers that have grown into good teenagers!!

We now have most of the care packs ready- another 75 will go out tomorrow. A little difficult this time as my neck and shoulder are not well, sore from the wreck, but the blessings out weigh the setbacks as we soldier on and do the mission faithfully.

This week one of my Mom’s old friends called and said, “I have a check for you.” She lives at the end of the street, so I had to walk down there- I did not get my truck back til yesterday. So I walked down and went into the house to see her on oxygen. She is battling cancer. She has been taking care of her husband for years now, a Korea War Veteran and US Marine. I spent an hour getting that check and as much as funds mean to a small non profit like ours, that check became so secondary!!

These are folks I’ve known a long time. They knew my parents. They have been married 65 years. She was very calm and not worried. I know she is a Christian. I asked her if she knew a certain Scripture, Jeremiah 17:14. I said it out loud. I asked her about Romans 12:12 and recited that too. Sometimes you (I) need to see the reality of things (an oxygen tank) to understand what’s going on, where are the opportunities, how to show others hope and tel them where it comes from………

One of my Marines is ill. Tests and more tests. I get to see him on Friday. I picked up something from church this morn that will help me- I just hope and pray that I will faithfully lay these burdens down to the One who said my work on this earth wasn’t done yet on Tuesday….

Still Encouraged, Ed

12/10

We are gearing up for the 5th Annual Holiday Troop Care Pack Event on Tuesday- collecting goods at Brentwood Auto Parts, getting supplies ready- tape, boxes, etc. We still need goods and money for the postage!!

I spent the day with Andy, our US Navy veteran working the camp in the hills- a tree company came up on Friday to do some donated tree work and as awesome as that is, it creates a lot of work afterwards! My son and I spent the day cutting and splitting wood- I am feeling it today. We will help Andy today also with some things that need to be done before winter sets in- it’s a different world up here once the snow comes……

And with a week or more in front of me of packing and shipping possibly 500 care packs or so, my “trusty” 2002 Ford F-150 has yet another mechanical setback- the right rear axle is leaking oil- this is not good timing at all! I may have to rent a vehicle??

If you’ve heard the term, “what comes around goes around”, but prob not the term I’m looking for, but my veteran Andy, up here has already said, “you can take my vehicle”. Sometimes I wonder why I help this one veteran so much, and it’s not for the use of his vehicle, but the bottom line is, he has no one else. To quote one of my Marines yet again, “this is what we do for each other.”

So, while my body is sore from the wood cutting and splitting, my heart is full as I am blessed to be in a free country with thanks to our troops and veterans- if you’re local, I hope to see you on Tuesday!!

Still Encouraged, Ed

Operation Creekside/TaskForceHope/22TooMany

12/5

We are gearing up for the big pack with Brentwood Auto Parts and VFW Post #10789 that is happening next Tuesday the 12th at 6 pm at the Veterans Hall in Brentwood. We need help on all levels;

If you’ve packed with us before, come and help the new people!

We need goods- see the “Short List” on our website.

Note- Halloween Candy is now 2 1/2 months old and Girl Scout Cookies are 3 1/2 months outdated.

We need help with the postage- and doing the math, if we do 500 care packs, that’s $8675 for postage!!

HQ for this “op” is Brentwood Auto Parts- see Linda Wilson. You can drop off goods and donations for postage there!!

I am more excited about having the names of two squads right now; one is with a local soldier and the other is with a soldier we have supported through several deployments. Consistency is key for mission work!!

Think about those serving right now- if they are deployed it’s most likely they were away for Thanksgiving and now will also be away for Christmas. We know of at least one solider in South Korea that could use some encouragement and we have a Coast Guard officer in Puerto Rico that is sharing the goods with people in need!

There is much we can do with the US Mail- we have over 40 “stateside” care packs to ship to veterans we know. Some have served recently. some Viet Nam, and a few even WW2 and Korea….

Yes, still very busy serving a worthy group of Americans.

Best, Ed

12/4

US Marine Andrew Jackson went home to be with the Lord yesterday; born Oct 20, 1946, died Dec 6, 2017. My 94 year old aunt who was married to my Uncle Melvin, an Iwo Jima US Marine, also passed yesterday. I will miss the conversations we had, watching him witness to people in the hospital and praying with him. He was kind and had a gentle spirit. He would always greet my son with, “and how are you young man?” We talked about a lot of things and he said, I’m just glad to be in the Lord’s loving arms”, a lot. Sitting in that power chair, not able to walk, he would say that a lot. I will miss him but I know he is in a better place- rest easy Marine….

I may have mentioned this before, but we have the names of two US Army squads and care packs are on the way! We have some new names too and we have a few US troops deployed that do a really good job of distributing the goods. Our big pack with Brentwood Auto Parts/VFW Post #10789 is coming up and if you are local, we could really use some more goods- please drop off at Brentwood Auto Parts in Brentwood. We need help at the pack on Tuesday night and we need money for postage!!

We have been sending out some “stateside” care packs and have a bunch more to ship this week- we are in the encouragement business and I rec’d a message today from a mom who lost her son to PTSD, “thanks so much for the care package”, her grandson was there, helping her open the care pack,….it does not take much to encourage someone, we do a lot of it with the US Mail.

I am back up in MiWuk Village tonight- have to help US Navy veteran with a project tomorrow, it’s a little colder up here, might see 25 in the morn. I sent a text to one of my 22TooMany dads this morn- 37 in sunny Calif, he sent back 17 in Illinois!!

Again, it’s personal what we do, even the care packs sent to soldiers we most likely will never meet. I have a few on my list though, some US service members that I need to meet someday….

A US Marine in Nebraska will receive Christmas presents for his 3 kids too. He came to one Task Force Hope Camp and is now part of our family. We tell these guys to expand your unit, let trusted people in, take care of your families, and reach out when you need help- it is working…..

Don’t forget the “big pack” is next Tuesday and besides getting a bunch of care packs out, we have some surprises for those who can make it- it’s America in Brentwood and I’ll give you a hint; God, Family, Country.

Best, Ed

Operation Creekside