But now I just have a way better team, the veterans of Task Force Hope!! Our camp is coming together nicely and today I had such good contact with my vets, it really encourages me when they are doing well. One Army vet that we helped through our supporters several times sent a message today- I am blessed.
A Marine in Lincoln Nebraska gets to see his kids today. He is six months sober too and pretty much a requirement now. He has a sponsor and I’ve been encouraging him too, having gone through it myself with the booze. But his comment today was, “thanks for everything Ed.” And lately it’s just been the stateside care packs, but they mean a lot!
An Army vet over in Angels Camp is out of firewood- in the mountains that means no heat! As soon as it stops snowing I’m on a beeline over there. You know the firewood is so secondary, time with my vets is important….
We’re constantly working. Six veterans from Jackson will be attending this camp coming up. I love to have the guys who are not used to the good stuff, like the cooking at this camp!! Black Oak Casino sends us a bunch of pizzas too and a US Navy veteran is cooking tri tip on Friday!!
Helping these veterans gets me out of self, and I know I can get all wound up at times- did twenty hours of work, stand by, on alert yesterday!! In the mountains it’s a whole different ball game. Snow, snow, and more snow, but now I’m focused on getting the firewood to Angels Camp!! But then, if the snow plow guy could deliver pizza too????
Still Encouraged, Ed
Birthdays and dates of death come and go, the families still hurting, missing their loved ones. And Brady struggled- two attempts prior, he finally succeeded on the 3rd attempt at Ft Bliss in Texas, Now the family struggles. Last July when we delivered the bench in his honor and memory, his 7 year old nephew cried a river of tears sitting on his Mom’s lap, Brady’s sister, while a US Navy veteran and chaplain sat nearby comforting him..
I tell you about Brady because I know the family. As the chaplain and family outreach guy for 22TooMany, I get to meet some of these families and at 22 per day or so, even our list of about 250 families seems impossible for me to reach, but the 30 I know have become friends…
They all deal differently- one mom almost drank herself to death, one dad still wants answers, some blame themselves, but you know, the kindness of a stranger, like one dad put it last September, means a lot. When I meet the families I get to hear stories about their loved ones. A Marine Mom in Ohio talked for 2 1/2 hours straight and when a noise in the cafe startled me and I looked away, she thought I was looking at the clock and apologized- I told her to keep telling me about her son, I will listen!!
And we have at least two benches to do, Big Al, and here is another opportunity to encourage the families!! Every bench delivery, we include veteran motorcycle clubs and let me tell you something- when you bring veterans with you to present a bench to the family, it means the world to that family!
So, I’m just reflecting on the mission today, watching a foot of snow fall in the Sierra’s, and thinking about the families of the 22- there’s so many,…Lord let me reach as many as I can and continue to do Your work with our veterans and troops deployed. God Bless America and all that keep her free!!
Well, I’m up here at camp full time now and have to shovel and plow snow, and keep two fireplaces going just in case I lose power!! But this is God’s country and with a real office I am able to do so much more mission work!!
At a Veterans Collaborative Meeting in Sacramento on Wed I will admit my approach was like will these military people ever get it that this civilian and his team of veterans has something to offer??
And luckily I sat next to a Veteran Service Officer from Citrus Heights that I’ve finally talked into coming to camp! And he is bringing the Mobile Vet Center !!
I received a call during that meeting that I just had to take- it was the father of a soldier that took his own life in 2014. The conversation was very private but I have information or better yet contact with other families that will help him. I have said it a lot, “if we stop soldier suicide today, these families will still be hurting.”
So the mission expands, the mission changes, and God shows us opportunities to serve more veterans. The “stateside” care pack for instance, what a positive encouraging impact for the veteran!!
Task Force Hope Veterans Camp: Mar 29 thru Apr 1
If you know a veteran that could use a break, this is a free peer to peer veteran event with no pressure whatsoever. A free event in a safe environment. I have done a bunch of these camps and I get to see life changing stuff…..something else I say a lot, “our veterans are worthy.”
We don’t have to make the news, but I will say that my team will never joke about the vice president being a Christian. 2 Chron 7:14 comes to mind, but it’s the focus on our veterans at camp and it can be about one veteran- we will help as many as we can, one veteran at a time….
Last week one of my Marines was passing by with his family and they stopped in and asked if I wanted to go to lunch? I followed them down to Twain Harte to a busy little café and we had a nice lunch. This was so much more than lunch. Seeing my Marine doing well, his son sitting next to him happily coloring, and just talking like old friends. If you know anything about post traumatic stress, just being in the busy café can be an issue, but our guys are doing well, and to be honest, I would have went anywhere with this family- it encourages me to see them doing well…..
We need help with this camp!!
We need sponsors- 4 sponsors at $1250 each would do it.
We need veterans to attend- a camp application is required, call me 925 260 5423
We need care pack items
WE need visitors to come up on Sat to meet our veterans- I need to know ahead for lunch
This camp is hosted by Christian Berets Inc
Checks to Christian Berets Inc. – Memo Veterans Camp, are greatly appreciated!
Christian Berets Inc
PO Box 158
Mi Wuk Village Ca 95346
You know, even my Marines struggle. Whether it’s a Marine in Discovery Bay battling brain cancer or a Marine in Colorado with a baby born at 26 weeks, we all have our struggles! These guys have found a way to stay connected and we help each other! There’s a Marine in Nebraska that may need a visit? I know what he’s battling and he won’t lie to me- my heart breaks knowing what he’s going through!!
But you know, it’s not just about the Marines- as a grateful civilian I have no favorites, we work with all branches, Veterans and deployed US troops are who we serve! A colonel working in DC keeps sending us names of deployed US troops and also active duty service members here in the states- the encouragement found in a care package can be huge!!
And gearing up for two camps coming soon- California in March and Alabama in April, our hope is to get more veterans to attend camp and I’m gonna be brutality honest here! Some will not attend because we have a no alcohol policy. You know, all it takes is one idiot, and that’s just being real, but alcohol and PTSD do not mix!
We need veterans to attend camp. I’ve seen some amazing things at camp, but you have to experience camp! There are veterans on this email list that could benefit from camp. If you are an employer with veterans working for you, your employees could benefit from camp. They most likely won’t tell you if they have PTSD. Just like in the military, if you ask for help, it can be seen as weakness.
Ok, so if you are just interested in our mission and thinking about helping, I have to admit sometimes I feel like a one armed man in a wall paper hanging contest, but we need help doing this mission. We need sponsors, we need people to come to camp, meet the vets and get involved! You might be surprised and how kind these guys are, I know their integrity is off the charts, but these veterans are worthy.
Still Encouraged because our veterans are worthy.
Patience has never been my thing, ask my good friend Roy who picked me up today in Stockton and drove me to Oakdale to pick up the 2013 GMC Sierra truck!! But with the help of a couple of angels on earth, a pastor, a school teacher from Vancouver Wash, my good friend Roy, and others that believe in our mission, we may not be broke down on the road for a while!!!
More importantly though, 5 care packs went out today to the deployed- a new name with a medical unit, and a soldier that just returned to duty after saying good bye to his father. I’ve done some of these things, like losing both my parents, but I did not have to go back to war or duty right after. I am in awe of their strength and I am extremely grateful that we have these men and women in America that serve!!
Three “stateside” care packs went out today also- one to a Marine in Lincoln Nebraska, another to a shelter for homeless vets here in California, and another to a Marine whose wife just gave birth to a baby boy at 26 weeks. You know, this will be quite the hospital stay for this baby! One thing I know about my Marines, they’re not afraid of battle, they’re not afraid of the enemy, but this kind of difficulty an having faith in the ability of others and having faith that God will see them through…..is another story all together.
So, for $13.65 and the cost of the contents, a care package can maybe give some encouragement. We’re going to step up our game and send a lot more care packs and we’re going to push and do our veteran camps or conferences better. We are going to serve more veterans, still one at a time, but we are going to serve as many as we can.
Two camps coming up- Task Force Hope California and Task Force Hope Alabama. We are going to duplicate this simple program. Clinicians may not want to hear about it- but we will not fight a spiritual battle with a clinical approach! Peer to peer with activities is all we need to make a huge difference.
We have to help each other. I reluctantly went to the dentist this morning after delaying for 4 years. And I still almost didn’t go because of my fear of the dentist. I knew I had to go and turns out the issues I have are fixable and I will only lose one tooth, but the dentist was so kind, he helped me with another matter and gave me a recommendation for my super dry hands, and then he did something really strange- he asked if he could show another patient what was going on with my teeth! I declined and the hygienist shook her head no also, but then I said to him, “is this something that will help the other patient?” And he said, “yes.”
So he walks me into another room and this woman in the chair turns around, looks at me and smiles and says, “Eddie?” Turns out she is a friend of my sisters, she got up and hugged me, then the dentist showed her my teeth- kind of strange, yes, but he said, “we have to help each other.” If he wouldn’t of done this, I would have not been able to see my sisters friend, and we visited briefly, we both were care givers for our moms for a long time…..we have to help each other.
The truck is just another tool in the toolbox- one of my vets needs me a thousand miles away, or two thousand, I will go, and I can’t wait to haul some care packs to the post office, I don’t want the A Team at the post office getting soft on me!!!
Still Encouraged and very grateful for the folks that believe in our mission and love our country and our troops and veterans….
A text message from a Colonel this morning about two soldiers that may need some encouragement- one stateside and the other deployed!! And I always have goods and supplies on hand, just like my team in Brentwood, we can care pack in a heartbeat!!
This same Colonel sends me names now and then of soldiers that served with her and are now out of the military, but still in need of the encouragement we can offer through the US Mail!!
I am at a point where I need to make a decision and soon- 25 hours or so and my Enterprise Rental truck will have to go back! I have had to tow the Operation Creekside trailer lately and my 2002 F-150 has had it, pretty much a goner now at 286,000 miles!
There are two trucks in Oakdale we are looking at for the mission- a 2013 GMC Sierra and a 2008 Ford F-250. The Ford is a workhouse and the GMC a very nice comfort vehicle. We are not near either with the funds, as mission and care packs come before my needs, but I have never been here, in this position and I apologize if this sounds pathetic, but I really have never been here before…..
Care packs will go out on Monday, our Feb care pack will happen on Tues, a meet with the Cub Scouts also on Tues. will happen, and I believe that God will provide!! We have so much mission work ahead in 2018. We are into the 10th year of service to troops deployed and veterans, and we will continue for as long as we are able….
Still Encouraged, Ed
The Bible says to look out for others before your own interests, and man I’m livin that right now!! With the 02 Ford broke down yet again, and the Enterprise Rental truck needing to go back on Monday, I am hopeful that I figure this out because mission work comes first, my veterans come first, the care packs going out come first…….
And I rarely get caught up in the “business end” of things, but I noticed that my team has posted a GoFundMe page on Facebook. I’m not a big fan of GoFundme really- I’ve seen crazy things get money and important things get nothing, but it’s out there and it’s on the website.
We do as much as we can for our veterans and we continue to ship the care packs to deployed troops, and now even the “stateside” care pack for any veteran across this great country- I have since day one thought that we can do mission nationwide and the Lord knows we need to work nationwide!!
I was at a prayer meeting in Sonora last night and 5 of us gathered to pray. We talked about our petitions and then presented them all to God. Revival was mentioned in prayer quite often last night and I couldn’t help think about God hearing and granting this request? This country does need revival. We are fighting a spiritual battle with a clinical approach.
I also think about the families. Especially those of the 22 veterans that take their own lives daily. A woman in Wisconsin has lost 2 nephews to PTSD related suicide. Last month she lost her husband, a US Navy vet, to cancer. These families struggle. They need love and care like anyone else. People don’t often approach them. This is why we have to keep working. It’s not about money. We do have to fund raise, but it’s not the focus….
One of my Marines the other day told me, “if we get more money in, we will just serve more veterans.” Mission first, service first, there is so much to do!!
God Bless America!!
If you are a veteran, a firefighter, or a police officer, think seriously about attending one of our camps! I am tracking a text trail right know where my Marines, a couple of Navy guys, and one Airborne Army guy are chatting it up about camp, and I started this text barrage this morn with; if one veteran needs camp I’m all in, the more the merrier, but I’m ok with one- we help one at a time!!
Again, if you’re a veteran, a firefighter, or a police officer, think seriously about attending one camp- in this text trail, one of these guys says what that one camp did for him. This same young man attended the funeral of one of our Task Force Hope veterans last year and he was my rock as I had to deliver the eulogy for the veteran that I had often referred to as my favorite veteran. Our guys will gather with his family that includes two of his sons, also veterans, to remember Sgt Jose Rivera on Mar 17.
Then we will gear up for Task Force Hope Camp set for Mar 29 thru Apr 1 and I know that Apr 1 is Easter Sunday- we will break out in the morning and head home to families, and if any of our guys need to leave on Sat nite, that’s ok too…Our peer to peer approach is “for real” and we’re not knocking the clinical approach, but we are fighting a spiritual battle here and you know where I’m going with that! We need sponsors. It’s as easy as a check in the mail. This camp is hosted by Christian Berets in Mi Wuk Village Ca.
I am already here, getting things ready- there’s a camp fire ring to upgrade, an archery course to set up, an activities shed to rebuild, a lot to do to get ready! If you want to come up and see the camp or even help with a project, please let me know…..
To be a sponsor for this camp or to help with Task Force Hope Alabama, just indicate on your check TFH Calif or TFH Alabama and send payable to:
Christian Berets Inc
1317 Oakdale Rd Suite 340
Modesto, Ca 95355
Again there’ll be no generic fundraising approach- as I was talking on the phone with one of my Marines this morning, I ended the call with I love you and he said it back to me….these guys are incredible!
God Bless America!!
But this veteran who runs a veteran’s home in Hot Springs South Dakota will be encouraged!! I also met with a Marine today and it was kind of a business meeting, but I got to hear so much of his personal story it was just like being on mission- a chaplain loves to listen!!
I am really excited about the opportunities in front of us- you know the windshield has a much better view than the rear view mirror! At the end of March, actually the 29th thru Apr 1, we will host our first Task Force Hope Veterans Camp, and I know this is Easter Weekend, but we are done by Sunday morning and this is the only time frame we could schedule…..
And just 3 weeks later, Task Force Hope Alabama has a camp scheduled near Birmingham!! I have always thought, hoped, and prayed for a nationwide mission, and here we go!! Our veterans nationwide do struggle, and we need to reach more of them!
We need this thing called participation and on whatever level you can participate- we need sponsors, we need helpers, we need veterans to come to camp, we need this information shared, we need to teach civilians what they can do to help stop soldier suicide….
It’s a simple program- peer to peer with activities, campfire, games, fellowship, good food, music, and in a safe environment.
This camp is hosted by Christian Berets in MiWuk Village. If you’d like more info, please contact me directly at 925 260 5423. Some things I’ve been workin on like a food truck coming up to camp will need a sponsor and we always do care packs at veterans camp, so we need a sponsor for that, but call me if you can help- sponsors can join the veterans for lunch on Saturday, but I need to know in advance if you’re coming.
Task Force Hope Men’s Event
Mar 29 thru Apr 1
Veterans- No Charge but must sign up- see Task Force Hope on Facebook
Civilians- will be a small fee, but must sign up and be screened
Pastors, Business Owners, Military Family Members, encouraged to attend
Training to help understand PTSD and other issues veterans face and how to help
Activities, Campfire, Music and fellowship
Absolutely no drugs or alcohol! If you’re an AA Member, you can run a meeting at camp!
We need sponsors too and sponsors are welcome to attend lunch on Saturday- need to sign up for this too!!
Please contact me for more info. Helping our veterans requires participation…
925 260 5423 Task Force Hope Men’s Event
I guess I’ve always let Mondays rule me, and yesterday was pretty hectic- more behinder that ever and two bridge delays, when that highway bridge swings there’s no getting to the other side- thanks Cal Trans!!
But last night, as I got settled, I noticed the candle on 22TooMany’s post, honoring Francis Graves II, a US Army MP who lost his battle with PTSD Jan 29, 2015. The pain is real. A terrible loss. I met his mom and dad last year in September. Francis was named after his day who goes by Rocky, and he was called Stony.
He struggled with PTSD and ended up in treatment at Perry Point VA in Maryland. I have actually been to this location, back in 2013, and prayed with a chaplain there. But Stony was released after a 30 day stay, went out and overdosed that day. The VA did not notify his father when they released him, not to lay blame, but just to share the things that happen,,,,
I spent an entire day with Rocky and he shared a lot about his son. He also shared about his time in Viet Nam. I could tell that he blamed himself for losing his son. In reality it was PTSD and the ineffectiveness of the VA. I’m not bashing the VA, but they are faced with overwhelming cases of PTSD and their approach is strictly clinical for a spiritual battle!!
Last year I met quite a few families of the 22 veterans that take their ow lives daily. Their stories have many similarities and one thing is for sure- these families need love and support. We send them the “stateside” care packs too, just like we do for any veteran…….
God Bless America and all that keep her free!!
This is a local request, but I’ll share with all, please bear with me; some local kids of FFA and 4-H are building shelters for their Fair animals and are in need of some plywood. I have contacted Big B Lumber in Brentwood and they will honor the contractors price for anyone who calls and purchases a sheet or two- we need 32 sheets of 3/4″ CDX Plywood.
One of these kids is the daughter of my Operation Creekside right hand man and US Navy veteran Michael Siemer. His daughter Kaylee has been writing the custom forms accurately for our care packs since she was 9 years old. And now a senior at Liberty High, my old school, and in FFA like i was 39 or 40 years ago!!
My first bank loan from ECC Bank was to raise a pig for the Fair, so I can relate to the difficulties a teen faces with expenses like these. I’m putting this out there to encourage our youth. I posted about this on Facebook and had 10 shares with not one piece of plywood purchased.
Again, if you can help, please call Big B Lumber, ask for John or Royd, and help theses kids out- they need to be building pens on Saturday!!
Big B Lumber 925 634 2442
Plywood for the FFA/4-H Kids
Typical January, a slow start, but some strategic “stateside” care packs going out and getting ready for our regular 4th Tuesday of the month Care Pack at Dino’s Deli this coming Tuesday- this has not changed in almost ten years; we pack on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month….
I am moving a veteran. It’s a difficult situation and I’m trying to walk through it with love and care. Not all mission work is easy. But, I am happy to report that all our Task Force Hope veterans are doing well. We preach family first and that’s what they are doing, taking care of their families.
We are working on the Task Force Hope plan for 2018. Things change and the mission changes. We want the civilian world to understand more about what the veteran goes through and also to know what to look for and what to do in crisis….
We also want to reach out more to the families of the 22. If you remember, in October 2017, our only Santa Rosa contact was a mom who lost her son to suicide. He was a combat medic. Through her, we and the VFW Post #10789 were able to deliver goods and gift cards. There is hope for everyone. (Rom,15:13)
These emails are mostly reports, but we are always looking for partners to help us do more mission work and there is so much to do!!
I’ll take my lumps if my military guys give me a hard time with this, but we have to step up our game! My key Task Force Hope veterans and I are going to consider trusted civilians to be able to join us at this particular camp and offer some training. By trusted I mean screened and real positive men that are interested in helping our veterans. Things like a handshake and an honest look in the eye can go go a long way or even start a friendship!!
We have lost two veterans fairly close to home this year, both taking their own lives, and the incident in Jamestown this August, was most likely very preventable. The VA says the suicide rate is down to 20 per day and we don’t think that’s a victory by any means- one is too many!!
The March camp is to be scheduled soon- if you have any interest in helping, attending, sponsoring, and or sharing this info please do! I’m going to be up at camp in MiWuk Village a lot this year, putting together programs and working on a camp for the families of the 22- these families need love and support too!!
For Sponsors- please contact me soon!!
Christian Berets is hosting this camp and donations directly to Christian Berets are most acceptable, please note on your check “Veterans Camp”
1317 Oakdale Rd Suite 340
Modesto, Ca. 95355
We are just getting started in this much needed mission field and our veterans are worthy!!
Task Force Hope
The “stateside” care packs are a hit! Rec’d a note back from a US Navy vet…..this is the first care pack I have ever received, thank you for your thoughtfulness…
A US Army veteran from Maine shared the goods from the care pack with homeless people- can you imagine being homeless in Maine during winter??
You all know how we’ve been helping buy cars for veterans in need and also working with Welcome Home Heroes on doing some major repairs like new engines too….we are finally at the point where my 2002 Ford F-150 needs to be replaced! I am not able to tow the Op Creekside trailer up the hill anymore- it used to be don’t run the A/C up the hill, but now it’s no uphill!!!
Our mission is solid and we are doing more and more- the stateside care packs need to increase and we need to be able to visit more families of the 22. Enterprise Rental has been fantastic for us, but it’s another expense and I don’t think Hertz will rent to me ever again after the total loss of a perfectly good Nissan Rogue!!
If you or your business could help us, there are several options;
General Funds for Care Packs
Stateside Care Packs
Just memo where you want the funds to go on your check- I’m a soft fundraiser guy and not pushy!!
The US Mail is an excellent tool for encouraging pretty much anyone! A Viet Nam veteran in Cambridge Maryland just sent a note of thanks for the care pack he received. And I only know him because he lost his son, also an Army vet, to PTSD. About a dozen stateside care packs have went out since the holidays. This is a great time for encouragement! We send care packs to the 22 families also- a mom in Arizona will get a 22TooMany hat this week. Follow up is key in mission work and just as important as being “for real”.
I might have mentioned, there’s a Korea War veteran down the street and his wife of 65 years is in the battle of her life right now! She’s not worried too much about the cancer, it’s what’s happening in her lungs that scares her!! I make a habit of stopping in front of their house every time I go down there and praying- when I have the trailer, that’s my turn around area. I was there the other day and she came out. I jumped out of the truck to say hi and she told me how things were going. I assured her that my team was still praying and we would keep praying. She gave me 4 cases of water and this is the “overflowing blessing” part…..
You may know, we collected a lot of bottled water for the Santa Rosa Fire Relief and distributed hundreds of cases; to Santa Rosa High School, to a church that hosted the Billy Graham Response Team, to a concert benefit for the victims, to the Petaluma Coast Guard, and even the Rio Vista Fire Dept. We even were able to stock up Sonora Vets Helping Vets supply. But the “overflowing” part is where this woman in the battle of her life decided to bless our mission even more…I didn’t need any more water, but I did need to stand in that garage with her and offer hope. She knew both my parents that are no longer on this earth. She knew them for a long time. I told her that we were like family and put my arm around her and told her that I loved her….we all need hope.
And last night I was added to the admin of 22Pray on Facebook! I do serve as the 22TooMany Chaplain and Family Outreach Guy, so I posted up some Scripture and a few photos. Within hours a mom who lost her son to PTSD asked if she could have one of our 22ToMany hats? I know, I mentioned in the 1st paragraph, but reaffirming the use of US Mail and following through!!
We are planning our camps for 2018 and I hope we are not behind, planning these days take time and working with schedules, but we are really excited about 2018!! A Task Force Hope veterans camp in March is in the works for MiWuk Village and we are working on a camp in Alabama for April!
May God bless America and all who keep her free!!
The “stateside” care pack to any veteran in the US is a very powerful ministry tool. Received a message from one of my Marines, “did you send ……….. a care package?” I replied, “yes, I did.” His reply, “it was good timing.”
With a big push of care packs to deployed troops and also “good timing”, we try to get the bulk of our care packs delivered just before Christmas, and then we gear up for the new year- 1st care pack of 2018 is next Tuesday, Jan 9…
The stateside care packs started going out last week and again, we’ve had some great responses. It doesn’t matter either way, as long as the veteran receives the care pack!!
Also, I did my best to get all the thank you’s out from the Brentwood Auto Parts/VFW :Post #10789 5th Annual Holiday Pack- I hope I didn’t miss anyone, but just in case- THANKS to all who helped!!
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…..
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……
General- Most Needed
Task Force Hope- veteran support, camps
22TooMany- family outreach
Tow Vehicle for Operation Creekside Trailer
Still Encouraged, Ed
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.