6/121Going on Day 11 of working my US Navy veteran’s job while he is in the hospital and the good news is, he may be home tomorrow!! The Job Title is Facility Caretaker, but I’d have to say it’s more like Janitor/Buss Boy Split Shift Be On Site 24/7…but that’s ok…..Like one of my Marines says, “the mission is always on duty and always changing.” I was able to mail out one care care package today and today one was enough- this morning I woke up thinking, “what if I can’t get at least one care pack out to this group of US troops that are gearing up for a deployment to Afghanistan?” I was also thinking “what if at least one care package does not get to South Carolina in time?”So what are the benefits of working this split shift janitor/buss boy job? Well, for one, the camp director here at Christian Berets is a young man from New Mexico and something we do is pray everyday…..so I told him the deal and we prayed about it….I had that care pack ready to go and it was in the front seat of my little Kubota trash hauling rig and every time I passed by Jon, he would look intently at that care pack. He looked at it like I look at them all; I’ve never been deployed, my freedom is paid for by our troops and veterans….This afternoon, I needed to get to the post office and I told Jon that I would be off site for one hour. He asked where I was going and I told him. He handed me a check for $18.85, the amount for a large flat rate box “stateside” care pack and said, “thank you, this one is on me.”It reminds me of the US Navy veteran who comes here every Monday to clean this place- when he arrived yesterday, there was a care package on the table with his name on it and bold letters saying, “thank you for serving” on it. A couple hours later, he said, ” I’m glad you weren’t right there when I opened that box, because it was kind of emotional.”It’s really simple how this works: always on duty, always changing…..I get a break from camp in about 2 weeks and we intend to make that Pacific Northwest trip to visit families of the 22. As much as we support our Task Force Hope veterans in their quest to end veteran suicide, these families cannot be forgotten and it’s a duty that I do not take lightly. Whether it’s a one hour visit or many hours our mission is to let them know that we care, America cares…I am encouraged.
6/17I met my friend Al today, a Viet Nam veteran who walks by my house everyday- he walks 8 miles a day and that’s how he manages his PTSD. If Al doesn’t step off the sidewalk towards me, I know to stay in the driveway, but today he walked all the way to the middle of the road to talk and he was in good spirits so I started my day with a firm handshake from a Viet Nam Veteran!!One of my Marines always says to the guys, “expand your unit.” Like, let people in and fellowship, share life, share hope, walk through things together. When we lost one of our Task Force Hope veterans there were 10 members of our team there for his funeral.I received a message today from a US Navy Lieut that is with 125 troops training for deployment and she gave me the address and we have about 10 days to possibly ship some goods to these service members getting ready to deploy……and if you’re tracking, I’m up in Sierra Village, Ca working a facility caretaker job while one of my veterans is in the hospital, but I was able to bring the Op Creekside trailer up here with me and I should be able to get some goods packed up this week….This is a tremendous opportunity to expand our mission. More and more troops are getting deployed and some of them like this Navy Lieut have been deployed a lot. A base in South Carolina is about to get some love from Calif and if you’ve been sitting on the fence and watching all this, now is a good time to get involved….I saw a Facebook post on Jun 15- what would have been Joshua Thompson’s 27th birthday. Mom and Dad were sitting in the front yard on that memorial bench that we had made in Joshua’s memory and delivered to Rock Springs. April said, “we laughed, we cried, we had pizza and then a water balloon fight to honor our son.” (expanding our mission)Week One in the books as the “temporary” facility manager at a Christian Camp is in the books and it wasn’t bad at all. It’s nice up here at 5000′ and not too hot like the valley- took a break today and drove up Sonora Pass= 9640′Check us out on Facebook at Operation Creekside- our mission is solid and we are always looking fro opportunities to serve our troops deployed and our veterans….Best, EdRomans 12:12
6/14From a dad who lost a son to PTSD 13 years ago: Fondly remembered as a tough Marine who looked out for his buddies, a generous friend and a good-hearted son who loved his family. Please also remember those who came back after combat and died from PTSD through suicide. My son, USMC Infantry Sgt Boyd “Chip” Wells Jr died that way. After combat in Iraq from Mar-Jun 2003, he came back to the US and was discharged in Oct 2003. In Feb 2004 he committed suicide. No one wants to seem to care about him or the others who have died from PTSD after Iraq combat. Because they didn’t die in a war zone or in uniform, they are forgotten, swept aside. They don’t fit in anywhere during the services- no one recalls these dead heroes, who also gave all. It’s like having a special needs child in your neighborhood, it’s someone else’s problem, someone else’s heartache. Boyd W Hicks Sr.And another note from a Mom that lost her son also from PTSD; it feels like I am dying inside more everyday.I mention just these two stories to remind us that approx 22 families per day start down this road. Why? Why couldn’t we help? Why didn’t the VA help? And veteran groups like our own Task Force Hope are reaching out to veterans nationwide and they are helping each other- this is the good news……What gets me is the fact that these 22 families per day, do not get much support. There is a growing number of these families that connect with each other and with groups like 22TooMany- people that really care, and I am ready again to go meet some families. We had a Pacific Northwest trip planned for next week that had to be postponed and here’s the mission report….On Saturday I had to drop and run up the hill for one of my veterans in trouble- we ended up in the ER on Sunday morn and I’ve been working his job at a Christian Camp since Monday and I have to laugh because he;s trying to boss me from the hospital bed, but then, this is what we do for our veterans…..Trouble is, meeting these families is important and it’s tough duty, and I am reminded of just how long ago the above was written by a dad who lost his son to PTSD- 13 years ago. 13 years of the same thing- families each day facing these questions above and then another question, how do they move forward??Joshua Thompson would have been 27 years old tomorrow. Instead his mom grieves the loss of her son on his birthday. She has found a way to cope- she reaches out, she shares her story, shares her pain, but everyday she lives with the loss….these families need our love and support. Just like our troops and veterans, they are worthy…Best, EdRomans 12:12
6/12We had an emergency situation on Saturday with one of our Task Force Hope veterans and I had to literally drop everything and head to Sierra Village! Luckily I thought to call a Marine that I knew up there, a Marine that works with Sonora Vets Helping vets and he was with our veteran in about 20 minutes. He said when he arrived, “this is what we do for each other, no one else will.”By the time I got there a 911 call was needed but our veteran refused to go to the hospital- it wasn’t a for sure thing, but after a long Sat night and Sun morn, we both agreed the hospital was a good idea! He was taken by ambulance to Sonora Regional and I have to say, I have never seen such compassionate care!!One of the nurses wanted to know about our relationship and I said, “I support veteran, he is my mission and a very good friend.” She told us that her husband was a veteran and as it turns out he is one of the guys with Sonora Vets Helping Vets and I know him. This nurse, married to a veteran, knows the deal and also the staff we encountered was very friendly and respectful towards our veteran..After a long two days of all night watch and two hospitals; he is now in Modesto getting a swollen knee looked at, I am back up to Sierra Village and working his job while he is away. This is what we do for each other….Our veterans are worthy. Received a message from Slim this morn, a Patriot Guard Rider that we met during the memorial bench delivery to Rock Springs Wyoming- it confirms the value of our mission to meet these veterans where they are….if you remember Slim told me some of his story on the side of the road 30 miles outside of Winnemucca Nevada….I mention this because I got some flak for the bench delivery- just one person that didn’t think the bench delivery to a mom who lost her son to PTSD was important. The message from Slim confirms the value of missions like this. Seeing a Facebook post from April Thompson of a beautiful sunrise from that bench confirms it….We are getting ready to go north to visit some families, families of the 22. I don’t know how we’re going to do this, with this new duty this week, but I am going to pray about all this…….Best, EdRomans 12:12
6/9We had a pretty good week of ministry and worked a couple of events too, but here’s the low down;A local veteran was facing his water being shut off on Tuesday and with help we were able to pay the overdue bill on Monday. I checked this guy out and he has a traumatic brain injury from a deployment. His teenage daughter was doing finals this week at high school and I could only imagine what this week would have been like with no water??We also helped this family with this month’s rent balance due. again a worthy veteran is due some benefit of the doubt. A nice family and just trying to navigate the VA and compensation…We helped another non profit group that we work closely with, 22 Too Many, get a vehicle repaired for a Marine in Grants Pass Oregon. All we had to do was negotiate with the shop and get the repairs done quickly…We gave a Viet Nam veteran a 2 night stay at the Peppermill in Reno…Shipped out 29 care packs to US troops deployed….Mailed out 2 “stateside” care packs to veterans here on the home front…**Everything listed here are opportunities and most of the time we get pretty good results which lead to more opportunities!!God Bless America!Best, Ed
6/7Ok, so we put the word out yesterday that a local veteran needed help with the balance due on his rent of $640 and I would like to report that we covered it today!! Two people stepped up and made this blessing happen and after a super long day today I was able to deliver the balance- this is how we do things, in person…..To confirm how valid and vital our mission is, we were at the bank today depositing checks and making sure we were covered, one of our local friends saw the trailer and came into the bank with another check to deposit- it is so encouraging for me when people help….This veteran had such a look of relief today as we stood on his front porch. Then he hugged me and thanked me and I thanked him for serving- mission work is so much more fun than fundraising!!Tomorrow morning 28 to 30 care packs will go out to US troops deployed; still working on addresses and fixing boxes for another two dozen or so for next week…thank again, EdOperation Creekside
6/5The need is $640 to cover the rent and yes we just raised $285 for an overdue water bill. But I checked this family out and the veteran has a traumatic brain injury. He is working on his VA disability claim. I met him and his wife today and this need is real…..If you one of our regular donors we are not grinding you for more money, we just have come upon a need that’s not in our regular budget and we are looking for help. This family includes our veteran, his wife of 21 years and a high school teen…The more contact I have with these military families the more I see how the VA lets them down or stalls their claims and one thing that is really important; these kids deal with stuff that they didn’t sign up for!! Imagine finishing up your freshmen year and getting evicted with your family??I’m just putting it out there, it’s $640 and we are not able to do any more- we want this family to do well, I want this veteran to sleep at night. I didn’t sleep last night because of one of my Task Force Hope vets is struggling. His PTSD is raging…Most of my posts are reports, I do not like the fundraising part, I like to do mission, I like to spend time with my vets…Again, if you one of our regulars don’t worry, if you want to help us help a military family, let me know and soon- 925 260 5423….I’m back to hills in the morn to move a frig for one of my vets and will be back to Brentwood in the afternoon.Best, Ed
6/3On Wed Papa Ray and I met with VFW Post Commander Steve Todd for lunch and picked up 11 tables for our PG&E Op on Thurs that went really well- we spent 4 hours at PG&E in San Ramon, shared the mission and collected enough goods for 70 care packs!!Friday we returned the tables as promised and gave Steve a small donation- we are determined to help our local VFW more and work with Steve as much as possible. I got a message from a local veteran who is struggling with bills. This guy has a traumatic brain injury and the problem is an overdue water bill. I put the word out on Facebook and rec’d some pretty good response- we will take care of the bill on Monday and may have enough for some groceries also…Today was another super long day like Thurs but very good mission work as Papa Ray and I headed to Escalon early to get him set up at an event with the American Legion Riders and I raced back to Brentwood for another event. There’s nothing like seeing US Navy veteran Ray Ansick show up at an event and literally drive right into the park and park in the front row- his 1959 Cadillac is a beauty!!At the other event, something I’ve done for years now, we spent the day with some of our best sponsors and people that really believe in our mission. I got to witness something really powerful today as one of my Task Force Hope veterans showed up and spent most of the day with us. We had some good donations and some good conversation, but when a young lady walked up and said, “my husband and US Marine took his own life in 2013”, it was interesting….my veteran and myself have information and some knowledge of this thing they call PTSD and he(my veteran) has experience in coping…..The woman had a young boy with her and I was tracking his discomfort as we were talking and wondering if the Marine was his dad. Turns out it wasn’t and I have to say right now that I’m sharing this because I saw my veteran have compassion for the boy. And knowing some of this veteran’s story and seeing his growth and how much better he’s doing compared to when I met him… I want to be clear that this veteran has done the work and I’m not claiming any credit, but what I saw today was amazing. The boy needed that today. My veteran was there for him and seeing that was incredible.Also rec’d a cal from the veteran with the water bill and I told him that we had it covered. He did not sleep last night. I had called him earlier to tell him we could help. He didn’t remember-( the TBI)The mission continues, encouraging everyone we meet and serving those who serve and have served….Best, EdOperation Creekside
6/1We will be doing a care pack event today with PG&E employees in San Ramon- a long day that I am looking forward to!! These special op’s are lots of fun and a good way to share the mission with new people. Please let em know if your business or church would like to host a care pack event??Building partnerships with other groups that really are doing the work like VFW Post #10789 is another thing we are working on. We are working on another beautiful bench that will be made by Big Al’s Metal Furn in Brentwood for the local VFW. We did 2 events on Memorial Day with post commander Steve Todd and those events encouraged me to strengthen our partnership……1 We need a sponsor or sponsors to help with the cost of this bench that will be donated to the VFW- contact me for details.2 We want to help the VFW fund raise for the Bataan Memorial March that they attend in New Mexico every March. Last year was the 75th anniversary of the Bataan Death March and we had ten members of our local post in attendance……It is important for these veterans to do these events and to spend time with each. I have seen the healing through the fellowship of these veterans at camp so it’s easy to get on board with this. I will be sharing a letter by Steve Todd as soon as I get it and we will support the VFW in this vital activity for the members…We are also doing 2 events this Saturday and gearing up for a northwest trip to meet some families and check on a couple veterans that we know…Best, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force Hope
5/30from a church in Brentwood Ca praying for a soldier in St Petersburg Florida that just went through a very tragic family event to a soldier in Kuwait requesting care packages throughout her deployment, our mission is big and the impact can also be big, if we continue to just do the work and seek opportunities to serve our beloved veterans, troops deployed and military families.I went to an event yesterday at a care home to honor the veterans there and not only did I see several veterans stand for the pledge of allegiance that did not look like they could stand, I saw one one these men hold a shaky salute through out, but afterwards was the blessing as I spent 35 or 40 minutes with a US Marine and his wife, just talking about stuff, about the mission and about our veterans.I have to adjust my schedule as I am always on call, my US Navy veteran needs me bright and early up in Sierra Village to get some camp business done. I spend a lot of time with this one veteran and I can recognize some of his triggers- this thing they call post traumatic stress is real and it takes some effort and time to understand and to actually help those who suffer…We have 3 events this week and we are preparing for a northwest trip to visit one Marine that is struggling and some families of the 22- if you don’t know by now, 22 veterans take their own lives daily in this country… this is another opportunity to meet veterans- there’s a Viet Nam veteran in Rogue River that I haven’t seen since 2014….a visit is overdue.Best, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force HopePsalm 55:22
5/28I was geared up for a “big pack” and could see early on, we did not have much collected! We were delayed too, but if you look at every op as an opportunity, then we’re good!I saw 2 Viet Nam veterans sit down and discuss navigating the VA system and one of these guys, a US Navy Corpsman was my closer- making sure the boxes were done correctly. I know about his PTSD and to see him with that many people is quite impressive!!There was a woman at this event who served in the Navy during WW2 and several other Viet Nam veterans besides the two I mentioned.We packed up and prayed over 21 care packs for US troops deployed and 6 “stateside” care packs to encourage veterans here on the home front! A man asked me, “how big is your territory?” And I said, “the USA.” We are a northern Calif non profit that serves the US. Our mission is to reach veterans wherever we can and encourage them. We also seek out the families of the 22 veterans that take their own lives daily and tell them that we care. There is so much to do…..We have a full schedule moving forward, but if your church or your company would like to participate in an awesome care pack event that encourages our troops deployed and veterans here in the US, please contact me- it is so encouraging to be part of this mission…And with Memorial Day tomorrow I encourage you all to think about this freedom that we enjoy daily. A US Marine in Iwo Jima wrote “we gave our today for your tomorrow” on a rock wall after that costly battle that took so many of our Marines. I had two uncles who fought there and one was killed in action later….this freedom is not free. God Bless America!!!Best, EdPsalm 55:22
5/26Just sharing some Bible study this morn that led me to the song Broken Hallelujah by The Afters and some powerful words;I’ve seen joy and I’ve seen pain. And on my knees I call Your name.I try to find the words to pray. I raise these empty hands to You.Here’s my broken hallelujah.* I also like “Lord I Need You” by Matt Maher.Be safe out there this weekend my friends, be safe…..Best, Ed
5/23It’s hot in Brentwood Ca but I have to remember that I am not deployed or away from my family! We’ll be care packing at Dino’s Deli tonight at 7 pm. We have a good list of deployed troops that share the care packs with others…remember, our troops are still out there 24/7 protecting the freedoms that we enjoy daily….Schedule: we have some events to attend and some great care packs coming up too. If you want to help in any way, please let me know!!New Mission: we’re going north to meet some families, families of the 22. This morn I reread the article about Dave and April Thompson’s “Journey Through Grief” and a couple things stand out; (1) that these families do not want their loved ones forgotten and (2) that some of these families like the Thompson’s want to help veterans that struggle…..This mission will be about a week and we will meet some families, meet with veterans wherever we can and of course, mail some care packs from post offices along the way. I was telling Alex at the Discovery Bay PO this morn how easy it is to mail the care packs from any post office and how at some locations I have to help them figure out the customs form process…..For more info on our mission and how we intend to serve our troops and veterans better, please contact me via email or text(925-260-5423) and/or how you can help us…Best, EdStill Encouraged
5/22Never thought I’d pull up to a church on Sunday morning and say, “I’m with the band!” Spent most of the day with Larry Wood and The Trail of Life Band at Stone Corral Church near Valley Springs and met some great folks. The one veteran I went to meet did not show up- a Viet Nam veteran with PTSD, not surprising…an event with lots of people can be uncomfortable. But I did meet some veterans and one US Army veteran shared some of his story with me….I rec’d word from my Task Force Hope veterans that the camp trip did not go well- I think something happened that triggered all their PTSD. The band was warming up and I walked into the middle and told Larry we need to pray. He knows these guys, my veterans, and we all prayed for their well being. I sent word to my pastor at my home church too and I put in a request at Stone Corral and they all prayed as well…. a report later that the guys were home and everything was ok!After a long day of just sharing the mission I had to load up and head back to Sierra Village. My Navy veteran has a leak up here and we may have to open up a wall this morn….I was thinking on the drive how in my old days, two events in one day would be impossible, but being sober 24/7 and sober minded I am able- we even worked some last night and enjoyed a small campfire….I have to get ready for work….Best, EdRomans 12:12
5/20Operation Creekside: I am going to an event in Valley Springs, an event where I don’t know anyone except the gospel band that will be playing- the lure for me is a Viet Nam veteran that may be there, a Viet Nam veteran that suffers from PTSDI’ll have to go back to Sierra Village afterwards to help one of my veterans with an emergency repair- a leak in the wall of his living quarters,Task Force Hope: three of our Task Force Hope veterans are on a mission this weekend- they are on a camp out in the woods. If you only knew their stories, this is significant for their own healing- two of these guys are brothers that lost their dad just 2 months ago.Mission: time spent is the key. A young man spoke at my church men’s breakfast this morning and one thing he said was, “we need to get off Facebook and get face to face.” There is truth in that statement!We are working with another non profit, trying to help a Marine and his family. One of my pastors prayed for the family this morning. Sometimes simple things like car repair can seem like another mountain to climb, but add in the PTSD and the difficulty to do simple things increases!!I’m most likely going to Grants Pass, Ore and soon. Some things you have to do face to face and then there’s the God given opportunities to reach others. A Viet Nam veteran lives in Rogue River, just down the road. In 2014 he shared with me some of his story. He did this with tears in his eyes. A phone call just the other day led me to believe I need to visit again- it’s called follow through.Our mission is big. We have a nationwide problem-PTSD. We do a lot locally and we support our troops deployed through the care packs, but partnering with other groups and meeting veterans and families where they are is important….Still Encouraged, EdRomans 12:12
5/18Please Share Our Info:If you’re a church, let us share the missionIf you’re a business, think about supporting our mission.If you have veteran employees, let’s talk about camp!!Sponsors are encouraged to come to the camp on Sat for lunchIf you have veteran contacts, share our infoA Short How It Works: we are working with another non profit that is trying to assist a Marine Corps veteran that has a housing issue in Grants Pass, Oregon. This led me to an overdue phone call to a Viet Nam veteran just down the road in Rogue River. If we need to make a run to Oregon, we have some other veteran contacts that a visit is way overdue….Best, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force Hope*Next Camp is Aug 17-20 at Christian Berets in Sierra Village, Ca.
5/17I spent two days up at Christian Berets Camp working with one of my veterans and the work is secondary because the time spent helps me to know my vets and understand their needs. I got a message from April Thompson while I was up there- her local paper had wrote a front page story about our mission to Rock Springs. The article was well written and titled “Journey Through Grief”, telling the story of how Dave and April do life after losing their son to PTSD.The article puts together how we hurt and heal together and from across the nation. It tells the story of how we are connected and it is from coast to coast, from Calif to Maryland, with 22TooMany, Operation Creekside and the families of the 22 veterans per day that take their own lives due to PTSD.It inspires us to do more. It inspires us to know we have work to do. If the suicides stopped today, we would still have to love and support these families. We are building a network of support. We are not showing off. We are not focused on money. This year we will lay out our plans and do what we do best- meet our vets where they are and encourage everyone we meet!!I talked with one of my Marines last night. I can bounce anything off of him and he listens. He encouraged me. Last Saturday he came out to Brentwood and sang a few songs at my mom’s funeral. I stood between two of my other Marines. We encourage each other. We don’t do anything clinical and we don’t write prescriptions. I can’t wait for the next campfire. I can’t wait for the next veteran who tells me his story on the side of the road. I can;t wait to be available….More focused and dedicated than ever, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force HopeRomans 12:12
5/15Two of my veterans are in crisis. I am tracking the one with help from his brothers and I am with the other one right now! Just think of the thousands of veterans that have no one to turn to? A lot of these issues are fairly simple to navigate, but either way having support is always better than going it alone….For as much as we do locally, we will also reach out to veterans wherever we go. I am already planning our annual mission coast to coast that started with serving at a warrior getaway almost 5 years ago in Maryland. The work, the experience, the contacts gained are invaluable. As we speak, a group in Pennsylvania is making the plywood boards that we put in the care packs for the care pack event we do with the warriors in September….Also as we plan events here for the summer, we are already working with the South Dakota Patriot Guard Riders to visit a veterans home in Hot Springs, SD and a veterans homeless shelter in Sioux Falls, SD. I thought about this a lot and realize the veterans groups around here and veterans like Ray Ansick do a lot for their fellow veterans and our outreach is just as vital…..The South Dakota PGR Captain shared with me how the number of missions for them has declined and it it because the families do not reach out to them much anymore and just weeks ago when that PGR veteran from Nevada shared with me his story confirms that all veterans need our support!!Ok, looks like I’m fixing a sprinkler and doing some manual labor, but the time spent with my veteran is the focus today….Best, EdRomans 12:12
5/12We have many op’s this year including two more veteran camps, a northwestern “mission” and a planned Sept “mission” to North East Maryland to work my 5th Warrior Getaway with Joni and Friends- this year they have given me more responsibility in coordinating the fishing with the warriors and the obvious, running the care pack event we do.We do these nationwide trips besides all the local and regular mission work because meeting people where they are is very important and that face to face encouragement is vital to everyone we meet.There’s a US Marine working in a post office in Virginia that would love to mail out some care packs again, like he did with joy last year and I look forward to meeting new people along the way.I most likely shared this, but on the last trip to Rock Springs Wyoming, I met a US Army veteran that almost took his own life in 2014. He is doing well and helps other veterans to keep himself busy. He is two years sober and I know personally how much that will help him with the battle.We encourage people to join our efforts and I love to talk mission, so if your group or business would like more info on Operation Creekside or Task Force Hope, please contact me at 925 260 5423.thanks, Ed
5/10I lost my mother yesterday, the Oklahoma “Cotton Picker”, who had 5 brothers that served and lost her brother Scott on Okinawa 17 June 1945. It’s been about 74 years since my Mom saw her brother Scott and I can only hope that they are together in heaven!I also want to report how tough yesterday was, even though mom died peacefully at 5:15 pm, it was a difficult day. I have friends and family that reached out, my church is here for me and something I would have never dreamed of in 2008 when I started Operation Creekside in Mom’s laundry room, quietly packing boxes at night and sending out the care packs the next day…and what that is is the support of my veterans. I can’t tell you what that means. And knowing some of their stories and what they’ve been through and what they deal with- they are there for me.When I tell you things like my veterans are worthy, it’s from the heart. I’ve never met finer people on this earth. I’m going to mail one care pack out today- it goes to a sailor deployed, I got address from his wife on Sunday night. She called after hearing the KLove Closer Look interview by Monika Kelly. This one is for you Mom, thanks for giving me your compassion for people.May the Lord Himself bless our mission moving forward.Best, EdEphesians 4:32
5/7The interview with Monika Kelly of KLove aired tonight and I can tell you all that I was very impressed with the Lt Col that was up before ours and he’s now on my list of people I need to meet!! And minutes afterwards I get a call from an Illinois phone number- I was thinkin it may be one of my PTSD families, but instead, it was a Navy wife calling because the story moved her and she informed me that her husband was deployed. Within minutes I had a sailor to pray for and an APO address for a care package!! I’ve always said we look for that one care pack to make a difference and even if this is all we get from this op we’re good, but you know what happens when the Lord blesses……We have a female US Army veteran with a vehicle issue. We worked with Welcome Home Heroes last year to put a motor in her car and it’s back in the shop- I have no info yet but this is her only vehicle. She is a single mom. We will do whatever it takes to get this issue taken care of.This year we’re going to be more active- there’s so much to do and so many veterans need help, sometimes it’s just answering the phone or returning a text message. Iam typing this from Sierra Village, Ca. on my US Navy Veteran Andy’s laptop, getting ready for a full day of work helping him get ready for summer camp..Spent some time with US Marine Andrew Jackson today who is in the same care home as my mom. I am his only visitor and when he goes across the street to Sutter Delta Hospital I go over there too- it’s interesting how they ask me who I am when I start asking questions at the hospital. I always say he is my brother. He is a 71 year old black man, but we are brothers. And they answer my questions like I am family. Andrew is a miracle. I’ve seen them count him out at the hospital and then days later he’s back in the care home roaming the halls in his power chair and flirting with the girls! Today he was in such a good mood. My son and I were visiting and I asked if we could pray. He agreed and we prayed right there in the hallway. This man is a preacher’s son, the prodigal son, who knows that God never gave up on him…..I mentioned before that I got some flak last week and all it did was inspire me. Some close friends encouraged me and two Viet Nam veterans made contact and really picked up my spirit. There is much work to do and I hope to see Operation Creekside and Task Force Hope both partner with groups that are really doing the work. We have some plans to help our local VFW with some fundraising and we have two camps to host yet this year….Mission is still on the radar as I heard in the interview before ours tonight how important missions are. Our missions will be stateside and it will help us battle PTSD on a national scale. Meeting the veterans of the Nevada PGR and the Wyoming ALR helped us make new contacts and on the short mission to Wyoming a few weeks back we met veterans that were either in the struggle or had just been in trouble…..one veteran at a time, we will help as many as we are able.Best, EdStill Encouraged
5/6A Closer Look with Monika Kelly on KLove.Best, Ed
Typo*Camp is (good) for all who attend……Ok, I got grilled today and I think it was for not thanking someone enough and it doesn’t matter who or why, but it did get me down- I work pretty hard at this ministry and do not always share the difficult stuff or the road blocks that hinder the mission, so I was thinking a lot about the fact that I focus so much on mission and my veterans that I may miss some things I should do better….I get a phone call about 1/2 hour later and it’s a Viet Nam Veteran who tells me, “I’ve been meaning to call you for a while now and I’m finally calling you to thank you for the care package I received in the mail from you. You don’t know how much that meant.”We talked for 22 minutes and he shared a lot and he shared about his belief in Christ and I can tell you how much it encouraged me! Not everyone is going to see that the mission is solid, but we have found a way to reach veterans young and old and sometimes all it is is picking up the phone- I should say answering the phone…Best, EdI think I spelled all the words right this time>>>>>
5/5For info see operationcreekside.org on the web and Operation Creekside and Task Force Hope on Facebook; please take a little time and click on updates to see the consistency of our mission!!Schedule a meeting with me to share how easy you can involve your business, your customers, your church, your friends and put together a quality care pack event- the most recent event resulted in 90 care packs shipped out immediately to US troops deployed!!Veterans Camps: with one successful camp in the books for 2017, we are a little behind our usual camp schedule but we have two more to schedule- a family camp and a big camp at Christian Berets in MiWuk Village.We need sponsors to make these camps happen. We’ll do the work and we’ll get the veterans, we just need help to make it happen!!What We Need:Camp SponsorCare Pack SponsorT Shirt SponsorFuel Card SponsorSat BBQ SponsorPlease contact me for more info- sponsors are more than welcome to attend the Sat BBQ and if you have any veterans working for you please consider sending them to camp. Camp is god for all who attend!Best, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force Hope* And we will go anywhere in the US for a care pack event…..we do one in Maryland every September.
5/5For info see operationcreekside.org on the web and Operation Creekside and Task Force Hope on Facebook; please take a little time and click on updates to see the consistency of our mission!!Schedule a meeting with me to share how easy you can involve your business, your customers, your church, your friends and put together a quality care pack event- the most recent event resulted in 90 care packs shipped out immediately to US troops deployed!!Veterans Camps: with one successful camp in the books for 2017, we are a little behind our usual camp schedule but we have two more to schedule- a family camp and a big camp at Christian Berets in MiWuk Village.We need sponsors to make these camps happen. We’ll do the work and we’ll get the veterans, we just need help to make it happen!!What We Need:Camp SponsorCare Pack SponsorT Shirt SponsorFuel Card SponsorSat BBQ SponsorPlease contact me for more info- sponsors are more than welcome to attend the Sat BBQ and if you have any veterans working for you please consider sending them to camp. Camp is god for all who attend!Best, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force Hope* And we will go anywhere in the US for a care pack event…..we do one in Maryland every September.
5/1From the “mission” last week to deliver the memorial bench to the parents of PVT Joshua Thompson, we learned some new and valuable information; by including veterans in our mission, referring to the Patriot Guard Riders and the American Legion Riders, we get to encourage them too!!In a fast trip of 2200 miles in less than 5 days, I met 3 veterans that are either struggling now or have been recently, one that tried to take himself out in 2014. Their stories were similar and helping other veterans is what keeps them in the game!A phone call this morn from a Patriot Guard Rider in Sioux Falls South Dakota also proved interesting. This Viet Nam veteran was my contact when we delivered the care package to SGT Duvi Wolf’s grave site in 2015 and the 1st thing he told me was, “if you’re still doing the event in Fremont Nebraska, we will ride there from South Dakota.” I told him that unfortunately something we should have been able to put together just didn’t happen because of lack of support, but the phone call opened up a 55 minute conversation about moving forward and where patriotism is in this country!!The phone call confirmed to me that our mission is nationwide and includes partnering with groups that are doing the work, focused on mission and not caught up in fundraising. This Viet Nam veteran shared some stuff with me, not battle stuff, but things that have affected him here, like spending countless hours on the phone with a veteran friend that eventually took his own life…..So, we’re gonna push, nothing new for us, because we are dedicated to helping veterans and on several fronts;(1) the care packs are easy to do and our troops need the encouragement.(2) We are going to reach out to veterans young and old to the best of our ability.(3) We will continue to honor the families of the fallen, families like Duvi’s and Joshua’s- these families do not want their loved ones forgotten.We just had a successful family BBQ with the veterans of Task Force Hope- it was a small event but I have to count the blessings as some of these veterans rarely leave the house!!We “press on” as in Phil 3:14 and we have hope as in Romans 15:13.I am encouraged, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force Hope
4/23The “mission” was to deliver the memorial bench to Joshua Thompson’s mom and dad, Dave & April, and that was successfully done on Thursday!!The “bonuses”Meeting Indian Joe & Slim, Nevada Patriot Guard Riders that escorted us from Boomtown to Winnemucca- in the middle of nowhere about 30 miles outside of Winemucca, Slim revealed to me his PTSD and how he almost took his own life in 2014, how he deals/copes now by helping other veterans and that he is two years sober. I gave him a copy of 365 Days and later that day he sent a message about the tears flowing from his 1st listen and how he relates to the song…Mike & Kat Tipton: a veteran and his wife- American Legion Post 24 Riders. They rode from Wyoming to meet us in Grantsville Utah, some 200 miles to escort us to Rock Springs Wyoming. Kat revealed to me that she was the chaplain that rushed to the cemetery in June of 2015 when we met Dave & April at Joshua’s grave. I asked her later, “what prompted you to drop everything and do that?” She said it was God. I asked her why they rode all the way to Grantsville and she said, “I heard about the mission and told Mike we are going.”ALR Rider Chris: was part of the final escort to Rock Springs. He shared how his PTSD stayed in check for 25 years and then surfaced. He shared about losing 21 men in 1990 and how helpless he and others were then. He also helps other veterans to cope….The 500 miles to Nampa Idaho didn’t seem too logical and especially with some snow along the way, but there were “bonuses” there too;We pulled into the host hotel of the Ride For 22 event at the same time as Keri Jacobs, the founder of 22TooMany and met a mom who had lost her son to PTSD. We met Steve, the organizer of the Ride For 22 event also and checked in- 500 miles of Wyoming/Idaho with a trailer is exhausting….The Idaho “Bonuses”On Sat morning I met a veteran who was riding in the event- some 400 riders would participate and several families of the 22 were in attendance. Anyway, this Purple Heart Combat veteran just started sharing his story and how close he came to being one of the 22. He also shared with me how he deals and it is by helping other veterans….We only had a short time at this event because of the need to get home- I type this sitting bedside with my Mom, the “Cotton Picker”, and she’s doing great, but in that short time on Sat morn, I couldn’t help noticing a few things;1 Each rider had the option of taking a photo of one of the 22 with them on the ride. It was windy that day, but they had the photos on their bikes, in their hands or on a lanyard around their necks like I carry mine- I had Joshua Thompson with me and Joshua Remy & Michael Kissell……but even before that, as they were registering, it was kind of overwhelming seeing all those photos on that table- knowing that they were all gone. I don’t know if that sank in to many, but it was heartbreaking…2 One young lady I spoke to lost her grandpa to PTSD and she shared how that one tragic event tore her family apart. The decision to take your own life seems to just transfer the pain to those who love you…I’m sorry for the long report, but this mission is real and my friend Keri is still up there right now and spending time with mom’s that lost their sons to PTSD. What we do is important- meeting people where they are and most of the time just listening. That bench delivery was one for the books, but that family is worthy of love and support just as they all are, worthy of our love and support….Best, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force Hope*2200 miles towing the trailer, 5 days, Hope shared with love and respect
It was 35 and snowing when we reached Kemmerer Wyoming, but mission accomplished and moving forward….A pretty good day that ended with a short snow storm in Kemmerer, then 70 degrees 15 minutes later– I guess it’s a welcome to Wyoming for us Calif boys!!The schedule was tight but we made every stop with ease: we mailed 1 care package in Grantsvile Utah and met Mike & Kat Tipton of ALR Post 24 from Rock Springs Wyoming- they had rode some 200 miles to meet us and then escorted us all the way to Rock Springs, picking up 8 more riders in Green River, then on to Dave & April’s house.The riders unloaded the bench from the trailer and held an American Flag in front of it. I made a brief statement about our mission and thanked all who had helped, then told Dave & April that we will never forget their son. April was overcome with emotion, joyful emotion, then the riders moved the bench to the front lawn- months ago this is what April had dreamed of, a bench for her front lawn. Please see the pics on Facebook at Operation Creekside.We made a quick stop at ALR Post 24 for a photo op with the riders and then we were off- another 90 miles or so to Kemmerer. Today we will head for Nampa Idaho. I hope and pray for good weather!! Tomorrow in Nampa is an event for veteran suicide awareness and hopefully we can meet some families. We didn’t honor Joshua Thompson for us, we did it for his family and when Big Al and I decided to build this bench, the idea was to be able to build many more- these families are hurting, there is much encouraging to do……*One of the riders shared yesterday how his PTSD stayed in check for some 25 years and how he almost became one of the 22. He now makes it his mission to reach other veterans- gives him a purpose and gives him hope….Best, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force HopeRomans 15:13
To clarify why we do what we do and how important the mission is to usThis mission was hard to put together with my responsibilities to my mom in the care home and there’s my Marine in Sutter Delta Hospital- I did let the care home know and I work closely with them on mom’s care and I had a hard time knowing Andrew Jackson was not doing well in the hospital, but I had to leave it in God’s hands and that’s what I did!!I love doing ministry 24/7 and I don’t do days off, but meeting people on the road and where they are at is something that I really like to do!! And this morn was incredible as we met our two Patriot Guard Rider escorts- two US Army veterans that led us from Boomtown all the way to Winnemucca! If you’ve ever been the “package” and been escorted by the PGR, it is quite the experience…but there’s moreOne of our escort riders today recognized the 22TooMany logo and said he was almost one of the 22 and if you don’t know by now- 22 veterans take their own lives daily. We stopped in the middle of nowhere about 30 miles outside of Winnemucca and I gave him a copy of the CD, 365 Days, by US Marine Dennis Sweeney…..tonight we pull into Wendover Nv and he sends me a message that says, “let me wipe away the tears…” after listening to the song. This Army veteran also has a son deployed and we will get that address too…I am dialed in and focused on mission, I guess as good as a civilian can be, but there are always other opportunities along the way- these two combat vets were so humble, friendly and they treated my son well. We both got big hugs when we parted in Winnemucca.Tomorrow will be a big day- we are meeting at least one rider in Grantsville Utah and then we will head to Green River Wyoming. Meeting up with American Legion Riders at Post #28 and then on to Dave and April’s. The bench is somewhat of a surprise, but she has a pretty good idea why we are coming. I cannot wait to honor this mom and dad and the veterans that will be riding with us…Hope has to be shared, these families deserve nothing less than our love and respect.God Bless America!!Best, EdTo See Photos of This Mission: Operation Creekside on Facebook
Pics and here we go…We are on our way to Rock Springs Wyoming to deliver the absolutely beautiful memorial bench made by Big Al of Brentwood. These “stateside’ missions are so important for these families and like I told Monika Kelly with KLove Radio the other day, there are many opportunities along the way!! Like today, there were two Nevada Patriot Guard Riders in the back of our trailer checking out the bench and an Iraq/Afghanistan US Army veteran walked up- I got to thank 3 veterans in no time and tell them Joshua’s story.If you’re in business, check out the customer service of Enterprise Truck Rental in Stockton: providing us with a brand new 2017 Dodge Ram tow vehicle….my truck would not have made Donner Pass!!A discounted rate and safe and secure parking by Boomtown Hotel Casino- thanks to Sharon Slater and meeting with a few Patriot Guard Riders and then across Nevada we go. Picked up two new names of deployed US troops and we have care packs with us- will mail out a few tomorrow and then stop in Wendover. Our next stay courtesy of Nanolab Technologies at the Wendover Peppermill- they also gave us Peppermill Reno two night stays a while back; one we gave to VFW Post 10789 and the other will go to Papa Ray….On Thursday morn, a tradition continues- for some reason I always detour to Grantsville Utah to mail a few care packs- in 2015 the postmaster cried tears of joy while she processed the care packs. Last year the two people in line at the door insisted I go first when they opened….Already anticipating getting to GreenRiver Utah American Legion Post 28 to meet up with the riders to escort us to Dave and April’s house. If you remember, back in 2015, these veterans escorted us to Joshua’s grave site to meet them. We met Josh’s grandpa that day, a Korea War US Marine, who is now also buried there with his grandson…I am posting some pics on Facebook and was trying to be under the radar but April knows we are coming. These benches will be a new way for us to honor these families. Big Al is quite the craftsman and that machine he has is off the hook!!On the road, on mission, honoring veterans, honoring families and never forgetting….Best, EdOperation Creekside
A quick update and mission to Rock Springs WyomingI’m grateful today, on Easter Sunday, for of all things to be sober- going on 11 years. I saw my mom in the care home this morn, then went to church an hour early for prayer, Easter service, then went and helped one of my Marines move- 2 loads in the rain, went to see my Marine Andrew Jackson in the hospital, and here I am now sitting by mom in the care home…I’m grateful to be sober!!My Marine is not doing well- he didn’t know me last night and the way he was talkin, I thought he was done and going home to be with the Lord and did not know what to expect tonight when I went to visit. He still didn’t know me but he was in good spirits. The nurse asked me to feed him and I did because he has these big mitts on his hands to keep him from scratching. It’s pretty sad that his family knows where he’s at and should know the seriousness of this, yet they do not visit. They ask me who I am when I go there and I always say he’s my brother. If you don’t know Andrew is a 71 year old black man, but he is my brother…..Tomorrow my son and I will prepare for the next mission, delivering the custom made memorial bench to Dave and April Thompson in Rock Springs Wyoming. Their son Joshua took his own life in 2013 due to PTSD. I will share pics on Facebook when we deliver, hopefully on Thursday and weather permitting. Big Al in Brentwood did a beautiful job making this bench and I know Dave and April will be pleased.These missions have really been a blessing for our ministry and meeting people where they are and just letting then know someone cares is important.Again, we are leaving on Tuesday and will be in Rock Springs by Thursday, then to a 22TooMany event in Nampa Idaho and then home.Please check us out at operationcreekside.org on the web and at Operation Creekside on Facebook. We thank our supporters, our troops and veterans are worthy and please share our info….Still Encouraged, EdOperation Creekside
And yet another update because we are busyWe only did 7 care packs on Tuesday and that’s ok because a bunch have been shipped in the last few weeks and our mission is about that one care package that gets delivered at the right time…Yesterday I spent a good part of the day with US Marine Del Velarde- if you remember he lost his dad about 3 weeks ago. We did 2 loads to the dumps and moved a refrig and will start moving him this week. The time I get to spend with these guys is absolutely priceless- some day maybe the VA will figure this is how to reach these veterans. Del’s 3 year old is my little buddy, another blessing- spending time with the families.On April 11, Del posted on Facebook a tribute to the Marines he lost(we lost) in the spring of 2004. On that day, 13 years ago, Del got the word that Pfc George Torres went home to be with the Lord. Del had held George’s hand and told him to hang on as they raced to the med evac site. I’ve seen great progress in Del since I’ve known him and how he deals with anniversaries like this and also life’s issues. He takes care of his family well. He has brothers in Task Force Hope that are there for him anytime, 24/7.Next Tuesday and Lord willing, I will be delivering the memorial bench we had made for Dave and April Thompson- actually leaving on Tuesday as it will take a couple days to get to Rock Springs Wyoming. I appreciate the effort and the hours Big Al has put into the making of this bench and it is coming together nicely!!Also, I am amazed at the level of help we are receiving from Enterprise. My contacts from Tracy have set us up with a great deal from Enterprise Truck Rental in Stockton. I like to think that we offer opportunities for others to get involved in the mission and Enterprise has definitely stepped up- much appreciated!This all started when April Thompson saw a beautiful bench on Facebook that was made in England. Getting a bench here from England, even for a mom who lost her son to PTSD, would have been difficult, so building this one and especially for the memory of her son Joshua, seemed appropriate.These families are hurting and understandably so. This is a mission in itself as they need love and support too.Best, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force Hope
An update to “sharing the mission”I spent a couple hours today looking for a homeless veteran in Modesto to no avail, but I did find a Modesto Police Officer that knew who he was- I gave him my card and that’s all I can do for now!The memorial bench for Joshua Thompson is coming together nicely! My metal guy is taking this serious, but there is a small issue- since this is the first one, he’s going to weld it all together and I will not have the bolt together option. This means taking a rental car is out and I will need to take the Operation Creekside trailer!!It makes more sense to be mission all the time and with the trailer it’s obvious what we are doing. The dilemma: my mechanic says, “you’re not taking that truck to Wyoming!” I am looking at options like renting a pick up from Enterprise???Each “mission” is full of opportunities, just like today when I met some Patriot Guard Riders from Texas at a Love’s Truck Stop in Ripon and they loved the trailer! There is a 22TooMany event in Nampa Idaho and there are some families in the northwest that have lost loved ones to PTSD I could visit.I’m open to suggestions and this is not a “joy ride” as I think this memorial bench will be well received and more families will want them to honor their loved ones.Last year I sat in a Chinese Restaurant with Dave and April Thompson in Rock Springs, and we were just talking like old friends and Dave pointed across the street and said to me, ” I met April in that McDonalds 30 years ago.” April just smiled. These families do have hope, they have a painful story, but they do have hope, and the mission is to meet them in person and tell them that we care….Best, Ed
Just sharing the missionSometimes I question what I sign up for, but I promised to help one of my veterans, so off I went towards Sonora yesterday and I had to stop in Farmington for gas and a soldier in uniform walked up and thanked me for “my service” and shook my hand! And of course I thanked him, but what a nice gesture….our troops and veterans are so worthy!!I stopped at Auto Tech in Sonora, owned by Hal Prock, US Marine, and asked if I could leave the trailer overnight, and good thing because it snowed in MiWuk Village this morn, but again, I had to help my veteran with a project…I drove through quite the hail storm in Escalon on the way home and met up with a good friend for lunch and ran into the Lions Club President Billy Vance. He said that not many people know what I do other than the care packs and thought that I should share more about the mission and this is an excellent point….We lost Jose Rivera, one of our Task Force Hope veterans about three weeks ago and I remember at the funeral where I said to those in attendance that we need to be there for this family beyond today, and as needed. Our team of veterans has done just that and we are in constant contact and support. A couple of our sponsors helped Jose’s wife Lorrie with the rent and now we will help Del, her son and one of our Task Force leaders, move his family in with mom to help with the bills…..I stopped by Big Al’s Metal Works today also and the bench honoring Joshua Thompson is coming along nicely. Lord willing, in a few weeks I will be delivering this bench to his mom and dad, Dave & April in Rock Springs Wyoming. I say it a lot that our veterans are worthy and on the same note the fallen can never be forgotten…The care packs got us into the “business” of ministry, God Himself showed us the opportunities and there is plenty to do….Still Encouraged, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force Hope
Moving Forward with the mission in 2017Our care pack ministry is doing well- 120 care packs out in the last 2 weeks and some special care pack ops on the schedule. Consistent support for our troops deployed is vital!*The next stateside mission will be in about 3 weeks and it’s a unique mission honoring a family that lost a son to PTSD. About 2 months ago, a mom saw a beautiful park bench on Facebook and it had likenesses of soldiers on the back. I did some research and that bench was made in England, so I went to my local metal guy and asked if we could design a bench and after some convincing, we are building a custom bench for this mom and I will deliver it in person to Rock Springs, Wyoming.The mission is big: support the deployed, assist all veterans and honor military families, especially those that have lost loved ones. The 22 Too Many families are often overlooked and even ignored and not necessarily on purpose, they just don’t get approached much because people just don’t know what to say!*Task Force Hope: our veterans are doing well- helping each other, planning events and reaching out to veterans in need. Sometimes being available is enough…Please share our mission with your contacts, church groups, businesses and friends. I say this a lot; we are running a “freight train” of hope sometimes on kindling, but our mission continues, Lord willing, as long as we are able…I am encouraged.Ed McClellandRomans 15:13
I am encouraged! Ad there is so much to do! Operation Creekside/Task Force HopeHave you ever heard when you ask someone how it’s going things like, couldn’t be better and I can’t complain? Well, I feel kind of like that at least for today- I had a great time at church this morn and did my Bible Study ahead of that….and something I was dreading turned into a blessing….I really don’t like shopping at WalMart but I had to buy the adult underwear for my mom today and ran into a US Marine in the check out line. He was a Viet Nam vet and we had some good conversation!I also spent some time with US Marine Andrew Jackson who is in the the care home with mom. He was sitting in the hallway near his room and not budging so I asked if I could use his Bible, and I sat there in the hallway and read some Psalms to my Marine and he started singing a worship song right there….I can’t possibly complain!!The mission is still solid; 60 care packs out last week and new people at the post office to encourage and help get them ready for the continued supply of care packs to our troops deployed. 35 more will go out tomorrow and another 30 after that- I love having goods to ship!!On that note: we will partner with any group or business to send goods to US troops deployed. We have a US Army Chaplain on his 1st deployment and our goal/mission is to send support throughout!At the end of the month our veterans will gather for a family BBQ in Modesto and then we will plan our next Task Force Hope veterans camp. We are always looking for sponsors to help with camp expenses and if your group or company would like to sponsor a camp, please let me know.A dear friend and chaplain I trained with tells me that I need to embrace the fundraising part of the mission and I’m not sure on this, but it is part of the deal. I’d much rather sit in a hallway in a care home with a US Marine.There is much to do, but again, I am encouraged!!Best, Ed McClellandOperation Creekside/Task Force HopeRomans 15:13
The Mission That is Not from 8 to 5We said our good byes to US Army veteran Jose Rivera yesterday and it was a very long day, but our Task Force Hope veterans were there to support our own Del Velarde and his little brother “Boob”, both mourning the loss of the father this week and both struggling with PTSD. Our team was there in support and I can’t say I like much about funerals, but seeing these guys there for each other was encouraging!!We only knew the immediate family and there was a lot of people in attendance, but we were there also as family because our veterans truly care for each other. I was able to share some about my friend Jose and I was thankful that I shared something with them- a few lines from the song 365 days; now look me in the eye, this is how it’s gonna be, some days I’ll lean on you, some you lean on me….I challenged those gathered to support the family not only today, but in the days ahead. This is not a family mourning the loss of one of the 22 too many that take their own lives daily, but this is still a tremendous loss and all these families need love and support!!If you owe me a phone call, you know who you are- we can’t run this freight train of hope w/o help….365 Days, some day you lean on me, some I’ll lean on you..Still Hopeful, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force Hope
Gofundme link for Jose Rivera!The link to help a military family in need. Jose Rivera, a US Army veteran and a member of Task Force Hope, left this earth on Friday. His family is in shock and devastated by this loss. If you can help, please donate via GoFundMe or send checks to Operation Creekside- memo Jose Rivera.His services are this Saturday and our Task Force Hope team will be there. Two of Jose’s sons are members of our team and we help veterans and we help each other.Best, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force Hope
3/20Obviously this family is hurting and two of Jose’s sons are members of our Task Force Hope veterans group. He was truly one of our own as Jose went to most camps with me because I could haul his power chair. The family is scrambling right now as they prepare to honor Jose’s life this Saturday in Stockton. the members of Task Force Hope will be there to support the family and we will continue to support them as long as necessary..how You Can Help: there is a GoFundMe account on Facebook- see Click here to support in memory of Jose Rivera by Danielle Velarde.Or if you want the write off: send a check to Operation Creekside, memo- Jose Rivera and we will direct the funds to this family.Best, EdRomans 15:13
3/18I got the news late last night that Del Velarde’s dad, Jose Rivera had passed away. I saw him not long ago in St Joseph’s Hospital in Stockton and knew he was back in rehab at a skilled nursing facility, but this was still somewhat surprising…Jose used a power chair and besides the many camps he came to with us at Task Force Hope, he was generally a shut in at home. I only knew Jose a few years but since I had to transport him and his power chair to camp, I got to know him and his family well. I often referred to this man as my favorite veteran and he was a special man with a gentle spirit, but this reference as my favorite veteran makes prefect sense now as we get ready to honor his life….My Task Force Hope veterans will be there for Jose’s family as over the last couple years we have all become family. Last year Jose waited patiently in the lodge while I was loading up, we were usually the first to camp and the last to leave, and he saw why I was having him wait-once loaded I moved the truck under the cover so he could get in out of the rain….It seemed second nature really to treat this man with such respect, well, because he deserved nothing less, but now, even with a heavy heart, it all makes sense knowing that these few years of ministry and friendship were priceless. I feel bad that I didn’t visit more but I feel good that I knew him. His sons are a lot like him and we will all have our memories of this worthy husband, father, brother, grandpa and US Army veteran.With all the sadness that comes with this kind of loss, there is still joy knowing that my friend Jose has no more pain. We would talk about family, we would listen to Christian music and we would talk about God- I know where he’s at= in the Father’s loving arms….Best, EdPsalm 55:22
3/14We shipped out just 11 care packs this week and I got the feeling that I, myself am a slacker!! But then, reflecting last night on the mission of helping veterans, I realized I had checked in with 8 veterans throughout the day and this is common- the technology makes It so easy. Only one in person though, one via phone and six by text message, but a check in is a check in- check on someone today, military or not, it’s what we are supposed to do!!Our regular care pack event is tonight at Dino’s Deli in Brentwood. We are there at 7. Even if it’s a small pack, the prayers lifted up are important. Our veterans struggle! For every decorated Marine, for every wounded warrior that gets the mortgage free adaptable home, for every veteran that has adjusted well or has that dream job……there are thousands more that struggle daily…..we’ve found a way to connect, one veteran at a time and we see progress- our mission is vital…I will keep you posted as much as possible, but our mission is on point and we are focused and dialed in….our veterans deserve the best, they deserve hope, they deserve respect, they are worthy…I dropped in this morning to see a veteran who helps veterans in the foothills. There was another veteran waiting for him when he drove up. It turned into a full blown counseling session- veterans helping veterans, this is how it works!!If you can help our mission or would like to learn more about our plans in 2017, please contact me at 925 260 5423.thanks, Ed
3/7And I have pressed this a bit with some of our sponsors and talked with Dream Mtn Camp this past weekend; we have the ok to locate a Tiny Home by 84 Lumber on their property to use for our camps!! If you remember, 84 Lumber is a veteran friendly company with over 250 locations nationwide- the idea to get our mission nationwide to ultimately help more veterans!!This week is it- if anyone wants to talk about the plan and how this partnership will help us serve more veterans, please let me know. I do think this is something that will help our mission !!I mentioned how I had a difficult camp because it was challenging, but I was reflecting on how well camp went with KLove’s Monika Kelly this morn and how well my veterans work with each other and I want to share a little more…..We had a young veteran come to camp this week and this was his third camp. Last year about this time he was in trouble, struggling with life’s issues. He came to one camp that his family said changed him. At a second camp he helped us with an intervention and this last weekend, he brought along another veteran who is really struggling!! Most of our guys engaged in conversation with this veteran and one thing I pressed on was hope as in Romans 15:13.I had quite the conversation with Monika Kelly this morn and we are friends, a brother and sister in Christ and both former alcoholics. She says that when the interview airs, 20 million people will hear about our mission and that is absolutely impressive, but my take on this morn was the prayers- she prayed before and after, that gave me encouragement!!20 million is a big number, but so is 22 in reference to the veteran daily suicide rate! This time that my veterans and I spend together is so valuable and we learn together. Something we got from this camp was the term “just one more”. Just one more veteran Lord, just one more to hear or see that there is hope…Best, EdStill Encouraged
3/6I,ll be honest, this camp was difficult and I thought about it this morn, and it’s ok if it was difficult for me….because I saw my veterans doing well.. These men are amazing!! And with the things they’ve seen and been through- to see them helping each other and working through issues, is, again, amazing…We keep our camps small for a reason. We keep our guys together and busy- there is downtime but we do that together.If you could see my view: we retired 2 American Flags at this camp in honor and memory of two Americans who are no longer with us. We also presented a flag to one of our own, a brother in arms to our veterans and a brother in Christ to me- we are all brothers at camp!I saw a US Marine putting prayers in the Prayer Box. The same Marine was reading his Bible before bed. I see these guys doing well. I see these guys moving forward. I see these guys handling things together. One of our guys lost a close relative during this camp and had to leave- his brothers were with him and will be there for him in the days ahead.Again, if camp is difficult for me, that’s ok- our veterans are worth the effort and what I see is amazing…Best, EdRomans 15:13
2/26I write this by the bedside of my mother, the “Cotton Picker” as I need to spend more time here to ensure the best care- and she is sleeping comfortably, thank God!! I have 2 veterans in hospitals to visit today and to church for prayer this morning- something I can’t miss these days!!With Dream Mountain Veterans camp coming up I can’t wait to see my veterans and possibly a few new faces- there are two US Army soldiers signed up and I know these guys could use camp! There is a big difference between our simple approach of peer to peer and the clinical approach. I say that because we do ministry on a personal level. When you look someone in the eyes and spend time with them it’s way better than a 15 min appointment that’s scheduled- ministry keeps no schedule, our guys help each other 24/7.Camp starts this Thurs and I’ve been gently reaching out and have to report that we still only have a few solid supporters of our mission. I may have shared in my last email that a Marine in Nebraska had 16 Marines in his basement last week and one of those Marines had lost 32 from his unit to suicide.We shared the mission in Fairfield on Friday night to a small group- sometimes I just don’t know how effective we are in sharing the mission and I also wonder is my fundraising weak???I am hopeful that it will all come together and definitely in prayer for my veterans and our mission to help as many as we can- that 22 per day is absolutely terrible and the approach for help needs to be on a personal level= Task Force Hope Romans 15:13.Best, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force Hope
2/24A Marine in Omaha Nebraska just sent me a message that 16 Marines were in his basement last night, one of them has lost 32 from his unit to suicide!! I’m in contact with this Marine because one of our Marines, a young man that has been to our Task Force Hope camp, is in jail in Lincoln. So far, every single contact I have regarding this situation except one has said, “he made the bed, let him lie in it.” The one contact, a civilian chaplain, said, “we cant’ lose this guy.”US Marine Andrew Jackson, in the care home where my mom is, continues to struggle with health issues and communicating with the staff and the level of care he receives as well. Next week, at his request, I will accompany him to a doctor appointment- he typically goes by himself and usually doesn’t remember much about the visit!!I met with 84 Lumber in Clovis on Wed and really hammered out my vision of the partnership of 84 Lumber and Operation Creekside in a nationwide program to help more veterans. They were receptive but I did get the business approach and bottom line is; if I can’t purchase the Shonsie Model they have in Clovis by early next week, it will be sent back to Pennsylvania. I think if we had that Shonsie Model in place at one of our camps like Dream Mtn, coming up next week, it would tremendously help our mission moving forward…..If you’ve noticed there’s not much talk about the 22 veteran suicides these days and there’s also no evidence that it’s going down either! I do wonder how many of those Marines gathered in that basement in Nebraska have hope? How many know there is hope? How many are not reaching out?This Marine in Nebraska is now in my radar. He seems like he is well connected and it’s obvious he is reaching veterans. Our mission has got to be duplicated. This handful of veterans here in northern Calif, the veterans of task Force Hope, have found hope!! We met yesterday and I told one of my Marines, you guys don’t even need me at camp anymore- you are dialed in! This leads me to outreach- if 99 people say there’s no hope for Freddy, I’m gonna agree with that civilian chaplain and say, “yes there is.”Best, EdRomans 15:13/ Task Force Hope
2/14I’m sitting at the bedside more and more lately of my 89 year old Mom, and not complaining as this is quality time with her, it just limits my time for sharing the mission- but I have a phone and a laptop so I can operate!!Today at about 10 am a local veteran group will bring a brand new power chair to US Marine Andrew Jackson, who is here at the care home with mom. It’s been over 2 weeks since his chair has worked and luckily we have been able to get this rolling, otherwise I just don’t know…..Tonight we host our regular 2nd Tuesday of the month care pack event at Dino’s Deli in Brentwood. And I know it’s Valentine’s Day and some interesting history about St Valentine himsel;he was inspired by stories of healing and kindness and loved people so much that he put doing the right thing before his own safely.Task Force Hope is scheduled for Dream Mountain Camp in Murphys Ca in about 2 weeks and we still have needs for the camp; care package sponsor, Sat BBQ fod sponsor, fuel cards for the veterans, etc. Contact me if you can help!!Task Force Hope Camp #2 for 2017: at Christian Berets in Miwuk Village is scheduled for AprilTask Force Hope Omaha: is scheduled for May 3 thru 7 in Fremont Nebraska. This is possibly the way we take the mission nationwide!! We really need a sponsor as this is a tentative date for now and we need the support to make this camp happen!!Share The Mission:Task Force Hope- Facebook, like and shareoperationcreekside.org- see Updates and Wish List on Donation PageBest, EdOperation Creekside
Yesterday I sat at a table in the care home where my Mom is with US Marine Andrew Jackson while he waited for dinner, I have become friends with this Marine. He has told me about his life and how he feels, the ups and downs and where his hope is. He is the son of a preacher and you might say the prodigal son, but he knows the Lord and he has hope! We were talking about blessings yesterday and he said, “the good Lord can pour out overflowing blessings from the heavens at will”, and of course I agreed!I contacted a good friend the other day, Steve Todd with VFW Post #10789 and he connected me with another veteran that can help us get Andrew a new power chair- he has been w/o the use of his chair for 2 weeks now. This is something he really needs for motivation and to not be bedridden. Hopefully either tomorrow or Monday we will have the chair delivered!Also yesterday some core team members of Task Force Hope met at a sponsors house for dinner and it’s hard to describe the feeling I get at these events; my veterans in good spirits, two families working hard to prepare a fantastic meal- it’s my view and makes it all worth while!! Myself, 4 Marines and 2 soldiers, having dinner like old friends and I think I can say brothers but my view includes our host touching US Army Korea War veteran Felix Tover on the shoulder and saying, “Felix, would you like some coffee?” I don’t think I would take SuperBowl tickets over one of these dinners….Today, like any other day- mission first, well after a visit with Mom at the care home, family first, and then a check in on Andrew Jackson who is here also- there is so much to do and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve those who serve and those who have served….God Bless America!Best, Ed
2/8We’re gonna get busy and we’re going to do God’s work and help our veterans in need. We received two new names of deployed troops this week- think about this; just how long our voluntary force has been in service and deployed since 2001. Multiple deployments, time away from home and sacrificing for our freedom….As we continue to send prayer and care packages to our troops deployed our mission changes somewhat as we minister to those who come home and face difficulties here and life in the civilian world. Just last week I received a message from a soldier, “you have no idea how you have impacted my life.” I share this because it really wasn’t that difficult to help and my response was, “if you could see my view watching you guys do well.”Task Force Hope: a group of veterans and me the civilian, moving forward, helping each other and reaching out to veterans nationwide. I still can’t believe the impact of the US Navy Corpsman who came out here from the east coast, not only for my Marines, but the impact for me and the mission was huge!!Dream Mtn Camp: scheduled for Mar 2 thru 5 in Murphys Ca. This camp is sponsored and I’ve mentioned before, we have other needs to make this camp work- care pack items, fuel cards, postage dollars, etc.Christian Berets Camp: scheduled for April- still planing and working on this…Task Force Hope Omaha: this camp is the variable and should be doable- if we can get help and local support in Omaha?? The focus is one Marine- if you’ve been tracking, a US Marine from Lincoln Ne is one of our guys and he needs support. Task Force Hope is not like celebrity rehab- it takes follow through!! So, if we can go to Omaha and help just one Marine, then we have done our work, but what if we encounter and help other veterans?? That’s the idea!!How You Can Help:Share Our Mission With OthersSee Our Website- operationcreekside.orgSee Updates and See Wish List under the Donation PageSee Operation Creekside and Task Force Hope on FacebookInvite Me to Share the Mission with your group or business or church??Our veterans are worthy…..Best, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force HopeRomans 15:13
2/6Last week a soldier sent me a message that said, ” you don’t know how much you have impacted my life.” And I will admit to an immediate smile, but my response was, “you should see my view when you guys do well.” His response was, “LOL, HaHa.”It’s real simple to be caring and not prideful. These guys know if you’re real and our mission is solid- help people in need and veterans first. We have a camp in less than a month and there’s so much to do- most of my emails are reports of our mission and from time to time, I hope not too much, we reach out for help and we need help. The camps are sponsored, but then there’s the care packs, the t shirts, the fuel cards- anything and everything helps to get veterans to camp!!We also are tentatively scheduled for Task Force Hop Omaha in May. This may seem impossible, but I have a couple of verses in the Bible that says possible…and I am in contact with a US Marine who needs our support. Imagine going cross country for one US Marine and ultimately helping others through a veteran camp???I may hinge it all on this email as time is short and I personally am busier than ever, but our veterans our worthy- we have found something that works; peer to peer with activities and personal contact.If you can help or want more info please contact me at 925 260 5423….I am good at texting too!!Best, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force HopeHope as in Romans 15:13
1/311 We have 2 camps scheduled and paid for- thank you for your support!!2 We are doing a lot more program because there is tremendous need. (Today the Task Force Hope veterans teamed up and literally rescued a veteran in trouble) This is something the VA can’t do and if they would ever listen…we can show them how simple it is..3 Camps come with other expenses- t shirts, fuel cards, food & snacks, minimal expenses(we need help, the program is working.)… a couple weeks ago one of our new Task Force Hope veterans who at one point was in trouble himself contacted me about another veteran in trouble- we got one of our vets to make contact and we’re good for now….again the VA can’t do that and we have some ideas to share.4 Task Force Hope Omaha: this one is a dousy! I know my Marine in Lincoln is struggling. I need to visit him and if we can put together a camp at the same time, we can help more veterans!! He has 4 or 5 vets that are interested and I’ve been contacting veterans closer to that area and a couple of our Task Force Hope veterans and myself will go.We have a simple program that works. We need to help more veterans- this is how we are going to reduce veteran suicide, one veteran at a time….We have 2 businesses and a few individuals that help our mission on a regular basis and we are extremely grateful. We need more help. All we want to do is more mission and help more vets- for more info contact me directly at 925 260 5423.thanks, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force HopeOur veterans are worthy.
1/23My son and I arrived at church an hour early as usual to pray before church like we’ve been doing for more than a year and found the Operation Creekside trailer with both locks cut off the back door!! I notified the police and went ahead with our morning prayer- I think I needed that and then I met with the police- nothing was taken out of the trailer except our handtruck which I found outside next to the trailer….Interesting morning and I’ll admit to some anger because that trailer is vital to our ministry and it’s just not right for people to have such lack of respect!! Today of all days I had to watch the lobby- there’s always at least one of our church members in the lobby and it was good for me today. I got to interact with people I don’t usually get a chance to talk to, I saw a father comforting his infant son throughout the entire service, I could hear the singing through the one speaker out there, got to open the door for people going in and out- it was just good to be of service….New and better locks are in order and I hope that does the truck, it’s very discouraging to say the least and with all the stuff going on in the world today, why can’t we help each other and be kind, kind as in Ephesians 4:32….I’m writing this sitting in the lobby of my mom’s care home- she is soundly sleeping, but God, our Lord is always at work for us; a woman came out with a small umbrella and a wheelchair- there’s a downpour going outside and I saw her go to the car to get her daughter who must be a resident here. I’ll admit I thought about the safe ty of my laptop for a second, but then tossed it into the chair and hustled out there and she was surprised when I grabbed the umbrella out of her hand. She said, “I don’t want you to get wet.” I said, “it doesn’t matter, help your daughter.” So, I get to be of service- that made my day, the rest is no big deal- thank you Lord.And so we soldier on. None of this is easy. One of my veterans is in the mountains with no power- I may have to go back tomorrow. My son and I shoveled paths through 4 feet of snow for him yesterday. He needs encouragement just as much as good shovel guys, it’s still a joy to be of service to my veterans……Best, EdPsalms 55:22
1/14A tremendous opportunity for the mission of helping veterans nationwide!!We are partnering with a big church in Omaha Nebraska, hosting a Task Force Hope veterans camp there in May!! And we have 2 camps already scheduled here with possibly 4 more for 2017.This camp in Omaha could be the “breakthrough” we’ve been looking for in ministry as our focus all along has been to help more veterans. We are going with one goal in mind- to help our Marine who lives in Lincoln.If you’d like more info on this particular mission, please contact me at 925 260 5423.If you are a veteran and want to attend this camp also let me know???If you are a civilian and want to serve at this camp, we can talk about that!!If you’d like to help sponsor this camp???We can do this easily, this is still America where we help each other…..Best, EdRomans 15:13
1/11A slow start for the care packs this year but that is the norm, but there is always something to do on this mission of service! Like picking up the snow blower for Andy up at Christian Berets in MiWuk Vilage where we wll host 2 camps this year and going up there tomorrow to help him get ready for a group coming in this weekend.We have a tremendous opportunity to take this mission nationwide and real soon!! A big church in Omaha Nebraska has agreed to help us host a veterans camp there in May! I approached them with our mission and plan and ultimately said to them, “we are coming to help 1 Marine, if we help more than that, then that’s ok.”Task Force Hope has a simple approach and we are seeing results. Our veterans are worthy….Stay tuned, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force Hope
Happy New Year 2017 from Operation Creekside and Task Force Hope!!I write this sitting in Mom’s power chair by the bed in the care home and can’t help but be thankful that I’m free, able to sit here with my laptop and watch her sleep comfortably. I wonder what it’s like for a young bride or a mom that has to caregive for a wounded soldier or navigate the VA system with a warrior struggling with PTSD??Not long ago, I witnessed the difficulty a combat veteran faces while dealing with the general public, even the court system where the judge was clueless about the necessity of a service dog. Difficulty for the veteran but great info on how we in ministry can serve better- the next time in court with one of my veterans I will be prepared!!Then there’s a plan to pick up the snow blower from the shop and the new plow blade at Tractor Supply for my veteran up in MiWuk Village. You know, being a flatlander, I have never had to deal with snow, but then it’s part of the follow thru- we helped this veteran land this job, a veteran that was homeless not too long ago and now this veteran, like all of them, is worthy of our support…We shipped out 4 care packs yesterday to deployed troops and 2 stateside care packs here on the homefront. This week I will pick up some goods from Operation Moms in Sonora to send out and continue plotting and planning how we can best serve those who have served…Remember, I can share the mission in minutes with your group or business. I can also tell you about 2 companies that have really helped our mission that get the benefit of seeing the results- it’s called follow thru….Still Encouraged, EdPsalm 55:22
12/31because of their commitment to the American veteran…….So here’s the idea again: I’d like to see two Tiny Homes located at one of our veteran camps to use for camp, to help share the mission, ultimately helping more veterans…My contact at 84 Lumber in Clovis is an 8 year US Army veteran who has a brother, also a veteran, that suffers from PTSD. Now this whole thing (idea) might have a lot to do with making contact with that brother and one of our Task Force Hope veterans is already working on that, but ultimately these Tiny Homes can help support the mission, can be used with Task Force Hope operations- the potential is unlimited!!To get started we need to at least purchase a “shell” and get one put together. I have a general contractor who supports the mission and will help, but we also need church groups and/or businesses to help out; for instance, a construction company with a good crew can put one of these together in no time….One of my Marines sent an email yesterday saying how he was looking forward to 2017 and reaching more vets with Task Force Hope and nationwide…..we have to look at it like this and share the mission of hope…when I met this Marine he was not looking forward, what I see now in him is hope.Best, EdRomans 15:13
12/30Two days after Christmas I rec’d a nicely wrapped Christmas present that said “Soldier” on it. It was in a box that was to big for the flat rate, best shipping, so I carefully unwrapped it and repacked it into a flat rate box, adding some other goods….and I was impressed with the love and care that obviously went into this box and the full page letter that, in great detail, thanked the soldier for her freedom…. the love and care continues!!Another ten boxes will go out today and 27 have already went out this week…continued support for our troops deployed…..About the mission: the duties increase, I’m still a one man operation most of the time- still effective and no complaints….two trips up to MiWuk Village this week to help one of my Task Force Hope veterans and now one of my Marines here local is back in the hospital- I will check on him today. Ministry has to be in person! I can send all the Ham& Bean Soup to my Marine in Lincoln Nebraska but I know that I need to go see him in person soon as he is worthy, very worthy!!I did not grind you all for money as the year ends because fundraising is really not my strong point or focus for that matter, and we do thank you all very much for the amazing support, but our focus is on improving the ministry and helping more veterans- this has turned into a full time thing for me and part of the mission is to help veterans help each other….For Instance: our Marine in Lincoln Ne is struggling, there’s no doubt! I asked him the other day if he would help me run a camp in Lincoln and he agreed and even gave me the info on a great camp! This tells me that he has hope and if we can put this together, myself and a few of my Task Force Hope veterans will travel to Lincoln, host a camp, meet some new vets and encourage Freddy, in person!I can present our mission in person in minutes. We have some plans that include 6 veteran camps and more personal attention and help for our veterans. I may have mentioned this before, but last week I went to court with one of my Marines. I could see how difficult it was for him and luckily he had his service dog, his best friend and me there, but it was still difficult…our veterans our worthy.Please contact me about our plans for 2017 at 925 260 5423thanks, EdPsalm 55:22
12/26I spent the afternoon with one of my Navy Veterans up in MiWuk Village. I told my pastor before I went up there, “it doesn’t make any logical sense, especially with the cold weather up there at 5000′. But then, isolation is not good and I know this too well myself!!I already don’t know who is encouraging who and at 17 degrees this morn, it may take a while to get started- I came here to help get a snow blower to the shop and to help haul a plow blade back here to the camp. Snow blower and plow blade are not normally in my vocabulary!!Thanks to our sponsors and all the folks that helped with the big care pack event at the Veterans Hall in Brentwood, we were able to encourage military families and troops deployed- a message from a Lt Col this morning said, “the guys received the care packages and were overjoyed with the contents, especially the white t shirts that were desperately needed.”The families that received care packs were very thankful and I could see that some of them really needed the support- one US Army veteran was out of work and the kids had no presents until we delivered.Looking forward to 2017, we have so much to do and more effective ministry is in store. Some of these opportunities are right in front of us, like the US Marine, Andrew Jackson, who is in the care home with my mom- my son and I prayed with Andrew on Christmas Eve and as good as that felt, Andrew had a difficult Christmas Day with no visitors and unable to get out of bed due to not feeling well. It is clear that our veterans like Andrew need love and support and more than one prayer, that is for sure!!!God Bless America!!Best, EdStill Encouraged….
12/23Reporting from today backwards and possibly just this week…. mailed 2 care packs out today, only two because about 290 have been shipped since Dec 13- it’s been a blur!! But these two go out to some soldiers in Iraq that we hear are not getting much mail- we shipped 2 out on Wed also, the day we got the info and now 16 more are ready to go out along with 28 more to finish off the monster Brentwood Auto Parts/VFW Post #10789 community pack we did on the 13th!!Yesterday was a typical day in ministry, well sort of- was in court first thing with one of my Marines in Modesto and the short story is he did well! Imagine a combat veteran with PTSD in court? His best friend was there, I was there and his service dog Sarge was there- he did well!!Then a beeline for Red Bluff Ca with Christmas presents for a veteran’s kids. I can tell you it was worth the drive- I hadn’t seen this guy in a year and he is doing well despite an injury that has kept him out of work and the timing was great because there were no presents for the kids!!!Leaving Red Bluff with one more stop and finding big traffic in Woodland, when you’re on a mission it doesn’t matter- pulling into Stockton last night and finding one of my favorite veterans home from yet another trip to the ER, but feeling better- he was amazed to see the 40″ TV that friends of Operation Creekside had purchased for him……The day before, much the same- to Clovis to see a veteran, then to Paterson to deliver presents, then Ceres, Modesto and Manteca….I’ve said it before, I love what I do!!We were also able to assist a veteran in Suisun through a veteran that we know- providing gifts for his kids and a Safeway Gift card. It really doesn’t take much to help someone in need…..Next Week- another 40 care packs will go out to catch up and then we will start planning camps for 2017. You will notice we didn’t push the year end “donate now” or give us money thing as we tend to put the mission first and I feel pretty good about our efforts for 2016- we had some fantastic support, individuals and businesses that really helped!!Still Encouraged, Ed McClellandPsalm 55:22
12/19It’s been a while, but December has been a blur!! We had a very successful care pack event at the Veterans Hall with Brentwood Auto Parts, VFW #10789 and the community= 330 care packs for the deployed and 41 “stateside” care packs to veterans across the country!!Many of these “stateside” care packs go to Viet Nam era veterans as a thank you and some of these go out to veterans that just may need the encouragemnt knowing someone cares!!This week we continue to ship out the care packs with 50 more out on Tuesday and we will deliver Christmas presents to kids of veterans. Last year our last delivery almost didn’t make it because I literally ran out of gas and was sick, but on Christmas Eve I woke up and decided to make the run- an hour drive to Patterson and quietly dropping off the presents in the side yard and racing back home to recover!!!I get a text later that said, “you saved Christmas”. Well, I don’t think I saved Christmas, but the friends of Operation Creekside that appreciate what we do and also look for ways to help military families may have saved Christmas for that family and even more….Task Force Hope was borne from these Christmas presents. That’s how we made contact with these worthy veterans and if you want a glimpse of what I see….yesterday I left church early and made a run to MiWuk Village to do a care pack op with Andy, one of my veterans that is doing fantastic and all thanks to Task Force Hope and our sponsors…now I can do those care packs at home by myself easily, but it’s the fellowship that matters and I needed to see my veteran….All of 2 1/2 hours in MiWuk and I had to meet another veteran in Discovery Bay who is on a mission today. He is off to visit another veteran who is where he was at a year ago- now this shows progress on his part and also compassion for the other veteran. We offered up a $150 Safeway card for the veteran in need and encouragement for the veteran who is helping!!I learned in AA, when you help someone else, you actually are helping yourself!!Ok, so we’re on task and still serving veterans that are worthy….God Bless America!Best, EdRomans 15:13
12/7We have an opportunity to do so much more for our veterans and their families! Please don’t compare this idea to a luxurious RV because the Tiny House is not meant to be compared to an RV- it’s a whole different concept!My idea that includes great exposure for Task Force Hope includes having these Tiny Homes available at camps that we go to like Dream Mountain in Murphys Ca.These tiny homes will also be offered for sale to anyone that is interested and we would appreciate help in getting one or two of these homes at Dream Mountain for 2017.The Shonsie Model is available and is located at the 84 Lumber store in Clovis. I am going there tomorrow to meet with one of my veterans from Fresno.We need a sponsor. We need a big sponsor. My veterans and I have a vision, a vision of zero military suicides per day= 22 to zero!!This Shonsie Model in Clovis is ready for purchase and I would like to dedicate this Tiny Home to Sgt Duvi Wolf who gave her life for my freedom 25 Oct 2009. I have permission from her family to dedicate this Tiny Home in her honor and memory.Please call me if you have any ideas or need more information- 925 260 5423.thanks, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force Hope
12/4I have such a unique view of how all this works: we were at a very successful fundraising event last night where a local company featured us, Operation Creekside, as their charity of choice and you know, fundraising is important, but again, I have a different view!For this event one of the Marines that helps me run Task Force Hope was there, Andrew Nard and his wife Nancy. And both of us got to speak. I mentioned in brief how we operate and then asked Andrew to come up and address the crowd. For me, it’s such a victory right there, seeing this 27 year old man, who has been to battle, actually face a crowd with only a microphone to use…but he did very well….Seeing a busy company go to such great lengths to support our mission is reward enough. Of course, money raised will help us do more, but I hope we were able to convey our deepest appreciation for their support too!!This morning I started working on the labels and customs forms for our big pack coming up on the 13th and was able to connect with another one of my Marines and give him a vehicle! This is the car that was to go to Russell in Sonora, but I just couldn’t put that together and I have another car that we will work on, a car that we can drive up there!!I type this sitting in the chair by my Mom the Cotton Picker, watching her fade off to sleep- life is good, the mission continues!!Best, EdRomans 15:13
A year round ministry gears up for a December Care Pack Push…….This morning I will package up the guitar purchased, the only Black Friday shopping I did by the way, along with the huge thank you card signed by the grateful Americans we met at the SaveMart stops during the iHeart Honor Tour. We also have a few more care packs to get out- I have been shipping almost daily lately…On Dec 13th we will be at the Veterans Hall thanks to Brentwood Auto Parts and the VFW Post #10789. Whoever helps and/or participates in this event I want to thank you in advance because once we get this freight train of love and hope rolling, it’s all business until the last care pack is mailed!!Let’s keep in mind that this is about the deployed US service members that are out there 24/7 protecting this freedom we enjoy daily. Come to serve and be blessed- there will no awards at this event and if we pack up over 325 care packs like we did last year, it is a bigger blessing to those deployed…. we’ve shipped a lot, but it is still about that one care pack that arrives at the right time for encouragement….I rec’d an email this morn from a solider on our list and he is thanking us for the steady flow of care packs and knowing that we are a faith based group and send these care packs out with love and prayer, he keeps reminding me of one soldier that he hopes finds the Lord through these care packs…..one soldier like the lost sheep in the Bible, and that’s the focus- one soldier or one veteran, they are all so worthy.Best, EdRomans 15:13
Dream Mountain Veterans Camp #2 went very well…..And it’s a good kind of exhausted, but I come home exhausted!! We loaded up in the pouring rain- had to stage all the goods and then get Jose in the truck, one of my favorite veterans who is in a power chair. He goes to camp with me because I can haul his chair easily in the trailer and now that we have his son in the group, also an Army veteran, it helps me tremendously!The camp went extremely well. The guys are really coming together like a team and new guys are welcomed like family. One of the highlights for me was when we did the care packs on Saturday after lunch. We had a special guest with us and we packed up 22 care packs for US troops deployed and a US Marine led the prayer over these boxes…On Saturday night, we sat in the gazebo during the pouring rain and first thing we did was retire 5 flags respectively and with honor. It was a real honor for me to be included as my flag was dedicated to Sgt Duvi Wolf. One soldier honored 3 buddies he lost in battle, a Marine honored his best friend, another Marine honored 3 that were lost in battle and another honored the losses of the 1/5…It took 17 minutes to do this and again I was honored to be a part of. Doc Al, a Navy Corpsman, who flew in from the east coast, videoed the whole thing and earlier we had presented him with an American Flag for his 20 years of service to this country.We finished the evening with some music from our brother Dennis Sweeney, my singing Marine, who is a big part of this ministry. He sang “365 Days” a song he wrote for the guys and to encourage all veterans and he also debuted a song that he is working on that honors the American Flag. Note: on Friday the guys went on a hike to Natural Bridges and carried the American Flag with them!!Special thanks go out to our sponsors who make these camps happen. I get to see hope and healing with these men. Our veterans are worthy.Best, EdRomans 15:13
Getting ready for Task Force Hope Veterans Camp in Murphy’s CAFirst and foremost, we pray for safe travel for our US Navy Corpsman who is traveling today from New Jersey to attend this camp. I look forward to meeting this man who was born in Mexico, came to the US, became a citizen and served this country proudly for 20 years!!This is shaping up to be a smaller camp in numbers, being so close to Thanksgiving, but our mission is to be available for one veteran at a time, ultimately serving as many as we can. There is a solution to this thing they call PTSD and there is hope. It starts with fellowship, peer to peer and activities.I spent some time yesterday with one of my US Army veterans and he doesn’t leave the house much. He went with me to drop off some food at a homeless veterans home. It really encouraged him to carry the food in and he even volunteered to help when needed!!Also ran into a US Army mom who told me about the struggles her son has after serving a tour in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must have talked for a half hour and she shared information that really helps me on my mission to serve these struggling veterans…I am encouraged, EdRomans 15:13
11/15I write this sitting with Mom at the care home and all she wants is food from the “outside'” Think about that; it’s like she’s in prison, but she is actually comfortable here and well taken care of. I’m here so much I get to visit with my Marine Andrew Jackson who has no family visitors- he wants food from the “outside” too, so I will have to work on that….And just like the care package, something from other than the PX or the chow hall, and more importantly that somebody cares! I have about 6 more to get shipped and the rest of the goods I am taking with me to veterans camp- the guys really enjoy doing the care packs. I think it’s good therapy even though we don’t do therapy, it’s peer to peer with activities!I am looking forward to this camp! One of our “campers” is flying in from New Jersey, thanks to one of our best supporters, and this veteran is a 20 year Navy Corpsman. He was born in Mexico, came to the US and served this country honorably for 20 years!!Our core team is solid and we are reaching veterans across the country. Hopefully Task Force Hope will be able to expand our mission and host camps nationwide! It’s not always easy to line up the travel and we could reach more veterans if we take the mission to them…Always moving forward and serving our troops and veterans, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force Hope
An incredible day of mission work: Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope- actually 2 days!That started with a 30 minute conversation with a Viet Nam Veteran that still struggles with post traumatic stress from 1968! I was almost late to my first appointment in Modesto because of this, but I will always take time for my veterans.We tentatively scheduled 2 camps for 2017 with Christian Berets in Miwuk Village. This past August we hosted a very successful veterans camp there and look forward to more at this location!!
On Veterans Day we were guests at a veterans appreciation event at Black Oak Casino in Tuolumne. Black Oak supports our veteran camps with funding and goods- last camp they brought up 20 pizzas!!After Black Oak, I had to race down to Riverbank for our final stop on the Honor Tour with iHeart Radio and this was a special op indeed! With the help of my good friend Rochelle and IHeart’s Nick manning the booth, we hauled in a lot of care pack goods and met some incredible people….A woman wearing a Cubs hat brought goods in memory of her friend Peg who passed away in July- Peg was a strong troop supporter and she had mailed out Hundreds of care packs to the deployed.A combat veteran came up and he and I talked for about 2 hours straight- this is not the usual, but again, I will engage with veterans as long as is necessary!! And Nick and Rochelle were handling the op really well during this conversation!And as we were wrapping up a woman walked up and told me about the difficulties she is facing caregiving for her Viet Nam Veteran husband who is an amputee and has many health issues. I stopped what I was doing and listened and will work on getting her connected to people that can and will help.I love what I do….Best, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force HopeRomans 15:13
A day with Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope6 am: Bible Study- start the day off right!7 am: Talk w Al a Viet Nam Veteran- put me behind sched but I always take time for veterans!!9 am: meet Tom & Woody at Christian Berets- sched 2 veterans camps for 201710:30 am: check out a drop off location for care pack goods in Modesto- nothing in the barrel!12:30 pm: Meet Viet Nam Veteran in front of SaveMart in Sonora- Tri Tip Sandwich for no charge; he would not take my money!!1:30 pm: Visit Russell at Vets Helping Vets- always good to see this veteran who really helps veterans!3:00 pm: Visit Hal at Auto Tech- a veteran owned business and Hal is a US Marine; had some USMC Birthday Cake too!!3:30 pm: mail one care package from Tuolumne Ca Post Office- yes I will mail 1 or 100 anytime, anywhere.4:30 pm: Black Oak Casino- have to secure a parking spot for the big event on Veterans Day!!Thank you to our veterans for serving! Thank you for those of you that continue to serve your families and communities!!God Bless America!!Best, EdRomans 15:13**Task Force Hope Veterans Camp Nov 17 thru 20.
As important as today is for America, my veterans say, “move forward, always forward.”
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 33:12Trust me, I’m no preacher, but I know where my hope is!! I was thinking about the mission as we move forward and there is still no evidence that the veteran suicide rate is slowing down!! We see some real progress and breakthrough with our core team of veterans, but we need to reach more of them and soon.We have found a simple solution in peer to peer and activities that ultimately gets these veterans connected. Next week will be our 4th veterans camp of 2016 and we have a Navy Corpsman coming out from New Jersey. If you don’t know, Marines love the corpsman and two of my Marines have been to battle with this guy!Doc Al coming out is encouraging for my guys and he has been through some stuff lately, so encouragement is in order all around. We appreciate our handful of sponsors that keep this ministry in operation, but we do still need help. contact me if your business or group can help. 925 260 5423Best, EdTask Force HopeGod Bless America!!
Look for Opportunities to ServeMoving forward and always alert for opportunities…. I’ve been hanging out in front of SaveMart Stores for the last 2 weeks with iHeart Radio, collecting goods for our care packs and sharing the mission…On Saturday in Stockton I met a homeless veteran and I asked him where he lived. He said, “I used to live in those bushes right over there”, pointing across the street, “but now I live at Dignity Alcove, a place for homeless veterans. He had a good attitude and was working on his benefits. We knew the same people and I encouraged him to keep in contact with a particular veteran that I know is for real!At this “op” in Stockton people brought us a lot of stuff that doesn’t really ship well- that’s why we shorten the list, but it was good timing, or God’s timing, as meeting this veteran reminded me of Dignity Alcove and yesterday I delivered a bunch of goods over there and met a few of the residents…Dream Mtn Veterans Camp is only 10 days away and we still have several opportunities to help! I sincerely thank those who continue to support our mission because our veterans are so worthy..If you owe me some Evergood Sausage for camp, you know who you are and it was your idea- this is a gentle reminder!!For our prayer partners, please please keep the mission in prayer- again our veterans are so worthy….Best, EdRomans 15:13
Care PackagesHow this works: a US Army veteran that I work the Joni and Friends Warrior Getaway in Maryland every year gave me an address for a friend of hers, a captain who is deployed- the request was for mouse traps of all things!! So, as I was traveling home and mailing care packs along the way I found a Tractor Supply in Clovis New Mexico on the morning I met with my 13th family that had lost a loved one to PTSD. I reference this because there has to be hope in all situations!I mailed that care pack out with snacks, treats and the mouse traps and then added this Captain to our list. A few weeks go by and I get a message from Tom about how he was blessed with one of the care packs- the captain is sharing!!! And how he hoped the love of Christ we share in the care packs would do something in a co workers heart- this is how it works!We know we are encouraging Tom. We hope we are encouraging others. I am encouraged!Best, Ed
Good Monday Morning! 17 days to Task Force Hope Veterans Camp in Murphys Ca.Task Force Hope: and that’s all it is- hope! Twenty two veterans will take their own lives today, some say it’s more like 35- but either way, it’s just staggering what is happening to our veterans! I don’t share this for the shock value and for fundraising purposes even though I will fund raise as it is necessary for the mission. But I share it because it is real. I can’t forget the families I met in September- it is real to them. And the stories I hear confirm in my mind that there is a solution and I do believe it is the love of Christ!The VA may help some veterans and private groups are making a difference, but we need to reach more of these veterans and meet them where they are. Just last week another non profit sent me on a mission to help a struggling combat veteran with a vehicle issue and in just days a new engine was installed and this veteran was able to make his VA appointments, travel to train his service dog and make it to school and this young man will attend our camp and is bringing another veteran!We are in crunch time mode now- camp is paid for thanks to an awesome Operation Creekside sponsor and we are ready to serve our veterans. Some immediate needs are;1 Air Travel for a US Marine & US Navy Corpsman- this changes daily and it is not in our budget!!2 Care Package Sponsor- we always pack care packs with the veterans at camp. It’s very powerful!3 Lunch Sponsor- we host a Saturday lunch to give the camp staff a break.4 Fuel Cards- helps veterans get to camp.5 T Shirt Sponsor- very immediate need, T Shirts for the veterans to take home!If you or your group or company can help us in any way, please contact me at 925 260 5423.Our veterans are worthy. Camp can be life changing and maybe even life saving!Best, EdTask Force HopeRomans 15:13
10/28Imagine non profits and groups working together to help others and encourage everyone they meet!! This weekend 100 runners in the Marine Corps Marathon will the 26.2 miles with photos of service members that have taken their own lives due to PTSD. This effort of honor and respect comes from 2 women in Maryland that have built quite an outreach for these families!! 22TooManyTomorrow will be our 2nd op with iHeart Radio and Veterans First at a SaveMart Store in Ripon, Ca. If you’re in the area we’ll be there from 12 til 4 pm.Dream Mountain Veterans Camp is coming up Nov 17 thru 20 in Murphys, Ca. If you could look at the list I sent out not long ago, we are still in need of help for this camp! Please contact me if you or your company can help! Camps can be life changing for the veterans, even life saving.And on that note, my Marines really want me to fly out a 20 year Navy Corpsman from New Jersey and one of our Marines from Lincoln, Nebraska and the airfare is another expense on top of our regular camp expenses….I will keep pressing because I get to see what happens at these camps and my core team is doing well- we must reach more veterans and we have a simple but effective approach. We should not have an endless supply of names to run for as I mentioned above- the veteran suicide rate is unacceptable!!Again, contact me if you can help in any way, our veterans are worthy…Best, Ed 925 260 5423Romans 15:13
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope Immediate Needs- Please Print and Share
1 Care Package Sponsor for Nov 17 Veterans Camp= $10002 T Shirt Sponsor for Nov 17 Veterans Camp= $7503 Fuel Cards for Nov 17 Veterans Camp= $5004 Lunch/Activities Sponsor for Nov 17 Veterans Camp= $5005 Need a tow vehicle for the Operation Creekside trailer****** We are busier than ever with program and this is an expense beyond our monthly care pack and ministry budget and funds cannot come from these accounts for this expense.Notes: the trailer has been an effective tool for both programs and it is vital to the mission. My personal vehicle has been doing the towing and we are at a point where towing has become difficult for a 1/2 ton truck with 249,000 miles!A Ford F-250 4 door is the dream but we have located a 2007 GMC Pick Up with only 52,000 miles. Either way, we have to do something soon!!A decent vehicle “wrapped” with our mission would help us promote and fundraise. There is no evidence that the veteran suicide rate is going down and we are gearing up for more camps and more contacts with veterans that need services other than VA provided…Best, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force Hope
10/22Today we remember US Marine Brandon Slack who passed away Oct 22, 2013. Brandon was the best friend of one of my Marines of Task Force Hope. This is a difficult day and Del’s brothers in arms and his family and friends will be there for him.I want to share with you how God works in this ministry: Today I was supposed to start on a 7 stop tour of SaveMart Stores, collecting goods for our care package ministry, but it got pushed back a week and I was kind of bummed- you all know how I like to meet people and share the mission! But today my son and I get to spend some time with Del and his family. I am prayed up and hope to bring comfort to my friend, one of my Marines, a veteran who has served this country and now serves his brothers as a mentor with Task Force Hope.Our veterans struggle. Most of us civilians don’t get it and never will, but there are ways to help and we have found our camps to be live changing if not life saving. We have a camp scheduled less than a month away and we have needs that help us help our veterans. We have 4 veterans wanting to attend this camp that live out of state- these are 4 veterans that either need camp or need to be at camp…If anyone can help with the needs of this camp, please contact me at 925 260 5423.Airfare for veteransFuel cardsCare Package GoodsPostageT Shirt SponsorBest, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force Hope
10/19From a US Army Chaplain deployed; the goods go out as fast as they come in! I think the biggest prayer request is perseverance. We’re at the mid point of deployment. The ministry is going really strong and starting to see the fruits of the labor. It’s awesome!Somewhere in Philippians, I think it’s 1:6, the Lord basically says to just keep doing the work! This is an encouraging report from a chaplain that has been deployed often. He knows what he is up against. From our end, consistent support throughout the entire deployment is vital- if we were just doing seasonal or grand care pack events, then it would be about us and it’s not about us. Consistent support is vital!!This weekend we start on an 8 stop Save Mart Stores tour and I will continue to ask for help and on all levels. We have 2 sponsors that have supported our efforts for years and both of these sponsors see the “fruits of the labor.” Last week at a veterans event in Oakley Calif a US Army Korea War Veteran told me, “she remembered my name”, in reference to our gracious host that supplied another amazing dinner for my veterans of Task Force Hope…Best, EdOperation Creekside/TASK Force HopeGod Bless America!!
10/17It’s Monday Oct 17 2016! I remember the earthquake of 1989 well and also the birth of my son in 1998, but here we are in 2016- time flies! More care packs will go out this morning as consistent support of US troops deployed is our mission and on that note we are gearing up for an 8 stop tour of local Save Mart Stores, put together by iHeart Radio and Veterans First in Riverbank.At first I thought, man this is a lot of work for me, and it is a lot of work for me, but then, the opportunities for ministry are endless!! New people to share the mission with, possibly an insane amount of quality goods for the care packs and something I just thought of this morning; contact with veterans who shop at Save Mart!!We have 7 locations with 4 hour stops each starting in Modesto this Saturday and going through Veterans Day. I am up to the challenge as I appreciate my freedom enough to sacrifice some time for the mission, but I will list the stops at the bottom because help is always welcome- things like a bathroom break once in a while can be very important!!!!We also have a veterans camp scheduled for Nov 17 thru 20 in Murphys Ca and we need sponsors for this event. We need a t shirt sponsor immediately, a care package sponsor, fuel cards for our veterans and we have 2 veterans that may need help with airfare to get here. These camps are life changing and I think life saving- partner with us to help our veterans, they are worthy…Sat 10-22 12 to 4 801 Oakdale Rd ModestoSun 10-23 12 to 4 1631 Lander Ave TurlockWed 10-26 1 to 5 875 S Tracy Blvd TracySat 10-29 12 to 4 1453 Goodwin Dr RiponWed 11-2 1 to 5 1172 Main St MantecaFri 11-4 1035 Sperry Rd PattersonSat 11-5 7506 Pacific Av StocktonFri 11-11 801 Oakdale Rd Modesto Veterans DayFor more info please contact me at 925 260 5423Thanks, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force Hope
10/14As the ministry gets busier, I am still a one man show at times- we need support, our mission is vital, our troops and veterans are worthy!Tonight my core team of veterans will meet at a sponsors house in Oakley to plan our next camp in Murphys Ca. The planing is fairly easy- getting our veterans to show up takes some effort as the unknown is sometimes difficult when you add in the PTSD!I have seen the results when these guys come to camp. I have seen real healing. I have seen hope. Our sponsors get to see that tonight. They get to see the results of their efforts. We are blessed and so are they!!One of my Marines coming tonight has an amazing story. He is doing really well. At a camp last year he approached me and said, “I am doing the blessing over the care packs!’ If my heart wasn’t already overjoyed at that camp, it was then. When I 1st met this Marine he was in a different place. The peer to peer we do and the fellowship is nothing short of amazing. Remember our troops and veterans are worthy- every single one of them…Yesterday I got up early and drove to Miwuk Village to stack 2 cords of firewood for one of my veterans. The rain is coming and he was in a bind and I know that he can’t stack all that wood. Our mission is personal. If we help one veteran we are ok, hopefully we will help many.But we do need help and on all levels. I will ship out another 6 care packs this morn to continue our consistent support of those deployed and we are gearing up for 7 care pack events with SaveMart Stores throughout the valley with help from Duke Cooper at Veterans First in Riverbank. For dates and times please call me at 925 260 5423.We also need sponsors for our veterans camp just about a month away:T Shirt Sponsor: needed immediatelyFuel Cards SponsorFood SponsorCare Pack SponsorBest, EdOperation Creekside/Task Force HopeOh Lord, bless our efforts and protect our troops deployed, give strength to our veterans and peace to all military families….. God Bless America!
10/12As the country continues to divide we continue to unite…. uniting with each other, with other non profits and with anyone who supports our military. At an event in Oakdale California last Saturday night we sang God Bless America with hands on our hearts and a country music DJ opened in prayer !Last night at our regular 2nd Tuesday pack, we packed and prayed over 19 care packages for US troops deployed. A US Marine was in attendance working on a video of our operation. High school kids joined us in the work and the prayers- America!Forty-Six care packs went out last week and six will go out this morn and these six are extra special- a man at my church who is on a fixed income and I mean a fixed income, approached me a few days ago and handed me a $100 bill. He said send out some care packs on me. I always honor requests like that and it also encourages me tremendously…. we are united!Tomorrow morn I have to make a run to MiWuk Vilage- my Navy vet has 2 cords of wood to stack before the rain and he’s a little overwhelmed…anyone want to make an early run to beautiful Miwuk Vilage in the morn, give me a call!On Friday we have a veterans dinner in Oakley for some of our core team to plan our next veterans camp in November. We hope to have 24 veterans with us at Dream Mountain Camp in Murphys..We are also actively searching for a vehicle to help us better serve our growing mission- the Ford Transit Connect 7 Passenger looks like a fit for our mission. We will keep the Operation Creekside trailer for local use, but the Transit will really help our growing mission of support to our military.Best, EdRomans 15:13P.S. If you acknowledge receiving this email, I will write your name on a care package that is going to a US service member deployed!!
10/8The first week of October was pretty good for the mission!! October 1st we were at Leer Vineyards in my hometown of Byron, Ca. and we met a lot of nice people and made enough in donations to ship out 46 care packs this week!! We have another op tonight to share the mission with a group in Oakdale!A Thursday op in Discovery Bay brought in enough to ship 25 care packs this coming week and with a regular pack coming up this coming Tuesday, another good week of care packs is in store!!!!We have another veteran camp scheduled for November and at one of our favorite camp locations, Dream Mountain in Murphys Ca. You know we are always open for help and/or sponsors for our camps. Our team of veterans is growing and these guys are doing well. I am amazed at the outreach as these veterans are reaching out to guys they served with and even other veterans that they do not know….Just a quick update to let you all know that we are still on the job and moving forward with ministry!! God Bless America!!Best, EdTask Force Hope/ Romans 15:13
9/28Operation Creekside will host our 4th veterans camp of 2016 at Dream Mountain in Murphys Calif Thurs Nov 17 thru Sun Nov 20. We look forward to serving and working with our veterans from all branches and from all eras.At a camp earlier this year a young Army veteran told us what he had said to his dad, a US Marine- he told his dad that he was “broken”. And just days ago a mom from Clovis New Mexico told me that is what her son had said to her, that he was broken. Unfortunately her son took his own life on Jan 3 this year.This “broken” thing does not have to be permanent. In fact there is a Matthew West song that tells about how broken can become mended!! If we can reach these veterans early we can help their “broken”, Our core team truly believes that we can help.The Marine in Lincoln Nebraska is doing well. He came to one camp and he is family. He also has reached out to an Army veteran in Missouri that is struggling. We are building a network of hope! One of my Marines has a buddy who is struggling- we will fly him in to this camp if he will come.We are in a real battle with PTSD and there is no letting up, there is no time for accolades or awards- we just need to do the work! If you are a veteran, please consider attending camp. It is beneficial on all levels and our younger veterans need the support. If you are a regular sponsor, I can’t ever thank you enough! If you want to get involved, please contact me at 925 260 5423.Thanks, EdTask Force Hope Romans 15:13
And I write this as I see NFL players boycotting the national anthem just a week after I visited with families that lost their loved ones to PTSD, a direct result of protecting freedoms that we all enjoy daily. I do understand the intentions but I question the motives and one mom who lost her only son to PTSD told me last week, “that is an insult to me.”
But never to be political and hopefully always positive and encouraging, on my 20 day trip across America I was able to meet and encourage 13 families that lost loved ones to PTSD, serve at an event for warriors in North East Maryland, assist a Marine in Lincoln Nebraska, mail out 46 care packages along the way, visit a grave site in Flagstaff Arizona for a sister and encourage a police officer who is also a veteran in Fort Sumner New Mexico.
As one of my Marine Corps Pastors would say, this report is not about being super cool, it’s about being super effective! A Mom in Tennessee was carrying so much guilt for what her son had done, I looked her in the eyes and said, “that is not your burden to carry.”
Moving Forward: we are going to build a model ministry program that we can take or send anywhere! Our veterans need support, our troops deployed need support, these families of the 22 per day need support! A mission of hope.
We are planning our next camp as we speak and will host 16 to 24 veterans at a camp in November. We have a handful of people that help us and we appreciate that greatly, but we need more help. Some of these families I met looked at me like I had the answers and I told them that I was just some guy from California that cares and that is all that is required to serve in this ministry…
I am encouraged, Ed
Task Force Hope Romans 15:13
9/18Eighteen days into this trip and I’m weary but encouraged!! I have met 12 families of members of our military that unfortunately lost their battles with PTSD and are no longer with us. That 22 per day is heavy but when you carry the photos in your car and meet the families it’s absolutely heartbreaking!!
Along with all we do- the care packages for the deployed, the veteran camps and outreach, these families need support. One mom really had some heavy guilt on her heart and I think I was able to tell her that it is not her burden. I asked her if she would let God carry that burden….
I was able to mail care packs from most states travelled through and some of the families took care packs from me to mail and my cousin in Oklahoma will mail one out tomorrow– the support must continue and we still live in a free country!!
We were also able to help a Marine in trouble during this trip- thank you to our friends that stepped up! I am in contact daily and he still has things to work out but we will not abandon our veteran!!
This morning I saw frogs hopping across the turnpike in Oklahoma while the rain pounded down and the lightning lit up the sky!! In Okla City I met a mom and a wife that lost their loved ones to PTSD, and then I drove to Amarillo Texas. Had dinner at Texas RoadHouse and was pleased to see all the employees in “We Love Our Troops” t shirts- they even gave me one for the care packs.
I meet a mom in Clovis New Mexico in the morning then will visit the grave of a veteran in Flagstaff that I guess his sister hasn’t been able to get to since 2010. I may stop by Michael Kissell’s resting place in Boulder City- he was one of my Army Chaplain’s assistants. And both of them took their own lives in 2014.
This is just a report. I’m not trying to share the doom and gloom- PTSD is real and we have to battle it on all fronts. My idea was to share the love of Christ with everyone I meet and I think these families have shared that with me- I am honored.Best, Ed
9/9I made it to North East Maryland last night after seeing most of the Pennsylvania countryside and with a stop at the Flight 93 Memorial- I’d have to say that is quite the sight and wish I had more time, but it gave me chills just being there at the overlook!We start the mission today of working with and caring for warriors and their families. This is my 4th time here and I learn something every time. You have to be willing to bless or be blessed and also to focus on serving others. I’m not sure if I will have internet for the next 6 days…Meeting with families that have lost loved ones to PTSD is difficult on many levels, but so far all our meetings have been positive and the knowledge gained can be used to help us know how to help. I met a mom and a fiancée in Ohio the other day. They struggle with similar things and as we talked I saw them develop a friendship that will most likely last and they will be able to help each other.Today I look forward to meeting my friends that I only see once a year and also to meeting the warriors and their families. May God richly bless al who attend.Best, EdRomans 15:13
9/7I am on a mission driving across the US to work a warrior getaway that I do every year with Joni and Friends in North East Maryland. The idea was to meet families that have lost loved ones to PTSD and also to mail care packages along the way. As a faith based group the motto is to share the love of Christ and this mission has already been kind of overwhelming to say the least! I have met some incredible families and have heard some of their stories- I spent a few hours yesterday with a mom and dad that lost their only son to PTSD.What I’ve learned so far is; I am hopeful that I am sharing the love of Christ, but I am positive that these families are sharing the love of Christ with me! I am truly humbled.I do believe that there is hope for America. I see so many American flags waving proudly as I travel and I am meeting people where they are and sharing real conversation and compassionate listening with them. This trip doesn’t make any logical sense, but I am confident that it is blessed by God Himself.I have mailed out 22 care packs so far, just got an address from a pastor in Maine- will try to get that one out today. Meeting with two families this morn and then to Wheeling West Virginia.Best, EdRomans 15:13
9/6I have met 4 families so far that have lost loved ones to PTSD and I must say it is such an honor to hear about their sons. Also have been doing some second guessing and asking myself if this trip is necessary and I already know the answer is yes. These are real people that have lost their kids to post traumatic stress. It can be painful conversation, but a listening ear is all that is required.And the information respectfully gathered is good for our continuing mission to help veterans who struggle- if it’s a one time dark place and our guys know where to turn, that will help tremendously!! The other thing is, these families need love and support. The 1st familily I met in Utah, Mom & Dad have not had a getaway together in 30 years! A mom in Colorado needs help fixing her son’s car, the only car he ever owned.I have precious cargo riding with me; pics of Joshua Remy, Michael Kissell, Duvi Wolf, Joshua Thompson and 38 photos of lost loved ones along my route! I will only be able to see some of the families as I have to be at a warrior getaway in North East Maryland by Friday, but I may actually think about retracing the route to be able to see more of them!!Enough for now, it’s “heavy” but these families need to know we care.Best, EdRomans 15:13
9/1Either this afternoon or early morn, I will be headed out for a stateside mission of hope. I’m going to try and stay focused and also open for opportunities to connect with people- the first Facebook post this morn was from an Army Mom who lost her son to PTSD and she is on my list of people to see!And a follow up on our latest veterans camp; our guys are doing the follow through extremely well. Once we know one of us is hurting or in need, we rally and it’s an awesome sight to see these veterans young and old bond and truly care for each other!!I’ve been in the Word a lot lately and I think it helps with my focus and with my attitude. The last night of camp I got a whole 2 hours of sleep, yet was able to do my Bible study in the morn- just some encouragement that there is always time for God!I have a dozen care packs to go out this morn, then I will pick up the Enterprise Rental Car and get loaded up. Tomorrow I will mail a couple care packs from somewhere in Nevada and if I can get to the Grantsville Utah Post Office between 9 and 11:30 am on Sat, I will mail a few more. Wyoming will be tricky as I am travelling through on Sat and Sun, but I think my friend in Rock Springs will be able to help me by mailing out on Monday!The mission: to hopefully encourage everyone I meet, to respectfully meet families that have lost soldiers to PTSD and to mail out as many care packs to deployed troops along the way. This should be easy as we are still free in this country. I do not expect any road blocks, check points or Taliban to hinder my mission.Keep in mind, this mission is not about me, it’s about encouragement. And if you owe me a phone call, lunch or a bunch of Evergood Sausage for a camp- you know who you are, get busy!I’d appreciate your prayers for safety, for focus and for strength. I am encouraged.Best, EdRomans 15:13 Task Force Hope
Thurs Aug 25 thru Sun Aug 28: Task Force Hope event at Christian Berets in MiWuk Village. Sign Ups still being accepted for any veterans in need of a break, a get away and fellowship with other veterans. Sign up at www.taskforcehope.com. Call me for info at 925 260 5423.
Joni and Friends Warrior Getaway in North East, Maryland: This year will be interesting! I am renting a car and driving across country, serving at the event for 6 days and then driving back the lower route- hopefully hitting 22 states and mailing care packs from every one. I have people that I need to see face to face, like Joshua Thompson’s parents, Dave and April, who lost their son to PTSD. And a Marine in Lincoln Nebraska who is doing well- everyone needs some encouragement including me!
My friend Keri Jacobs who runs the group 22TooMany is working on a list of people I could possibly visit along the way- the idea of the trip is to encourage people I meet along the way.
We had a very good family camp with our veterans and their wives and kids. Meeting people where they are at is key, sometimes just being a listening ear. Last Sunday I am pretty sure I was involved in an intervention- my veterans had a lot to do with it and showed our whole team how much of a family we have become!!
Then on Tues, Wed I was in Carson City Nevada for 2 8 hour days of Suicide Prevention Training. It’s been a busy week for sure!!
Anyone in the valley area, we are collecting care pack goods for the pack at camp with the veterans on Sunday. The collection point is Strand Ace Hardware in Escalon or contact me for pick up!!
I am hoping my truck will make at least one more trip up the hill to MiWuk Village on Thursday- an F-150 with 245,000 miles and lots of towing!!
Still Encouraged, Ed
8/15Here’s a glimpse… we had family camp at Camp Tuolumne Trails in Groveland this week, run by two of my Marines, and yes, the same two that tossed my son into the pool on Friday!!We had 35 campers- that’s veterans, wives, kids and my son and I. The family camps are really important, especially for the wives- a little break in a safe place, with good people and happy kids!!!Black Oak Casino and Allegiant Giving came up and officially presented the Action Track Chair to the camp and our disabled veteran gave it a work out. I walked alongside him a few times and he was having fun!On Saturday I had to leave early morn and attend an event in Riverbank. Veterans First had a grand opening and Joseph and I assembled 22 care packs which were shipped out this am- 22 is the estimated number of veterans who take their own lives daily in this country. So 22 care packs hopefully will be encouraging to our deployed troops- that’s the idea, keep them encouraged!! The veterans up at camp also packed up care packson Saturday and those will go out soon.An exercise we do at camp on the last day: I hand out post cards and ask everyone to write something nice and address the envelope to anyone they want to. I received two envelopes this time- one from a young veteran with PTSD and one from an Army wife. I am humbled.The camp went really well- Tommy 365 was doing well and has some ping pong skills! Del and Andrew, the Marines, ran a great camp and here’s a side note to how well our veterans and myself connect;There was one issue at camp- a husband and wife not getting along. The wife being the veteran and she suffers from PTSD. We left camp at about9:30 am on Sunday morn and I was in Del’s GMC Envoy with my son, Jose the disabled vet and his son Jose Jr who also suffers from PTSD. We were towing the Operation Creekside trailer, so we were loaded!! About 5 miles out, Jose Jr spots our female veteran way off the road just standing there alone! We turned our rig around- not easy on Ferretti Rd and drove back to where she was. I got out of the car and walked up quietly, saying her name before I got too close and put my arm around her.She was red faced and crying- they had fought and she got out of the car. It was fairly hot- she had no water, no money and no cell phone reception! We had to contact Del via text and alert the issue. It took a while and since our car was full, Jose Jr and I just stood with our veteran in the shade and talked with her. Now Jose Jr also has PTSD, but he was so concerned for our veteran that I am glad he was there….After about 45 minutes Del pulled up and our veteran was able to ride with him. He took her home with his family! This is how task Force Hope operates. No one complained- we all knew that we needed to help….I am currently in Minden Nevada getting ready for two days of Suicide Prevention Training in Carson City. Always moving forward and learning as much as we can about PTSD and how we can best help our veterans.And 10 days away from our Task Force Hope men’s veteran camp with Christian Berets in Miwuk Village.. I am really looking forward to this one!! My guys knew I was tired this time and it was kind of funny- they insisted that I leave the Operation Creekside trailer at Jose’s house in Stockton and I reluctantly did… saved me some time for sure.I am encouraged.Ed McClellandTask Force Hope…………Romans 15:13
8/12Good Morning! Yesterday afternoon I spent playing volleyball in the pool with my Task Force Hope veterans at Camp Tuolumne Trails- tough duty, I know, but some notes; on my team was a young Army veteran who does not often leave the house and I watched 2 US Marines pick up my son and toss him playfully into the pool!In the evening we were all at the campfire. Talking and listening to music and watching the kids eat their smores. This is Task Force Hope; veterans helping veterans and this is family camp!We have activities planned and those 2 Marines are running this camp. I am just here and if you can imagine my joy from seeing these families, it’s pretty humbling too….This will be a busy weekend as I have another event to attend tomorrow, but we do our best and we thank our sponsors for the support!!And moving forward, we have another veterans camp in 2 weeks at Christian Berets in Miwuk Village. I am looking forward to the opportunities as we will meet and work with new contacts as we build a team to battle PTSD and to encourage our military families.This thing called PTSD has infiltrated our country like a plague and it is here and the results, well, are not acceptable! Last week I met with 2 Viet Nam veterans and we discussed the mission. I told them about our simple plan, peer to peer with activities and also that our help and our focus was the love of Christ. We cannot discount or sugarcoat the fact that we need help from the Lord Almighty.Breakfast with some incredible families is coming up; I am encouraged…..Best, EdPsalm 55:22
8/31 Care Packages: we have slowed a bit, but now we have 4 new names of US troops stationed in Kandahar and our 3 Army chaplains deployed who are each with large numbers of soldiers!!2 Veterans First of Riverbank is a new group that offers services for veterans, Bible Studies and a place to assemble care packages. We are working with US Marine Duke Cooper and looking forward to new veteran contacts.3 Task Force Hope: with 2 veteran camps in August we will be busy busy! The 1st camp is for veterans and their families and this year 2 of our combat veterans along with US Marine Tommy 365 are running this camp!!The 2nd camp in August will be a men’s camp in Miwuk Village with Christian Berets. The staff at Christian Berets have been working closely with us on this endeavor and we are looking forward to this location being a base for our program!!4 More Task Force Hope: the same 2 combat veterans that are running the family camp are also counseling with 2 veterans as we speak. As program director for the mission, this is encouraging info just knowing that our guys who were struggling themselves are doing well enough to help other veterans!!5 The Mission: continue the care packs as long as we are able and to meet the veterans where they are and do what we can to help.6 Follow Through: is key to moving forward and making a difference. We are in definite need of either a better tow vehicle for the Operation Creekside trailer or an economy vehicle like the Transit Connect XLT that gets 30 mpg! Care packs and veteran services come first, so we may be looking for help to continue the mission, effectively serving our troops deployed and our veterans here at home.7 Today: my son and I shipped out 5 care packs today in Riverbank, Ca. The clerk was a US Navy Viet Nam Veteran and he was more than happy to assist. I am encouraged!Best, EdPsalm 55:22
7/29We are still serving our troops deployed and our veterans in many ways!! In about 2 weeks our annual family veterans camp will take place in Groveland and shortly after that a big veterans camp with Christian Berets in MiWuk Village, Aug 25 thru 28.We are hoping that the US Marine, Andrew Jackson, who is in the same care home as my Mom, will be able to join us as I was finally able to ask his daughter for permission!!We are also actively working with other groups that are truly helping veterans. Lately we have been working with Veterans First in Riverbank, gearing up for big care package drives. We also attend Bible Study there with US Marine Duke Cooper and veterans from the area!!Today I feel really blessed as my Ford F-150 broke down in Sonora- it overheated and luckily I was near Sonora Vets Helping Vets. After it cooled down I drove it up the road to Auto Tech & Tires and the owner, Hal Prock, another US Marine took it right into his shop and handed me the keys to his beautiful Dodge 4 x 4….So my son and I are down here at Sonora Vets Helping Vets with Russ and sitting in the veterans lounge waiting for the truck to be repaired. It is who you know I guess….Last night we were up at camp with Christian Berets and we were watching a couple counselors playing ping pong- a young man staggered, then slumped over an started to fall to the floor. I was able to jump from my chair, rush over and catch him before he hit the floor. He had had a seizure and within seconds a camp nurse was there and I watched two nurses lovingly take care of this young man!!!Pardon me for bringing in some spiritual talk, but the other day my US Marine in the care home said, “I am so glad to be in God’s loving arms.” Interesting because his story is a troubled one and he is in a care home maybe way too young….but I was thinking about Andrew Jackson’s words as I was holding that 21 year old man in my arms and how God will use anyone to do His work. I looked up at my son across the room and I whispered, “pray”, and he nodded his head….So we are still working and we are teamed up with some incredible veterans- it is an honor to know them all…Best, EdPsalm 55:22 Cast your cares upon the Lord…
I haven’t been grinding out the emails much lately, but we have been so busy with the ministry!!
Our US Navy veteran Andy Mandeson has been active since he got the vehicle we helped him acquire and is in line for a maintenance position at Christian Berets, our next big camp location in Miwuk Village!
I have been up there volunteering, meeting the staff and campers and Andy worked there for 5 days hoping to secure the job.
Another vehicle we gave to a combat vet had issues with the DMV paperwork and we handled that yesterday.
We are packing on Tuesday- have to pick up the pace too! I’ll be 56 that day and all I want is a steady supply of care packs and also to see real
help for my veterans with PTSD.
We have 2 camps in August and we are working on building a relationship with first responders too as they serve in difficult circumstances also.
Today I was blessed beyond measure to spend almost an hour with US Marine Andrew Jackson in his room at the care home. We talked about life, about choices and about God. He said to me, “I am so glad that God has me in His loving arms.”
I had to go right into prayer after that and we held hands and prayed. We prayed about the issues we had discussed- difficulties with family members, for healing and for hope in Christ and for the staff at the care home.
So we are still busy and still on mission- just letting some of our people know! Thank you all for the support- it means everything!!
We are still consistently sending out the care packs- shipped 12 out today thanks to a church in Angels Camp! We need more opportunities to share the mission, share the blessings and to ultimately share encouragement to all we contact!!
We have two US Army Chaplains deployed right now, each with most likely 1000 soldiers and also most likely with limited resources as stated by Chaplain #1. We also have another US Army contact in Kandahar who is with many service members from all branches..
We are a bit off pace for 2016, but that is ok- again we need more opportunities to share the mission; businesses or churches hosting a care pack event. This “freight train” of hope cannot run on kindling!!
We are in close contact with the veterans of Task Force Hope. We, along with a few awesome supporters have helped 5 veterans purchase vehicles in 2016, helped keep a few in their homes and have repaired a few vehicles for veteran that seemed to have zero options!
We may not do as many email updates and try to better utilize Facebook and the website-operationcreekside.org and something that has always worked well for me, the US Mail!! I also like to talk with people in person, go figure…..
We are very active and we are serving our troops and veterans as needs arise. Please contact me via phone or text for more info- 925 260 5423. We still need camp sponsors and of course help with the care packages to troops deployed.
I do not like this HP, but it’s most likely me that is the problem!!!
Either way, our veterans are worthy…
Psalm 55:22, Romans 15:13, Jeremiah 17:14
US Troops #1 God Bless America
Po Box 1758
Discovery Bay, CA 94505
As we gear up for two veteran camps in August and I plan my own mission to work the Warrior Getaway in North East Maryland in September, I want to share with you some notes…..
I spent an hour and a half with a US Navy veteran today after a 2 hour collaborative meeting in Jackson Ca, just talking about our veteran camps, our approach and our mission. This Navy veteran works for a bay area vet center and he sees and counsels veterans every day. I was talking with him about getting veterans like himself, veterans that help veterans, to come to camp more as a “mentor” than a “camper” to help the other vets! At the end of our conversation he flat out told me, “I think I need a camp!”
Our “big picture” camp focus is going to be on the Christian Berets camp for up to 40 veteran campers at their beautiful 40 plus acre site in Miwuk Village Ca. Christian Berets has taken on the host and sponsor role for Task Force Hope and this gives me the freedom to just do program and spend time with the veterans and also helps me to assist the veterans like Marines Andrew and Del who really run the camps!!
PTSD is a terrible problem for our returning veterans and we have found a simple and effective approach for the battle= peer to peer with activities.
I am not saying there is a simple solution, just that our approach is simple!
So, if you’re on my regular email list, be aware that I will share the Christian Berets info as they will be doing the fund raising and collecting for this camp. We are looking for 5 major sponsors that we will honor with their info on our shirts and banners. We do need sponsors on all levels as we have things to buy like fuel cards, camp expenses, care pack items, etc.
My contact at Christian Berets is Rochelle Van Horn and she is the Exec Director. I am more excited than usual because we are building a team for a great veteran camp(s) that will enable us to ultimately serve more veterans in need….
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope
PS. If you owe me a boatload of EverGood Sausage you know who you are Ed!!
In Partnership with Christian Berets Inc.
US Troops #1 God Bless America
Po Box 1758
Discovery Bay, CA 94505