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2018

December 2018

12/29

here’s what drives me and gives the greatest joy…….

1 The care packs getting delivered both to deployed troops and veterans stateside. We have had some great messages back form this last haul of holiday care packs!!

2 The continued support of our donors and sponsors- it makes a huge difference to not have to be so focused on fundraising!

3 Our ministry partners that work with us for the same goals to help veterans- huge support like Operation Safety 91

There’s more, but I want to share about a Christmas Card received today- you all may know that the 22 veterans taking their own lives daily is something huge on my heart. The card today came from an Army Chaplain’s father, and you might guess why I know him- his son took his own life in Jan of 2013.

The card was very nice and included the family’s year of events. The grand kids, Josh’s girls are in college now, and doing well. His twin brother is still in the Army and Commander of his unit. Dad and Mom still drive up to Killeen once a month to visit their son’s grave. My son and I have been there one time with them. I love these people- the families of the 22. Something you don’t sign up for, a club you don’t want to be in. If soldier suicide stopped today, and that is the goal, these folks would still be hurting….

They need support, we need to respond on all fronts. There is so much to do and I am still encouraged- God heals, God helps, God gives hope.

Best, Ed

Psalm 55:22

12/25

Airborne Squadron’s cup runneth over…

Greetings on Christmas Day, to read this whole letter, see Brentwood Press @ ThePress.Net Jan 7, 2011, page 16a….

In a letter written by US Army Chaplain Corey Arnold back in Dec 2010 Corey talks about hope and especially about the faithfulness of God. He quotes Mother Teresa and Dr Seuss, and I encourage you to read the letter! What strikes me the most is just where he was when this is written! You can also look up FOB Bostick for more info, but I gather it’s a nasty place on this earth!!

So Mother Teresa said, “it is Christmas every time you let God love others through you…yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand.” The chaplain says, “please do continue to pray for us. God is faithful.” He says that our generosity has reminded his soldiers the true foundation of Christmas.

Yesterday on yet another run to Chico, I just asked God for good appointments- the first was pure disappointment, but discouragement is a choice! Next was a good one that was followed by a good one, and good info on how to bless a veteran in real need!! There’s more when God blesses….

A phone call while I’m driving on Hwy 12 from a US Marine near Philadelphia- a 15 minute phone call! He’s alone for the holidays, but helping veterans and doing well. The end of the call blesses me more than i can imagine when he says, “I love you brother and pray for you every day.” He knows me from the Joni and Friends Warrior Getaway I work every September. He knows me as that guy on the dock, helping the veterans in and out of the fishing boats. I am truly blessed…

We are thinking about 2019 and just how to be more effective. Helping that Camp Fire vet I just heard about yesterday is priority #1. I was ready to visit him in Orland yesterday, but he said go home to be with your family. I didn’t argue, but went home to pray and plan! I have plenty of options today, but may do a lot of pray and plan…

Bold is a good plan for 2019. Be bold in helping others, for us veterans are priority, but help people wherever you can! That guy from my area building the yurts up there in Paradise is making an impact! I talked with him a few times and he often mentions the Holy Spirit, so I am encouraged that this guy is “for real”- we will connect at some point, I am sure….

Read the article, love God, love people.

Best, Ed

Psalm 55:22

12/20

tis the season, but real ministry is full time……

It’s Dec 20th, and this morn I received a Facebook message with a photo of a stack of care packs that made it to a US Army Chaplain in Germany!! We have been shipping every day since Wednesday, so all on our list should have care packs by now and we continue to ship- it’s our policy to be consistent!!

This week we also delivered firewood to two veteran households that were out of wood- out usually means no heat!! But the time spent during the delivery is always good! Spent half the day Monday with a veteran with PTS, he and another vet with PTS have been helpful in getting the care packs out!!

I did not make it to Chico this week- busy with the care packs and camp duties, but we continue to support the Camp Fire veterans with the Safeway Gift Cards- there is a veteran with diabetes in a shelter in Chico benefiting greatly by the local VFW leader delivering the gift cards!!

We’re on a run to get all the care packs out and with more goods coming in too, but the holidays are not the best of times for some of our vets, so being available is the plan- I may go over to Victory Village for Christmas. The vets there would be homeless w/o that place!!

May God continue to bless our mission. I’m sure you are all bombarded by year-end giving requests, and we don’t typically grind for money, but know that we are a 24/7 ministry that serves those who serve and have served- we also serve the families of the 22. We are good stewards and 95% of our funds go directly to the mission of serving US troops and veterans. We greatly appreciate our donors and are honored to do the work!

Operation Creekside
PO Box 1758
Discovery Bay, Ca 94505

operationcreekside.org

Operation Creekside – Facebook

Psalm 55:22

12/14

turning misfortune into blessing and then some….

On Wednesday afternoon a blown tire on the Operation Creekside trailer changed my plan for the day that then included a quick trip to Les Schwab in Brentwood, which led to another night in town, which enabled us to get more care packs ready to ship…..

then on Thursday morning we were able to pick up the rest of the care packs at Brentwood Auto Parts NAPA, and run into a man there in the parking lot who prayed right there for our mission and I needed that!! Off to Discovery Bay Post Office for a run of about 75 more care packs in route to troops deployed, and then Soulsbyville on the way home for another 17 shipped with help from Aaron at Vets Helping Vets in Sonora…

I am going to mail a bunch more this morning and then get some camp work done- I still have snow on the ground here and I need to do more winter prep!!

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged!!

12/12

Brentwood Auto Parts NAPA/VFW Post #10789 Holiday Care Pack Event

As crazy as this event is, I think we did ok with 270 care packs done! Joseph, Santina, and I were able to ship out 62 today, with a bunch more ready to go!! We honored our local veterans including a Bataan POW and an Iwo Jima Marine, and had a great time in fellowship with patriots and veterans. Task Force Hope’s Dennis Sweeney sang God Family Country and 365 Days and Jungle Jim did a great job again as MC.

I was impressed with the amount of kids we had at this event and those Sea Scouts worked all night long- we had great help loading the care packs and cleaning up! Thanks again to Steve Todd and the VFW for the use of the building.

It’s already Wednesday and these care packs need to get out- another big load to the Discovery Bay Post Office in the morning, then back to the hills for me- I will ship out the rest from the Soulsbyville Post Office.

Next week we will do some Camp Fire Veterans Relief follow up and see how our veterans are doing. There’s a man from Twain Harte up there building Yurts and he has made quite the impact already. Hopefully I can see his operation first hand.

Next week we will look again at our “wish list” for veterans in need. It doesn’t take much to help. We are careful with our giving, but we are also compassionate….

Best, Ed

12/9

The mail is pretty effective ministry

We have some care packs to go out tomorrow just ahead of the “big pack” with Brentwood Auto Parts NAPA and VFW Post #10789, and we have letters also going out to a WW2, a Korea war, and a Viet Nam veteran too- probably a first, but you all know how worthy our veterans are!!

Brentwood Auto Part 6th Annual Holiday Pack- if you remember last year, I got plowed into by another driver on the day of the pack, spent 5 hours in the ER, then got a ride directly to the pack! This is the not to miss event!! If you are in the area, we start promptly at 6 pm and pack until it’s all boxed up. Tuesday Dec 11.

On Wed Dec 12 we will be still in Brentwood processing the care packs and also shipping daily until they are all shipped. If you are in the Brentwood area and would like to help, please let me know at the pack on Tuesday night!

Doing some Liberty High School math- lets’ say we do 300 care packs, that’s $5,220 in postage. If you can help please come to the pack or drop in to Brentwood Auto Parts NAPA and see Linda- she will gladly accept checks for postage!!

Thanks again to Brentwood Auto Parts NAPA and VFW Post #10789 for making this event happen every year!!

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged!

12/4

6th Annual Holiday Pack with Brentwood Auto Parts at the Veterans Hall

I may have neglected to mention much about the big annual pack coming up Tuesday Dec 11 at the Veterans Hall and I apologize, but we have been busy. I am the only chaplain/outreach guy we have and the Camp Fire has added an incredible mission opportunity. We have decided to be of long term service to these veterans at the prompting of a Viet Nam veteran and it has taken up some time, but our care pack team is ready and the Brentwood Auto Parts Team knows how this event works!

Tuesday Dec 11 we will start promptly at 6 pm- many of us will be there early setting up. Come with a mind to work and be patient. We will need box builders, sorters, helpers, and writers to do customs forms accurately.

We are looking forward to seeing you all at the event! Dennis Sweeney will there to sing a couple of songs that he wrote- if you’re a patriot, you will be encouraged!!

God Bless America!!

Best, Ed

12/2

and there’s more work to do….

We have distributed a lot of gift cards, care packs and goods to the Camp Fire veterans. The groups up there continue to help the veterans displaced- many lost homes and some still cannot get back into the area..

If you saw my list, we’ve checked off 1 item of 6- the vehicle for James, a US Navy veteran in Stockton. We have a transmission repair for Michael who lost everything in the Camp Fire. We have Dennis who also lost everything in the Camp Fire and needs a vehicle, Bradley we have greatly encouraged with gift cards and a care pack mailed, Brandon whose fiancee lost her dad this week still needs some help with the Calif DMV cost to register his vehicle, and we can always use the Safeway gift cards for food and fuel!!

I have another story and it’s not about me thankfully: one of our Task Force Hope veterans, US Marine Andrew Nard, is set to finish the remaining distance of BJ Cotton’s Appalachian Trail hike in March. This is amazing on so many levels and I know enough about Andrew’s story to realize this is “huge”, a favorite work of this Marine by the way!!

It’s also part of BJ’s plan to not only honor and pray for the families of the 22 veterans that take their own lives daily in this country as a direct result of post traumatic stress, but also to share hope to the veterans that struggle! I can quote Andrew from a recent conversation, “BJ is hiking for the ones we have lost, I am hiking for the ones that we have saved.” We don’t really know the extent of Operation Creekside’s or Task Force Hope’s impact, but we know that we have helped some veterans tremendously! Some of these things mentioned above may not seem to be a big deal, but I know for a fact that a $130 battery was a big deal for a veteran last week.

We have already purchased some hiking gear for Andrew and we will support this endeavor wholeheartedly and to the best of our ability. Please consider helping us put this together- this may be the start of veterans out on the trail, the Appalachian, the Pacific Coast or even the Continental Divide…..

Please see our website- we have 3 ways to help our dedicated mission; care packs, veteran support, or Camp Fire Veteran Relief. You all know we are 501(c)3. EIN 27-4120860

Operation Creekside
PO Box 1758
Discovery Bay, Ca 94505

Please specify on check one of the above or Andrew’s AT Hike

Best, Ed

Romans 12:12

12/1

Am I giving enough? Do I see what God puts in front of me?

With the snow gently falling in Mi Wuk Village Calif, it’s a great day to ponder, am I giving enough? Am I doing God’s will? Yesterday I drove down to Oakdale and wrote a check for a car for a veteran in need. His story sold me- wife, kids, school, work, and his patience sealed the deal. He picks up the car tomorrow and starts a new job on Monday!!

And as I read the Bible daily, not only does it help me with what’s in front of me and my mission work, but it helps me to reflect on things from the past….I’m thinking about something from years ago and how God directed me even then;

My family has had a house in Groveland for years and I remember one time that I absolutely forgot about the water bill and if I didn’t pay that day, the water would be shut off! So, I drove to Groveland and found the GCSD Office, walked into the small lobby and a young woman was at the counter pleading with the receptionist to not turn off her water. This young woman had a toddler with her who was not so patiently standing behind mom. Pretty soon he started for the door and I stepped back and held it shut, seeing how Mom was unaware due to her distress. The toddler thought this was a game and I smiled, but still did not let him escape!!

It seems they came to some understanding and some grace for the young lady and she grabbed her toddler and left. i walked up to the counter and paid my bill, then reached into my pocket and gave the lady a $20 bill. She said, “what is this for?” And I said, “please put this toward her bill, it’s the least I can do.” She said, “you’re going to make me cry.” I said, “don’t, you were very compassionate with her, an again, it’s the least I can do.”

This was so many years ago, but I do remember that I had $33 in my pocket. I do remember thinking about how much gas was in my tank before I handed over the $20. My point is maybe I should have gave $33? Is my faith stronger today? Will I ever be like the woman in the Bible that gave all she had? Now she had tremendous faith!!

I reflect because I want to do better. I reflect because I want to boast in the Lord. That vehicle purchase yesterday had nothing to do with me- it was God’s will because He knew this worthy veteran was starting a job on Monday. He knew who was doing the blessing- He was!!

Still Encouraged, Ed

Psalm 55:22

November 2018

11/28

Lord help us, there is so much to do!!

We have a lot in front of us and more mission work than ever! Last week a battery for a veteran’s car made a huge difference and today a beautiful flagpole was delivered to Victory Village! Our supporters continue to make it happen!! We don’t do things quarterly, we don’t rely on #Giving Tuesday, we just do the work and God provides!!

Here’s some things we’re working on:

1 Michael: US Army veteran- lost everything in the Camp Fire, spent ten days living in his truck, and now the transmission went out! It’s in a shop in Red Bluff= $2400

2 Dennis: USMC veteran- lost everything in the Camp Fire, needs a reliable family vehicle= ??

3 Bradley: USMC veteran- lost everything in the Camp Fire, also lost everything in the Tubbs fire 13 months ago. Needs encouragement and gift cards.

4 Camp Fire Veterans Relief: needs long term support. A Gridley VFW member is driving to Magalia every day delivering food to veterans there= needs Safeway Gift Cards

5 James: US Navy veteran- needs a vehicle- we have funds for this, negotiating price!!

6 Brandon- US Air Force veteran- 3 combat deployments. Sticker Shock from Calif DMV= $300

As you can see, we need two cars, a transmission and some operating money to be of service to these worthy veterans. I didn’t even know about the battery issue, but that could of been dangerous for a vet suffering from post traumatic stress.

We also usually shop for about ten military families for Christmas too!! Let me know if you are able to help and please share this info!!

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged!!

11/27

Camp Fire Relief, Care Packs, and more….

Just back from another trip to Gridley/Chico area with good results; met up with the local veteran groups in the Lowes parking lot in Chico, checked on two vets we had helped last week, and met some new ones- a 91 year old WW2 vet who spent a week in his truck waiting for Fema assistance, then into a hotel! He told me that he was in the Philippines when the war ended. Also met a young Marine that lost his home and he told me that he lost his home in the Tubbs Fire just 13 months ago also!! Two deployments to the Middle East, two house fires at home, and he’s just 25 years old!!

We have made some good contacts up there and if you haven’t heard, the fire is out. This will be old news in a few weeks unless you are directly involved- every trip I see utility trucks and equipment from all over headed up there! There is a VFW leader in Gridley that drives up to Magalia every day via the back road to get in to deliver groceries to those who did not lose houses- there are no grocery stores left up there.

Our home team in Brentwood continues to assemble care packs for the deployed, tonight packing at Dino’s Deli. I get to do the outreach- it’s easier for me and I can mobilize quickly.

I’m seeing a lot about #Giving Tuesday on Facebook and it’s probably something we should do, but on the other hand if we continue to focus on the mission, care packs, and veteran support, I think our work shows that we may be worth more than one day giving or constantly hounding folks for money! We do ask once in a while, but we’d rather just share the mission and do the work…

Still Encouraged, Ed

Psalm 55:22

11/23

Day One | Forgiveness

Forgiveness: this is the lesson I need and Matthew West emphasizes with my favorite Scripture in remembrance of my Mom- Ephesians 4:32.

I had it on the wall at the Care Home- Ephesians 4:32, and I would tell mom to be kind. It was our banter, because she was bossy!!

But forgiveness is as good as kindness- my lesson to me for the day!!

Best, Ed

From populationwe.com

Watch this below as a video!

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32 NIV

It’s the hardest thing to give away
The last thing on your mind today
And it always goes to those who don’t deserve

I was inspired to write those words by Renee’s story. She had to learn how to forgive a drunk driver named Eric, who was responsible for taking the life of her beloved daughter. But you know what? She did it – she did the impossible. Not in her own strength, but with the help of a forgiving God. She reached out to that young man and his life is now forever changed. He came to a personal relationship with Christ all because of the forgiveness he received from her. Today, they travel around the country speaking about the dangers of drunk driving and the power of forgiveness.

Not long ago, I stood inside the walls of a maximum security prison and performed their song, “Forgiveness” for about two hundred inmates. Renee was standing there with me, and so was that young man, Eric, who now visits that prison, as a free man to show everyone what true freedom looks like.

I shed some tears that day. It was a day I will never forget, because it was behind those bars that I saw the clearest picture I’ve ever seen of how the prisoner in all of us can be set free by the power of one word, forgiveness. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.” Maybe you’ve got some forgiving to do today. Maybe you need to ask someone for forgiveness. Maybe you just need a little help learning how to forgive yourself. I encourage you to spend some time today thinking and praying about that word-forgiveness. Ask God to show you the next steps he wants you to take in order to be free once and for all.

11/22

Happy Thanksgiving Eve and count your blessings….

I am back at our mountain HQ in Sierra Village and with a storm coming in- possible snow tomorrow. I really want to be in the Chico/Gridley area or with my vets over at Victory Village, but even a civilian like me knows about responsibility! We are actively working with the veteran groups up there and will go up with some goods and a bunch of gift cards early next week. Both the Viet Nam Veterans of America and the Veterans of Foreign Wars have been receptive to our support and next week they will help us set up at a good location.

Thinking about the folks in shelters, in mobile homes/trailers on fairgrounds in the area, or wherever they may be, and hoping and praying that they can be thankful for something, at least for their very lives…..

Update: Thanksgiving Day- well, I did not get any snow, just rain and hail, so I will be able to go have Thanksgiving dinner with the veterans of Victory Village in Jackson!! I am thankful to be able to do mission work, big or small, and wherever the Lord leads- be thankful today whether you’re at home with family, deployed protecting our freedom, serving others that just need a good meal, or even in prayer for all of the above….

Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage;wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

Best and Thankful, Ed

Psalm 55:22

11/19

Stand In The Gap Services

A Viet Nam Veteran inspired me to look at this Camp Fire situation like, “how do we effectively and efficiently help these veterans and be in the help mode for the long haul?? It starts with making contacts. And with the support of two veteran groups from here in Sonora, we have connected well with the veteran groups in Butte County and made some direct contact with veterans that lost everything!

Yesterday was a good ministry day as we delivered Safeway gift cards to the local VFW president, a VVA officer, and another VFW member in Gridley. We made contact with two veterans that lost their homes in Paradise and gave them items they needed- new sleeping bags, pillows, care packs, and gift cards,

I am thinking about my next trip and how to be effective, and all the variables that go with- rain coming, Thanksgiving on Thursday, and I have to wonder- do all the FEMA , Red Cross, and Insurance folks go home?? Some are navigating all this fairly well and for many it’s a daily struggle. I may just spend Thanksgiving up there??

I’m thinking again about how to be in it for the long haul and I think spending some time up there will show me opportunities. I can mail the care packs from anywhere, and that beautiful Operation Creekside Trailer we have actually helps the veterans find us when we are on mission…

Stand In The Gap Services

Thank you Viet Nam Veterans Post #391, Sonora Vets Helping Vets

Thank you all for helping us to be of service.

Best, Ed

Romans 12:12

11/17

Boots on the ground, it’s an honor to serve veterans in need

The smoke is thick up there in Chico. I came home to restock some goods and to pick up 40 Safeway Gift cards thanks to the Viet Nam Veterans Post #391 in Sonora! We have made some good veteran group contacts and will assist as well as we can!

The Operation Creekside trailer is in Gridley for now, a half hour from Chico. FEMA and the Red Cross have taken over the Sears building at the mall in Chico.

I am going back up in the morning to meet up with the veteran groups, Socks and gift cards are the most requested. I am focused on meeting with veterans that have lost homes or are evacuees to see how we can help more specifically.

Help wherever you can. In a facebook post his morn I said, “whether you’re at the fairgrounds in Gridley, a church parking lot in Chico, or warm and cozy in your own home, pray about how you can most effectively help these folks.”

A Viet Nam veteran from up here in Sonora told me that we need to be prepared to help and to help for the long haul! If you’re not affected in about two weeks this will be “old news”, but for those who have lost everything, it’s a long road…..

Best, Ed

Operation Creekside
PO Box 1758
Discovery Bay, Ca 94505

Camp Fire Veteran Relief

11/15

Camp Fire Relief Day 1, Controlled Chaos and Business as Usual…..

There’s a lot of folks wearing N-95 masks and I have 12 cases of them with me- it’s gloomy up here! You’ve got people that have lost everything, people trying to help, and others it’s business as usual….

We have set up right next to a Mobile Vet Center- there are at least 3 of them up here and they are helping veterans with services and also handing out Operation Gratitude Care Packs.

I have lots of food items and made up some care packs today- handed a few out and gave away a couple Wal Mart Gift cards.

What’s going to work best up here is Gift cards- Safeway cards preferred because they can be used for gas and food. Wal Mart cards are good too and also any of the main Fast Foods are here.

Wal Mart has several items that are good- the $1.98 Cookies, Trail Mix Granola Bars, Peanut Butter Crackers- we probably should stock some bottled water too!

The Operation Creekside Trailer will stay up here for now and I will continue to stock it and reach veterans through the groups here- VFW Post 1555 is here and the 3 Mobile Vet Centers.

If you are in the Sonora area please get gift cards to Aaron at Sonora Vets Helping Vets. We are here thanks to VHV and Viet Nam Veterans Post #391.

Our plan is to help for the long haul, so spending some time here will help to asses the needs- if we can help the veterans like the horse people are helping their folks, then we can make a difference…

Best, Ed

11/11

Paradise, we have to help….

Today we celebrate Veterans Day, a day like Mother’s Day that should be everyday, but our outreach efforts were recognized by Black Oak Casino today, and with great humility I accepted an American Flag from the casino, a business that supports veterans and the communities in the Sonora Ca area..

I want to focus on the most recent northern Calif fire in the town of Paradise where it’s obvious that lives were lost and a town was devastated! We have a veteran service group that is already on scene and we are going up there this week- we are not going to show off, get in the way, or take up a hotel room, we are going to bring specific goods to the Mobile Vet Center at the Butte County Fairgrounds and to assess how we can help…..

A town devastated- America is good at helping and donating, but this may be a god time to look at how we can help long term? I was talking this morn with a Viet Nam veteran here in Sonora who already has people from the fire in his home- America we need to step up and help and help for the long run and even look back at other catastrophic events and see if we can help more!!

A lady told me this morning that her uncle, a veteran, and her aunt are among the unaccounted for in Paradise. I can go as a chaplain and see what I find out. Please join me in prayer for all affected and for emergency personnel on scene.

If you want to help, do so as you see fit. We will focus on the needs according to the Mobile Vet Center in place and do our very best to help…

Best, Ed

October 2018

10/30

Be good stewards for sure, but help more veterans

This week we helped a former US Army Helicopter pilot with a few bills that he just couldn’t pay, and he didn’t really ask, another veteran put us in contact. and it did not take long for me to figure out that this veteran needed some help…..

Today my son Joseph and I went down to Sonora Vets Helping Vets and delivered some firewood so they can sell. The veterans in Sonora are working hard to keep their operation running. If that Thrift Store fails, there’s no money to run the veteran services that they do!

Also we are trying to help a US Navy veteran with a vehicle purchase, I put the word out on Facebook and it’s been a slow go so far- if we helped veterans like we purchased lottery tickets? Or seeing that 2300 folks have seen the approach for this worthy veteran and we’ve raised $363?

You know I just read a book about Joseph in the Bible and it pretty much convicted me that I have no right to complain- Joseph sure didn’t! But I do “press on” like in Phil. 3:14 for the prize….

So I will continue to share the mission. It’s a blessing to help others and I’m still convinced that this group we have chosen to serve; deployed troops, veterans, and families of the 22, are so worthy of the effort….

God Bless America!!

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged

10/24

Twenty eight care packs last night with eleven out this morning

and yesterday four went out to troops in Virginia, a veterans phone bill paid, a gas card hand delivered, lunch with a worthy young veteran, and then the pack- we are always available!!

We have a lot to do still and the big pack with Brentwood Auto Parts coming up too- Dec 11 at the Veterans Hall.

November Care Packs are the 13th and 27th at Dino’s Deli- we always need quality goods and postage= please check out the website at operationcreekside.org and our Facebook Page at Operation Creekside- like and share our mission.

We are helping three veterans right now- all have families

1 James in Stockton- needs a reliable vehicle
2 Brandon in Jackson- fuel cards and other assistance
3 Shawn in Modesto- phone bill that we have paid and help with city and utility bils

You can be specific in your giving by contacting me directly at 925 260 5423 or specify veteran support on your check.

I meet with these veterans and check them out to see if these are real needs. We offer assistance, love and support- that’s our mission!

We are planning the mission for 2019 also- this freight train of hope is still moving forward…….

God Bless America!!

Best, Ed

10/12

there is hope and it’s available to everyone….

Today marks 18 years since the USS Cole attack that killed 17 American sailors. The names are not to be forgotten and prayers for their families will continue. I asked my cleaning guy up here at camp if he remembered. He is a US Navy veteran and yes he did remember. He told me a story about refugee boats and how the Navy rescues the people and then sinks the boats. This Navy cook had to also do patrol and he said that a boat had been cleared and they were ready to sink it when he noticed a panel like a cabinet door- he opened the door and 17 refugees were crammed in there!! 17 lost, 17 saved, two different times and stories, but he shared with me a positive story…..

I think a lot about the 22 veterans that take their own lives daily in this country- there are reports that Congress doesn’t really care about this epidemic or even acknowledge it, but there is hope for our veterans, there is hope for these families, there is hope for America. That hope is in Christ Jesus- it’s too complex of a problem, too many variables to wait for the next treatment, the next drug or procedure. Romans 15:13 is very clear where this hope comes from and how to magnify it by faith…..

As BJ Cotton, the AT Hiker Too Many keeps walking and praying for these families I am amazed at the impact and the outreach of one man. It’s obvious BJ is a believer and his positive and humble impact is not only for the families, but other hikers on the Appalachian Trail, the people he meets, his prayer warriors like me and Pastor Steve Nute and many more- he has walked over 1300 miles, through rough terrain, lots of rain, and at least one rattlesnake, but this man is determined!!

We don’t embrace the 22, it’s an unfortunate number that may be actually higher than that, but we promote awareness, we reach out to veterans through our camps and Task Force Hope on Facebook- we help as many as we can, and we reach out to the families of the 22. These families will always be hurting. 22TooMany’s approach has always been kind and loving and that’s why I am grateful to be their chaplain, there is so much to do……

Still Encouraged, Ed

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope give you all joy and peace as you trust in Him….

10/6

the care packing is easy, the rest takes some effort and patience, but it’s all worth it!!

Good afternoon America! I was thinking today and my co-worker used to say, “did it hurt?” when I said that! But I was thinking today about only mailing out 1 care pack today. It was a “stateside” care pack and to a US Navy Corpsman who served in Viet Nam. The care pack was mailed two days after his birthday and sometimes I wonder about the timing, but either way, it’s God’s timing and not mine!!

We are about to help a veteran in a significant way and I won’t share many details as some things are personal, but the opportunity to make a difference is huge! This veteran of three deployments told me how much he “owed” me and I told him that seeing him do well is all I hope for!

These emails are just reports you know and the best way to let our support know that we are consistent in mission work, always looking for opportunities like the veteran we helped purchase a chain saw so he could make an extra $4 per hour on the job. Sometimes it’s that easy, but the best mission work is when you spend time with the veteran- this is how it works, in person!

We are working on mission plans for 2019 and my Board of Directors has decided to let me pursue acquiring a high roof van, equipping it as a mobile care packing station and wrapping it with the mission all over it- I told my son long ago that without branding or signage we are just two guys in a truck!!

If we are able to acquire and equip the van, building and delivering the one of a kind and custom memorial benches to the families of the 22 veterans that take their own lives daily will become a bigger part of the mission. We have built and delivered 3 of these benches and I can tell you how much it does for the family and all who are involved….

BJ Cotton AT Hiker is still out there on the Appalachian Trail hiking and praying for families of the 22. I have those picture on my fireplace- it’s for real mission work what this US Navy veteran is doing and he is reaching not only the families, but hikers on the trail, and people following on Facebook- see BJ Cotton AT Hiker.

I think about how much this small group is doing and about our partners like 22TooMany, Operation Safety 91, Sonora Vets Helping Vets, the faithful folks that believe in and support our mission, it does bring me to a particular Scripture in the Bible;

When everyone’s focus is on the Lord and everyone’s heart is committed to obeying Him, there will be unity and harmony among the people. Only God can give a people “one heart”. 2 Chron. 30:12.

Psalm 33:12 and 2 Chron 7:14 come to mind about the state of our nation, but we will continue the work.

Still Encouraged, Ed

10/1

the US Postal Service is instrumental to our mission work

Last week we shipped out care packs everyday from the Soulsbyville Ca Post Office. The postmaster asked if this was going to be a regular thing and I said yes. He is ordering extra equipment- shipping cages for the care packs! Back in 2008 and 2010 Joseph and I learned from the master of care packs, Bob Williams in Wesley Chapel Florida. Every day he would haul 4 to 6 of those cages over to the post office across the street!!

I know Catherine in Germany, Britany in Afghanistan, Rebecca in Africa, and a new contact Nathan who is serving with 200 soldiers, will be happy with our consistency! It will never be about the numbers, it’s about that one care pack that gets delivered at the right time…

We consistently support the troops deployed because we know what’s happening here- 22 veterans per day take their own lives in this country. They are not getting the help and services they need! The VA needs to meet the veteran where he or she is- not just in the office! As a grateful civilian and only qualified as a chaplain, working for Operation Creekside and representing 22TooMany as a chaplain have been able to make a difference for our Task Force Hope veterans and for the families of the 22- it’s not rocket science to show human kindness powered by God’s lovingkindness…

As BJ Cotton continues to walk and pray for the families of the 22, I pray every day for the families of the photos I have on my fireplace and for every family that has lost a loved one to suicide. These families will always be hurting. The mission is to come alongside, share that there is hope, like in Romans 15:13. There is hope!

God Bless America and all that keep her free!!

Best, Ed

September 2018

9/23

BJ Cotton AT Hiker and more….

My good friend and brother in Christ, BJ Cotton, trail name Too Many, takes a day off today to visit family- update, he has done half of the Appalachian Trail! He is walking and praying for the families of the 22 veterans that take their own lives daily in this country as a direct result of post traumatic stress….

Every morning I look at the photos of these heroes, male and female, that served our country to come home to struggle with post traumatic stress and life in a civilian world. These photos are mostly of young people that were born while I was in my twenties, young people that are no longer with us…

The families suffer and will always suffer- the level of suffering may depend on the help they receive, prayers, human kindness? I’ve made it a personal mission to visit them and have met about 32 families on our 22TooMany list. It’s good mission work, It’s good information to help do mission work better, to help more people…

I may have mentioned about the mom I met a few weeks ago in Springfield, Mo. She lost her Marine Corps son in 2015 and then her nephew last year, and has another son that she is really concerned about! This one really shook me and it does not deter or distract from the mission, but it’s a clear message that we, as a nation have to do more…

So, as BJ continues to hike and pray for these families, I urge you to reach out to any veteran that might be struggling- a phone call, a text, a FB message, or maybe a personal visit- God can heal, God can help, he often uses ordinary folks to do His work!!

Still Encouraged, Ed

Psalm 55:22, Jeremiah 33:3

9/23

BJ Cotton AT Hiker and more….

My good friend and brother in Christ, BJ Cotton, trail name Too Many, takes a day off today to visit family- update, he has done half of the Appalachian Trail! He is walking and praying for the families of the 22 veterans that take their own lives daily in this country as a direct result of post traumatic stress….

Every morning I look at the photos of these heroes, male and female, that served our country to come home to struggle with post traumatic stress and life in a civilian world. These photos are mostly of young people that were born while I was in my twenties, young people that are no longer with us…

The families suffer and will always suffer- the level of suffering may depend on the help they receive, prayers, human kindness? I’ve made it a personal mission to visit them and have met about 32 families on our 22TooMany list. It’s good mission work, It’s good information to help do mission work better, to help more people…

I may have mentioned about the mom I met a few weeks ago in Springfield, Mo. She lost her Marine Corps son in 2015 and then her nephew last year, and has another son that she is really concerned about! This one really shook me and it does not deter or distract from the mission, but it’s a clear message that we, as a nation have to do more…

So, as BJ continues to hike and pray for these families, I urge you to reach out to any veteran that might be struggling- a phone call, a text, a FB message, or maybe a personal visit- God can heal, God can help, he often uses ordinary folks to do His work!!

Still Encouraged, Ed

Psalm 55:22, Jeremiah 33:3

9/17

September mission shorter than usual and for good reason…….

I always tell my Task Force Hope veterans, “family first”, and you have to practice what you preach! My son was struggling here alone and he asked me to come home. I was at a post office in Duncannon, Pennsylvania, and man, that’s a long ways from home- next stop Peru, Illinois, Cheyenne, Wyoming, then Boomtown, Nevada, and home!!

The mission was good, and only meeting three families was also good- more details later, but the Warrior Getaway with Joni and Friends in North East, Maryland was awesome, including a partial rescue of driving a veteran to Fredricksburg, Virginia in the middle of the night to help evacuate a veteran who had pneumonia!!

We packed up 25 care packs at the event in Maryland and I was able to mail them all out on the way back. The interactions with postal clerks and sometimes other customers too are very encouraging, in fact, my last stop today in Soulsbyville, California was interesting- a Dodger Fan and a lady talking about how terrible America is. I had to tell them that there is hope in America- all the American Flags across the US, and In God We Trust on trucks on the highways, and Bibles in most every hotel room, there is hope!!

I have to report about the mom and dad in Illinois that are my friends. I have met with them 3 times. They lost their only son to post traumatic stress. They talk. I listen. I sometimes share Scripture. Several times before, Mike has texted me and asked where I would stop for the night and he would take care of the room- I was reluctant at first, but he insisted since he has a lot of points. This trip I only paid for three nights on the road, as all the other days besides when I was in Maryland.Mike checked in with me daily and arranged the room for the night….

I contacted Mike today and told him how grateful I was and very much appreciated him doing that. It takes some effort to help another. He said helping with the mission helped him! I like to contact my 22TooMany families when I am thinking of them and I mailed something to Mike and Renee on the anniversary of their son’s death. It was just a card and some Scripture, but it takes some effort to let people know you care and can make a world of difference……..

Like I told my pastor who is a US Marine, “these are my people and I love them.” Even only seeing three families this time, I was able to a lot of mission work, and got to see the famous AT Hiker too- Mr BJ Cotton, who is making a difference for these families too….

Still Encouraged, Ed

9/8

as the steady rain falls in North East Maryland……

I can’t help but think about the fires in California, but I’m here on mission and have been on mission- God has already provided many opportunities!! Meeting Dave and April Thompson in Rock Springs Wyoming- we only know each other because of the loss of their son Joshua. We are friends. We are family. April and I sat on the bench and talked like old friends. She told me about Josh’s car that they still have- a 2000 Trans Am, and about his guitar that sits in his room. My next stop was Springfield, Mo.- an 800 mile trek from Cheyenne, Wy. for a visit with a mom who lost a son and a nephew to post traumatic stress. This visit actually shook me as it as it should have, and down the road I had to pull over! Across the street was a veterans home in Rolla, Mo. and I pulled in. There were 4 veterans in the courtyard and I walked up and kneeled down and just started conversation- these old guys don’t pull any punches, they are for real. I spent 45 minutes with them and it really picked up my spirits.

I went northeast from there and met with another 22TooMany in Illinois. This is the 3rd time I have visited and we had lunch. This mom and dad lost their only child to post traumatic stress. It was the day before the 6th anniversary. There’s not much to say except that they appreciate love and support. These families are hurting and they will always hurt. Reaching out to them is very important to our mission. It’s not the easiest ministry, but it’s necessary. We heal in community, isolation is dangerous for anyone….

So what has God revealed? Only three families so far on this mission? Am I doing enough? I have learned to try to impact everyone I meet- mailing the care packs out from post offices across the country as I travel is good mission work too!! Yesterday in Peach Bottom, Pa. the postmaster gave me a supply of boxes and also promised a name of a local soldier that is deployed- this is how we operate, 24/7.

I am in North East Maryland this morning and this afternoon twenty or so military families will arrive for 5 days of rest and 5 days with some incredible Joni and Friends staff and a bunch of us volunteers. We all pay to do this work and it is a labor of love, it truly is. But for me and for my veterans of Task Force Hope, this is good training and good information and good experience to better help veterans.

This is just a report, stay tuned, let’s see what God does…upon arrival here yesterday I told a Viet Nam veteran about how I had to make that stop in Missouri and he told me that it was God taking over and putting those veterans in front of me for my own good…..

Still Encouraged, Ed

Psalm 46:10

9/1

Day 2 Sept Mission Trip- the 22TooMany Families

My GPS took me over 9624′ Sonora Pass, and then through the middle of Nevada! A stop at the Tonopah Post Office confirmed that direction as the postal workers were wearing t shirts that said “prayers for Sgt Duane Downing”. Basically, I wanted in on that prayer- Sgt Downing was hit by a car in May and is now in rehab in Las Vegas.

Today was an awesome Day 2: a stop at the Grantsville Utah post office to mail 3 care packs; two for deployed troops and one to a Viet Nam veteran who lost everything in the Redding Calif fire….then on to Rock Springs, Wyoming and lunch with April Thompson. It’s been 5 years since she lost her son Joshua, and I have visited Dave & April on every trip across. Today we sat on Joshua’s Memorial Bench and talked like old friends until Dave woke up- he is working the graveyard shift…. I truly love this family!

Made it almost across Wyoming today and am in Cheyenne, Wy. I contacted a family in Illinois that we know and the dad insisted on getting me a room here- wow, I really don’t know what to say, but I can thank him in person in a couple days!! Traveling alone has huge mission benefit, as I can divert wherever I need to- like going to Springfield Missouri tomorrow, that’s an 800 mile trek, and then 400 the next day to Illinois- it’s hard to average 600 miles a day and stop and meet people, but this mission is for real!!

After Illinois I will have 3 days to get to North East Maryland and then 6 days of work with Joni and Friends at the Warrior Getaway. This is the “A Team” of mission work and I am so blessed to be working my 5th consecutive event with them!!

God gives us so many opportunities. I second guess myself every year when I take off, but then he puts people in my path that I absolutely need to meet!! My awesome son Joseph and my understanding boss Jeff are supporting this mission from home, and I appreciate that tremendously!!

If you’re praying for me, it’s day 2 and my old knees feel like I’m on the Appalachian Trail with BJ Cotton the AT Hiker!! But also please pray for every single contact I make on this trip. God calls us to express our faith in community- see 1 Corinthians 11:22.

These families of the 22 are near and dear to my heart. Thank you Keri Jacobs for including me in your mission, thank you BJ Cotton for the love and respect you are showing these families…..the upside of mission work is phenomenal….

Encouraged, Ed

August 2018

8/26

the kindness of a stranger….

The kindness of a stranger was the Facebook post from a dad who lost his son to post traumatic stress just days after our visit last year, and yes, the post was about me, but the focus is on human kindness- we can all do it. This man and I had nothing in common besides being left-handed, but we spent hours talking like old friends, mostly him talking…..

But that is what this mission is all about- meeting people where they are at! With our mission they don’t have to wait for a TAPS event, (Tragedy Assistance for Program for Survivors), which are awesome by the way, and other programs that really help. For us at Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope, our team continues to do the care packs while I travel in September and I ship the care packs also from post offices across the US, but the focus again is on these families, and going by myself as a chaplain I can literally divert hundreds of miles to meet a mom or a family member that needs a listening ear..

Last year a Viet Nam veteran told me how he survived Viet Nam, but then years and years later could not save his son from post traumatic stress. A mom in Ohio talked for hours about her son and how much she missed him. A mom in New Mexico told me where her son was buried and I let her know about a soldier also buried there- she now visits both grave sites and is connected with the other soldier’s family.

Our mission has value to these families. Our mission is for real. We don’t fund raise to pad our travel budget. We fund raise to do this vital mission in person – a care pack in the mail is really cool, but a personal visit is much better!!

Still Encouraged, Ed

Help us if you are able- Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope/22TooMany

8/23

It is well with my soul…..

The other day I posted that I was 12 years sober and I received many congratulations. Being sober enables me to do mission work, but one of the responses on that post was interesting; 12 years wow! I’m on day two! This response came from one of our favorite deployed troops! It shows how personal our mission is!!

And as we gear up for the mission in September, meeting families of the 22, it’s hope that we share and it’s love for these families that motivates us! This past weekend my veterans showed me just how important those names are on the rocks out on our Loop Trail and how important the families are that have lost their loved ones…

We continue to send out the care packs and this is something we can do across the country. The US Mail is consistent as Holiday Inn Express- things you find out on the road, but again, meeting these families is the focus, then serving at a warrior getaway for 6 days, meeting up with BJ Cotton, the AT Hiker, and then meeting more families on the way back- consistent, focused, dedicated ministry!

Still Encouraged, Ed

Psalm 55:22

8/19

Task Force Hope- it’s hard to describe the awesomeness of this camp……..

Is there a better word than intense for the level of love and compassion experienced at this “camp” for veterans by veterans? We had some veteran “camp guys” like US Marine Dennis Sweeney and myself, some 3 timers, a 4 timer, and a couple 1st timers, but this small group of veterans had an awesome camp!!

Several of our veterans at this camp said it was their best one and that really encourages me as I plot and plan our mission as we move forward. We did this camp without two of our main guys as they had important family things to do- family first is our creed, but with a small camp you can achieve real breakthroughs and experience one on one and private conversation with each other- we are not a clinical group, but peer to peer!!

Picture this, and if I get punched later it’s worth it, but I tell my vets and even my staff at camp to not get caught up in routine- I took Dennis Sweeney out to see the cluster of rocks that 22TooMany’s Keri Jacobs had placed on a knoll here on our loop trail back in July. These rocks have the names of military members that lost the battle with post traumatic stress and took their own lives- 263 names, 263 families that are hurting, and this is just what is in our 22TooMany database.

I have been out there with Keri, I have been out their by myself, I have been out their with my son, but it’s hard to describe the feeling when a US Marine standing next to you cries real tears when he sees the names. It was a photo op that I didn’t take, it was a reality check for me as it should be because I know 30 of these families. I have met them in person, I have heard their stories, they are forever in my heart…

A lesson learned for me about routine. There is no routine in mission work. There is no time clock. The upside of what God lets me do is phenomenal, the downside is zip! I can’t tell you how well these men treat me and they are even kind to my son, but again, it’s amazing at what God has put in front of me- my troubles are nothing when I focus on my veterans. One veteran here said, “we really are your veterans aren’t we?” And I smiled.

Dennis Sweeney, my “Singing Marine”, led us in worship and song this morning- two songs that were extremely impactful and a lesson in the book of Job. With guys leaving early for commitments we were down to seven of us, but this morning’s “church” was amazing, downright amazing, and it is well with my soul tonight……

Best and Still Encouraged, Ed

Task Force Hope/Operation Creekside/22TooMany/Christian Berets

Psalm 46:10

8/13

Our AT Hiker BJ Cotton has passed the 600 mile mark on the Appalachian Trail and is now hiking and praying for the family of Sgt Sean Duran. His comrades called him “Preacher” because he prayed before every mission; sadly though, he lost the battle with post traumatic stress and took his own life!!

Tomorrow I have to make a run to Jackson- there’s a veteran in need. He’s getting the run around on services and I think we can help!

Veterans Camp is Thursday and I expect a small group, but again, if we help one veteran we are happy!!

There’s a Viet Nam veteran who lost everything in the Carr Fire. We have sent a care pack, but we are looking for other ways to help. His Army buddy is Pastor Steve Nute from Maine- we network pretty well!!

The annual cross country trek to work at a warrior getaway in Maryland is fast approaching, and we are lined up to meet with families of the 22 on the way and the way back- always on mission!

We could use help with all of the above! At the warrior getaway with Joni and Friends I have two important jobs; I work the docks helping the warriors get in and out of the fishing boats and I run a care pack event with the volunteers…..

Please help the mission if you are able:

Operation Creekside
PO Box 1758
Discovery Bay, Ca. 94505

Specify:

General Funds- Care Packs

Veteran Support

BJ Cotton AT Hiker- $22 or more to receive a Too Many T Shirt, need size

Sept Mission- fuel, hotels, rental car

Also, please share the mission- we are on Facebook, Operation Creekside, Task Force Hope, 22TooMany, BJ Cotton AT Hiker

8/6

US Navy veteran BJ Cotton, better known as “Too Many” the Appalachian Trail Hiker, has crossed the 500 mile mark of 2189 miles, and is now hiking and praying for the family of Sgt Mateo Donaldson who took his own life as a direct result of post traumatic stress! Mateo served the US Army for 14 years and leaves behind a wife and three daughters.

For the families of the 22 veterans that take their own lives daily in this country this is their new reality- survivors of military suicide. What BJ is doing is honoring these families, letting them know that someone cares, America cares, and raising awareness and on a national level!

As we gear up for Task Force Hope veterans camp, I can share with you that I know of two veterans that need this camp. From other camp experiences I also know that camp is good for al of us that attend, even me the grateful civilian!!

The care packs continue to go out and I am prepping for my annual trek across the US and back as the 22TooMany Chaplain. These families are hurting. They need that personal assurance that someone else cares….

Best, Ed

Contact me to help our mission and thank you to those that continue to help us do God’s work!!

July 2018

7/29

Aug 1- BJ Cotton, the AT Hiker “Too Many”, is back on the Appalachian Trail, hiking and praying for 22 families that have lost military loved ones to post traumatic stress related suicide. What started out as a mission to raise funds for Operation Creekside, and he has, is now more clearly focused on these families and awareness for us all!! Non Profits and missions do well when they team up and Operation Creekside, 22TooMany, and Task Force Hope are teamed up!

Aug 11- Softball Tournament for wounded veterans. Task Force Hope’s Del Velarde is deep in the softball world with his girls, most likely on a field in Stockton already this morning, but we will travel to Turlock Aug 11, 12 to support!! Remember Del presented a memorial bench to Brandon Slack’s mom in Montana just a few weeks ago…

Aug 16-19 Task Force Hope’s Veteran Camp is here at Christian Berets in Mi Wuk Village. We are actively seeking veterans to attend camp. We are always in need of sponsors at every level- sponsor the entire camp- call me! Sponsor the Care Pack Event, Sponsor a Veteran, Sponsor and attend our Saturday Lunch??? Call me for details- 925 260 5423

US Marine Dennis Sweeney will be here singing 365 Days, God, Family, Country, and some other songs. The Trail of Life Band with Larry Wood will also be here..

Also we are gearing up for the Sept mission across the US and back, meeting and encouraging some of the 22 families that lose their military loved ones daily. This epidemic is not slowing down and while the VA and many many groups scramble to help, we also need to minister to these families…

We are old school, mom and pop, and in the trenches with all our mission work- if you can help, here are some ideas;

Sponsor Task Force Hope Veterans Camp

Donate on Facebook or via Pay Pal- our Facebook Page and Website, operationcreekside.org have the info

Send us a check to Operation Creekside PO Box 1758 Discovery Bay Ca 94505

Specify- Care Packs, Veteran Support, Sept Mission, Most Needed

Share the Mission- on Facebook, Tell a Friend, Tell a Veteran about Task Force Hope, also on Facebook

I am still encouraged, our veterans and military families need the encouragement….

Best, Ed

7/21

I have completed Week #5 of 6 weeks of summer camp for special needs campers and this full on camp service at the location we do veterans camps is invaluable mission work- there was a US Navy veteran here this week who has been at our veterans camp, and he did very well!

Keri Jacobs with 22TooMany was out here this week with her daughter Shannon who attended camp and our attentive staff definitely gave Keri a break as she caught up on some business and did some running on our loop trail. Keri also wrote the names of 263 military members on rocks, that we have lost to post traumatic stress and placed them on a knoll near our trail.

The upside of mission work is phenomenal! I hear our AT Hiker, BJ Cotton, trail name Too Many, put in 20 miles today on the Appalachian Trail. He is over 400 miles and now praying for the Dillingham family that lost Justin to post traumatic stress on Aug 17, 2013. It’s not easy or joyful work but when you let a family know that you care, it means the world to them….

My cousin lost her husband just yesterday. He was a Viet Nam veteran and this is someone I have known my entire life. He never talked about the war. God rest his soul. The services are this Thursday- Bill

Task Force Hope Veterans Camp is coming up- Aug 16-19. More info coming soon!!

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged!

7/7

I’m gonna try and tell this mission backwards; topped Sonora Pass before Noon today- almost 10,000 feet, and towing the Operation Creekside trailer! Left Wells Nevada at 4 am after 3 hours rest in the truck- left Florence Montana at about 4:45 pm.

The bench delivery to Brandon Slack’s mom was incredible- all three of these deliveries have been incredible, but seeing US Marine and Task Force Hope veteran Del Velarde present this bench to this mom was powerful. And with his family with him, family and friends of Brandon, and the local American Legion Riders and myself…

Yesterday morning I had went down to the Veterans Cemetery in Missoula. It is fairly new and well kept. I could find the grave site easily as I had been there last September. It was peaceful. I was the only one there just like last year. I put my hand on the headstone and prayed. I knew that mom did not know what we were up to….

On the way to Missoula I saw a VFW sign in Maxwell Montana and two veteran sitting outside. I pulled up and said hello- they were very interested in the trailer and I showed them the bench inside. One of them, Russ, a US Army veteran took the photo of Brandon I had and went back to his chair on the porch. He held it for quite some time, just looking at the photo, then he he handed it back to me. (The mission includes meeting and encouraging as many people as we can contact)

From Jackpot Nevada to Missoula was a haul, but seeing the Idaho sun rise with a photo of Brandon K Slack on my dash was pretty amazing. We crossed the Snake River early-too dark to see the Evil Knievel jump ramp from the 70’s that I hear is still there….

Boomtown to Jackpot was pretty routine, traveling on the 4th of July, on mission, it’s what God has prepared me for- I can drive. But a stop in Elko Nevada was in order to pick up the photos of Brandon that Keri with 22TooMany had printed for the mission- I am very old school but it’s amazing what we can do today online or over the phone…..

Boomtown is just a start off point for me- gets me out of California traffic and then I can focus on the mission. I picked up the bench before Noon. Big Al had done a beautiful job again. As busy as he is, these benches are important to him too- this is America!! US Marine Miguel Bomatay helped me load the bench, with his Uncle Roy on hand- it is amazing mission work that we get to do…..

I can’d do 3 paragraphs obviously, but I want to say how much we appreciate the support we get to run this mission, to keep doing the care packs, to help veterans, and to honor the families of the 22 veterans that complete suicide daily in this country. Thank you for the support, it means a lot! I was pulled over by a sheriff last night in a small town in Idaho- I was unknowingly speeding, and he could of wrote me up- he saw the photo of Brandon and he asked what I was up to and I told him- I did not tell him to get out of the ticket. If you are from Calif out of state and towing a trailer, they want to know what you are doing……..

So after the safety lecture and drivers license and registration, he handed me back my stuff, shook my hand, and said I appreciate what you are doing. He shook my hand again and walked away. This is America, I get to drive through small towns and see signs like “We Support Our Troops’, I get to see VFW and American Legion Posts with flags waving proudly- it is all mission work, to encourage each other, God Bless America!

Still Encouraged, Ed

Romans 15:13

7/5

From a US Army veteran and chief security guy at Cactus Pete’s in Jackpot Nevada telling me that his crew will watch over the Operation Creekside trailer with the precious cargo last night, to a beautiful Idaho sunrise with Brandon K Slack’s photo on the dash, to road signs pointing to two Montana signs for towns; Wisdom and Opportunity, oops and two care packs joyfully mailed out from the Roberts Idaho post office…….

Then there’s the two veterans in front of the Maxwell, Montana VFW Post 8292, both were inclined to see the precious cargo, and one of them, Russ, a US Army veteran took the photo of Brandon from me and walked back to his chair and just sat there looking before handed it back- we are here in Missoula! Brandon’s best friend, our very own Del Velarde is close by, with the anticipated delivery of this memorial bench to Brandon’s Mom tomorrow…..

It sometimes doesn’t make any logical sense, but the mission is nationwide and we have to be able to deliver and in person. I know the power of a delivery like this. The local veterans are ready and willing. It says a lot about our mission- a California based non profit serving wherever needed. This is how we encourage people- others first!

Still Encouraged, Ed

Psalm 55:22

7/3

I’m on the road with precious cargo as I told the parking guy at Boomtown in Verdi Nv. He pointed to the front and said, “you can park right here”, when I told him about my cargo. You’ll have to check Facebook in a couple days- Brandon K Slack’s mother has no idea what’s headed her way, a beautiful memorial bench made in honor of her son.

His best friend US Marine Del Velarde and his family are ahead of me and we will meet up in Montana. This is memorial bench # 3 and I can tell you the first two were very well received. My pastor, another US Marine, thanked me once for taking care of “his people”, and you probably know what I said in return, “these are my people.”

There’s so much more going on here than the bench. This morn at my home church in Brentwood, a US Army veteran prayed for this particular mission and in great detail. A local US Marine, Miguel Bumatay, just happened to be on leave from North Carolina, helped me load the bench….

We meet veterans along the way. We mail care packs from any post office we can find. We encourage people to love America! Brandon was born in Virginia, grew up in Santa Cruz, Calif., joined the Marines, then lived in Montana until he took his own life in 2013 as a direct result of post traumatic stress. This is an American problem. It’s nation wide! Check your veterans, check your battle buddies- a phone call or a text…

God Bless America and all who keep her free!!

Best, Ed

Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope/22TooMany

June 2018

6/29

I remember New Years in 1975 as America celebrated 200 years- 1976! I was 15 and put a huge 76 on Mom’s roof that could be seen from the highway….. I’ve always been patriotic!

So this year about 2000 miles of driving for my (week off) from camp, but what duty I get to do in delivering a memorial bench to a mom in Missoula Montana. In memory of Brandon K Slack- it is an honor to say the least…

Last night we had banquet night at camp and a men’s Bible Study group from Modesto came up and one of the guys said he knew me from somewhere. Turns out he was at one of our first veteran camps and I did not recognize him because he was a different person and for the better!

We are still care packing strong and I will have some with me to mail along the way- it’s always interesting to mail the care packs from post offices in other states…

I’m gonna be brief today and make sure I thank all the veterans that have made this country safe since like day one- THANK YOU! And those of you that we do this mission together, thank you for the opportunity to serve with you- I am honored and blessed to know you! For the folks that help us keep running strong- THANK YOU!!

God Bless America!!

Best, Ed

Don’t forget BJ Cotton AT Hiker is on the Appalachian Trail hiking and praying for the families of the 22…

6/23

The Operation Creekside Trailer was on the road this morn at 6 am and by 6:15 one of my Marines called and said, “where ya goin Operation Creekside?” He saw me in Soulsbyville! And by 8 am I was at the Discovery Bay Post Office unloading, processing, hauling in two big loads of care packs- thank you Kurt Byer for postage for 65 plus care packs!!!

By 9 am Papa Ray was already waiting at Harvest Park Bowl and this we set up the trailer right in front for a Military/First Responder Bowling Tournament. We did well today, just sharing the mission and like I say, the upside is phenomenal- while at the PO I forgot to mention we received a battle flown American Flag from a Colonel at a base in Afghanistan !!

But here’s the cool part: I had a really long week up at camp in mi Wuk Village. We are full on into camp season- 6 weeks of camp for special needs! This is also where we host the veteran camps, but man, this old carpenter was tired and could have easily faked and not made the trek….anyway, I think bowling is boring if you’re not bowling, but to the cool part…

A young veteran walked in- he saw the trailer and came in to find me. Vets with PTS do not like crowded places, but this guy and I have a unique bond. A couple years back he saw Sgt Duvi Wolf’s photo on the back of our trailer that led to a 30 minute call- that photo took him right back to that day in Oct of 2009, yes he was there when Duvi was fatally wounded. He knew Duvi and her husband Joshua, who was also deployed…..

Anyway, together we have helped some vets- last winter a local Air Force Vet was struggling. The family had no heat and no presents for the kids. Operation Creekside helped and that family is doing well. Another vet that this young man said he owed more than he could ever pay was almost evicted- we helped there too.

It never gets old. Our vets will always be worthy of our support! US Navy Veteran BJ Cotton is on mile 196 of the Appalachian Trail. Four more miles of prayer for Cpl Toni Elizabeth Corbin’s family. Tomorrow he will be hiking and praying for another family- to follow check out BJ Cotton AT Hiker on Facebook. His trail name is “Too Many”.

The upside is phenomenal- God Bless America!!

Best, Ed

6/16

Joshua Thompson would have been 28 yesterday. His mother posted about bringing flowers to the cemetery instead of having a pizza party- Joshua loved pizza!! I sent Dave and April Thompson a message yesterday, “thinking about you guys all day- love and prayers from California.” April’s response, “thank you, we love you! David loved his package you sent the other day. We are grateful to have you in our lives.”

A random act of kindness- a care package to Dave, a Rock Springs Wyoming Deputy Sheriff, a US Marine, and a dad who has lost a son to PTSD. I met the Thompson’s at their son’s grave in 2015 and we have been friends ever since- I cannot go through Wyoming w/o visiting- I love this mom and dad.

Update: our Appalachian Trail Hiker, BJ Cotton AT Hiker, is about half way through the 2nd 100 lime leg of his 2200 mile journey. This 100 miles is dedicated to the memory of Cpl Toni Elizabeth Corbin and BJ is in prayer for her family as he walks. He has an army of prayer warriors who are with him on this journey. A good friend of mine, and another veteran, pastor, and Patriot Guard Rider, Steve Nute has already met up with BJ twice now as he travels through Maine….

I am getting ready to deliver the memorial bench to Brandon K Slack’s family in Missoula Montana over the 4th of July weekend. I think a lot of driving will be involved, but if you see how much this honors and encourages the families, it is well worth the effort.

A lot of care packs will go out this week too- consistency is vital as our troops deployed need to be encouraged! I am also in the planning stages for September mission- another big part of our mission, visiting the families of the 22. My pastor and US Marine said to me once, “thank you for taking care of my people,” about the families, and I said, “these are my people.”

I am still encouraged. I get strength from those who I minister to. I get strength from the folks that believe in our mission. Any ability that I have to do what I do is a gift from the Lord Himself- He didn’t give me the good looks, ask my vets from Task Force Hope Alabama, it’s kind of a joke, but He gave me a work ethic attitude, to work like Nehemiah- a mind to work!

Best, Ed

Romans 12:12

6/10

I am getting around plenty slow this morn- caught up in the business of getting ready for summer camp that starts tomorrow, and then also looking ahead to veterans camp here in August!! But this is good training and on the 4th of July break, I will be delivering the custom made memorial bench to the family of Brandon K Slack who took his own life as a direct result of PTSD Oct 22 2013. His best freind and US Marine Del Velarde, one of our Task Force Hope veterans, will be there to present!

As I think about and know the power of this delivery, I notice a FB Post this morn about SSG Richard Kellogg born Jun 9, 1974 and lost to PTSD Apr 4, 2010. I read his story- high school sports star, prom king, 17 years of service to this country, police officer…..I visited his grave in Flagstaff, Az at the request of his sister in Ohio. It was 2016 and I was on the way home from an event serving wounded veterans in Maryland. It was a rainy day, my last day on the road, I was tired, and my back hurt. The cemetery was public with no map, but did have a veterans section…..

I searched and searched and was ready to give up. I was walking away and I looked back and saw a blue flower. I remembered that Richard was a police officer and sure enough, that was his grave. I knelt down in the rain and said a prayer. I thought of his family in Ohio and left a 22TooMany bracelet…

It gives me strength to keep doing mission work. You know this six weeks of special needs camp will give me invaluable training and the things I do here help me to serve my veterans better. I am looking forward to my “break” in July- a lot of driving, to Missoula Montana and back, but these families of the 22 are worthy, just as important as the rest of our mission- worthy of love and respect!

God Bless America!!

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged

6/1

the upside is phenomenal, the downside is zip….. name that movie line and I’m thinking about who I could involve in this, and your name came up- it’s inside but not illegal,…

The “upside” of doing mission work is phenomenal, the downside is zip, and I can back it up; US Navy Veteran BJ Cotton started his 2200 mile hike today way up in Maine, in God’s country, and he shot a short video today from a mountain top and talked about expectations and how they were exceeded!!

BJ Cotton has been planning this epic trip for a while and months ago he told me that the benefit or any fundraising would be for us, Operation Creekside, and I know why- way before we actually met in person he knew that we were for real. He calls us the “mom and pop shop’, and we are- a team of about a dozen and some loyal supporters and prayer warriors, but what this has turned into is the “for real” part!!

BJ is walking for the families of the 22 veterans that take their lives daily in this country. He’s walking for them and praying for their families- this inspires others to pray too! We are honored to be a small part, a very small part, because this veteran is doing the walking and the cause is noble, true and for people he will most likely never meet!!

Today I mailed two stateside care packs out, one to Washington state and another to Mississippi with a bunch more ready to go. We have about 75 ready to ship this week to deployed troops also. I ran into a veteran in Sonora today who leaned into the window of my truck on the passenger side and talked for about 20 minutes. I could see the military tattoos on his arms. He was comfortable today, no civilians had set him off and things are good- I love listening to my veterans, I can serve them better if I know how they are doing……

It’s June 1, I can’t do three paragraphs, I am sorry Bill, but remember the upside of mission work is phenomenal! Big Al is building the memorial bench for Brandon K Slack, a US Marine that took his own life in October of 2013. His best friend, US Marine Del Velarde, one of our Task Force Hope leaders, is finally able to go to Missoula Montana to visit the grave site and Brandon’s family…..

I will be delivering the bench on Sat July 7 and then turning right around to get back to Calif. This will be our third bench delivery and I can tell you how powerful this is- the first two we had local veterans go with us and it helps to have that kind of support. But the families are very happy for the effort- I have met over 30 of these families and the number one thing is for their loved ones to be never forgotten.

May God bless America and all who keep her free!!

Best, Ed

May 2018

5/24

I’m just gonna share what we’re up to these days. We have had a run on care packs, ten more packed on Tuesday, and 67 ready to ship- our general fund could use some support; 67 care packs costs $1165 to ship, each one at $17.40 each and the “stateside” care packs ship for $13.65.

I read a story today written by a mom who lost her son to PTSD. It’s fairly common what happens- his 2nd tour was 19 months long. She knew she had lost him on that 2nd tour. He came home and struggled. The VA didn’t help. He swore he would never kill himself. She knows what happened- an anniversary triggered him and he took his life. She wrote about a mysterious Bible that showed up at her house after her son’s death. He was not a believer although she found out later that he went to church the last 6 Sundays of his life. So now she’s not sure but thinks if there is a God, there’s a chance to see her son again….

Imagine people with no hope? This Marine I’m talking about is one of 22 that BJ Cotton will be walking the Appalachian Trail for. On June 1st a US Navy veteran will start on a 2189 mile journey, and then another 11 miles for a total of 2200, in memory of 22 veterans that we have lost directly to post traumatic stress. In reality, that’s a days worth of these terrible losses- the VA says it’s down to 20, but one is too many….

When BJ first told me about this idea, I didn’t know what to think, and he has raised some funds for us, and we have co-hosted two Task Force Hope Veteran camps already this year with help from the Task Force Hope veterans here in California, but this hike has turned into something way more important- honor for these families and awareness. Remember, if we stop soldier suicide today, these families will still be hurting.

A paragraph from a Facebook Post by me from May 19, 2014; As we pray for others we need to tell them that we are praying for them and what we are praying for in their behalf. You never know, your encouragement may be the strength they need!

We have shipped a lot of “stateside” care packs and I’ve heard back from many veterans about the impact of such a random blessing and also have heard back from my Task Force Hope veterans about the timing of the care pack’s arrival…

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged!

5/18

We did a PG&E Care Pack Op with the Colonel and my good friend Eric Boettcher on Wednesday in San Ramon, packing up enough goods for 50 care packs and sharing the mission. Papa Ray went with me, Steve Todd with VFW Post #10789 brought the Colonel and the tables- thank you Steve!! And US Navy Corpsman and Viet Nam Veteran Joey B joined us to help- spending time with these veterans is all I need, the rest is a bonus and mission work!!

This 2nd Annual PG&E Op I thought I was in good shape and prepared to what I do, and I think I can share the mission well and with passion, but yet again, when we showed the video of my son and I delivering Sgt Duvi Wolf’s care package to her grave site in South Dakota, it was emotional- 8 years later and I still can’t talk about Duvi without taking a breath and literally getting myself together….

We had a small group and this is best for mission impact. When the video ended, and I highly recommend anyone who supports our mission to go to our website and view it just to see the level of our dedication, I looked across the room and into the eyes of a Colonel in the US Army- that look of deep respect for a female soldier that died for our freedom, I need say no more about that…

I can’t do 3 paragraphs about this mission that keeps moving forward and now just two weeks away from US Navy Veteran BJ Cotton starting the Appalachian Trail. I know this 60 year old veteran can accomplish this endeavor. He is the AT Hiker and my good friend, but I want to emphasize how non profits and missions work together- BJ is walking 2200 miles in honor and respect of the 22 veterans per day that take their own lives in this country, The goal is to end soldier suicide and for us that mission is Task Force Hope, but these families of the 22 will always be hurting- they need love and support too!!

We have made some really nice jerseys for this endeavor and I’d like to get them distributed quickly- contact me direct if you’d like a shirt!! These shirts show support for this mission and bring awareness to what is happening in this country. We have women’s jerseys sizes small to XL, and men’s sizes med to 2XL.

Please see Facebook for more info- Operation Creekside, and to follow BJ see BJ Cotton AT Hiker,

God Bless America and ll that keep her free!!

Best, Ed

5/15

Tomorrow we have a big care pack op with Col Boettcher and PG&E in San Ramon- a good opportunity to share the mission, pack some goods for the deployed and spend time with my veterans. If it’s only Papa Ray, Steve Todd and the Colonel I am good, the rest is a bonus!!

We have another veteran in the Sonora area who is struggling that I am trying to reach and news from a Modesto area female Army reservist that lost her home to fire recently and is living in a shelter with her two small children in Turlock. Some of these things may seem out of our reach, but we can work with other non profits- no veteran or active duty soldier should ever be homeless!!

US Navy Veteran BJ Cotton is about two weeks away from starting the Appalachian Trail, a 2179 mile trek honoring the families of the 22 veterans per day that take their own lives in this country! It’s for awareness too! Our mission is threefold- support the deployed, help veterans that struggle through Task Force Hope, and minister to the families of the 22…

I’ll admit that I have been busy at camp up in the foothills, but it has created new opportunities for the mission- on Saturday a young man came the annual workday and somehow I just knew he had been in Afghanistan. He was not a soldier, but a civilian contractor whose escort was the 101st Airborne. Within minutes he was sharing testimony. A chaplain listens.

Our mission needs your support. We just want to keep working for US troops and veterans and their families..

Thanks, Ed

Still Encouraged!

5/8

My emails are about 3 paragraphs too long.. So says the US Air Force veteran, and my barber who also says, “does this look like a magic wand?”, while holding up his comb when I sit in the chair and say, “make me look beautiful.” But when in the trenches of mission work and pushing forward and shaping our mission to be as effective as we can possibly be, it takes some time to share just what we are doing……

Tonight our core team packed and prayed for another 12 care packs. We received a new address and US Navy Corpsman Joey not only instructed the 16 year old volunteer on how to care pack, he also led us in closing prayer- when a veteran who has been in harms way prays, it’s for real, and this prayer was for real!!

Next week we have a big pack with PG&E in San Ramon and two other big packs in the works, but I want to talk about the memorial benches we’ve been doing. There are only two of these benches in the US- one in Rock Springs, Wyoming and the other in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Both deliveries not only impacted the families of these fallen heroes, but all who were involved- both deliveries including local veterans in those communities.

There’s a bench in the works as we speak for Brandon K Slack, a US Marine who lost the battle with post traumatic stress in 2013. He was the best friend of one of our Task Force Hope leaders, US Marine Del Velarde. Del also lost his father Jose last year in March and has provided housing for his mom, two brothers and a sister.

There’s another bench tentative for a US Air Force Active Duty airman that lost his battle with post traumatic stress in 2015. His family is in Spokane, Wash and would like a bench for their hero too.

Here’s the last paragraph I promise! Tomorrow marks one year that my dear mother has been gone from this earth. It will not be a difficult day for me because I know she is in heaven. I know I did my very best for her, and she is the one who inspired my patriotism! An Oklahoma cotton picker that had five brothers who served this country and one lost on Okinawa 17 June 1945…..

Best, Ed

Romans 12:12

5/2

The VFW Post #10789 honored one of their own yesterday, George “Poppy” Hodgerney. The flag at the Brentwood Veterans Memorial Building was at half mast, and the members, friends and family gathered to pay their respects. We were not able to attend, but we have fond memories of George helping us with the Brentwood Auto Annual Pack and also going to Santa Rosa with us for fire relief last year. George will be surely missed….

We continue to send out the care packs. I am working in Sierra Village and have a great post office up here in Soulsbyville and also Twain Harte that help me get the care packs out efficiently. Our care pack team assembled 15 last week and I am in the process of addressing and shipping- more will go out today!

We have an event with PG&E coming up, a huge care pack event. It really helps if you know an Army Colonel! The encouragement of the care pack must continue. Troops are still deployed. We lost a 20 year old soldier from Loveland, Colorado yesterday!!

It’s May 2nd. In about 8 weeks US Marine Del Velarde will be headed for Montana in my Operation Creekside truck to meet his best friend’s family to honor his life and sacrifice. Brandon K Slack took his own life as a direct result of PTS, Oct 22, 2013. Brandon’s mom and sister are also Marines, and I believe this will be the first time Del has been to his brother’s grave, I have been there and I asked Del before I went. Brandon is buried in a well kept small cemetery in Montana.

The Challenge: Big Al in Brentwood is building a memorial bench for Brandon K Slack as we speak. Operation Creekside has built and delivered two of these beautiful custom benches so far and with huge positive impact for the families and all who are involved. At every delivery we invite local veterans groups to join us…

The Brandon K Slack Memorial Bench will cost $1250. I plan on delivering it myself just after the 4th of July, meeting up with Del, the family, local vets, and then return immediately to my duties here.

If you or your company can help with this mission, please contact me at 925 260 5423. We greatly appreciate the continued support we receive and always strive to be efficient with our mission and outreach..

Checks to:

Operation Creekside
PO Box 1758
Discovery Bay, Ca. 94505

Memo: Brandon K Slack

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged

Romans 12:12

April 2018

4/26

I mentioned taking some pics of our heroes to Alabama and how Brady Hammer’s mom saw her son’s photo being carried by one of our Marines. Well, I received word from her today that the Korea/Viet Nam veteran she was caring for had passed away. His name was Lloyd and I met him last year in Klamath Falls. We had a nice lunch. He was a kind and friendly man. RIP Lloyd.

The local VFW Post #10789 also lost one of their members recently. George was one of the vets that went with us to Santa Rosa for fire relief supplies. He was very active locally and will surely be missed!!

On Tuesday night our care pack team assembled and packed 15 care packs for deployed troops. I was able to ship a few out from Alabama last week and BJ Cotton sent one out on Monday, 3 went out from Discovery Bay this morn….

We have 3 big care packs coming up and more planning to do for Task Force Hope- there are 99 people on this email trail, please do something to support our mission- check out the website, share our info, host a pack, fund raise for us, see Operation Creekside and Task Force Hope on Facebook and see also 22TooMany, Spot Me Products and Christian Berets…

We greatly appreciate donations- $17.40 per care pack and $13.60 for the stateside care pack adds up in a hurry!

And if you read the last email about one of our Marines I may have forgot to mention what he told me on the ride home. He said, “he would not have made it through the week”. I gave him credit for reaching out, but we may have just saved another one??

The whole mission has tremendous value- thank you for helping us do mission on such an effective level and please help us to continue. I tell my veterans flat out how worthy they are and on Monday I told this self proclaimed “hard case” that I loved him. That may sound kind of weird but I needed that to reach him and his reply was, “I love you too.”

Still Encouraged, Ed

Romans 12:12

4/23

Where do I start? How our sponsors and partners put this together and just 18 days after Task Force Hope California? How two California veterans were served by veterans from Alabama? Or how Task Force Hope is hope??

One veteran from here traveled with me, from Tuesday night to about an hour ago. There was a time at camp where he actually might have turned on me, but you know, as a chaplain I really don’t have the option to call security or kick him out of the program, so I asked him to sit down with me at a table outside, and we prayed- I prayed for his situation, I put myself into the prayer to let him know he is not alone, I prayed my heart out that night……

BJ Cotton and I hosted camp, Tommy Hernandez did some logistics for us at home, two veterans and myself came from California, two Alabama veterans came to mentor, we had a cook named Terri that fed us well, 5 men in a small bunkhouse, focused and dialed in on two Calif vets…

On Saturday we walked about a mile to the Watson Alabama Post Office, a small brick building at the end of the road. I had already been mailing care packs- I had to show the nice lady the process with the customs forms. On Sat morning BJ swept the lobby out for her and the sidewalk outside. I mentioned to her that the flag at half last for Mrs Bush was fairly tattered and she said she would order one. I asked if we could change it out for her and she agreed- we purchased a flag at Tractor Supply…

We walked down there each of us wearing a photo of a hero. BJ carried our beloved Sgt Duvi Wolf, US Marine Matt carried Brady Hammer, Chad carried Joshua Thompson, and I carried Courtney Jo Rush. I watched my two vets take down the tattered flag, hoist the new one, then fold the old flag respectfully. That night we retired that flag by fire, each of us making a dedication or two- it was powerful and moving!!

The old carpenter (me) needs some rest as I “hit the ground running” to get back in the swing of things, but I am thankful and grateful for another effective camp- one vet, two vets, or a hundred, we will still serve them one at a time…

Best, Ed

4/16

This week has been busy, with my camp duties up here on God’s 46 acres in beautiful Mi Wuk Village Ca, hosting a women’s retreat this weekend, dealing with more snow, and watching it gently fall as I write this, but the focus this week, besides getting ready for task Force Hope Alabama has been on one veteran….

There’s hope for this young man. I took him to an AA Meeting the day I met him. the next day we went to Bible Study at my church and he accepted Jesus as his Savior. We fixed his car on Friday, something that we do for our vets on occasion. He was baptized on Sunday at my church while I worked camp, and last night we went to a David Crowder Concert in Stockton- by the way, Crowder’s team sent us the tickets!!

We sat next to a Marine Mom who has a son at Camp Pendleton right now. She was very encouraging to my Marine. Crowder has a song called Forgiven that I’d like every veteran to hear, especially those who struggle..

Anyway, I have lots to do the next two days. If you’re a prayer warrior, please pray for this Marine. Lord willing he is going to Alabama with me on Wednesday. One veteran at a time….

God Bless America!!

Best, Ed

4/13

Good Morning! I’ve been to two AA Meetings and a Bible Study in the last two days because a US Marine reached out to me the other day. This young man who has served our country is now battling post traumatic stress. It’s very common with US troops that have been deployed and one thing that he shares with some of my other veterans is the lack of sleep!

But he reached out the other day and we’ve been almost joined at the hip for two days and I am getting my work done at camp, getting the care packs shipped out, and preparing for Task Force Hope Alabama next week…but this veteran needs my attention right now! He’s been shunned by other groups and let down by the VA, but we don’t operate that way- that appointment 4 to 6 weeks out may seem like forever for a veteran in trouble!!

The VA is fighting a spiritual battle with a clinical approach. Imagine what would happen if the VA would let us come to their facilities and hospitals and do care packs in the lobbies and pray- yes, and pray over the boxes!! At this last veterans camp the veterans of Task Force Hope assembled the care packs, laid hands on the boxes, and prayed! There’s a short video of this on Facebook- see Task Force Hope, and if you see the veterans with heads bowed and hands on the boxes, it’s pretty powerful…

We will continue with our approach, soft, but effective and continue to help one veteran at a time, and reach as many as we can. The stateside care pack has had some huge blessings, some arriving with perfect timing- effective mission work through the US Mail…

I love what I do and am thankful to God Himself for preparing me for this mission. I’ve done a lot of AA Meetings and just maybe that was to be able to attend the meetings with this worthy veteran this week- either way the Lord has and will continue to bless this mission….

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged

4/6

And here we go- another 8 care packs out today thanks to a great clerk at the Soulsbyville Post Office and 29 more ready to go and 5 “stateside” care packs too!!

Today I rec’d a FB alert that Sgt Duvi Wolf’s sister Ana finally saw the pics from when I visited Duvi’s grave last September_ I have been there 3 times since 2015 and that doesn’t make any logical sense you know, but God Himself put that soldier on my heart years ago> It’s still hard to comprehend that a 24 year old female would die for my freedom!!

Back to the 29 and 5, that’s $572.60 in postage to ship out and these need to get out- we always need help with postage! We are a non profit serving US troops deployed and veterans here on the homefront. We just rec’d a photo of a deployed group that we have supported throughout their deployment and it is signed by all in the pic, and word back from our veteran guests at Victory Village who attended our Task Force Hope camp is all good and I made the promise today, we are going to help them install a new flagpole on site in Jackson!

This mission could be exhausting, but it’s actually pretty rewarding. A note back from a soldier said, “you are making a difference.” In less than two weeks now, I will be in Alabama helping US Navy veteran BJ Cotton run Task Force Hope Alabama- it never ceases to amaze me how God works. BJ taking the time to come out here and help us with this camp sets us up for success in other places- we are looking at 4 camps per year across the US, and several shorter events to ultimately reach more veterans….

When one vet says I’m going home to work on getting my kids back and another vet whose son is also a vet says that you guys saved my son, and yet another vet who was triggered at camp and saw the level of our concern and care for his well being says that I want to come back, you know that you’re doing good work and really helping these American heroes…..

We have big plans this year and now’s a good time to board this train and help. Our only goal is to reach more soldiers and to help more veterans! My good friend and US Army veteran Steve Nute from the state of Maine knows this next line well- you can’t run a “freight train” on kindling, and we are a freight train of hope serving such a worthy group!!

Help us keep sending the care packs. Some names on our list get care packs throughout their entire deployment. New names get care packs immediately and veterans across this great country also receive care packs, sometimes out of the blue and sometimes with great timing!

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged!

Operation Creekside
PO Box 1758
Discovery Bay, Ca. 94505

EIN # 27-4120860

Thank you for your support!!

4/2

As my veterans gather around the campfire tonight for the last time for this camp at least, this old civilian will catch some rest to be able to FINISH STRONG tomorrow! We have been encouraging our vets to do this, finish camp strong, moving forward, and doing better!

This camp has been powerful- a good group of men, our core team, some returnees, and some new faces. Tonight we lined up the long tables and ate as a group. This afternoon we packed boxes for deployed troops, and this morning myself and some incredible soldiers split firewood together. There is a Marine here that won’t let me do any work w/o him! This afternoon a US Army vet left here with a load of firewood that he helped split….

There’s a Facebook post on Operation Creekside & Task Force Hope’s pages that says it all: a young veteran that had just been released from the psych ward, found us and came to camp- if you can see this guy now!! Last year he was a key player in an intervention that happened at camp, and he keeps coming back and bringing more vets with him..

Ok, it’s Monday now and had a great day with the last veteran at camp- I am looking forward to a day off tomorrow with a trip to Brentwood, but again I am very pleased with our camp and am also looking forward to Task Force Hope Alabama in less than 3 weeks!!

We have a lot of care packs going out this week thanks to the Deliverance group at my home church and the veterans from this camp. It’s powerful mission work sending out the care packs!!

Thanks to all who help us do this- our veterans are worthy….

Best, Ed

March 2018

3/27

When God blesses, He blesses….tonight we pack for US troops deployed at Grace Bible Church in Brentwood, something like the 5th annual with the youth group of my home church- if you’re in the area, stop by, we start at 7 pm and need goods!! Come to say hi, come for the fellowship, come for the prayer, and Lord wiling we will have two special guests!!

Task Force Hope Veterans Camp/Conference starts on Thursday and my entire week will be dedicated to this and I won’t track the hours because this is what I love to do- working with the veterans of Task Force Hope!!

Spent nearly 20 minutes last night on the phone with a Lt Col in the US Army. I met her in Killeen Texas in 2015 and she has blessed our mission with military contacts deployed and here on the homefront. We are mission partners through and through and she has a Psalm 91 testimony that will knock your socks off!

And here we go,,,,, God Bless America!!

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged!!

3/24

But “quarterly” updates would be “books” and y’all know I’d rather just do the work!! And it’s still snowing at camp! I have ran out of wood and had to split wood in the snow- that’s a first, and speaking of wood….

I received a thank you card in the mail from the wife of our veteran in Angels Camp. You know it took almost ten days to get that wood over there, with the snow up here and other duties, but I knew they were out and here’s what she wrote;

“Thank you for helping us with a load of wood! and the goody package! We appreciate it very much, and thanks for all the help you do. Your help helps us wives take care of our veterans too. With love, Mrs. “

Something as simple as a load of firewood, and the contacts I made that day- easy ministry work. If the veteran doesn’t get enough service or assistance, the wife is usually farther down the list and the kids are even farther, so we reach out as best we can!!

We’re packing on Tuesday in Brentwood. Two of our Task Force Hope veterans will be flying in that day and may make it to the pack!! It’s a special op with the Deliverance Group at my home church, Grace Bible Fellowship- 657 McClarren Rd, The two veterans and I will head right to camp on Wednesday and the others start arriving on Thursday..

We always need help- I am not the Lone Ranger, but I like the mask idea- here’s a list, help out if you can;

1 Care Pack Items- the .list is on our website. We needs goods for the veterans to pack for their brothers and sisters deployed! It’s for real when veterans pack for troops deployed!!

2 Fuel Cards- sometimes this is the deal breaker- I just can’t afford the fuel.

3 Camp Sponsors- all donations for veteran support go to camp expenses- write veteran support on your check.

4 Volunteers- we encourage volunteers. Veterans need to know that civilians can be trusted- they trust me! Call me for details.

5 Prayer- and this should be item #1, but as a faith-based group we can never forget where our hope comes from, where our strength comes from, and the many blessings the Good Lord has delivered to this group!!

Best, Ed

Operation Creekside
PO Box 1758
Discovery Bay, Ca. 94505

3/22

And rest is good, even if the reason is for a painful dental procedure, but a few care packs went out this week to deployed US troops and another “stateside” care pack to a Marine in Colorado- I absolutely love how much mission work we can do through the US Mail!! The rain threw me off today up here in the mountains- it was like Idaho rain and California drivers, well, never mind….

We have two Marines on a new deployment and new names from Pastor Steve in Maine, so next week at Veterans Camp/ Conference here in Sierra Village we will be packing with the veterans of Task Force Hope. I’ve been sending care packs with this incredible team of volunteers of Operation Creekside for going on ten years now and every pack is powerful and special, but when you pack with all veterans and with veterans that have been deployed, it is extra special!

To back up a bit, if you’re local to the Brentwood area, California that is, we will be doing our annual care pack event at Grace Bible Fellowship, my home church, this coming Tuesday with the Deliverance Youth Group. I have a special bond with this group because my son Joseph attended this group until recently- he’s an old college student now, but every year I help my friend Scott Ritter get the kids to camp. It’s funny how I’ll drive down to Brentwood in the morn and pick up the kids and haul their gear back up here and ten miles past where I am now and then pick them up on Monday, but mission work is mission work……

But for veterans camp coming up, I thank our sponsors that continue to help us keep doing the mission and I am excited as usual to see who God brings to this camp and also to see hope and healing restored. We always need help doing this mission and all funds designated for veteran support go to these camps. We’ve purchased some airfare for this one and do need to supply a nights stay before camp for two veterans. We keep our expenses to a minimum, but some purchases just have to be made.

Camp starts a week from today- if you can help, please send checks to our post office box or donate online at operationcreekside.org. We do have a PayPal account.

Operation Creekside
PO Box 1758
Discovery Bay, Ca 94505

Our EIN # and info about Operation Creekside is on the website

Thanks, Ed

Still Encouraged

3/17

It’s been a few years, but the camp that our Marine from Lincoln Nebraska came to, we went on a short Hetch Hetchy hike. It was a beautiful day and not many on the trail that day- the Marine, two soldiers, an Army Ranger and my son and I….

I remember well how my military guys carried the photos of our fallen- the ones that I take with me wherever I go. We had Duvi Wolf, Joshua Remy, and Michael Kissell- one KIA, the others PTS related suicide. I have pictures of the guys out at the falls where we had lunch, but here’s the interesting part….

My son didn’t take enough water with him and this was only a 5 mile hike that we have done several times. But it was hot that day and he was wearing long pants. I gave him the rest of my water and when he overheated on the way back I handed my keys to one of the soldiers and said to go on ahead…

The interesting part for this civilian- they wouldn’t leave us. The Marine took my son’s backpack. The Ranger bent down and rolled up my son’s pants. The soldier gave my son his water and they all slowed the pace and didn’t leave us. Like I said before, it was only a 5 mile hike, but my son was in trouble and they didn’t leave us….

So, I’m looking forward to camp. I’m looking forward to see who makes it important to come to camp. My pastor used to say, “this is something you don’t want to miss.” I hope my veterans realize how important camp is and how important showing up actually is- it may not be for them, maybe another veteran needs to hear some of their story???

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged

3/15

I’ve told my son a few times, “without that trailer we are just two guys in a truck.” And today hauling the wood over to our US Army veteran in Angels Camp turned out to be a good “op”. I am early to a fault for everything I do and only late if someone else delays me, but I am sitting in the Save Mart parking lot in Angels Camp and made three contacts just because I had that trailer!

I made contact with a business that the owner has lost a son in battle, a young veteran that may come to camp, and a veteran who was very interested in our mission, and while in the same parking lot a phone call came in from a 100% disabled veteran who wants to attend camp!!

The firewood was just the reason to go and just as I suspected, my veteran was completely out of wood! He was coming home from school and gave me the address- I had it almost finished when he arrived- it was obvious where the woodshed was and he was happy!!

I made it back to camp just as the snow started again- here we go, another storm, but this flatlander is figuring it out! The Kubota has a plow blade on it, the snow blower is ready, there’s a shovel at every door and both fireplaces are ready!

Two weeks out from Task Force Hope California I am ready for the push and will plot and plan with US Navy veteran BJ Cotton who is coming from Alabama and will be hosting the April Alabama camp. Also our Marine from Lincoln Nebraska is coming thanks to Tommy 365…..

I don’t know if I’ve ever been this motivated, but up here in the mountains I’m in prayer a lot and it reminds me of one of the first real prayers I was involved in back around 2010 when I asked my neighbor in Groveland to pray for my Uncle Melvin- it may of been sooner than that I think, but I asked someone to pray that I knew could pray, and man, that guy prayed right then and there! I don’t mean to be long winded here, but my Uncle Elige heard about that prayer and sent word to his brother Melvin, “that prayer was for real”, that prayer in the mountains…..I’d have to agree…

And now with both those uncles gone from this earth and in heaven, I do believe in the power of prayer and what they taught me even though I wanted none of it for like forever. My Uncle Melvin who was a US Marine and Iwo Jima survivor was so proud knowing that his crazy nephew was converted before he died….

Enough Said, something Uncle Elige often said, thinking of my uncles today, seven of them served this country…

Best, Ed

3/14

What happened to me? Twelve years ago that next six pack of Coors was all that mattered, yet on Monday I find myself in WalMart absolutely thrilled that I found shower curtains with Scripture on them!!

To me it’s a no brainer- Christian Camp, all the shower curtains should be these, for $14.88, what a deal!! But the boss says, we’ll see. I am surprised that this is a shelf item at WalMart with the attack on God and faith in this country, but then I can see my guests and campers coming here and seeing the Scripture on the curtains- wow!!

Faith- comes from nearing the Good News about Jesus. Romans 10:17

Forgive- because the Lord forgave you. Col. 3:13

Hope- Lord let your unfailing love surround us, for our hope is in You.

Love- God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as you would yourself. Mark 12:30-32

Best, Ed

3/13

Another round up here at camp, crazy weather through Saturday, but the Operation Creekside trailer is loaded with firewood for a veteran over in Angels Camp- I had to take it down the hill to Sonora, with the snow coming- need to deliver on Thursday.

I made a run to Brentwood today but couldn’t stay for the pack, but our core team packed 12 boxes!! We have two new Marines deployed on our list. I shipped out a bunch from Twain Harte the other day and one from Soulsbyville yesterday- always shipping out the care packs!!

With veterans camp/conference just 16 days away we have word from our Marine in Nebraska that he wants to come- airfare is $500 at this point so if anyone wants to sponsor this Marine please let me know! I’m not giving up on this one- I’ve seen the kids, the kids that are in foster care, and this Marine is trying his best. Four or five days with me and his brothers could be the boost he needs…..

This Marine came to camp a few years back and on a trip to Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and at 55 miles per hour my box of 500 business cards flew out the window- a quick u turn and me and this Marine were in the highway picking up cards. The Army guys and my son were in the van laughing before they decided to help- I called it team building!

We do have some solid support for this camp and it is much appreciated! Our regular sponsors keep us in the game, but if you can help, please do so- just specify care packs or veteran support on your check. We welcome guests/sponsors at camp for lunch on Saturday, but I need to know for the food needed.

Black Oak Casino Hotel is only 20 minutes away and they are one of our sponsors- sponsoring two veterans and providing pizza for one meal. Christmas Tree Inn is also right down the road for other lodging and Sonora has hotels too…

Our approach is simple- peer to peer with activities. One veteran at a time, we’ll serve as many as we can. If one veteran benefits from this camp, we’re good- more is a blessing!!

We have another Marine coming that struggles with alcohol. Am I looking forward to meeting this guy- I can’t fix him, but I can share what has worked for me- peer to peer, team building, moving forward, and still encouraged!

Best, Ed

Romans 12:12

3/10

There’s no way of knowing just how many people veterans and civilians that have been affected by the shooting deaths of three women at Pathway Home in Yountville! And the family of the shooter, a veteran that was kicked out of program two weeks ago….

The core group of veterans that make up our group at Task Force Hope knew Christine, the exec director of Pathways. She was one of the shining lights at Menlo Park while these guys were there. A lot of emotion with my guys- anger, sadness, and thoughts like do civilians think we’re going to do something like this??

My guys are solid- they are already checking on each other, reaching out to me, and to other trusted civilians, not in panic mode, and already talking about honoring those lost, civilians, at our next camp coming up in a few weeks. I shared a post from a Warrior group on Facebook today and it’s about how our vets will deal with this and keep moving forward…..

A news article said how these civilians were on the “front lines” dealing with this battle at home that takes about 22 veterans per day and by their own hands. This incident is very rare as most veterans, not on the battle lines any more, will do anything to protect their brothers and sisters in arms and us civilians here on the home front…

In the post I shared it says there is not enough information yet and this is a better approach than blaming the NRA or the VA or ?

Best bet is to be in prayer and to continue to fight this battle with our veterans. I am sometimes hard on the clinical approach, although it is extremely necessary- from our view though, this is a spiritual battle and that’s the way we will fight it!!

Best, Ed

Romans 12:12

3/7

And you all know my “business” is Operation Creekside and supporting US troops, veterans, and their families, but it comes from what she instilled in me- patriotism!!

Out picking cotton in Oklahoma around 1943 her brother Scott, then 15, told her, “I’m going to join the Marines and go to war.” She laughed and said, “sure you are.” And at 17 he left Oakley California for Camp Pendleton and she never saw him again- he was KIA on Jun 17, 1945. Note- I never knew that date until I understood the sacrifice!

But Mom instilled in me patriotism. I was 16 in 1976 and with Mom’s approval I put a huge “76” in Christmas lights on the house that you could see from the highway.

I started Operation Creekside in Mom’s pantry in 2008- quietly assembling the care packs at night, then delivering to the post office. Joseph and I had an 8 page list of names- it took us months to go through, until we connected with Creekside Church where our team was put together in 2010.

So today, in honor of my mother, I will ship out some care packs, and will continue as long as we have support, knowing how much it means to our troops and veterans.

Mom and I were close. I was her baby, and was the first one she would call in every situation and also her care giver and advocate for the last 6 1/2 years of her life. I am not sad to today because I have what she gave me- a love for God, a love for family, and a love for this country.

Ephesians 4:32 was our verse. Mom was feisty and bossy! I would tell her to “be kind” as in Eph. 4:32, and she would say, “to who?” And I would reply, “to everybody.” She would make a face and say, “I don’t think I can do that.” But she was just being herself and my wonderful mother- Happy Heavenly Birthday in heaven Mom and thank you for everything!!

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged!
Romans 12:12

3/2

But now I just have a way better team, the veterans of Task Force Hope!! Our camp is coming together nicely and today I had such good contact with my vets, it really encourages me when they are doing well. One Army vet that we helped through our supporters several times sent a message today- I am blessed.

A Marine in Lincoln Nebraska gets to see his kids today. He is six months sober too and pretty much a requirement now. He has a sponsor and I’ve been encouraging him too, having gone through it myself with the booze. But his comment today was, “thanks for everything Ed.” And lately it’s just been the stateside care packs, but they mean a lot!

An Army vet over in Angels Camp is out of firewood- in the mountains that means no heat! As soon as it stops snowing I’m on a beeline over there. You know the firewood is so secondary, time with my vets is important….

We’re constantly working. Six veterans from Jackson will be attending this camp coming up. I love to have the guys who are not used to the good stuff, like the cooking at this camp!! Black Oak Casino sends us a bunch of pizzas too and a US Navy veteran is cooking tri tip on Friday!!

Helping these veterans gets me out of self, and I know I can get all wound up at times- did twenty hours of work, stand by, on alert yesterday!! In the mountains it’s a whole different ball game. Snow, snow, and more snow, but now I’m focused on getting the firewood to Angels Camp!! But then, if the snow plow guy could deliver pizza too????

Still Encouraged, Ed

Romans 12:12

February 2018

2/28

Birthdays and dates of death come and go, the families still hurting, missing their loved ones. And Brady struggled- two attempts prior, he finally succeeded on the 3rd attempt at Ft Bliss in Texas, Now the family struggles. Last July when we delivered the bench in his honor and memory, his 7 year old nephew cried a river of tears sitting on his Mom’s lap, Brady’s sister, while a US Navy veteran and chaplain sat nearby comforting him..

I tell you about Brady because I know the family. As the chaplain and family outreach guy for 22TooMany, I get to meet some of these families and at 22 per day or so, even our list of about 250 families seems impossible for me to reach, but the 30 I know have become friends…

They all deal differently- one mom almost drank herself to death, one dad still wants answers, some blame themselves, but you know, the kindness of a stranger, like one dad put it last September, means a lot. When I meet the families I get to hear stories about their loved ones. A Marine Mom in Ohio talked for 2 1/2 hours straight and when a noise in the cafe startled me and I looked away, she thought I was looking at the clock and apologized- I told her to keep telling me about her son, I will listen!!

And we have at least two benches to do, Big Al, and here is another opportunity to encourage the families!! Every bench delivery, we include veteran motorcycle clubs and let me tell you something- when you bring veterans with you to present a bench to the family, it means the world to that family!

So, I’m just reflecting on the mission today, watching a foot of snow fall in the Sierra’s, and thinking about the families of the 22- there’s so many,…Lord let me reach as many as I can and continue to do Your work with our veterans and troops deployed. God Bless America and all that keep her free!!

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged

2/23

Well, I’m up here at camp full time now and have to shovel and plow snow, and keep two fireplaces going just in case I lose power!! But this is God’s country and with a real office I am able to do so much more mission work!!

At a Veterans Collaborative Meeting in Sacramento on Wed I will admit my approach was like will these military people ever get it that this civilian and his team of veterans has something to offer??

And luckily I sat next to a Veteran Service Officer from Citrus Heights that I’ve finally talked into coming to camp! And he is bringing the Mobile Vet Center !!
I received a call during that meeting that I just had to take- it was the father of a soldier that took his own life in 2014. The conversation was very private but I have information or better yet contact with other families that will help him. I have said it a lot, “if we stop soldier suicide today, these families will still be hurting.”

So the mission expands, the mission changes, and God shows us opportunities to serve more veterans. The “stateside” care pack for instance, what a positive encouraging impact for the veteran!!

Task Force Hope Veterans Camp: Mar 29 thru Apr 1

If you know a veteran that could use a break, this is a free peer to peer veteran event with no pressure whatsoever. A free event in a safe environment. I have done a bunch of these camps and I get to see life changing stuff…..something else I say a lot, “our veterans are worthy.”

We don’t have to make the news, but I will say that my team will never joke about the vice president being a Christian. 2 Chron 7:14 comes to mind, but it’s the focus on our veterans at camp and it can be about one veteran- we will help as many as we can, one veteran at a time….

Last week one of my Marines was passing by with his family and they stopped in and asked if I wanted to go to lunch? I followed them down to Twain Harte to a busy little café and we had a nice lunch. This was so much more than lunch. Seeing my Marine doing well, his son sitting next to him happily coloring, and just talking like old friends. If you know anything about post traumatic stress, just being in the busy café can be an issue, but our guys are doing well, and to be honest, I would have went anywhere with this family- it encourages me to see them doing well…..

We need help with this camp!!

We need sponsors- 4 sponsors at $1250 each would do it.

We need veterans to attend- a camp application is required, call me 925 260 5423

We need care pack items

WE need visitors to come up on Sat to meet our veterans- I need to know ahead for lunch

This camp is hosted by Christian Berets Inc

Checks to Christian Berets Inc. – Memo Veterans Camp, are greatly appreciated!

Christian Berets Inc
PO Box 158
Mi Wuk Village Ca 95346

Best, Ed

2/18

You know, even my Marines struggle. Whether it’s a Marine in Discovery Bay battling brain cancer or a Marine in Colorado with a baby born at 26 weeks, we all have our struggles! These guys have found a way to stay connected and we help each other! There’s a Marine in Nebraska that may need a visit? I know what he’s battling and he won’t lie to me- my heart breaks knowing what he’s going through!!

But you know, it’s not just about the Marines- as a grateful civilian I have no favorites, we work with all branches, Veterans and deployed US troops are who we serve! A colonel working in DC keeps sending us names of deployed US troops and also active duty service members here in the states- the encouragement found in a care package can be huge!!

And gearing up for two camps coming soon- California in March and Alabama in April, our hope is to get more veterans to attend camp and I’m gonna be brutality honest here! Some will not attend because we have a no alcohol policy. You know, all it takes is one idiot, and that’s just being real, but alcohol and PTSD do not mix!

We need veterans to attend camp. I’ve seen some amazing things at camp, but you have to experience camp! There are veterans on this email list that could benefit from camp. If you are an employer with veterans working for you, your employees could benefit from camp. They most likely won’t tell you if they have PTSD. Just like in the military, if you ask for help, it can be seen as weakness.

Ok, so if you are just interested in our mission and thinking about helping, I have to admit sometimes I feel like a one armed man in a wall paper hanging contest, but we need help doing this mission. We need sponsors, we need people to come to camp, meet the vets and get involved! You might be surprised and how kind these guys are, I know their integrity is off the charts, but these veterans are worthy.

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged because our veterans are worthy.

2/14

Patience has never been my thing, ask my good friend Roy who picked me up today in Stockton and drove me to Oakdale to pick up the 2013 GMC Sierra truck!! But with the help of a couple of angels on earth, a pastor, a school teacher from Vancouver Wash, my good friend Roy, and others that believe in our mission, we may not be broke down on the road for a while!!!

More importantly though, 5 care packs went out today to the deployed- a new name with a medical unit, and a soldier that just returned to duty after saying good bye to his father. I’ve done some of these things, like losing both my parents, but I did not have to go back to war or duty right after. I am in awe of their strength and I am extremely grateful that we have these men and women in America that serve!!

Three “stateside” care packs went out today also- one to a Marine in Lincoln Nebraska, another to a shelter for homeless vets here in California, and another to a Marine whose wife just gave birth to a baby boy at 26 weeks. You know, this will be quite the hospital stay for this baby! One thing I know about my Marines, they’re not afraid of battle, they’re not afraid of the enemy, but this kind of difficulty an having faith in the ability of others and having faith that God will see them through…..is another story all together.

So, for $13.65 and the cost of the contents, a care package can maybe give some encouragement. We’re going to step up our game and send a lot more care packs and we’re going to push and do our veteran camps or conferences better. We are going to serve more veterans, still one at a time, but we are going to serve as many as we can.

Two camps coming up- Task Force Hope California and Task Force Hope Alabama. We are going to duplicate this simple program. Clinicians may not want to hear about it- but we will not fight a spiritual battle with a clinical approach! Peer to peer with activities is all we need to make a huge difference.

We have to help each other. I reluctantly went to the dentist this morning after delaying for 4 years. And I still almost didn’t go because of my fear of the dentist. I knew I had to go and turns out the issues I have are fixable and I will only lose one tooth, but the dentist was so kind, he helped me with another matter and gave me a recommendation for my super dry hands, and then he did something really strange- he asked if he could show another patient what was going on with my teeth! I declined and the hygienist shook her head no also, but then I said to him, “is this something that will help the other patient?” And he said, “yes.”

So he walks me into another room and this woman in the chair turns around, looks at me and smiles and says, “Eddie?” Turns out she is a friend of my sisters, she got up and hugged me, then the dentist showed her my teeth- kind of strange, yes, but he said, “we have to help each other.” If he wouldn’t of done this, I would have not been able to see my sisters friend, and we visited briefly, we both were care givers for our moms for a long time…..we have to help each other.

The truck is just another tool in the toolbox- one of my vets needs me a thousand miles away, or two thousand, I will go, and I can’t wait to haul some care packs to the post office, I don’t want the A Team at the post office getting soft on me!!!

Still Encouraged and very grateful for the folks that believe in our mission and love our country and our troops and veterans….

Ed

2/11

A text message from a Colonel this morning about two soldiers that may need some encouragement- one stateside and the other deployed!! And I always have goods and supplies on hand, just like my team in Brentwood, we can care pack in a heartbeat!!

This same Colonel sends me names now and then of soldiers that served with her and are now out of the military, but still in need of the encouragement we can offer through the US Mail!!

I am at a point where I need to make a decision and soon- 25 hours or so and my Enterprise Rental truck will have to go back! I have had to tow the Operation Creekside trailer lately and my 2002 F-150 has had it, pretty much a goner now at 286,000 miles!

There are two trucks in Oakdale we are looking at for the mission- a 2013 GMC Sierra and a 2008 Ford F-250. The Ford is a workhouse and the GMC a very nice comfort vehicle. We are not near either with the funds, as mission and care packs come before my needs, but I have never been here, in this position and I apologize if this sounds pathetic, but I really have never been here before…..

Care packs will go out on Monday, our Feb care pack will happen on Tues, a meet with the Cub Scouts also on Tues. will happen, and I believe that God will provide!! We have so much mission work ahead in 2018. We are into the 10th year of service to troops deployed and veterans, and we will continue for as long as we are able….

Still Encouraged, Ed

Romans 12:12

2/9

The Bible says to look out for others before your own interests, and man I’m livin that right now!! With the 02 Ford broke down yet again, and the Enterprise Rental truck needing to go back on Monday, I am hopeful that I figure this out because mission work comes first, my veterans come first, the care packs going out come first…….

And I rarely get caught up in the “business end” of things, but I noticed that my team has posted a GoFundMe page on Facebook. I’m not a big fan of GoFundme really- I’ve seen crazy things get money and important things get nothing, but it’s out there and it’s on the website.

We do as much as we can for our veterans and we continue to ship the care packs to deployed troops, and now even the “stateside” care pack for any veteran across this great country- I have since day one thought that we can do mission nationwide and the Lord knows we need to work nationwide!!

I was at a prayer meeting in Sonora last night and 5 of us gathered to pray. We talked about our petitions and then presented them all to God. Revival was mentioned in prayer quite often last night and I couldn’t help think about God hearing and granting this request? This country does need revival. We are fighting a spiritual battle with a clinical approach.

I also think about the families. Especially those of the 22 veterans that take their own lives daily. A woman in Wisconsin has lost 2 nephews to PTSD related suicide. Last month she lost her husband, a US Navy vet, to cancer. These families struggle. They need love and care like anyone else. People don’t often approach them. This is why we have to keep working. It’s not about money. We do have to fund raise, but it’s not the focus….

One of my Marines the other day told me, “if we get more money in, we will just serve more veterans.” Mission first, service first, there is so much to do!!

God Bless America!!

Best, Ed

2/6

If you are a veteran, a firefighter, or a police officer, think seriously about attending one of our camps! I am tracking a text trail right know where my Marines, a couple of Navy guys, and one Airborne Army guy are chatting it up about camp, and I started this text barrage this morn with; if one veteran needs camp I’m all in, the more the merrier, but I’m ok with one- we help one at a time!!

Again, if you’re a veteran, a firefighter, or a police officer, think seriously about attending one camp- in this text trail, one of these guys says what that one camp did for him. This same young man attended the funeral of one of our Task Force Hope veterans last year and he was my rock as I had to deliver the eulogy for the veteran that I had often referred to as my favorite veteran. Our guys will gather with his family that includes two of his sons, also veterans, to remember Sgt Jose Rivera on Mar 17.

Then we will gear up for Task Force Hope Camp set for Mar 29 thru Apr 1 and I know that Apr 1 is Easter Sunday- we will break out in the morning and head home to families, and if any of our guys need to leave on Sat nite, that’s ok too…Our peer to peer approach is “for real” and we’re not knocking the clinical approach, but we are fighting a spiritual battle here and you know where I’m going with that! We need sponsors. It’s as easy as a check in the mail. This camp is hosted by Christian Berets in Mi Wuk Village Ca.

I am already here, getting things ready- there’s a camp fire ring to upgrade, an archery course to set up, an activities shed to rebuild, a lot to do to get ready! If you want to come up and see the camp or even help with a project, please let me know…..

To be a sponsor for this camp or to help with Task Force Hope Alabama, just indicate on your check TFH Calif or TFH Alabama and send payable to:

Christian Berets Inc
1317 Oakdale Rd Suite 340
Modesto, Ca 95355

Again there’ll be no generic fundraising approach- as I was talking on the phone with one of my Marines this morning, I ended the call with I love you and he said it back to me….these guys are incredible!

God Bless America!!

2/1

But this veteran who runs a veteran’s home in Hot Springs South Dakota will be encouraged!! I also met with a Marine today and it was kind of a business meeting, but I got to hear so much of his personal story it was just like being on mission- a chaplain loves to listen!!

I am really excited about the opportunities in front of us- you know the windshield has a much better view than the rear view mirror! At the end of March, actually the 29th thru Apr 1, we will host our first Task Force Hope Veterans Camp, and I know this is Easter Weekend, but we are done by Sunday morning and this is the only time frame we could schedule…..

And just 3 weeks later, Task Force Hope Alabama has a camp scheduled near Birmingham!! I have always thought, hoped, and prayed for a nationwide mission, and here we go!! Our veterans nationwide do struggle, and we need to reach more of them!

We need this thing called participation and on whatever level you can participate- we need sponsors, we need helpers, we need veterans to come to camp, we need this information shared, we need to teach civilians what they can do to help stop soldier suicide….

It’s a simple program- peer to peer with activities, campfire, games, fellowship, good food, music, and in a safe environment.

This camp is hosted by Christian Berets in MiWuk Village. If you’d like more info, please contact me directly at 925 260 5423. Some things I’ve been workin on like a food truck coming up to camp will need a sponsor and we always do care packs at veterans camp, so we need a sponsor for that, but call me if you can help- sponsors can join the veterans for lunch on Saturday, but I need to know in advance if you’re coming.

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged!

January 2018

1/30

Task Force Hope Men’s Event

Mar 29 thru Apr 1

Veterans- No Charge but must sign up- see Task Force Hope on Facebook

Civilians- will be a small fee, but must sign up and be screened

Pastors, Business Owners, Military Family Members, encouraged to attend

Training to help understand PTSD and other issues veterans face and how to help

Activities, Campfire, Music and fellowship

Absolutely no drugs or alcohol! If you’re an AA Member, you can run a meeting at camp!

We need sponsors too and sponsors are welcome to attend lunch on Saturday- need to sign up for this too!!

Please contact me for more info. Helping our veterans requires participation…

Best, Ed

925 260 5423 Task Force Hope Men’s Event

1/30

I guess I’ve always let Mondays rule me, and yesterday was pretty hectic- more behinder that ever and two bridge delays, when that highway bridge swings there’s no getting to the other side- thanks Cal Trans!!

But last night, as I got settled, I noticed the candle on 22TooMany’s post, honoring Francis Graves II, a US Army MP who lost his battle with PTSD Jan 29, 2015. The pain is real. A terrible loss. I met his mom and dad last year in September. Francis was named after his day who goes by Rocky, and he was called Stony.

He struggled with PTSD and ended up in treatment at Perry Point VA in Maryland. I have actually been to this location, back in 2013, and prayed with a chaplain there. But Stony was released after a 30 day stay, went out and overdosed that day. The VA did not notify his father when they released him, not to lay blame, but just to share the things that happen,,,,

I spent an entire day with Rocky and he shared a lot about his son. He also shared about his time in Viet Nam. I could tell that he blamed himself for losing his son. In reality it was PTSD and the ineffectiveness of the VA. I’m not bashing the VA, but they are faced with overwhelming cases of PTSD and their approach is strictly clinical for a spiritual battle!!

Last year I met quite a few families of the 22 veterans that take their ow lives daily. Their stories have many similarities and one thing is for sure- these families need love and support. We send them the “stateside” care packs too, just like we do for any veteran…….

God Bless America and all that keep her free!!

Best, Ed

1/25

This is a local request, but I’ll share with all, please bear with me; some local kids of FFA and 4-H are building shelters for their Fair animals and are in need of some plywood. I have contacted Big B Lumber in Brentwood and they will honor the contractors price for anyone who calls and purchases a sheet or two- we need 32 sheets of 3/4″ CDX Plywood.

One of these kids is the daughter of my Operation Creekside right hand man and US Navy veteran Michael Siemer. His daughter Kaylee has been writing the custom forms accurately for our care packs since she was 9 years old. And now a senior at Liberty High, my old school, and in FFA like i was 39 or 40 years ago!!

My first bank loan from ECC Bank was to raise a pig for the Fair, so I can relate to the difficulties a teen faces with expenses like these. I’m putting this out there to encourage our youth. I posted about this on Facebook and had 10 shares with not one piece of plywood purchased.

Again, if you can help, please call Big B Lumber, ask for John or Royd, and help theses kids out- they need to be building pens on Saturday!!

Big B Lumber 925 634 2442

Plywood for the FFA/4-H Kids

Best, Ed

1/20

Typical January, a slow start, but some strategic “stateside” care packs going out and getting ready for our regular 4th Tuesday of the month Care Pack at Dino’s Deli this coming Tuesday- this has not changed in almost ten years; we pack on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month….

I am moving a veteran. It’s a difficult situation and I’m trying to walk through it with love and care. Not all mission work is easy. But, I am happy to report that all our Task Force Hope veterans are doing well. We preach family first and that’s what they are doing, taking care of their families.

We are working on the Task Force Hope plan for 2018. Things change and the mission changes. We want the civilian world to understand more about what the veteran goes through and also to know what to look for and what to do in crisis….

We also want to reach out more to the families of the 22. If you remember, in October 2017, our only Santa Rosa contact was a mom who lost her son to suicide. He was a combat medic. Through her, we and the VFW Post #10789 were able to deliver goods and gift cards. There is hope for everyone. (Rom,15:13)

These emails are mostly reports, but we are always looking for partners to help us do more mission work and there is so much to do!!

Best, Ed

Operation Creekside/TaskForceHope/22TooMany

Romans 12:12

1/13

I’ll take my lumps if my military guys give me a hard time with this, but we have to step up our game! My key Task Force Hope veterans and I are going to consider trusted civilians to be able to join us at this particular camp and offer some training. By trusted I mean screened and real positive men that are interested in helping our veterans. Things like a handshake and an honest look in the eye can go go a long way or even start a friendship!!

We have lost two veterans fairly close to home this year, both taking their own lives, and the incident in Jamestown this August, was most likely very preventable. The VA says the suicide rate is down to 20 per day and we don’t think that’s a victory by any means- one is too many!!

The March camp is to be scheduled soon- if you have any interest in helping, attending, sponsoring, and or sharing this info please do! I’m going to be up at camp in MiWuk Village a lot this year, putting together programs and working on a camp for the families of the 22- these families need love and support too!!

For Sponsors- please contact me soon!!

Christian Berets is hosting this camp and donations directly to Christian Berets are most acceptable, please note on your check “Veterans Camp”

Christian Berets
1317 Oakdale Rd Suite 340
Modesto, Ca. 95355

We are just getting started in this much needed mission field and our veterans are worthy!!

Best, Ed

Task Force Hope

1/11

The “stateside” care packs are a hit! Rec’d a note back from a US Navy vet…..this is the first care pack I have ever received, thank you for your thoughtfulness…

A US Army veteran from Maine shared the goods from the care pack with homeless people- can you imagine being homeless in Maine during winter??

You all know how we’ve been helping buy cars for veterans in need and also working with Welcome Home Heroes on doing some major repairs like new engines too….we are finally at the point where my 2002 Ford F-150 needs to be replaced! I am not able to tow the Op Creekside trailer up the hill anymore- it used to be don’t run the A/C up the hill, but now it’s no uphill!!!

Our mission is solid and we are doing more and more- the stateside care packs need to increase and we need to be able to visit more families of the 22. Enterprise Rental has been fantastic for us, but it’s another expense and I don’t think Hertz will rent to me ever again after the total loss of a perfectly good Nissan Rogue!!

If you or your business could help us, there are several options;

General Funds for Care Packs

Stateside Care Packs

Veteran Support

Ed’s Truck

Just memo where you want the funds to go on your check- I’m a soft fundraiser guy and not pushy!!

Best, Ed

Romans 12:12

1/8

The US Mail is an excellent tool for encouraging pretty much anyone! A Viet Nam veteran in Cambridge Maryland just sent a note of thanks for the care pack he received. And I only know him because he lost his son, also an Army vet, to PTSD. About a dozen stateside care packs have went out since the holidays. This is a great time for encouragement! We send care packs to the 22 families also- a mom in Arizona will get a 22TooMany hat this week. Follow up is key in mission work and just as important as being “for real”.

I might have mentioned, there’s a Korea War veteran down the street and his wife of 65 years is in the battle of her life right now! She’s not worried too much about the cancer, it’s what’s happening in her lungs that scares her!! I make a habit of stopping in front of their house every time I go down there and praying- when I have the trailer, that’s my turn around area. I was there the other day and she came out. I jumped out of the truck to say hi and she told me how things were going. I assured her that my team was still praying and we would keep praying. She gave me 4 cases of water and this is the “overflowing blessing” part…..

You may know, we collected a lot of bottled water for the Santa Rosa Fire Relief and distributed hundreds of cases; to Santa Rosa High School, to a church that hosted the Billy Graham Response Team, to a concert benefit for the victims, to the Petaluma Coast Guard, and even the Rio Vista Fire Dept. We even were able to stock up Sonora Vets Helping Vets supply. But the “overflowing” part is where this woman in the battle of her life decided to bless our mission even more…I didn’t need any more water, but I did need to stand in that garage with her and offer hope. She knew both my parents that are no longer on this earth. She knew them for a long time. I told her that we were like family and put my arm around her and told her that I loved her….we all need hope.

And last night I was added to the admin of 22Pray on Facebook! I do serve as the 22TooMany Chaplain and Family Outreach Guy, so I posted up some Scripture and a few photos. Within hours a mom who lost her son to PTSD asked if she could have one of our 22ToMany hats? I know, I mentioned in the 1st paragraph, but reaffirming the use of US Mail and following through!!

We are planning our camps for 2018 and I hope we are not behind, planning these days take time and working with schedules, but we are really excited about 2018!! A Task Force Hope veterans camp in March is in the works for MiWuk Village and we are working on a camp in Alabama for April!

May God bless America and all who keep her free!!

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged!

1/5

The “stateside” care pack to any veteran in the US is a very powerful ministry tool. Received a message from one of my Marines, “did you send ……….. a care package?” I replied, “yes, I did.” His reply, “it was good timing.”

With a big push of care packs to deployed troops and also “good timing”, we try to get the bulk of our care packs delivered just before Christmas, and then we gear up for the new year- 1st care pack of 2018 is next Tuesday, Jan 9…

The stateside care packs started going out last week and again, we’ve had some great responses. It doesn’t matter either way, as long as the veteran receives the care pack!!

Also, I did my best to get all the thank you’s out from the Brentwood Auto Parts/VFW :Post #10789 5th Annual Holiday Pack- I hope I didn’t miss anyone, but just in case- THANKS to all who helped!!

Best, Ed

1/1

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best, Ed

2017

December 2017

12/26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still Encouraged, Ed

Romans 12:12

12/23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best, Ed

12/19

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

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

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

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

Best, Ed

12/17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still Encouraged, Ed

12/10

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

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

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

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

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

Still Encouraged, Ed

Operation Creekside/TaskForceHope/22TooMany

12/5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best, Ed

12/4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best, Ed

Operation Creekside

November 2017

11/30

Even with the tremendous support, buying that vehicle on Monday took a lot out of us, bank account wise, and I don’t tell you this as a fundraising ploy, but I do want to share about an awesome week in mission work….

The timing of that vehicle could not have been better as our veterans big brother and US Marine has been hospitalized this week due to diabetes concerns, blood sugar levels- in other words, his ride to work has been down, and as difficult as it usually is to raise this kind of money- it happened!

I do think it was God’s timing as one of our sponsors came up with the idea, I liked it and pushed, and we filled a need that could very well have been an answer to prayer!!

And with our funds so low, I usually freak out, you can ask sec/treas Santina, but then I also believe that God provides. A check came in yesterday that was unexpected and another came in today- God does provide!!

I have 2 books besides the Bible that I read often and one is Release the Power of Prayer by George Muller. This guy in the 1800’s served over 10,000 orphans and did not ask directly for help from anyone- every request was done by prayer! The other book is The Battle Plan for Prayer by Stephen and Alex Kendrick and it’s a detailed book about strategies of prayer……

I am not selling books here, but just sharing what works for me as I run a mission that keeps expanding as we go- found out today that there are now 3 families in Klamath Falls Oregon who have lost soldiers to PTSD related suicide.

On Wednesday 6 care packs went out to a soldier’s squad as promised and today I made a delivery up to camp for our US Navy veteran Andy. I’ll have to stay over and take him to the VA tomorrow in Sacramento- he is not able to drive that far and to use yet another line from one of my Marines, “this is what we do for each other.”

We are less than two weeks away from the annual Brentwood Auto Parts/VFW Post #10789 Holiday Care Pack Event- Dec 12 at 6 pm, Veterans Hall in Brentwood- a crazy night that I look forward to every year!!

Still Encouraged, Ed

Operation Creekside/TaskForceHope/22TooMany

11/28

From a battle flown flag in the mail box to a veteran with a very nice vehicle to a Facebook message last night that I want to share about in detail;

A soldier deployed yet again and to Afghanistan, he says this is a cold situation- send hot cocoa!! But I want to share what I know- this soldier was deployed in 2011 with Chaplain Joshua Remy. We had supported Joshua throughout this deployment and even sent a Psalm 91 Guitar. Our team really enjoyed sending goods to this unit……

If you know the story, Chaplain Remy came back to the states, he was at Fort Hood during the terrorist attack on soldiers there and he was last stationed at Fort Riley in Kansas. In January of 2014 Joshua took his own life. He left behind two little girls that live out here in California. Later that year his chaplain’s assistant Michael Kissell would also take his own life and at least one of our 22TooMany families had a soldier on that same deployment that would also take his own life….

So, imagine being a career soldier and deploying over and over, and losing soldiers including the chaplain? This soldier is from southern Calif and he gave us the names to his squad yesterday and the address- a care pack went out today and tonight our team will pack at least one for each squad member. This is how we operate, like one of my Marines says, “always on duty, always on mission.”

Another soldier we know from 2011 is in Fort Bliss Texas announced today that he is a father to an eleven year old. We do keep in contact with our troops- it’s not about our care pack count, it’s personal and they know it when you’re for real…

I am thankful that we are able. I am even thankful for Facebook. This soldier deployed yet again most likely was there for Thanksgiving and obviously will be there for Christmas. I have never had to do that. I am grateful.

Still Encouraged, Ed

Operation Creekside/TaskForceHope/22TooMany

11/27

Had to be on schedule today; picked up a cashier’s check at the bank, hooked up the Operation Creekside trailer, check mail, head to Stockton to get my veteran….

*Check Mail- no checks in the mail today, but a battle flown US Flag sent to us by a female sailor from Stockton. I met her mom months ago and she gave me her daughter’s address and we sent a bunch of care packs!! The flag comes with a photo of the crew with signatures on the back!!

Then I picked up Jose in Stockton and we drove to Oakdale. We did a test drive and our worthy veteran was pleased with my selection. We had lunch afterwards and I can tell you this young man is happy!! When we entered Oakdale a lady got out of her car at the stoplight and handed me a $20- this happens once in a while, so after lunch, we stopped at Shell Gas and filled his tank. I handed him the $20 and also a $100 bill to help with insurance….above and beyond is what our vets say about our mission…..

I’m reporting backwards, but my son and I visited with US Marine Del Velarde in the hospital on Sunday- still in the ICU but getting better.We went to the house after to see his family- it’s one of those things, we are family with our Task Force Hope veterans…

I want to thank all who helped us get this vehicle. It gives me great joy to see my veterans doing well and knowing some of their stories I am sometimes amazed at what simple kindness can do- human kindness….

God Bless America!!

Best, Ed

11/24

I am happy to report that we have the funds to purchase the vehicle for our Task Force Hope veteran! Thank you to those of you who helped! This one wasn’t my idea, but I’ll go along with anything that helps my veterans and in a short time frame we have met the need! We will be making the purchase today or tomorrow an will report back soon!!

My son and I spent Thanksgiving Day with one of our guys (veterans) that would have spent the day alone. We brought back some of our tradition and did some target shooting- my shoulder is sore!! Time spent with our veterans is always good.

We have more care packs to ship and are gearing up for the Brentwood Auto Parts/VFW Post #10789 5th Annual Troop Care Pack Event on Dec 12 at the Veterans Hall in Brentwood. The event starts at 6 pm, but good help is encouraged to come early- I will be there by 4 pm at the latest!

We are also planning our veteran camps for 2018 and will need sponsors, volunteers, and help and support- Operation Creekside is not the “lone ranger” in any of this work. We welcome help and we partner with credible groups like VFW Post #10789 that are really helping veterans.

Also, as the Chaplain and Family Outreach guy for 22TooMany we are planning on visiting more families in 2018, families that have lost service members to PTSD related suicide. This is important and delicate mission work, if we end soldier suicide today, these families would still be hurting!!

Always on duty, always on mission, Ed

Operation Creekside/TaskForceHope/22TooMany

Romans 12:12 joyful, patient, faithful

11/20

I’m gonna tell you more because this veteran is worthy.

In March of 2016 while most of the veterans were sitting around the campfire I found one of my guys in the courtyard at camp trembling. I know he was trembling because I put my arm around him and could feel him trembling. He told me that he was sick and tired of pretending to be happy!

I kept my arm around him and I walked him over to a picnic table to sit down. We sat there and I tried to comfort him, then I took out my phone and fumbled with a text to one of my Marines- I am left handed and that arm was around my veteran and I was texting with my right hand! The text was simple- need you now!! Within a minute the Marine arrived and then a Soldier and I watched as they built their brother back up.

These three veterans ended up at the campfire a long time that night and a quick fishing trip in the morning too. These two that answered my call to this day are there for their brother!

So a year and a half later this particular veteran is doing well. He is employed. He got his drivers license. Go back a few years and this guy does not leave the house often. The Task Force Hope veteran camps have been the difference. These guys help each other. There is hope.

I am pushing. We are small potatoes. We can’t do a $400,000 house like Gary Sinise does for the severely wounded veterans. But we can make a difference.

If you have already helped with this, thank you. If you are able to help, please let me know. It’s all care packs after this through December!

thank you, Ed

Operation Creekside
PO Box 1758
Discovery Bay, Ca. 94505

Memo “Veteran Vehicle”

11/19

Let me clarify some things; this was not my idea. One of our sponsors wanted to help a veteran with something substantial. I found a need, a real need- this veteran in particular is gainfully employed, has a drivers license and is doing well. Doing extremely better that when I first met him- he was pretty hopeless. But after a couple of Task Force Hope camps with other vets that also struggle with PTSD, he is doing much better.

He doesn’t know we are working on this. His plan is to buy a moped or a scooter to get to work and back- he works in Stockton and gets off work at 9:30 pm. His brother, also a veteran, tells me that he wants a truck because he does projects- you can’t haul a sheet of plywood in a car. We need a truck. We have a nice one picked out from a dealer we trust. We have made 2 other vehicle purchases and both are running well, This dealer is down with our cause- helping veterans….

This is just as big a deal as keeping a veteran and his family in their house in a time of need- we’ve done that this year too, a couple times. Last year we fixed a car for a female combat medic. The car was sitting in the front yard for months. Ask my veterans, we go above and beyond- when her mom brought her to get the car, she cried when she saw the new tires we had purchased. This veteran deserved this- to not have to worry or second guess. It’s the least we can do…

My good friend Bryan Welden can tell you how much these little things mean to these veterans. Maybe you’ve been in the struggle or maybe not, but you never know how much you can impact someone’s life until you help…..

Most of the time my emails are reports. We work for our vets 24/7. I’m on fire duty in Miwuk Vilage in the morn helping Andy with a huge burn pile. Also will check on the 80 year old Marine in Sonora that may need some firewood for the winter.

Our veterans are worthy, if you can help please let me know….

Operation Creekside
PO Box 1758
Discovery Bay, Ca. 94505

Memo “Veteran Vehicle”

Please see our website and see how much mission work we do at operationcreekside.org

thanks, Ed

11/17

We are planning 2018 as we speak- camp schedules, day activities, outreach, serving more veterans, and looking forward to participating in Task Force Hope Birmingham!! Nothing is impossible as in Phil 4:13.

The Discovery Bay Yacht Club hosted a care pack event last night and filled 100 boxes for deployed US troops! We had distinguished guests with us; Steve Todd, VFW Post #10789 Commander, his brother Mike who helps Steve with all the work they do for local veterans, and my good friend Col Eric Boettcher.

We are half way to the funds needed for the vehicle purchase for one of our Task Force Hope veterans. We have a truck in mind. It is a 2002 Dodge Dakota with low miles and for a fair price. If anyone can help, please contact me at 925 260 5423.

Checks to Operation Creekside are greatly appreciated!

Memo: Veteran Vehicle

PO Box 1758
Discovery Bay, Ca 94505

thanks, Ed

11/15

Yesterday I sent out an email requesting assistance for a deserving young veteran that is in need of a vehicle. I’m going to tel you a little more;

Last March at Task Force Hope veterans camp, while most of my guys were at the camp fire I found this young man in the courtyard deeply in struggle with doubt, depression, and hopelessness and what I did was call his brothers! First a Marine showed up and then a Soldier and I stepped back and watched them encourage their brother. They also followed through and have continued the support for this US Army veteran.

He lost his dad this March and again his Task Force Hope brothers have been there- ten of them at the funeral, but it has been a difficult year. A few months back the whole family had to move and on one of the loads to the new house he was in the truck with me- I have moved his brother Del three times! But his attitude and his hopefulness was so encouraging to me! I just like to see my guys do well.

Now he is gainfully employed, with a promotion recently and finally has his drivers license. PTSD had taken this young man into a dark and isolated world and what brought him back was the love of his fellow veterans- brothers that do not leave anyone behind.

We have a vehicle, actually two to choose from at Family Truck & Auto in Oakdale. We have purchased 2 vehicles for veterans from this dealership and they are down with our cause. We need help with this. We cannot use care package dollars for this. I personally need a newer vehicle to tow the Operation Creekside trailer, but that will have to wait-my veterans come first!

If you can help, please contact me asap. 925 260 5423

Note: one of our best supporters started this effort with a $2500 donation. We need about $6000, depending on which truck we get. We received a $100 donation last night from another one of our supporters. This veteran doesn’t know we are doing this. He is thinking about buying a moped to ride to work- have you looked outside this morn? I don’t want to see this young man on a moped in the rain!!

Participation is Encouraged.

Best, Ed

11/14

We are still consistently shipping out the care packs and we have a new Coast Guard contact in Puerto Rico that we are shipping goods to. KLove Radio aired our mission again on Sunday night, an interview with Monika Kelly, and we got some response- a mom shared her son’s address and a care pack went out immediately!!

One of our Task Force Hope veterans is in need of a vehicle. I can tell you that this young man is doing well, has a job, and has hopes and dreams. We have about 1/2 of the funds needed and Family Truck & Auto in Oakdale has 2 nice vehicles available for a fair price. We have bought 2 vehicles from them for veterans already and they are supportive of our mission!

If you or your company could help us with this, please contact me at 925 260 5423. This is one of our Task Force Hope vets and again, he is doing well and a vehicle would really help him at this point.

We are care packing tonight and look forward to another great pack. We are doing a “special op” pack on Thursday with the Discovery Bay Yacht Club and gearing up for the 5th Annual Brentwood Auto Parts Holiday Pack with VFW Post #10789 at the Veterans Hall in Brentwood on Dec 12.

And here’s the exciting news……..we are working with my good friend and US Navy Veteran BJ Cotton on a new project- Task Force Hope Alabama!! It will be in 2018, but we have to start planning. I have always felt that our mission is nationwide and we need to network with veterans and patriots across the US.

Again, if anyone can help with the vehicle purchase for a deserving veteran, please let me know!!

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged

11/8

Yesterday I mailed out some care packs, a couple to a Coast Guard contact in Puerto Rico, and then rec’d a call from one of our biggest Operation Creekside supporters. He said that his nephew was in the hospital and it didn’t look good. I sensed the urgency in his voice and immediately left for the hospital. His nephew Raul, has been valiantly battling cancer for about a year, had a tumor removed and one of his lungs, but was doing fairly well.

I arrived at the hospital to see Raul through the window in an isolation room, with the nurses inside working to help him breathe. It seemed like he was holding his own so we convinced his aunt to get something to eat. When we returned from the cafeteria, you could see the concern on the doctor’s face and there was more staff in the room with Raul.

I planted myself by the window and prayed. I could not seem to find the words at times, but I kept asking for the Lord’s help. I prayed in Jesus’ name, I quoted Scripture, Romans 12:12, 15:13. I found a Psalm 91 Card in my wallet and read the whole thing, quietly out loud. I focused in on the last verse, “with a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My salvation.”

Earlier his aunt had shown me the texts she rec’d from Raul that morning, “I love you guys, I’m not going to make it, I am sorry.” So I prayed that he would have the desire to live. I prayed for God to send His angels into the room. For over 2 hours, I just prayed!

Later, the code blue alert sounded and the staff did their very best to save him. His best friend had showed up to witness this code blue with us and young Raul Padilla passed away about 5:30 last night. His best friend said that Raul had just been dealt a bad hand. It took me a while to process this statement but I had to respectfully disagree and I told him that God needed another angel in heaven.

And reflecting this morning as I watched a beautiful sunrise on the way to Sonora, I think God did send angels into that hospital room last night- it was the loving care of that staff. One nurse whose shift was over, walked up to me at the window, put her hand on my shoulder and said, “we are working hard for him.” I said, “I know, I’ve been watching, can I go inside?” She said, “no, but your prayers are heard from here.”

His brother Miguel, a US Marine, flies in today- the hope was to see Raul alive, but now it is to pay last respects. I pray for the family during this difficult time. Raul was only 23.

Best, Ed

11/3

We have been very active with Santa Rosa area support, a big delivery with VFW Post 10789, water deliveries to fire dept personnel, and this week 150 cases or so to the US Coast Guard in Petaluma. One of our sponsors sent $500 to help the families of Santa Rosa High School- if you remember 75 kids from that school lost their homes. Well, we sent Safeway Gift Cards via priority mail and here’s some of the message I rec’d from Lynnette, “I can’t tell you how much it means to our community!…as of the last bell today we had multiple parents in tears! Thank You!”

Lynnette lost her son Ray to PTSD related suicide and that’s how I know her. She is one of the families we know through 22TooMany. She is my only contact in Santa Rosa and we have made an impact in that community thanks to her. Blessings multiply when God is involved! I rec’d my 22TooMany “business cards” in the mail today; Ed McClelland, Chaplain, Family Outreach- now this is real mission work, meeting families and just listening to their stories.

November and December will be busy months for us with the care packs. If you know of any deployed US troops and have good addresses, please let me know! We also send a “stateside” care pack to any veteran. The encouragement of a care pack is worth the effort…

God Bless America!!

Best, Ed

October 2017

10/30

A few weeks ago and right after we finished the dock for a US AirForce veteran in Oregon, I had the bright idea of collecting cases of water for the firefighters battling the nor Cal fires and it only took us a week to deliver a load with the help of VFW Post #10789. But right after that we found out t that there was an abundant supply of water up there, pallets and pallets and even truckloads!!

We had to get strategic with our delivery on this and the next load up went to Santa Rosa Alliance Church where Samaritan’s Purse is headquartered right now and then last night I took another load to the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds to a fundraising event for the fire victims- now this water I had to purchase because our remaining water is staged at a location in Martinez pending my delivery options…

I’ve been on the road so much lately I didn’t even know we had an active duty Coast Guardsman attending my home church and when I finally met him I asked if he had any contacts in the Santa Rosa area. I just got word today that I can take the remainder of the water to the Coast Guard Training Center in Petaluma!

We were also able to deliver some of the water to the Rio Vista Fire Dept. and a note from last night; I watched 3 women joyfully hand out 1500 bottles of water to church members and some folks that lost their homes in the fires!!

So, the water wasn’t really in line with our normal mission, but firefighters and first responders are important too and many are veterans and making the Coast Guard connection is a bonus…

Always on duty and still encouraged, Ed

10/26

A Facebook post said that a VFW in San Andreas was in dire need of some siding repair, so I checked with my handyman friend and went to take a look and found 3 guys working on a wall section that I could do myself, but just 15 minutes earlier I ran into a Marine in Valley Springs that gave me some good encouragement for the day!!

A trip down Hwy 12 through Lockeford and Lodi, then into Rio Vista- I briefly looked at trucks there and wow- trucks are expensive, but the productive part of this mission was finding a group of firefighters at the local station and delivering about 20 cases of water!! They were very happy and I gave them a case of the Tillamook Beef Jerky too!!

We are looking for a new(er) tow vehicle for the Operation Creekside trailer. The old F-150 just passed 280,000 and I can’t really do the hills anymore and the mission is expanding- a 4x4, 4 door, short bed truck is what we need- 4x4 because we go everywhere, 4 door to haul our Task Force Hope vets and or care packs and supplies and short bed because of all the around town stuff we do….

I only shipped out 1 care pack today, but you know, one or a hundred, they all have the ability to encourage our troops.

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged!

10/25

I made a quick run up to Santa Rosa today and found the Billy Graham Disaster Response Chaplains at a church there and was able to deliver about 20 cases of water. The Samaritan’s Purse Team is in route to help the fire victims as we speak and the church will inform me when they need more water!

The Billy Graham Chaplains are good folks- we prayed in the parking lot for the people that would be coming for help and I specifically prayed for strength for these chaplains.

Just wanted to share that our fire relief mission is good and new contacts are always great for mission work!!

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged!

10/23

When things don’t go exactly the way you planned,. it’s called “swerving” like the time the boat pulled up at a warrior getaway in Maryland with a full bar, a bartender, and drink specials…..and well I can tell you for sure that PTSD, mission work, and alcohol do not mix!!!

Today I am talking about our generous supporters and nor Cal in general, and myself thinking water is the ticket- the best, non perishable item to gather for the fire victims, firefighters, you know…..and we did deliver about 100 cases to Santa Rosa High School, but here’s the deal; they have pallets of water up there and truckloads and everybody has water…..

We have 6 pallets of water and we will distribute it, but we will be strategic. The initial trip up was good- we got some vets out of the house, we encouraged the staff at Santa Rosa High School and we realized a great need…..75 of those kids at this one school lost their homes. The principal’s face told the story; he was like, “what are we going to do?”

This catastrophe will be old news in a week or so, that is, if you are not directly affected, but for these kids, this next couple of years will be interesting, quite possibly very difficult and even heartbreaking….

So, one of our sponsors sent me $500 to buy gift cards for this particular group of people- the kids at Santa Rosa High. I went to Safeway today and purchased 25 $20 Gift Cards. I’m doing my Liberty High math again and I cannot compute 25 into 75 very well, but I think 50 more $20 gift cards would equal one gift card to each family- if you can help, please let me know…..

Also Safeway is matching donations as we speak for the fire victims up to $500,000. Help in any way you can, it’s what we’re supposed to do.

Operation Creekside will ship out 37 care packs in the morn, thanks to PG&E in Fresno. That makes about 85 care packs out in the last 2 weeks or so. We are still on mission, I spent 2 hours at camp this morn in MiWuk Village helping US Navy veteran Andy Mandeson gettign ready for winter.

Again, if you could help us with the gift cards, please let me know. 925 260 5423

Thanks, Ed

Still Encouraged

10/18

Yesterday we made a trip to Santa Rosa and Operation Creekside and VFW Post #10789 hauled 4 truckloads of goods including a loaded Operation Creekside trailer to Santa Rosa High School. The goods came from donations collected by the Brentwood Lions Club, customers of Big B Lumber and others.

I think hope comes best when delivered in person and the benefits get multiplied as in overflowing blessings! Let me try to break this down; The Red Cross and other big groups only want money and I do understand the simplicity of this, but when you have folks that want to help in other ways, what do you do?? I called various numbers and got the same message pretty much, we only want cash donations.

We have a contact in Santa Rosa through our mission of visiting the families of the 22 veterans that take their own lives daily, so I reached out to a mom that lost her son to suicide. Her family has been evacuated from home 3 times now and are still staying somewhere else, but she happens to work at Santa Rosa High School and informed me that they would take whatever we bring!

So, yesterday morn, a small convoy made the run to Santa Rosa High School, myself and 5 veterans, one of them the VFW Post Commander and also VP of the Brentwood Lions Club, and a couple of these vets I know needed to get out of the house, the best part being how well these veterans were received and it really was truckloads of hope!

My son and I had met this mom in July and she shared the struggles including how she had just recently returned to work after losing her son. And meeting about 30 families in the last 13 months, I do remember that it was a difficult meeting, meaning the struggles were obvious, but yesterday I saw a different person. Even through the evacuations and what’s going on all around her, she seemed in, well, better spirits.

She had just returned on Sunday night from a TAPS event in Arizona. TAPS is Tragedy Assist Program for military families. She could see Santa Rosa on fire from the plane and then evacuated that night.

We unloaded the goods with the principal and several school employees helping and we were told that about 75 students from that school alone had lost their homes! After hearing that, Steve Todd went out to his truck and came back with a stack of gift cards and told the principal to give them to the families…..

Now some of you know how I joke about my Liberty High School education, but even I can do the math, and these families need more gift cards. We need to help and any way we can. This catastrophe, believe it or not, will be old news in a few weeks- not for the people affected of course, but I hope you know what I mean.

We are going to collect gift cards and deliver them, in person, to the principal. You know, if everyone did something, it would really make a difference…

We do also support first responders and the rest of our mission still moves forward- a bunch of care packs went out yesterday, thanks to Steve Todd and Dennis before we went to Santa Rosa.

If you’d like to help us help Santa Rosa High School please let me know.

Best, Ed

Still encouraged!!

10/16

Last week we installed the dock for a US Air Force Vet in Keno Oregon and came back to smoke filled nor Calif and immediately went on fire relief mode and were able to get about 6 pallets of water donated and ready to deliver!! Over the weekend I was in Sonora with Vets Helping Vets working their annual end of the summer party. It is encouraging when non profits work together!!

We worked with Steve Todd today getting the Brentwood Lions Club donations ready to deliver to Santa Rosa tomorrow; 85 cases of water, misc food and new clothes- the Operation Creekside trailer is full and we have 3 trucks also going..

Some info on how this works besides working with Steve and the local VFW Post. Our Santa Rosa connection is a mom who lost her son to PTSD related suicide. She and her husband are still not back in their home, but she is meeting us tomorrow to help distribute the goods!

We also have a US Army Purple Heart recipient whose home in Coffey Park was lost. I spoke with him today and his voice told the story- he lost everything.

And non profits working together- since the trailer is loaded, first thing in the morning Steve Todd of VFW Post 10789 will haul a load of care packs to the Discovery Bay Post Office, the we will load the other trucks and head to Santa Rosa.

On Thurs we are doing a care pack event with PG&E in Fresno- probably another 50 care packs to ship!!

Still Encouraged and Busy!!

Best, Ed

10/14

We installed a beautiful dock for a US Air Force veteran in Keno Oregon earlier this week and on day #2 we were lost in the lumber yard trying to find the wood we needed and wasting valuable time- then we helped the yard foreman find it and he helped us get it loaded and then I told him that we were from California! Oregon doesn’t typically like us Californians, but his response was, “we’re all the same.” And I could tell the intent was like, we are all in this together!!

As northern Calif burns and it’s really ugly here, stories keep coming out about strangers helping each other through these catastrophic events and two days in the Big B parking lot in Brentwood collecting cases and cases of water for the firefighters proved to be valuable in goods and mission opportunities.

An old friend came by to buy a light switch and also purchased 10 cases of water. A man came by to shake my hand and then he went right into prayer for the people affected by these fires and for the safety of the firefighters. I was impressed with the workers that were bringing us water or buying it in the store and walking it out to our trailer and also the people driving up to drop off.

Last night as I was hooking up to the trailer two Mexican guys came over to help and if you know me. the trailer part is easy, but help leads to conversation , and the one guy echoed the yard foreman from Oregon, “we’re all the same”, like we are all in this together!

This morn I heard that the wind had shifted and there were more immediate evacuations so I decided not to make the initial run up there as I don’t want to get in the way of fire personnel or evacuees. We have 4 or 5 pallets of water coming in on Monday to Big B and we will stage it at CD&Power in Martinez, then distribute as needed….

I am up in Sonora now helping Russ and crew at Sonora Vets Helping Vets getting ready for their annual end of summer party. These guys run a thrift store and a veterans outreach center and we work together on all kinds of veteran support. Last year Russ’s guys led us to a 79 year old Marine that was out of firewood and we partnered with them to purchase and deliver a cord of wood.

There is plenty to do and our veterans are worthy!!

Best, Ed

Vets Helping Vets- see Facebook for info- hot rods and music here in Sonora tomorrow starting at Noon.

10/12

There are 8000 firefighters in northern Calif battling catastrophic fires! Many many relief efforts are in place and ongoing- if you can help, then help

We are going to focus on cases of water and deliver to the firefighting base camp and possibly two church contacts we have- get help/supplies where needed as soon as possible and continue the support as needed.

We are set up at Big B Lumber in Brentwood Ca during business hours. Cases of water can be dropped off there for fire relief or my church at 657 McClarren Rd also in Brentwood.

Cases of water can be purchased over the phone at Big B- 925 260 5423

If you’re out of state and or have a business that could help in a big way, like shipping Beef Jerky or large quantities of food items for the firefighters, you can ship to Big B at 6600 Brentwood Bl. Brentwood, Ca 94513

Other ways to help: stop by Bib B tomorrow and give me a break to go buy more water or pick up donations

Track Facebook- the local VFW is also collecting goods- help where you can

A pallet of water at Winco costs $308- if you could help in that way, please let me know

*Bringing cases of water to Big B would really help- I’d like to see that truck go out with 10 pallets.

We will also deliver with the Operation Creekside trailer.

Again, help wherever you can and pray- the firefighters will be on these fires for a while and 3500 homes have already burned- think of those families.

If you don’t have a “bug out” bag, put one together immediately- you never know!!

God Bless America

Best, Ed

10/9

My son and I helped one of my Marines move on Saturday, Sunday I picked up dock material for a veteran who lives on the Klamath River in Oregon and here we are, my friend Marty who is his son and myself, building a dock in Oregon….docks is what I did for almost 30 years and we were able to frame it this afternoon- going right to work when we arrived.

And being up here in Oregon just might give me a chance to meet some folks, Marie Hammer is here- the mom who we made a memorial bench for her son Brady and there’s the Korea War veteran Lloyd I met on the last day of the September mission. Going into town in the morn to pick up the cedar decking with the Operation Creekside trailer and it looked good rolling up I-5 today and then Hwy 97 into Oregon. This trailer has been invaluable for mission work.

The Operation Creekside team will be care packing at Dino’s Deli tomorrow night and we will be shipping care packs by Friday. Last week we shipped out quite a few “stateside” care packs and I rec’d a message from Viet Nam Veteran Rocky Graves today, “received a box in the mail from you. Thank you so much for the birdhouse, the t shirt and goodies. You are a pleasure to have as a friend and enjoyed your visit with us. God id good as you can attest and works in our lives when we open our heart to Him.”

I spent most of the day a few weeks back with Rocky. He was sharing with me about his son who he lost to PTSD and about his time in Viet Nam. I noticed some nice birdhouses at his house and I thought, have I got something for this man!! My mom had a bunch of these and some I will not part with, but think about the healing power of such a simple thing and this is why I go meet people where they are.

Still encouraged, Ed

Operation Creekside

10/1

Y’all know I myself am a believer and you know I’ve been on mission to one veteran in the mountains, US Navy vet Andy Mandeson and more recently on mission across the US meeting families of the 22 veterans that take their lives daily, meeting veterans on the road and in care homes, working an event in Maryland with Joni and Friends- in other words, busy, busy.

Now US Marine Andrew Jackson is in the care home where my mom was and this busyness of mine, all mission work, has kept me away for some time. I get word Sat that he’s back in Sutter Delta Hosp across the street and made a point to visit today. He’s been in this particular hospital quite often and the care is good. Not too long ago I was at his bedside when the doctor said, “there’s nothing more I can do for you.” My Marine cried on that occasion and we prayed. He did well enough to go back to the care home again…..

This afternoon I found him sleeping and the RN asked me who I was.I said I am his brother- kind of a joke because he is black and I am white, but I am his brother. He said, “does he listen to you?” I said, “yes.” He said, ” see if you can get him to agree to a blood draw, we need to do it and he refused this morning.” I woke up Andrew. He has always told me to wake him and he had a big smile when he saw me. I asked him if he was cooperating and basically got him to agree to the blood draw.

A young lab tech came in and Andrew was all smiles. She was nervous I think but he was very gracious and the first attempt did not go so well. She decided to try taking blood from his hand and I just bowed my head and prayed, “Lord help, Lord help get this accomplished, Lord help this hospital staff do the very best for Andrew.” She was successful in getting the vials and Andrew was praising the Lord and in good spirits. He talked about faith and the lab tech said she was unsure, that she believed in God but had difficulty with the church and such.

I watched him minister. I watched him tell her about his faith. And I’ve seen his faith, he’s ministered to me from the hospital bed on many occasions. I told him about a Marine that died way too young because of PTSD. He was very upset. US Marine Andrew Jackson still has a lot to offer. He wouldn’t let me take a picture but he agreed to prayer. I knelt down by the bed and reached for his hand. I got both hands and I asked if he wanted to pray. He said, “you go ahead.” And I prayed, a simple prayer, and when I was done he said, “Amen’, and I pulled one hand away. He didn’t let go and I couldn’t help see the white hand being held by two black hands. I thought this would be a picture, but again, no pictures….

What a welcome home for me. Just the fact he is still alive and then the bonus- I get to to the power this man has in Christ. When Andrew Jackson says, “Lord have mercy, or I’m in the loving arms of Jesus”, well, there’s not a sweeter sound…..

Best, Ed

September 2017

9/26

We have been very productive on this mission and in the last two days I have met 2 men on my “bucket list” of folks I need to meet! My bucket list is short, it’s people that I respect and want to tell them that in person- it might be a Viet Nam vet in Maine or a Navy vet in Alabama or a sweet lady with a big heart in Florida, but these are folks that I need to meet…..

Checking my stack of customs forms, we have mailed out 40 care packs along the way and from 25 plus post offices, also giving 4 care packs to moms I have met to mail for us. I don’t know the impact, but imagine that- a mom who lost her son to PTSD mailing a care pack to another soldier?

I think we have at least 2 memorial benches for Big Al to make and I just got word that the team back home has 25 care packs ready to ship for Friday- good timing, just got a new name for a soldier with a lot of troops in Bagram. We will have some “stateside” care packs to ship also as I promised a few veterans in care homes that we would send them something!

We’re 24/7, 365 days, someday maybe the VA will figure out that they need to reach these veterans where they are- a dad in Maryland told me something I already knew, “PTSD doesn’t work from 9 to 5.” The challenge is to help and to help wherever you can. I have a Marine friend that’s really busy, but he has a song to record- I think it’s as good as “365 Days” and I also think the timing is good…..

I have a list of families from the 22TooMany database and checking them off, I have met 30 of the 240 families on our list. Now this is just our list, because doing the math of 22 veteran suicides per day, well you know the “list” is much bigger, but 30 families contacted in roughly one year is pretty good and I do want to meet them all….

My Enterprise Rental Car has been a dream- never thought I’d like a Jeep Cherokee so much, but it is efficient and corners like it’s on rails! That’s kind of a joke, but man, if we could get Enterprise and Holiday Inn Express on board to help with just this part of our mission, we could reach a lot more people….

Tonight should be my last stay on the road and I’m at the Best Western in Rogue River Oregon. There is a veteran who works here. Last time Joseph and I were up here, we left a care pack for him. You know that we will send or deliver a stateside care pack to any veteran as a thank you for serving, but this one had some benefit for us too, because the rate for the night here is the best I’ve had throughout this trip….

It’s all mission work…..

Best, Ed

9/25

And from a cool 29 degrees in Helena Montana to Everett Wash and now Astoria Oregon with some fog and rain, it is all good mission work!! In Helena I stood by the grave Christopher Michael Dana with his mom Lisa for 50 minutes while she told me about her son. I only know the minutes because she said, “I’m meeting my friends at 9:30”, and I glanced at my phone. It’s been 10 years and she is doing good, been through some struggles but doing good…

Next stop was Missoula Montana and a visit to the grave site of Lcpl Brandon Slack. i might have mentioned this Marine in a previous email- he was one of my task Force Hope veterans best friends. The cemetery was nice and well kept. I was there for a good 20 minutes and saw no one else. This was on Sunday, Gold Star Mother’s Day.

I had to press on to meet Brittny in Lake Stevens Wash, 625 miles or so on I-90 West and I-5 North, but at least I am back in my time zone!! Brittny is a widow, her husband took his own life on Halloween in 2014. She had reached out when I was in Wisconsin and redirecting northwest, well, just gave me more opportunities.

Brittny, and I am spelling her name correctly, brought her 8 year old son with her and began telling me some of her story over dinner. I listened intently but also kept track of the busy 8 year old that inadvertently stuck his finger in his eye and forgot all about the french fries in front of him, but Brittny told me that her son had lost a step dad, the veteran, Richard Lee Hough in 2014 and just last year his real dad…

This kid was in god spirits and a SeaHawk fan, his mom had a 49er hoodie on and I couldn’t believe a 49er fan was in the Seattle area. The wait staff at the restaurant were all wearing Seahawk jerseys! Well, Brittny wants to go to a home 49er game and in Nov of this year the 49ers will host the Hawks- I am thinking about working on this- maybe get some tickets and a flight for Brittny and her son to see this game???

On the way to Astoria today, I was able to stop by the grave site of SPC Richard Lee Hough at a beautiful national veterans cemetery and what I found was another well kept cemetery for our heroes. It said on the road out there- For Our Heroes.

I am sitting in a small room overlooking the marina in Astoria Oregon, my idea of a break, and with a couple of key stops left before I hit California and reflecting on the trip coast to coast with some serious zigs and zags, but meeting these families is so important and like Brittny said last night, “it’s like being on an island.” I hugged her when we parted and said, “take care of yourself Niner fan,” and then gave her son a hug too. It’s vital to meet people in person- this is what we do for each other…..

The “team” is care packing tomorrow night in Brentwood, I’m probably not back til Wed or so and then back to mission work from home- there is always something to do…..

Best, Ed

operationcreekside.org

22TooMany/Task Force Hope

9/24

I would appreciate prayer…

Twenty five and a half days into this mission and I just need to finish strong because there’s no let up when I return and some of these opportunities are maybe once in a lifetime!!

This morn I find myself in Helena Montana. It was not an intentional stop, but with no hotel rooms available in Missoula last night, I had to “swerve”, this is a mission term when you need to switch directions or…..but I ended up here in Helena. Then rec’d a message last night that a mom lives here that lost her son to soldier suicide in 2007. Christopher Michael Dana was with the US Army National Guard and is buried here in a veterans cemetery. I am meeting his mom there this morning.

I am still on track to visit the grave of US Marine Brandon Slack in Missoula, but I cannot miss this opportunity to tell Chris’ mother that I care about her loss, that America cares.

These are God given opportunities and my study this morn in Isaiah says, “Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God. Isaiah 40:1.

I have a widow in Lake Stevens Wash to meet and a couple other important stops, then home- I just pray that I can keep focused on mission and not get distracted by wanting to be home……

Best, Ed

Romans 12:12

9/23

Well my laptop was broken from Wheeling WV to Helena Montana and a man from Brooklyn NY fixed it for $22. I am not embracing that number, but it is fairly accurate that 22 veterans per day in this country take their own lives. 22TooMany has a group of runners that run races in honor of these veterans. We have a network of families and these people help each other. It may take me til Monday for the next visit with a widow in Lake Stevens Washington, but I put in some miles yesterday, stopped again at Sgt Duvi Wolf’s grave in Farmer South Dakota, then made it to Spearfish SD.

Today I am in Helena Montana, mailed a care pack out from a small Montana post office this morn- the clerk was a US Air Force veteran and I thanked him for serving…..but I’m headed to Missoula, I hope the snow holds off! In Missoula there is a Marine buried there that was one of my Task Force Hope veterans best friend. I didn’t plan on coming back this high up, I-90, but that widow in Washington helped me to go this direction, so I-90 it is to Lake Stevens!!

I did ask my Marine if it was ok for me to visit the grave site as I don’t think he has been there yet, but every year on Oct 22, my son and I and another Task Force Hope vet and his family spend the day with our Marine. It helps him get through it and to not do anything stupid. Last year we spent 6 hours at his house and he gave us the ok to leave- this is what we do for each other….
So, the mission may seem complex, but we are multitasking and we are driven to reach as many veterans as we can, meet as many families as we can, and continue to ship the care packs to US troops deployed. On this mission, exploiting the fact that this nation is still free, I have mailed close to 40 care packs from 20 something post offices across the country while the team at home continues with our regular packs in Brentwood….

Why we travel: a man in Wisconsin gave me his son’s info, a US Army veteran who lives in Oregon. I’m gonna meet him in a few days. There’s the widow in Lake Stevens, and Marie Hammer in Klamath Falls has a Korea War veteran for me to meet too!! Maybe I’ll get to see one of my favorite veterans in Rogue River, but this is how we reach people- in person….

Best, Ed

Still Encouraged!

9/22

And there’s a WW2 veteran in Minnesota that could use a visit today and a sister of a soldier who took his own life because of PTSD in Washington state would like to visit- I have always said our mission is nationwide! These families are hurting. They need love and support. Had a good meeting with a mom in Ohio a few days ago- her son’s story is heartbreaking. They are all heartbreaking, but need to be told and heard. A mom and dad in Illinois I have met before spent a good 4 hours with me the other day and we talked like old friends.

I ended up in Troy Wisconsin yesterday and a charity golf event was going on. It’s a long story, but I knew the organizer by chance and almost spent the day, but I did not want to impose on another charity and if you’ve ever been to an event like this- the alcohol flows freely and early and as a recovering alcoholic, it’s not like I’m going to want to drink, I just choose not to be around it. So, I pressed on and made Lacrosse Wisconsin last night which puts me in reach of my veteran Bernie in a Minnesota care home and then into South Dakota. I am focused on Washington state now, checking weather and any other opportunities along the way….

There is also a Korea War veteran in Klamath Falls I’d like to meet. He knows Marie Hammer, the mom we delivered a memorial bench to in honor of her son Brady. We are building a network within our mission work. The people we meet become friends, we become family. Just the other day my pastor who spent 8 years in the US Marines thanked me for loving his extended family when I met the mom in Ohio. I told him, “these are my people.”

God Bless America!

Best, Ed

Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope/22TooMany

Be encouraged and encourage someone today!!

9/19

Well, it was Sunday after all and I’ve been missing my home church big time! But church led me to a Bible Study that night where the pastor himself needed prayer and prayer for a son who is a US Marine. I don’t know the whole story, but PTSD is probably a factor, but needing prayer is enough for me; to pray. Please pray for the estimated 600,000 veterans  that struggle with PTSD, TBI, and other issues.
I was near Bristol Tenn last night headed to my hotel in Middlesboro, Ky. when I rec’d a message from a mom I had met last year. She wanted to meet, so 68 miles south to White Pines and we were sitting at a table in Cracker Barrel talking like old friends. It was great time together and we really did talk like old friends. She gave me some really cool lanyards she had made and I gave her a care pack to mail this morning- we heal in community, we really do…..
I am headed way up north in Ohio today, may stop to see a friend here in Kentucky? But I also have a mom in North Dakota who wants to meet, so the schedule will get busy from here- I pray the weather holds up!!
Mission work is not easy but very necessary and building a network is crucial to helping veterans and these families of the 22. I didn’t have to go to war, I didn’t even have to serve, but I am serving now and it’s the least I can do for the country that I love. Meeting these families is a mission in itself and when a mom tells you that she misses her son everyday and that life still happens and she just tries to do her best,…. well, if nothing else, I have a listening hear.
With a possible ten days left on this mission, for my prayer warriors out there, please pray for opportunities to meet families, meeting them where they are and just listening to their stories. Pray for my safety in travel and strength to keep moving. I also pray for a sponsor at some point. Most of these families are very interested when I tell them about the memorial benches we’ve been building. We have only built two, but the healing power, just in the delivery is incredible! I was telling Janet last night about the veterans that accompany us when we deliver. A sponsor or sponsors to help with these part of the mission would really help. These families are hurting. If we stop soldier suicide today, they will still be hurting….
Best, Ed
Still Encouraged.

9/16

I met a dad yesterday morn in the lobby of my hotel In Cambridge and we sat and talked like old friends for over an hour. He was telling me about his son that took his own life in Jan of 2015 and how much he missed him. This dad has also served in Viet Nam, walking point for 6 months and like he said, came back with both legs!!
He invited me back to the house to meet his wife and I said I needed to take care of some business first- my bill was a little higher than expected and I just wanted to get the rate down if I could. He insisted on walking up to the counter with me and once i asked for the reduction he stepped up and said, “I will handle this.” He asked for the manager and told him about his son and that I had traveled from California to meet him. The manager took the rate down to $99 and then he insisted on paying the bill. I tried to tell him that helping me get the reduction was enough but he wouldn’t budge.
I spent the day with this man. He showed me photos of his son, a memorial area he has set up by a flagpole then hoisted a 12′ x 18′ American Flag. We shared a late morning breakfast and he led his wife and I in prayer. I told him I wanted to mail out some care packs and he took me to the local post office. I had 2 care packs ready for overseas and 1 stateside care pack. We went in to the post office and again he insisted on paying for all 3. It was not busy so he got into conversation with the clerk and told her about his son. He shed some tears and she was really moved. When we left she shook his hand with both her hands- it was quite the moment…
We had another meal at the local airport diner and I needed to get going, so again, my veteran prayed in the parking lot and we parted. I had told him and his wife earlier that I never set time limits on meetings and this day was all day. Some meetings are only 1 1/2 hours, but I always spend as much time as is needed….
These families all tell me the same thing. People don’t approach them. People don’t mention their loved ones names. They don’t often call. Today was a travel day- I needed to get to Raleigh North Carolina. A couple days here and then looking at the return trip- I know there’s a mom in Ohio that wants to meet and two Illinois families I missed on the way out. This is a mission in itself, but on the road I can do all my other duties- meeting veterans and mailing the care packs.
Still Encouraged, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope/ 22 Too Many

9/14

A nail in the tire of my rental car kept me in Milford Delaware last night that led to a few important meetings; this morning while waiting for Firestone to call I went to a veterans home here in Delaware and got the grand tour- that’s 3 veterans homes on this trip so far and wow, are these homes nice!! I only met one veteran this morning and he was a US Marine. He said that he would do it all again and when I told him I was from California, he said that he was stationed at Camp Pendleton for a time. The 2nd meeting was a postal clerk at the Milford Post Office. He was happy to mail out the care packs and noticed the Scripture on our return address label and asked me to remind him the verse. He then told me how folks come in and ask him for prayer. I love meeting people in person!
I am in Cambridge Maryland now and meeting with a dad in the morning who lost his son to PTSD. I just read the story and it’s heartbreaking like the rest. This dad is a Viet Nam veteran and I hear he’s pretty active in the veteran community. I get to hear a lot about the let downs of the VA. This tragedy happened right after and extended stay in a VA PTSD Program. I am thinking more and more about how to expand our Task Force Hope Program- I have always thought we should do this nationwide and w/o any fanfare or media attention. We have an effective program that needs to be nationwide!!
And I will say again that even if we stop soldier suicide today, these families of the 22 will still be hurting, so there’s another mission field right there too!!!
Best, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope/22TooMany

9/13

Time flies at this event and after 3 long and awesome days on the dock, there were family festivities last night- a talent show and dance, this morn we will send them off hopefully encouraged and refreshed! One of our warriors here tipped me off to a mutual friend who is struggling- he is a US Army veteran not far from here in Delaware, so that’s where I’m headed after lunch. This mission really is nationwide! An estimated 600,000 veterans suffer from PTSD, TBI, and other issues- we need to meet more vets and meet them where they are!!
I have families of the 22 to visit also, this is a another mission field all together, but again, if we stop soldier suicide today these families will still be hurting. I will be in this general area, east coast, for a few days and then to North Carolina. Hopefully the Lord Himself will guide my route and give me safe travels as I’m back on the road again!!
These families did well here. This is more than another “free” event for veterans. The Joni and Friends staff and the volunteers who paid their way to do this mission really do care about the families and it shows. I am very blessed to be a small part of it.
The Dock Guy, still serving but for a much better cause…
Best, Ed

9/11

 Day 2 in the books, working the docks all day and helping get 32 care packs ready to ship; right after this event, I start shipping. Today was a beautiful day on the Chesapeake Bay. Both boats today caught fish, we sent out a father and a son, a husband and wife, a father and two sons and a blind US Marine with his loyal camp volunteer. Within minutes of the last boat going out the boat captain sent me back a pic of the blind Marine with a fish, and like I said, all boats today caught fish!!
There is so much going on here, our warriors are doing well and the families are well taken care of. We have 24 warrior families here and 65 volunteers. These volunteers pay to be here and work these crazy hours to honor these families. It is amazing to see. It’s kind of like 2008 when Joseph and I went to Florida to learn care packing from Bob Williams, the king of care packing at the time. You have to learn and work with the best!!
On Wednesday morning as people run for planes to get home, I will be patiently waiting for my next assignment- this month is for outreach and only God knows where I may be going next!! There’s a veteran here who lives in a veterans home above Philadelphia and I may go visit him, and there are many more families of the 22 that could use a visit…
Six hours on the docks today made me daydream about my little tugboat, the Alyssa Joe, and how cool it would be to chug around in these beautiful waters- you never know!! Helping the veterans in and out of the boats and helping the families boarding the big pontoon boat is good duty for this old dock hand, one more day on the docks and then we’re winding down…
We did honor the day, Sep 11, with a moment of silence and we played God Bless America. One of our veterans here was at the Pentagon on this day in 2011. It was a tough day here for him for sure, but he was with good people and did pretty well…
Still Encouraged, Ed

9/10

There’s a good group of veterans here with their families at Sandy Cove in North East Maryland and I get to start my “job” today, helping the veterans in and out of the boats for fishing on the Chesapeake Bay. If you know me, I spent 30 years on the water, building docks and walking docks with no decking on them- so this is easy for me, even if the wind comes up, I can stand on this little dock for hours. One year here Cpl Timothy Donley, a double amputee, was out fishing and they were so late coming in that we almost missed dinner!! That night I sat at the table with his family. The “work” leads to opportunities!!
I had dinner last night with a Marine who served in Viet Nam. He shared a lot and even about a promise to a dying Marine some 52 years ago that he has faithfully kept. There is something about Marines you know. He lives in a veterans home above Philadelphia and he also shared about how good the care was. This should be the standard for our veterans- excellent care.
Going into a morning briefing- even us civilians have to take orders, because our level of care and service also has to be excellent. We don’t know what is going on with these families, but what we offer is a “break” and you should see how well these volunteers take care of these kids! Volunteers that pay their way to be here! It’s a honor just to work with these people. The bonus is to meet and to serve these worthy veterans…..
And here we go!!
Best, Ed

9/6

On Sep 5 I mailed 1 care pack out from Fennimore Wisconsin and today 1 each from Morris Illinois and Hebron Indiana. This really isn’t “all fun and games”, just exploiting the fact that we live in a free country thanks to our military and mailing out these care packs that encourage our troops tremendously can be done from anywhere!!
I was able to meet two families of the 22 yesterday. These meetings are never easy but I feel very necessary because every family says the same thing, “people just don’t approach us, people don’t ask us how we are doing.”
Today is the 6th anniversary of the loss of US Marine Cody Engren. I just met his parents days ago and rec’d a message from his mom today that prompted me to send a text to his dad. He thanked me for reaching out and its’ the least I could do…
And traveling coast to coast, meeting families, mailing out the care packs, meeting veterans, I ended up in Ft Wayne Indiana this afternoon and rec’d word from Keri at 22TooMany that there was a service here for a soldier that took his own life last week. Our network is growing and through a local contact I was able to attend and I’m going to share my perspective….
This is only the 2nd one of these for me and the similarities are; lots of people, civilians and military, a young man in the casket, a grieving mother, kids who lost a father, I could go on, but I spent some time with his best friend…. a young man that told me straight up about the difficulties his friend faced, the lack of help from the VA, the drugs that they prescribed, the family issues, the isolation……..
I stayed around long enough to see them load the casket in the hearse and watched his kids and family say their last good byes, before the door shut and it drove away. I asked the best friend if guys that were struggling should see this picture and what their families would go through if they took their own life and he said yes….
The preacher talked a lot about hope and about reality and some of it me and the best friend didn’t really find comforting- we were just being honest with each other, What I see is 3 kids without a father. One thing he did say that I found encouraging was this, “at the end of the day we can rejoice that God is still God.”
So, tomorrow I’m going to blast across Ohio and get closer to my destination and get ready for 5 1/2 or 6 days of mission work, with Joni and Friends at a warrior getaway. It’s work with long hours and little rest, but it is also so rewarding and little things like seeing happy kids and warriors catching fish on the Chesapeake Bay, well, it’s priceless….
Best, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope/22TooMany

9/5

Yesterday morn South Dakota State PGR Captain Randy Ward met me in Sioux Falls and on his trusty 1998 Harley he led me to a veterans home in Lucerne Minn. The grounds of this place are beautiful and we found happy and well cared for veterans inside! This is the standard that should be in every care home!!
We met several veterans and Randy was making the rounds, talking to all of them, while I kneeled down to talk to one US Army veteran named Bernie. He was a soft spoken man with steel blue eyes and he asked so many questions like, “what are you doing here from California?” I really didn’t want to talk to him about the 22 veteran suicides, so I just pointed up and to use that old line in the movie Blues Brothers, I implied that I was “on a mission from God.”
I thought I was gonna get a sermon because Bernie lit up, smiled and said, “that’s good, He will take care of you.” We had quite the conversation after that and I told Randy when we left, “I’m the one who gets blessed.” It’s meeting people where they are, even if it’s only a few minutes or an hour- the mission field is huge!!
Within one half hour I am to meet another mom who has lost her son to PTSD related suicide. I say related because PTSD is the cause. At a truck stop in Worthington Mn I find Sheri and we talk outside for a bit, her daughter comes by, drops off Sheri’s grandson and we go inside for lunch. This meet lasted some time as Sheri is active within the military community helping veterans and helping families. I was listening intently but also thinking about making it to Aledo Il…
I left about 2 pm with a 6 hour drive ahead, but my Aledo family had taken a last minute camping trip and were not home! This “swerve” was actually to head due east and wonder where I might end up? My GPS then took me into northeastern Iowa and I saw some small town American pride, especially in Leroy!! I crossed the Mississippi River last night and ended up in Prairie du Chien Wisconsin.
Today I’m headed for Antioch Illinois with Ft Wayne Indiana possibly in my radar as I close in on North East Maryland for the event that I will work for Joni and Friends at a warrior getaway- it’s hard to believe this will be my 5th event with them. It’s like the SuperBowl of my mission field and working with the best of the best….
Still encouraged, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope/22TooMany

9/3

A photo of the memorial bench for Brady James Hammer came via text from his mother today while I’ve barreling down I-90 through beautiful South Dakota today after a full day and a half of mission work…..
Leaving Custer Wyoming yesterday morn, my first stop was the Black Hills National Cemetery. That registry up front at any national cemetery will get you right to any grave site. I found Cody’s easily and noticed the anniversary of his death is soon- Sep 6, 2011, a 22 year old that served, did two tours, suffered from PTSD and is already gone from this earth.
The next stop was his mom and dad’s house in Custer South Dakota and it seemed like hours and I guess it was that we just sat on the back deck talking, mostly me listening to Dan Engren telling me about his son. These meetings are very important- if the VA would ever figure out we need to do this on a large scale….but in the meantime, I will faithfully visit these families the best I can.
This morning I left the Engren’s house and yes I spent the night and in Cody’s room- for my sponsors this is how I save money and for the mission this is valuable time with families. I met Patriot Guard and American Legion Riders at a veterans home in Hot Springs SD and we visited the veterans there and received the grand tour- I’ve never seen a nicer care home!!
From Hot Springs up to Rapid City and then across the state, a very important meeting with PGR Assistant State Chaplain Randy Ward was in order and we went together to the final resting place of Sgt Duvi Wolf at a very small cemetery in Farmer SD. This is how we met in 2015 when we delivered the care pack to Duvi. Randy, a Viet Nam US Army veteran says she’s been special to him since they escorted her home in 2009. This time was special to me because it was just Randy and I visiting Duvi- we both reflected on how a female born in Mexico had come to this country as a child and then served and died for our freedom..
Randy and I will visit another veterans home in the morning and then I have another mom to meet in Minnesota with the next stop planned somewhere in Illinois. These visits are important. These families are hurting. I get valuable information that helps me do mission better and these families, every one of them confirm this- people don’t approach them.
I am encouraged, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope/22TooMany

Discovery Bay, Ca 94505

Best, Ed

9/1

Mailed from Escalon and Discovery Bay, Ca, Lovelock and Battle Mountain, Nv., and Wendover Ut. so far, with Evanston Wy in my sights today.
Meeting up with American Legion Riders in Green River and Rock Springs today- these riders have accompanied us on two missions through Wyoming. It is very important to meet veterans as well as the families of the 22. 
Will try to meet with Dave and April Thompson today depending on their schedule and end up in Casper Wyoming tonight- there is a Patriot Guard Rider and Viet Nam Veteran I’d like to visit with there!
God Bless America.
Prayers for Houston.
Best, Ed
Second Email
The lady at the counter was wearing a red support our troops shirt and I asked her about it. Her son is deployed on the USS Nimitz and she will give me the address in the morning!! 
Shipped out 1 care pack from Evanston Wyoming today, visited with American Legion Riders in Rock Springs and had lunch with April Thompson and gave her a care pack to mail out on Tuesday. April told me over lunch how much the memorial bench meant to her that we had made in honor of her son Josh who took his own life in 2013.
And with 3 good visits in, I headed for Casper Wyoming to meet with my friend and PGR State Captain Richard Parks. Richard and another rider had led us through most of Wyoming in 2015 when we delivered the Sgt Duvi Wolf care package. We had dinner and just talked about mission- his group does 2 to 3 funeral escorts weekly for veterans. 
In the morning I will head to Gillette Wyoming, then into South Dakota to the Black Hills Nat’l Cemetery where Lcpl Cody Glenn Engen USMC is buried and then to Custer to meet his mom and dad. I can’t say I like this duty, but I know for a fact that someone has to do it. I could not put a price tag on the lunch conversation today with April and the time spent tonight with Richard Parks just talking like old friends!
On Sunday morning a promised visit to a Hot Springs SD veterans home with the PGR of Rapid City and then across the state to Sgt Duvi Wolf’s grave site. This time I will leave the flag I have for her and her photo and again meet up with the Sioux Falls area PGR.
There’s a Viet Nam vet in Sioux Falls I really need to see and a mom in Minnesota to meet on Monday and then maybe a long run to Illinois before heading east again……as you can see, it’s all mission- this thing they call PTSD has no boundaries and neither do we. These veterans we serve, young and old, live in every state and so do these families of the 22 that take their lives daily….
If nothing else, we say we care, we involve others, especially veterans wherever we go and the goal is to encourage everyone we contact. My team keeps working while I’m away and I have a car load of care packs to ship and goods to give to veterans I meet along the way.
These families are hurting and if we stop soldier suicide today, they will still be hurting. I get very similar stories from all of them- people do not approach them much and I have found that they are very approachable. It’s a huge honor to hear about their loved ones. Isolation, whether it’s a veteran struggling or a family mourning a loss, is not healthy….one of my Marines says, “build a new unit- let trusted people into your circle.” That’s what we’re doing- I don’t see “divided”, I see united!
I got long winded, but just wanted to share- if you can help with this mission and/or ongoing care pack operations, please see operationcreekside.org, like and share our Facebook Page. Checks to Operation Creekside are always greatly appreciated; memo- care packs, veteran support or Mission22.
Operation Creekside
PO Box 1758
Discovery Bay, Ca 94505
Best, Ed

8/31

Meeting with a Viet Nam veteran this morn and that box full of beef jerky I will hand him is not the focus, it’s the conversation!! And he is the Nevada State Captain for the Patriot Guard Riders. My other veterans up here are busy and some with VA appointments. I pray for Slim as he can’t meet this am because of a VA appointment- this is the guy that told me how close he came to being one of the 22 in 2014 and he also told me how he keeps moving forward; by helping other veterans.
It’s hard to plan exactly with these distances and meetings as I do not ever set a time limit for a meet with a veteran or with a family, but it will come together, I think! Crossing Nevada today and in to Utah- there’s a post office in a small town that for some reason I always stop and mail the care packs! In 2015 the postmaster cried tears of joy as she was processing the 4 care packs I carried in- maybe that’s it!!
Friday I will be in Wyoming and one of my favorite families is there- Dave and April Thompson. They lost Joshua in 2013. I met them in 2015 at his grave in Rock Springs. If you remember, this April we delivered the 1st memorial bench to them in memory of Josh. There are two groups of American Legion Riders there too- Post #24 and #28. These riders went with me to deliver the bench…..these are real opportunities to encourage.
Saturday I need to be in Custer South Dakota- a family to meet there and then a meet with local Patriot Guard Riders….these meetings with veterans are just as important..
It’s all mission work and meeting people where they are is the key, I am encouraged!!
Best, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope/ 22 Too Many

8/29

Looks like I need to be in Hot Springs SD on Sunday morn, so leaving Thurs I can do my usual travel; mail some care packs in Nevada and Utah and visit with Dave & April Thompson  in Rock Springs Wy on Friday, drive towards SD on Saturday, then…….
Meeting veterans at a care home in Hot Springs  SD on Sunday morn, then 6 hours across SD to Sgt Duvi Wolf’s grave site- meeting Patriot Guard Riders there. I have a flag with Duvi’s photo on it that I will deliver. Her loss, her sacrifice has inspired our mission to do what we do now- meeting families and meeting veterans across this country.
I will be in Sioux Falls on Sep 3. Monday Sep 4 to a veterans home in Lucerne Minn and then open to meeting families going east including Wisconsin if necessary. Then south to Illinois- two families there I want to see, then east again, needing to be in North East, MD by the 8th at the latest.
If you’re helping with meetings and logistics, the phone is the best and fastest contact- 925 260 5423..
If you’re helping with expenses or sharing this mission with others, we have a PayPal  account at operationcreekside.org and checks to Operation Creekside, memo 22TooMany Mission are greatly appreciated!
Last night I had a 25 minute conversation with Marie Hammer. We delivered the memorial bench for her son  Brady on Sunday. That delivery with the help of veterans we had just met that day was very special- this is what we do for each other……
Best, Ed

8/29

Looks like I need to be in Hot Springs SD on Sunday morn, so leaving Thurs I can do my usual travel; mail some care packs in Nevada and Utah and visit with Dave & April Thompson  in Rock Springs Wy on Friday, drive towards SD on Saturday, then…….
Meeting veterans at a care home in Hot Springs  SD on Sunday morn, then 6 hours across SD to Sgt Duvi Wolf’s grave site- meeting Patriot Guard Riders there. I have a flag with Duvi’s photo on it that I will deliver. Her loss, her sacrifice has inspired our mission to do what we do now- meeting families and meeting veterans across this country.
I will be in Sioux Falls on Sep 3. Monday Sep 4 to a veterans home in Lucerne Minn and then open to meeting families going east including Wisconsin if necessary. Then south to Illinois- two families there I want to see, then east again, needing to be in North East, MD by the 8th at the latest.
If you’re helping with meetings and logistics, the phone is the best and fastest contact- 925 260 5423..
If you’re helping with expenses or sharing this mission with others, we have a PayPal  account at operationcreekside.org and checks to Operation Creekside, memo 22TooMany Mission are greatly appreciated!
Last night I had a 25 minute conversation with Marie Hammer. We delivered the memorial bench for her son  Brady on Sunday. That delivery with the help of veterans we had just met that day was very special- this is what we do for each other……
Best, Ed

8/28

You can do mission work until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t include others, then you are missing out!

Just back from about 1000 miles in a stiff riding cargo van, only 31 hours total away from home, but what awesome mission work indeed! My son and I delivered the memorial bench, as promised, to Marie Hammer in Klamath Falls Oregon and we did it Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope style, by including others with the delivery…
Met up with my good friend and fellow patriot, Bryan Welden, in Rogue River and when he handed me a folded American Flag with a yellow ribbon I had no idea how beautiful that flag was going to look in the hands of Brady James Hammer’s mother the next morning…
And on Sunday morning I met up with four Old Guard Riders in Central Point Oregon for the escort to Klamath Falls. By the time we got to Fish Lake and stopped for prayer it was like we were old friends and there was more to come.
In Klamath Falls we met with the Rip City Riders and coordinated our special delivery. One of their guys went ahead and when we arrived with the van and 15 bikes he was standing at attention with the American Flag held proudly!!
The presentation was moving, it was emotional and it was beautiful. After I presented the bench to Brady’s mom, I promised her that we, we being this group that connected just this morning, would never forget her son. This is very important to these families. I watched an Old Guard Rider Chaplain present that flag from Bryan to mom, I listened to him talk about God and I watched combat vets cry….
There’s a picture on Facebook of Brady’s nephew sitting on that bench in tears and in his mom’s arms with that Old Guard Rider Chaplain sitting right there comforting them- I couldn’t put a dollar amount on that pic or on the love and support I saw yesterday from perfect strangers.
One veteran shared that he had lost a son in 1998, another had lost a brother and a son. You see, if you spend a little time with each other, these shares will come out and burdens shared are lessened.
Six weeks ago I watched that kid playing in a park in Klamath Falls while I talked with his grandma. I had no idea we would be bringing this team of veterans and patriots to see him and if nothing else for that chaplain to visit, but then six weeks ago when I came home, I shared the potential mission and one man from here stepped up, sent a check and that bench was in the works….
For our regular sponsors, if I don’t thank you enough, thank you- I truly hope you know that I am just busy and focused on mission work. But we can’t do any of this without you and your support is much appreciated. Brady’s mom asked me on Friday if she should call the news and I told her that was up to her, we only focus on the family and the veterans that accompany us.
And with just two or three days away from the annual cross country trip meeting more of these families, well that’s maybe in another email/report….
Best, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope/22TooMany

8/25

After a successful Task Force Hope veterans camp, we/I went right into moving one of our veterans, actually two- both are vets, a Marine and a Soldier. Six or seven loads in the Operation Creekside trailer across Stockton and then one load to the dumps today!!

But yesterday, the soldier did two loads with me and this is a young Army vet that did not even speak to me at first and then he saw how well I treated his dad Jose, who we lost this past March. This young man started coming to camp and at this same camp last year he really struggled. My guys picked him up and to see him a year later, 365 days, wow, what a difference!!

I can testify that he had no hope last year or not much and we were concerned, but then he helped me do an intervention on the side of the road in Groveland, with him doing most of the work, and that veteran, another Task Force Hope vet is also doing well today!!

Yesterday he told me that he was happy. He told me that he had hope! Going back to Tuesday, my son asked me why I help these guys so much younger than me move. I told him the truth- because I get to spend time with them and it’s quality time. It is my joy to see these guys do well.

I picked up a cargo van from Enterprise in Stockton this afternoon and will load up the Brady James Hammer Memorial Bench in the morning. Big Al again has delivered a beautiful product! I called Brady’s mom today and asked if we could deliver on Sunday. She said ok and asked if she should call the local paper. I told her that was up to her and that we only do what the family wants to do. I did let her know that veteran motorcycle riders would be with us- this actually really helps me out because it is pretty emotional. The veterans give me strength!

So after basically moving two families this week, my Marine said, “I owe you big time.” And I said, “no you don’t, we’re family, this is what we do for each other.”

I am encouraged. 365 Days = see on You Tube by Dennis Sweeney

Best, Ed

Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope/22TooMany

8/23

Mission Update: 2 days of moving my Marine done, 11 care packs made last night, 7 days til east coast departure for 22TooMany

And a memorial bench to deliver to a mom in Klamath Falls Oregon as soon as it’s done! I saw the template today and Big Al is doing an amazing job. Honoring these soldiers for their families is the least we can do and it’s good timing as I prepare for our Sept mission across the US. You know a non stop flight to Baltimore just isn’t the same as taking 6 or 7 days and meeting people in person. We do this mission in person!!
We put the word out today on Facebook and two families already confirmed they’d like a visit.I plan on a higher route this year in order to visit some new families and also to stop at Sgt Duvi Wolf’s resting place in Farmer South Dakota. There’s a Viet Nam veteran in Sioux Falls that I need to see, a veterans home in Hot Springs SD and one close to Sioux Falls in Minnesota that also could use a visit..
If you remember, in 2015 my son and I delivered the care package intended for Duvi back in 2010. We delivered it to her grave to show her family that we cared. That care package changed the mission completely and helped us to realize how much we (America) owe to these families. Whether it’s a KIA like Duvi or a PTSD related suicide, it’s a terrible loss. These families need to know that we do care.
On that same mission we visited the grave site of Chaplain Joshua Remy in Killeen Texas, meeting his mom and dad there. Joshua took his own life in 2014. He had two girls living out here in California. This opened our eyes to PTSD as we had supported Joshua throughout a 2011 deployment to Iraq, and that news also impacted our mission focus.
Now we do as much as we are able. We do plenty local, but the opportunities on the road are incredible- whether it’s a postmaster in a small town helping to mail a care package or a mom and dad that just don’t get approached by anyone or the veterans that I meet along the way. It’s all mission related and encouraging…
Most of my emails are reports and trust me, I’m not trying to buy my way into heaven, I’m just doing the work! We do need help to do this mission and that’s our focus- mission. Thanks to our sponsors and regular donors we have been able to do a lot more this year, but we do need help with this mission. If you can help, please let me know. Our team will still be here grinding out the care packs- we did 11 last night and I will also be shipping them out as I travel, I thank our military for that luxury I have to be able to travel the US by myself and do mission work w/o restrictions- no roadblocks or Taliban to worry about!!
I would also like to thank the NFL players and coaches that choose to stand for the National Anthem with their hands over their hearts. It shows love for country and respect for our military.
Best, Ed

8/22

I write this on my 11 year sobriety anniversary and it is significant for several reasons; 1: if I’m still drinkin none of this mission happens and 2: a lot of my guys struggle with alcohol and we can relate! Yesterday morn I told 16 of the 22 veterans we hosted over the weekend thank you for serving, how much I cared about them, shared some Scripture with them and prayed with them.
We have done many of these camps and this one was special. These guys really connected. Eleven of them came from veteran sober living houses and we treated them like special guests. The food was excellent and they ate like kings! Black Oak Casino sent up 16 pizzas on Friday night and the guys devoured them!!
The conversations around the campfire were real. This is where we see a lot of healing. On Saturday night one of of core team members and US Marine Dennis Sweeney shared some beautiful songs and on Sunday morn played some worship music and shared some Scripture.
Our mission is solid. I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of these men. I know some of their stories and to see them now and to see them helping each other just warms my heart. I had to go back up to camp today and pick up my stuff and help Andy do a few things, but that’s what we do- we help each other.
What’s next? We have a Marine to move this week and as soon as the Brady James Hammer Memorial Bench is complete, we will deliver to his mother in Klamath Falls Oregon…
I am 9 or ten days away from my annual September mission across this great country! You know the deal: visiting the families of the 22 veterans  that take their own lives daily, mailing the care packs and working a Joni and Friends Warrior Getaway in Maryland. I received a call last night from a Viet Nam Veteran in South Dakota- I have not seen him or his Patriot Guard Riders since we delivered the Sgt Duvi Wolf care package. Well, I need to see him and visit Duvi’s grave again- we say never forgotten and we mean it!!
We’re on mission nationwide. Over the weekend Monika Kelly of KLove Radio played the interview she did with me a few months back. Last time that resulted in a name of a sailor deployed to ship a care pack to- he got a bunch!! But last night, I received a call from New York and a man there wants to do what we do on the east coast!!
Our veterans are worthy and I am encouraged.
Best, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope/22TooMany

8/17

Nineteen veterans here at camp, not including our host Andy the Navy vet and two more on the way up here right now!! The first day is always tough and with little sleep I have to be honest, I asked God Himself for just one opportunity today and it happened early when a veteran shared some of his story with me and his plans moving forward! Other opportunities developed throughout the day and these veterans are enjoying their time away and their time together!!
One of my Marines says, “create a new unit”. In other words, let trusted people into your lives. We are not a Stand Down and with all due respect we have a different mission. One veteran at a time for us is better than a whole bunch.
It’s only Friday night and we retired two American Flags in honor and memory of two veterans lost: Felix, our 86 year old Korea War veteran lost a son in July. He had a heart attack. And one of our young veteran campers lost a brother who was killed in action in 2008. If you’ve ever retired a flag with military guys, it’s always done respectfully and all at the campfire must stand silently until the flags are consumed by the fire. Afterwards both veterans shared about their lost loved ones….
I left the guys out there tonight to talk and to share knowing that I am welcome in their circle, but also on duty for my mission and gearing up for a big day tomorrow. It is amazing watching these men get to know each other and just be comfortable. My favorite thing is to see them laugh- laughter is good at camp!!
For those of you inclined to pray, we need continued prayer for this camp with believers and non believers here, an extra blessing is always welcome. Task Force Hope- because our veterans are worthy…
Best, Ed
Romans 12:12

8/16

Tell that to the black man at WalMart yesterday that saw my hat, “God’s Army” and looked me in the eye and said, “that’s the best army.”
Tell that to Andrew Jackson who lives in a care home with no visitors and says, “I am just glad to be in the Lord’s loving arms.”
Tell that to the white woman in my home church who held a sleeping infant black baby lovingly throughout the entire service on Sunday.
Tell that to the black man in dreadlocks that held the door open for a white family the other day at Chilis.
There has to be some good news and we will solider on. Twenty two to 25 veterans will be here this afternoon and my US Navy veteran Andy and I will be ready and by God there will be no division here!!!
My study this morn takes me to an insert in the Study Bible, The Power of His Ways, and in short it says that God makes His power available to us through prayer. I ask you all to pray for this camp. To pray for the veterans of Task Force Hope. To pray for our mission and to pray for each other!!
Best, Ed
Romans 12:12

8/15

As I prepare for Task Force Hope veterans camp I was wondering about the Delta Stand Down happening in my own backyard- I tried to get over there, but I was in need of rest after helping one of our guys for two months or so, I needed rest!! And on Monday morning I drove over there and saw all the buses getting ready to load the veterans and realized something- this is too big an op for me!!
I went to the care home to visit US Marine Andrew Jackson, who I haven’t seen in the two months I’ve been away, and I was amazed at how well he is doing! About 4 months ago I was by his bedside in the hospital when the doctor told him, “there is nothing more I can do for you.” Andrew cried, but then when two daughters and his grand kids showed up later that day he was all joy!!!
I spent an hour or so with Andrew just catching up and it was great to see how much hope he has and things that he is looking forward to. We ended in prayer, something we always do and he reached out his hand, I grabbed hold and we prayed- picture this; a white man and a black man holding hands in prayer. When we finished, he didn’t let go and we talked some more. I am pretty sure I am his only visitor and I’ve been away for two months, but here is where the mission is- in person…
We mailed out 3 care packs yesterday, two more will go out today, and we delivered 26 boxes of Tillamook Beef Jerky to distribute to soldiers at Camp Parks and Moffett Field- always on duty, always changing.
Best, Ed

8/11

I am encouraged. I say that a lot, even though we sent out 130 letters to folks that might know about our mission or have contact with Christian Berets Camp, and received only one donation from Twain Harte Lumber. I am encouraged!
We have two brothers working on helping us with the September mission- we mission in the US because we can reach who we need to reach and we can meet and encourage others. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to mail care packs from post offices across this great country!
Just finished 9 solid weeks of mission work, helping a US Navy veteran get well and back to work, and meeting families of the 22 veterans that take their own lives daily. This is how we met Marie Hammer. Big Al in Brentwood is building a memorial bench for her son Brady as we speak. We do need help to cover the cost at completion- a sponsor paid half to start. $600 is needed. And any help for fuel or trip expenses for delivery is appreciated. We intend to deliver after Task Force Hope Veterans Camp.
We have 22 veterans signed up for camp next week and a few more possibly- this is not easy, but the hard work of our core team is paying off. If anyone in the area wants to meet the veterans at camp, Saturday lunch is open for visitors, I just need to know if you are coming- contact me at 925 260 5423.
There is so much to do! If you’re a KLove listener, my friend Monika Kelly is going to remind us all to remember to pray for our troops and veterans- I think about 12:12 pm today, Just happens to be our theme for this camp- Romans 12:12.
Best, Ed
I am encouraged!

8/9

One of my Marines says, “always on duty, always changing.” And as we are a week away from possibly “life changing” veterans camp, I am sitting in a hotel in Sacramento with one of my Task Force Hope veterans helping him navigate his VA appointments after a 32 day hospital stay, where I worked his job, then worked his job and administered the antibiotics to him through a PIC line in his arm for 14 days. Another Marine says, “this is what we do for each other.”
My Operation Creekside Team packed and prayed over 7 care packs last night. They have been doing this consistently while I have been away and I have been picking them up weekly and mailing them from post offices all over, yesterday two went out from Folsom Ca.
A memorial bench is being built as we speak in Brentwood Ca for a mom in Klamath Falls Oregon.  She lost her son to PTSD related suicide. Brady James Hammer would have been 28 this year. A month ago his mom talked with me about her son as she watched her grandson play in a park in Klamath Falls.
We are always on duty. Last September I traveled the country meeting families that have lost soldiers to suicide. I met with 13 families. If we stop soldier suicide today, these families will still be hurting. They are approachable. This year’s mission, if we can fund it, will meet more families- there’s a mom in eastern Montana that needs a visit. it’s been over two years since her son died and no one has reached out.
I can share the mission in minutes. I prefer sharing in person. What we’re doing is real and necessary. We offer love and hope. We tell people in person that we care…
Best, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope/22TooMany

8/7

Two care packs will go out tomorrow to deployed US Marines and one “stateside” care pack to a veteran in Oregon- got his info this morn from his mom. And one more week of work for my Navy vet with a trip down to the Mather VA for two appointments, then he will be cleared to work!!! The last 9 weeks has been all mission and I have spent 4 nights at home, my own bed is calling me!!
We are less than two weeks away from Task Force Hope veterans camp and this one has been more difficult to put together- I’ve been here at camp so much, networking and the fundraising hasn’t been easy….I sent out 130 letters to possible supporters of veterans camp and only received one donation= thank you Twain Harte Lumber!! And welcome to my world- the letter we crafted was very clear about what’s happening to veterans in this country and sadly it is very obvious that 99% went into the round file= trash…
Y’all have to know by now that I am a believer and the good Word says to “press on” as in Phil 3:14, to “take courage” somewhere in Acts, and to “stand firm and always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord”, 1 Corinthians 15:58.
This morning as a family retreat was winding down up here at camp, a man named Tim asked me about Andy, the veteran I have been working his job and care giving for, and he insisted on meeting him. For weeks now I’ve been running interference and not letting people bother my veteran at all, but I knew this guy was sincere, so I led him over to Andy’s place….after meeting Andy and hearing his story, we stepped out into the hall and Andy said, “let’s pray.” Andy prayed, then me and then Tim and it was powerful….
All this stuff we do is opportunity. Being present is opportunity- even working a minimum wage/split shift/on call 24/7 job is opportunity.
Three days in Sacramento for two VA appointments is opportunity. So we press on!!
I can’t wait for veterans camp. I can’t wait for Big Al to finish the bench for Brady Hammer’s Mom. I cant’ wait to deliver that bench to Klamath Falls, it’s the least we can do for this mom….
The big mission is in September: coast to coast meeting families that have lost loved ones to PTSD, working a warrior getaway in Maryland and this year a stop in South Dakota at a veterans home along the way- there is so much to do…..
Best, Ed
Romans 12:12

7/30

Just weeks away from another Task Force Hope veteran’s camp and some news; one of our guys lost a battle buddy to PTSD recently. He was married and had 4 kids- this is still happening across the country!! These veterans have no confidence in the VA and they just don’t seek help.
We offer hope and our core team feels hopeful that we can encourage veterans nationwide with this simple peer to peer program. We could still use some sponsors and we are open for any veteran to attend- everyone benefits from camp.
Camp Sponsors- specify veteran support on your check.
Care Pack Sponsor- we will be packing boxes for deployed US troops with the veterans at camp- sponsors are encouraged to join us on Sat  Aug 19.
Sat Lunch Sponsor- a Viet Nam Veteran will be cooking- we need to cover his expenses
Fuel Cards- sometimes this is all a veteran needs to get to camp.
Please contact me if you or your company can help- our veterans are worthy.
Best, Ed McClelland
Operation Creekside
PO Box 1758
Discovery Bay, Ca. 94505
it happened to be the 4 year anniversary of the death by suicide of Brady James Hammer of Klamath Falls Oregon. That morning I saw a photo on Facebook of flowers on his grave his mother had placed there- my son and I had been there just weeks before and it prompted me to wear his picture that day in honor and memory….
I walked into the kitchen at camp and said to the cook who is also a pastor, “Kevin, I need the strength to send something to his mom today.” Kevin removed his hat and said, “let’s pray.” I removed my hat and Kevin went into prayer- prayer is always good you know, but I had no idea what God had in store. There were two women in the kitchen and when Kevin finished praying, Sinda went right into prayer and it was different- like she was crying out to God, it was powerful. Then Abby also prayed and so I prayed too, just thanking the Lord that we could encourage a mom in Klamath Falls from a kitchen in MiWuk Village.
After the prayer Sinda was crying and Abby was consoling her. Kevin walked up to me and said, “she knows about this loss.” Sinda had lost a son to murder about 5 years ago. Any other place, this would have been at least uncomfortable but with believers there is hope in every situation…
A few minutes later I sent Marie Hammer a message that we were thinking of her and praying for her family and she replied, “thank you very much.”
Working this camp for six weeks wasn’t easy for me and the last two working and care giving for my veteran, but things like that prayer in the kitchen were encouraging. I’ve never prayed so much with others- it makes a difference…..
I am truly amazed at how God puts things together and how His timing is perfect! In a few weeks we will be on our way back to Klamath Falls to deliver a memorial bench to that mom. That is all she wanted when I asked her what we could do……
Best, Ed
Romans 12:12

7/25

then a couple of VA appointments and he’s back in business! Then a week after that the Task Force Hope veterans camp will come up here to the same location for some fellowship and hopefully some healing….
We are ready to pick up our game- one of our Task Force Hope veterans just returned from a cross country trip visiting his battle buddies and another one of our veterans just lost a battle buddy to PTSD related suicide. The soldier had a wife and 4 kids. You all know suicide awareness is trending but I don’t see a lot of programs!!
Sponsors are still needed for this camp and if you need more info, please let me know. Task Force Hope Veterans Camp at Christian Berets Conference Center in Mi Wuk Village Ca. Aug 17-20.
Spc Brady Hammer Memorial Bench: we could use some help here too! We have acquired a tow vehicle for the trip. Some help with fuel expenses would be appreciated. We would like to deliver the bench right after veterans camp.
Sept 22TooMany Mission: if you’re tracking and reading any of my updates, there is another family to visit- these aren’t just numbers, they are families that didn’t sign up for this club. I was telling a US Army Ranger about this part of the mission today and he understood the importance of what we are doing!
This will be my 5th year serving at a warrior getaway hosted by Joni and Friends in beautiful North East Maryland. It is work, long days, but rewarding for the heart and the soul- good duty!!
Last year, I drove it and met 13 families that have lost loved ones to suicide. I can’t say any of these meetings were easy, but they were good meetings- these families need to know we care.
I am looking for help financially to do this mission. It is not a vacation and it is not easy- my 22TooMany friend and ministry partner Keri says it is my calling and maybe so….
For some reason I can sit and listen for as long as it takes. I’m not on a schedule. The photo op doesn’t always happen. There are so many of these families and they need love and support.
We are solid. My care packing is packing boxes in Brentwood as I write this. I have been shipping the care packs from up here. Big Al is working on the bench. We are planning veterans camp- there is so much to do…
Checks to Operation Creekside are much appreciated and you can designate where the funds go;
General- (most needed)
Care Packages to deployed troops
Care Packages to Stateside veterans
Veterans camp
Veterans support
Mission- 22TooMany
Still Encouraged, Ed
Call me for more info on any of our mission work! 925 260 5423

7/22

I survived an 8 day camp, starting my care giving duties for our US Navy veteran half way through and now have only 2 more days of administering the meds- he is doing very well by the way!!
We have the funds to start the memorial bench for SPC Brady Hammer. And once Big Al completes it we will need to deliver to Klamath Falls. You’d have to ask April Thompson how it feels when perfect strangers make something like this happen. I think it is the least we can do for these families.
Task Force Hope veterans camp is next on the list- bringing veterans of all eras up here to camp for a safe place to share and to connect with each other- there’s healing found around the camp fire, I have seen it!!
The old workhorse F-150 needed some attention today- almost left me stranded with my veteran up at camp patiently waiting for me to get back and remove the antibiotic feed and cap the PIC line- luckily the new Les Schwab in Sonora took care of me quickly!!
I hope I haven’t been grinding you all too much for money lately, but being up here on site so much, helping my veteran, has left me short on my fundraising efforts and we are low in that area! I do not much like the fundraising part, you know I live for the mission work and wow, do we have a bunch of mission work in front of us….
And with Big Al working on the SPC Brady Hammer Memorial Bench, we need to plan the delivery either before of after our Aug 17-20 Veterans Camp. In September I usually take most of the month and visit families that have lost military loved ones to PTSD related suicide and then work the Joni and Friends Warrior Getaway in North East Maryland….
Meeting the families where they are is just as important as the other parts of our mission and working with folks that truly care about our wounded veterans and their families is good mission work too..
Best, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope

7/20

Brady’s mom Marie just put these beautiful flowers on her son’s grave. My son and I were there just a few weeks ago in Eagle Point, Oregon. On Jul 28 it will be 4 years since her son took his own life at Ft Bliss in Texas.
I talked with Big Al today, our awesome bench builder from Brentwood, Ca. He said, “I’m in Ed, make it happen.”
I stood next to Marie in a park in Klamath Falls while she watched her grandson play. My son sat on a bench nearby. I asked her what we could do for her and she said, “I want a memorial bench for my son.”
So, I am pressing- it is my nature. This family has no hope. Something every one of these families wants and needs is for their loved ones to never be forgotten.
We need help to build this bench. I don’t want to talk about money today, I want to talk about a mom that needs to know America cares….
Best, Ed

7/19

with my US Navy vet standing over me telling me I was doing it wrong, but we got it and a whole room full of special needs campers are happy- this is part of the deal. My veteran cannot work yet and has two PIC lines hanging out of his arm that I have been feeding with saline flush and antibiotics for 8 days now with 6 to go- this is what we do for each other….
We also shipped out 11 care packs so far this week, another 4 tomorrow and I will pick up some more goods on a trip down to Brentwood. Our mission is to consistently send the care packs, to support our veterans, like what I’m doing now for Andy, and to also find a way to support military families that have lost loved ones to PTSD.
With less than a month til veteran’s camp up here at this location, I am a little behind on organizing camp- we do need sponsors to help make this a quality event for our veterans and this camp will determine how and when we will host a family camp.
Keep in mind I mentioned in a few posts, our last mission gave us information about a widow that wants to bury her husband in her hometown instead of the national cemetery in Portland and the mom who wants a memorial bench for her son. These young men, a Marine and a Soldier served with honor, went to war and came home to lose the battle with PTSD.
If the VA became efficient at helping our struggling veterans, even if if happened tomorrow, these families will still be hurting- 22 families per day and counting, it is still happening….
Best, Ed
In Memory of SPC Brady James Hammer and CPL Joseph Herburger

7/16

Our US Navy veteran is back home and I have been administering the antibiotics twice a day for a week now, that’s a 4 hour commitment right there and doing his maintenance job during camp, but it’s all easy stuff- one of my Marines said, “this is what we do for each other.”
This afternoon I will make a run to Sacramento Intl Airport to pick up a young Air Force veteran that ‘s actually flying in from the east coast to help me with Andy and with camp- again, this is what we do for each other.
We are a month away from Task Force Hope’s veteran’s camp here in Mi Wuk Village and please share our mission with your contacts- we need veterans to attend camp and we need sponsors to help us with the expenses of camp. We are very efficient in regard to camp expenses- a safe environment, good food and fellowship is what we offer.
I am still focused on the widow and the mom from Oregon that we visited not long ago- the widow just wants to bury her husband in the hometown cemetery and needs to buy the plot. The mom wants a memorial bench for her son. I know from the visit that Brady Hammer’s sisters are struggling and a personal delivery of this bench to Klamath Falls Oregon to honor their brother will be encouraging.
Again, please share our info- we are not going to grind you for $19 a month, but we will share opportunities from time to time that may really help these families and as always we will continue to ship the care packs- my Navy vet loves to watch me fix the packs with care…
God Bless America!!
Best, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope/ 22TooMany

7/12

Was able to ship out 4 care packs from MiWuk Village Ca yesterday- it’s just down the road from camp. And our veteran came home past night after 31 days in the hospital!! I administered the 1st dose of antibiotics this morning into the PIC line hanging out of his arm under the supervision of a home health RN- we are good to go!
It’s great that I can still do mission work from here- mailing the care packs, contacting veterans and sponsors and our care pack team hosted another care pack w/o me on Tuesday….
One of our Task Force Hope veterans is on the road, traveling across country and visiting battle buddies. I am getting reports almost daily- it is such a different mission than when I’m on the road and I can tell it is difficult for him. I am amazed at how well he has done so far, knowing his story, but I think he sees the value of this trip, not only for him but for his battle buddies he meets.
We are just 5 weeks away form veteran’s camp up here at Christian Berets in MiWuk Village where I am working now for my veteran that just came home from the hospital. I have at least 2 more weeks to go here and now doing the “caregiving” until the antibiotics run out….
I also want to mention that we met a widow in Eugene and a mom in Klamath Falls that need help with a couple of things. The widow, who is a mom to 2 little girls, just wants to get her husband buried in the local cemetery. She does not want to deal with the VA. She needs help to purchase the plot.
The mom wants a bench, a memorial bench like the one we made for April Thompson. If you can help or share this info, we really want to be of service to these 2 families. I’ve met over 20 families of the 22 so far and they all share one need- they need hope….
Hope can come from anywhere- a small non profit that reaches nationwide?
I am always available to share the mission.
Best, Ed

7/10

It was a month yesterday that I insisted we call 911 and my veteran went to the ER by ambulance. He had a septic infection and was in diabetic shock and it took a few weeks to get all that under control. Now he sits in Doctors Hospital in Modesto waiting for the VA to approve home health care to finish out his antibiotics at home and unfortunately he is still waiting and may have to stay there til Jul23!!
I have a call into Jeff Denham’s office in Modesto, but it’s hard to navigate all this being on site of a special needs camp that’s in full swing right now and I’m not complaining, just frustrated- haven’t seen Andy since, well, a month ago yesterday, and I’ve been home a total of 2 days since- being up here at camp and my 6 day mission trip to Oregon……frustrating.
As the VA continues to not serve our veterans well, I get to hear from the families of the 22 veterans per day that take their own lives- I get to hear only from the ones I meet, their frustrations also with the VA and with people in general that have no idea what they are going through…..
And I’m not here to bash the VA today, but something must be done and maybe it will take an army of private support from groups like ours or, sometimes I just don’t know, but our veterans are worthy and these families that have sacrificed and actually lost loved ones to something that can be prevented is heartbreaking!
The Mission: always on duty, always changing and ready to serve- this week as we focus on trying to get Andy released from the hospital, care packs wil continue to go out and the widow and the Mom, both in Oregon, that we met last week are in our radar….this problem is nationwide and needs to be addressed on that level….
Three young veterans from Montrose Michigan are dead and gone as a direct result of PTSD. We have to do better; in a town of 2000 or so, no one could help, we have to do better…..
Best, Ed

7/6

Three Incredible Meetings Yesterday: a Widow, a Wife and a Sister….
The Widow: her Marine Corps husband took his own life last April as a direct result of PTSD. She has 2 little girls. She struggles. She still does NOT have her husband buried in the local cemetery due to delays from the VA. She had one request- help get this accomplished so she can move forward.
The Wife: married to a Marine with PTSD. He has trouble finding work in a civilian world. They have 5 kids. They are hopeful. We helped 22TooMany fix their vehicle last month. Another issue came up and the shop took care of it at no charge!!
The Sister: this one is heavy. Darlene and her sister watched John Flemming get on the bus, most likely headed to Fort Ord, on the way to Viet Nam. Her sister and John were to be married upon his return. They already had the rings. John was killed in action, I believe in 1967- there is a monument near the Rogue River Bridge. I met Darlene in 2014 when she told me this story. She was at the Rogue River VFW yesterday when Joseph and I delivered some beef jerky. She cried and gave me a big hug. I asked about her sister and she said, “she still has a broken heart.”
I’m just reporting the mission work- there is so much to do……
Best, Ed
2 Chron 7:14

7/4

4 July 2017- started the day with a mom who lost her son to PTSD and a river of tears eventually turned into a smile here and there as she told us about her son. These moms will tell you details about their kids that you won’t hear on the news- interesting details, personal stories, how they cope and how they do life…
One thing I see through the grief is the hurt, the pain, the questions and I get to hear about their lives. Life still happens, good and bad, and these families deal with things a lot on their own. I hear TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) does a great job for families, but I also hear that it’s not enough- if you miss that week long event, let’s say in Florida, you’ll have to wait til next year.
Our visit this morning was one of the best conversations I’ve had with a family of the 22 and it was very candid. I learned a lot about her son and the difficulties he faced, again things you won’t hear in a news report, and this info helps us to navigate how we approach these families and how we can help better.
We made little progress today as far as mileage goes- had to stop early and wait for a family to get home from camping and now we’ll be crunching two days of mission into one, but that’s ok. I told this mom this morning that I will do anything for these families- it’s part of our mission; ask one of my Marines, “always on duty, always changing- the mission.”
I was also somewhat concerned about taking my 18 year old on these missions in respect to the families we meet, but I find that it’s no problem- this morning our mom asked him for a son hug and that was a beautiful sight. I asked her to look for the blessings and she pointed to the 22TooMany logo and said, “that is the blessing, right there, I love Keri and Dayna.”
The next two days will be interesting- possibly 4 more meetings with families, then back to Brentwood on Thurs, then back to Sierra Village for week #4 of working my veteran’s job who is STILL in the hospital! And the hold up is the VA. I’m not bashing the VA, but somehow, someway, they have to get more efficient….our veterans are worthy!!
Best, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope
22TooMany

7/3

This morning we left Lincoln City, Oregon and made a quick stop in Otis to mail out 4 care packs. The postmaster, Roberta, was so helpful and friendly and she told me about a postal employee that lost a son in Iraq and ended up taking her own life- she was also a veteran!! Roberta also told me that her son in law was deployed to Afghanistan and promised to share the address!
We ended up sending out 7 care packs today from 3 different post offices in Oregon. It was simple and easy and every clerk was happy to help us sent these out!
As we travel and try to connect with families of the 22, which is not that easy by the way- seems everyone is busy these days, but we had an opportunity to visit the Willamette Nat’l Cemetery today and specifically to visit one grave, Cpl Pamela Dowling. We found COL 6, Row 607 easily and paid our respects. I felt the need to pray as I looked at the names on that wall- just one wall in a national cemetery in Oregon, it was overwhelming just thinking about the names in cemeteries across America- names of heroes that served our country. Now, not all died too young like Pamela and from PTSD, but they are all heroes in my book- defenders of this great nation….
I thanked God for these heroes, I thanked Him for their service. I thanked Him for their sacrifice, I thanked Him for my freedom- it’s amazing as you travel America, the sight of the American Flag waving, big and small, in small towns and on trucks and barber shop walls- in Florence Oregon there is a beautiful American Flag in a case inside a small diner, America, still strong, still free, bought and paid for by our veterans…
Hopefully will be able to meet 2 families, maybe 3 tomorrow– I know it’s the 4th of July, but we’re on mission and focused. On the 5th we can mail out a few more care packs and make our way towards home…
Always on duty, always changing- the mission to serve our troops, our veterans and their families.
Best, Ed

7/2

We visited a mom who lost her son to PTSD yesterday. It was a good meeting although difficult, but an hour and a half of listening to stories about her son and also about how hard it is just to do life with this heavy loss.
This is good info. It’ not easy duty either, but I do not take it lightly- meeting these families will help us to learn how to help them. They do want support, but it’s just like with the veterans, it has to be real. They don’t connect well with the general public, even family members. If you don’t have the understanding of what they are going through, listening is best…..
We are headed north this morn- six more families to possibly meet, a Marine in Grants Pass and a Viet Nam veteran in Rogue River…..there is so much to do…..
Still Encouraged, Ed
Romans 12:12

6/29

As I finish up week 3 of working my veteran’s job, so he still has a job- this week was tough!! We had a higher number of non functioning campers and it just takes a lot more work and all of us at camp have to work with each other and our veteran is still in the hospital with at least 2 to 3 more weeks to go!!!
Tomorrow I pick up 3 pallets of Tillamook Country Beef Jerky in Stockton after wrapping up things at camp and Saturday my son and I head north to meet 6 military families that have lost loved ones to PTSD. This is mission work that is a must do along with all our other work….these families are hurting.
I want to share something one of the Task Force Hope Marines sent to me today and I know some of his story and I used to call this guy the king of one word answers!!
(On July 6 I will be departing Ceres, Ca. en-route to meet up with some of the men I served with. The 1st in Bloomington, Illinois, the 2nd in Saranac, Michigan, the 3rd in Detroit, Michigan, the 4th in Willoughboy, Ohio and the 5th in Manhattan, Kansas. The intent behind meeting up is to heal some wounds of war with the men I fought with. I haven’t seen them in over 6 years, some have kids, some with new kids. I look forward to meeting their families as they meet mine. I look forward to the laughs and stories from the past. I look forward to healing some wounds suffered long ago, as well as networking to further the mission of Task Force Hope.)
This is beautiful in so many ways- just to see how many times he mentions “looking forward to” is awesome. That’s our Task Force Hope goal- looking forward, new mission, hope…and we will be on mission at the same time, actually I’m winding up when he takes off, but always on duty, always changing and seeking two very different groups, with both groups very important to us.
The Operation Creekside team packed up 9 care packs on Tuesday while I was away and today my son and I mailed out 3- we have a new name on our list who will distribute the care packs well….
Best, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope
I am encouraged!

6/28

The mission is always on duty and always changing says one of my Marines and I’m midway through the 3rd week of working my veteran’s job at a Christian Camp in Sierra Village. My team in Brentwood is still care packing and getting them shipped and I am alos able to ship care packs from up here- consistency is key to the support.
But also, doing this “job” as a facility caretaker gives me opportunities to serve. As I said before, the 3rd week of special needs camp in the Sierras- yesterday I put a tire back on a wheel for a disabled man and if you’ve ever tried to mount a tire w/o proper equipment, you know how difficult that was, but I was able and I don’t know what we would have done- there are no spare wheelchairs here…..
The “stateside” care pack reached our troops in South Carolina 1 day before they headed out for a year long deployment and we will continue to support this group. Our contact does a fantastic job distributing the goods and encouragement to troops of all branches…
This Saturday my son and I will head north to meet some families of the 22 veterans that take their own lives daily. I preach to myself that even if we stop soldier suicide today, which is the goal, these families will always be hurting and just like military kids that didn’t “sign up” for living  a life with a parent who has post traumatic stress, these families that have lost a loved one to PTS related suicide also did not sign up for this…..
It’s humbling to sit with them and listen. Some meetings are difficult but usually a level of comfort is reached and they tell stories and fond memories about their loved one. Dave and April Thompson in Rock Springs Wyoming are strong enough to share their grief with others. It helps them and they help whoever they come in contact with. None of this has to be clinical at least for our mission. I contacted one of my best advisers yesterday and a the end of a 30 min conversation he said, “you are ultimately serving God and your heart will tell you which direction to go.”
Always on duty, always changing….our veterans are worthy.
Best, Ed

6/26

Follow Up: a US Army veteran was facing eviction and we had a good response when we reached out for help. With what we collected over the weekend and what we have pledged,we were  able to wire the money today and with a couple notes to report;
1 The Apartment Management was not very helpful and would not accept a payment over the phone. They also did not seem to care that their tenant was a veteran of 3 combat tours.
2 Western Union was unable to complete my transaction that would have made the process easy and quicker- the agent was rude and also could care less about our situation- it was all business and I do understand about the fraud prevention procedures, but the whole process was time consuming and we still had to use another option.
To Clarify: this veteran in need served with a local veteran that we know- we have helped him in a partnership with VFW Post #107879 and we have done this often. Our local VFW serves veterans and the community very well. This local vet, also a 3 combat tour veteran served with Sgt Duvi Wolf who was killed in action. He knew Duvi and her husband Josh well.. and when he reached out for help, I knew it was important. He told me this was something more than words of comfort could handle.
So much thanks to those who stepped up and helped out- we may never know how important this help was, but I do know that our veterans our worthy….
Our veteran that is in the hospital is still there, waiting for the VA to process the paperwork to get him released. I just started week #3 of working his job, so he keeps his job, and it’s not tough duty, but it makes my care pack shipping a little more difficult- sent 5 out this morn and we are working on a bunch more to get out this week….
The “stateside” care pack to a group in South Carolina got there today, a day before they load up for deployment!!
Like one of my Marines says, “the mission is always on duty and always changing.”
Our veterans are worthy.
Best, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope

6/24

The name is Wayne Howell. He served in the US Army and completed 3 tours of combat including one 15 month deployment and he was deployed with our beloved Sgt Duvi Wolf who was killed in action 25 Oct 2009.
The need is for rent that is due this Monday or else he faces eviction!!
My information comes from another 3 combat tour Army veteran who says and I quote, “I owe him more than words of comfort.”
I know this local (Brentwood/Discovery Bay) area veteran because he was driving behind the Operation Creekside trailer on 25 Oct 2016 and recognized the photo of Duvi and called me- I repeat, he saw Duvi’s photo on the trailer 7 years to the day after her death and he was on the response team to the incident when she was mortally injured!!
As much as I dislike fundraising, here we go- we need help!! Veterans of 3 combat tours tend to struggle. This young man has a plan and school starts very soon- this is quite the hurdle but it’s just a hurdle because he does have a plan and hope for the future…..
If you are able to help, please let me know immediately. I left my veteran’s mountain job yesterday to get some rest- to come down to the blazing valley heat and “rest”, but there is no time to rest because there is so much to do…our veterans are worthy.
Again, if you can help, contact me asap= 925 260 5423
Best, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope

6/23

And it’s been quite the week, with the heat I’ve been tending to a kitchen swamp cooler that needs attention every 2 hours! This job is like a split shift minimum wage position- not to complain but some understanding for me on what my veteran actually does….
But if I focused on the above, I’d be all wrong as my veteran still sits in the hospital waiting for the VA to help him get released. Those stories about the VA may be true, but he is being very patient…
Yesterday we were giving go cart rides to a couple of special needs kids and when Ryan got in my cart he said, “go fast.” We have a loop here at camp and there’s a downhill area that goes into a hard left turn. Ryan doesn’t have much strength on his right side, so as we would come into the turn I would have to reach over with my right arm to hold him- he never complained and had the biggest smile on his face- again, if I focused on the rest, I’d miss the blessings.
Week #3 is coming up and 22TooMany and I are planning our next mission to visit families of the 22- you should know by now that 22 veterans take their own lives daily. I saw a Facebook post yesterday that said, Hold Your Position, Call For Help! The battle against PTSD and veteran suicide continues, but these families that have already suffered tremendous loss also need love, care and support…
So, the 1st week of July, my “vacation” will be spent going north- there is so much to do; besides the families I will visit, there’s a Marine in Grants Pass that I need to meet and a Viet Nam veteran in Rogue River I have not seen since 2014 and as always, in a free country like ours, I can mail the care packs out from any post office in America!!
In my daily Bible study yesterday I ran across a prayer by Jabez that basically said, “Lord, increase my territory.” I think it is 1 Chron 4:10, but either way, that will be my prayer- Lord, increase my territory!
Best, Ed
Still Encouraged!!

6/23

And it’s been quite the week, with the heat I’ve been tending to a kitchen swamp cooler that needs attention every 2 hours! This job is like a split shift minimum wage position- not to complain but some understanding for me on what my veteran actually does….
But if I focused on the above, I’d be all wrong as my veteran still sits in the hospital waiting for the VA to help him get released. Those stories about the VA may be true, but he is being very patient…
Yesterday we were giving go cart rides to a couple of special needs kids and when Ryan got in my cart he said, “go fast.” We have a loop here at camp and there’s a downhill area that goes into a hard left turn. Ryan doesn’t have much strength on his right side, so as we would come into the turn I would have to reach over with my right arm to hold him- he never complained and had the biggest smile on his face- again, if I focused on the rest, I’d miss the blessings.
Week #3 is coming up and 22TooMany and I are planning our next mission to visit families of the 22- you should know by now that 22 veterans take their own lives daily. I saw a Facebook post yesterday that said, Hold Your Position, Call For Help! The battle against PTSD and veteran suicide continues, but these families that have already suffered tremendous loss also need love, care and support…
So, the 1st week of July, my “vacation” will be spent going north- there is so much to do; besides the families I will visit, there’s a Marine in Grants Pass that I need to meet and a Viet Nam veteran in Rogue River I have not seen since 2014 and as always, in a free country like ours, I can mail the care packs out from any post office in America!!
In my daily Bible study yesterday I ran across a prayer by Jabez that basically said, “Lord, increase my territory.” I think it is 1 Chron 4:10, but either way, that will be my prayer- Lord, increase my territory!
Best, Ed
Still Encouraged!!

6/21

Going 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.

6/17

I 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, Ed
Romans 12:12

6/14

From 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, Ed
Romans 12:12

6/12

We 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, Ed
Romans 12:12

6/9

We 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

6/7

Ok, 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, Ed
Operation Creekside

6/5

The 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

6/3

On 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, Ed
Operation Creekside

6/1

We 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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope

5/30

from  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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope
Psalm 55:22

5/28

I 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, Ed
Psalm 55:22

5/26

Just 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

5/23

It’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, Ed
Still Encouraged

5/22

Never 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, Ed
Romans 12:12

5/20

Operation 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 PTSD
I’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, Ed
Romans 12:12

5/18

Please Share Our Info:
If you’re a church, let us share the mission
If 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 lunch
If you have veteran contacts, share our info
A 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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope
*Next Camp is Aug 17-20 at Christian Berets in Sierra Village, Ca.

5/17

I 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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope
Romans 12:12

5/15

Two 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, Ed
Romans 12:12

5/12

We 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

5/10

I 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, Ed
Ephesians 4:32

5/7

The 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. I
am 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, Ed
Still Encouraged
Best, Ed

5/5

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, Ed
I think I spelled all the words right this time>>>>>

5/5

For 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 Sponsor
Care Pack Sponsor
T Shirt Sponsor
Fuel Card Sponsor
Sat BBQ Sponsor
Please 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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope
 * And we will go anywhere in the US for a care pack event…..we do one in Maryland every September.

5/5

For 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 Sponsor
Care Pack Sponsor
T Shirt Sponsor
Fuel Card Sponsor
Sat BBQ Sponsor
Please 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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope
 * And we will go anywhere in the US for a care pack event…..we do one in Maryland every September.

5/1

From 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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope

4/23

The “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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope
*2200 miles towing the trailer, 5 days, Hope shared with love and respect

4/21

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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope
Romans 15:13

4/19

To clarify why we do what we do and how important the mission is to us

This 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 more
One 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, Ed
To See Photos of This Mission: Operation Creekside on Facebook

4/18

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, Ed
Operation Creekside

 

4/16

A quick update and mission to Rock Springs Wyoming

I’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, Ed
Operation Creekside

4/13

And yet another update because we are busy

We 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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope

4/9

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

4/8

Just sharing the mission

Sometimes 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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope

4/4

Moving Forward with the mission in 2017

Our 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 McClelland
Romans 15:13

4/2

I am encouraged! Ad there is so much to do! Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope

Have 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 McClelland
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope
Romans 15:13

3/26

The Mission That is Not from 8 to 5

We 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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope

3/20

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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope

3/20

Obviously 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, Ed
Romans 15:13

3/18

I 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, Ed
Psalm 55:22

3/14

We 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

3/7

And 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, Ed
Still Encouraged

3/6

I,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, Ed
Romans 15:13

2/26

I 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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope

2/24

A 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, Ed
Romans 15:13/ Task Force Hope

2/14

I’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 April
Task 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 share
operationcreekside.org- see Updates and Wish List on Donation Page
Best, Ed
Operation Creekside

2/12

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

2/8

We’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 Others
See Our Website- operationcreekside.org
See Updates and See Wish List under the Donation Page
See Operation Creekside and Task Force Hope on Facebook
Invite Me to Share the Mission with your group or business or church??
Our veterans are worthy…..
Best, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope
Romans 15:13

2/6

Last 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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope
Hope as in Romans 15:13

1/31

1 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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope
Our veterans are worthy.

1/23

My 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, Ed
Psalms 55:22

1/14

A 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, Ed
Romans 15:13

1/11

A 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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope

1/4/16

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, Ed
Psalm 55:22

2016

12/31

because 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, Ed
Romans 15:13

12/30

Two 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 5423
thanks, Ed
Psalm 55:22

12/26

I 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, Ed
Still Encouraged….

12/23

Reporting 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 McClelland
Psalm 55:22

12/19

It’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, Ed
Romans 15:13

12/7

We 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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope
tinyhomes_letter-01

12/4

I 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, Ed
Romans 15:13

11/28

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, Ed
Romans 15:13

11/21

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, Ed
Romans 15:13

11/16

Getting ready for Task Force Hope Veterans Camp in Murphy’s CA

First 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, Ed
Romans 15:13

11/15

I 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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope

11/12

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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope
Romans 15:13

11/11

A day with Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope

6 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 2017
10:30 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, Ed
Romans 15:13
**Task Force Hope Veterans Camp Nov 17 thru 20.

11/8

As important as today is for America, my veterans say, “move forward, always forward.”

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 33:12

Trust 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 5423
Best, Ed
Task Force Hope
God Bless America!!

11/7

Look for Opportunities to Serve

Moving 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, Ed
Romans 15:13

11/2

Care Packages

How 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

10/31

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, Ed
Task Force Hope
Romans 15:13

10/28

Imagine 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!! 22TooMany
Tomorrow 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 5423
Romans 15:13

10/24

Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope Immediate Needs- Please Print and Share

 

1 Care Package Sponsor for Nov 17 Veterans Camp= $1000
2 T Shirt Sponsor for Nov 17 Veterans Camp= $750
3 Fuel Cards for Nov 17 Veterans Camp= $500
4 Lunch/Activities Sponsor for Nov 17 Veterans Camp= $500
5 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, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope

10/22

Today 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 veterans
Fuel cards
Care Package Goods
Postage
T Shirt Sponsor
Best, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope

10/19

From 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, Ed
Operation Creekside/TASK Force Hope
God Bless America!!

10/17

It’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 Modesto
Sun 10-23 12 to 4 1631 Lander Ave Turlock
Wed 10-26 1 to 5  875 S Tracy Blvd Tracy
Sat 10-29  12 to 4  1453 Goodwin Dr Ripon
Wed 11-2  1 to 5   1172 Main St  Manteca
Fri 11-4   1035 Sperry Rd Patterson
Sat 11-5  7506 Pacific Av  Stockton
Fri 11-11 801 Oakdale Rd Modesto     Veterans Day
For more info please contact me at 925 260 5423
Thanks, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope

10/14

As 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 immediately
Fuel Cards Sponsor
Food Sponsor
Care Pack Sponsor
Best, Ed
Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope
Oh Lord, bless our efforts and protect our troops deployed, give strength to our veterans and peace to all military families….. God Bless America!

10/12

As 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, Ed
Romans 15:13
P.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!!

10/8

The 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, Ed
Task Force Hope/ Romans 15:13

9/28

Operation 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, Ed
Task Force Hope Romans 15:13

9/26

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

9/18

Eighteen 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
Romans 15:13

9/9

I 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, Ed
Romans 15:13

9/7

I 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, Ed
Romans 15:13

9/6

I 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, Ed
Romans 15:13

9/1

Either 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, Ed
Romans 15:13 Task Force Hope

8/23

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

Psalm 55:22

8/15

Here’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 McClelland
Task Force Hope…………Romans 15:13

8/12

Good 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, Ed
Psalm 55:22

8/3

1 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, Ed
Psalm 55:22

7/29

We 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, Ed
Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares upon the Lord…

7/24

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!!

Best, Ed

Psalm 55:22

7/5

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.
Best, Ed

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

Ed McClelland
925-260-5423-cell

US Troops #1  God Bless America

Po Box 1758
Discovery Bay, CA 94505

6/16

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….

Best, Ed

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.

Ed McClelland
925-260-5423-cell

US Troops #1 God Bless America

Po Box 1758
Discovery Bay, CA 94505