October 2018

10/15

I want to thank you all who help others….

It’s easy to get wrapped up in self. I think of the hours I work, running camp and still doing mission work 24/7. But yesterday on a familiar 100 mile drive down to Brentwood I got to reflect on how blessed I really am. I have a blind from birth pastor friend who says, “it is well with my soul”, and he says it often!!

But yesterday it was about Sgt Duvi Wolf. The California Run For The Fallen happened this weekend and every kilometer on this memorial run they place 4 American Flags with photos of our fallen on them, and I’ll tell you the story- in 2014 I was driving the route the day after the run and noticed at marker #101 a flag on the ground…

I had to turn around and go back. I knelt down and removed my hat- when I picked up the flag and saw the photo, it was Duvi. I knew all about the info on this flag, as we had sent Duvi a care pack in 2010 that was returned because she was killed in action. Most of you know the rest of the story, but Duvi did not die for nothing- her sacrifice has tremendous meaning to us at Operation Creekside..

So as I drove down yesterday, for one purpose, to kneel down at marker #101 and pay respects to the other fallen, just flags on the side of the road, but again, with tremendous meaning and sacrifice for my freedom, my troubles are nothing, and I take that flag because we(Operation Creekside) are her California family……

Last year I took that flag and left it at her graveside in Farmer South Dakota. I don’t know, but I think it is encouraging for others to see that she will never be forgotten. None of our fallen should ever be forgotten, but for Duvi, who was born in Mexico, immigrated here legally with her family as a child, grew up in Hawthorne Ca, then served her country and sacrificed her life for us, she will never be forgotten…

Grateful, Ed

Operation Creekside/Task Force Hope/22TooMany

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

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