Wednesday, October 31, 2007

More from Debbie's son, Ryan.

Here is another picture from the patrols that I do. As you can tell, I like to hang out with the kids alot. They can smile though anything. They don't have electricity, very poor living conditions, not to mention that baghdad is war torn...yet the smile though it in the streets...
they're great
hope you enjoy!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Thank a Soldier.

There are many ways to show our gratitude to the men and women of our nation's military. Unfortunately, it isn't shown often enough. Show your gratitude today and say "Thank You!" to those special people!

Show your support with a high quality, personalized t-shirt or sweatshirt! Available in toddler, youth, ladies and adult sizes with more customized products in the future.

25% of every sale will be donated to organizations who help our injured combat veterans and our military families who are in need.

Please take a moment and go to Thank a Soldier and choose your favorite branch of service (Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines). The Army and Air National Guards as well as the U.S. Coast Guard are also included. You can personalize your choices with phrases such as "Thank My Son".

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Patriotic Pumpkin Party at the Park

Saturday, the 27th of October, our VFW Post held a Halloween Party for the kids of those serving in the military, complete with a Haunted House! The kids were throughly entertained and lots of prizes were won at the different booths. In addition to an obstacle course, face painting and a bean bag toss, the playground provided the little ones with hours of fun. The VFW hosts a great party and the Arizona Chapter of Blue Star Mothers were represented!

L-R April Bolt, Elizabeth Guerra, Bertha Topar, Vicki Payne, and Debbie Miller.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Volunteers Prepping for Veteran's Day Weekend Kick-Off

2007 Holiday Drive Gears Up
By Carolyn Blashek
Oct 25, 2007 - 9:36:41 AM

Volunteers Prepping for Veteran's Day Weekend Kick-Off

Dear Friends,

Courtesy image.
Volunteers are in full prep mode for the 2007 Holiday Drive, which kicks off over the Veteran's Day Weekend, November 10 -11! Our goal is to send 60,000 care packages by the end of December, and the excitement is growing as we prepare to assemble and ship Operation Gratitude's 300,000th package on December 15th!

"This is our 5th Annual Holiday Drive--and will be the largest yet!" exclaimed Carolyn Blashek, Founder of Operation Gratitude. "The holidays are a particularly difficult time for our troops to be away from their loved ones, so it is all the more important that Operation Gratitude reach as many Service Members as possible to let them know they are appreciated and cherished by the American people," she added.

"I am a soldier currently deployed to Iraq who received a package from you folks recently. Thanks so much for your morale boosting box of goodies -- your packages clearly were the result of experience, planning, and labor-intensive love. We troops appreciate all that you do. Keep up the outstanding work. Take care." Very Respectfully, SPC C.K. Y.

"Once again the call goes out to the thousands of volunteers and donors who graciously join together to express their admiration and respect in this tangible way," said Cheryl Zerah, Operation Gratitude's Corporate Secretary. "We are so grateful to each and every supporter who participates in our mission. We could not accomplish this Herculean task without them!" added Supervisor Carol Sweet.

School service clubs, church groups, Scout Troops, business owners and individuals of all ages have found creative and fun ways to collect and donate the items needed to make each treat-filled box extra special. Operation Gratitude care packages are loaded with a wide assortment of non-perishable foods, entertainment items, personal care products, and heartfelt messages of support. We encourage every American to express their appreciation in their own unique way with Operation Gratitude!

Related Link : Operation Gratitude

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Meet Debbie Seifert's son, Ryan!

SSG Ryan Johnson
1-168 INF
Iowa National Guard
Stationed at Camp Slayer, Baghdad, deployed June '07, returning home June '08.

According to Debbie, Ryan loves the kids and said that they make the mission easy. They're always loving and are happy to see the troops.

Take a moment to enjoy!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Good News!

Debbie Miller reports that she's prepared 19 boxes to ship! The lucky recipients are soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines chosen from The contents of these packages are donated items from many sources.

In addition to packaging and mailing these boxes, Debbie spent Sunday at Wild Oats on Speedway promoting Blue Star Mothers. In August and September Wild Oats was kind enough to make a box available for donations, and has chosen Blue Star Mothers, Arizona Chapter 2, as one of their "Wooden Nickel" charities. For every grocery bag a shopper brings into the store, Wild Oats offers them a Wooden Nickel. The shopper then drops it in the box of their favorite charity and we get a check! Cha-Ching!

Stay posted, Wild Oats will be hosting another charity drive to include some Christmas mailings, soon.

Be sure to let the management at Wild Oats know that you appreciate their support!

An addendum from Bonnielee:

Great news for our chapter's Blue Star Moms! On October 18th, The Living Word Chapel in Oracle packed 40 care packages for our troops ... and I do mean "our" troops. Because I attend that church, the pastor, his wife, and the members are very much aware of my WRITE ON! project. The Ladies' Group members asked me for the list of pen pals my students and I write to. As you know, many of our pen pals are YOUR sons and daughters. The old saying "what goes around comes around" is certainly true here. While our group was readying care packages for "any soldier," our church was readying packages for OUR service members. Sunday I was asked for a second copy of the list so the group can pray for each member on our list. God is good--all the time!
One very proud
Marine Wife and
Air Force Mom,

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Good News From Iraq

From MNF-I, Tips lead to arrests in Salman Pak.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – After receiving tips, Coalition Forces detained three people in Salman Pak Oct. 11 during Operation Belleau Wood, a raid to find insurgents linked to al-Qaeda cells operating in Iraq.

Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, detained the men after they were identified as al-Qaeda members responsible for improvised explosive device placement along a road frequently used by the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. The Soldiers also cleared 13 houses during their search.

Maj. John Cushing, the 1-15th Inf. Regt. Operations officer from Rochester, Mich., believes the recent organization of Concerned Local Citizens in the Salman Pak area has helped residents feel safer, and therefore more likely to come forward to identify insurgents and their activities.

“Local Iraqi sheiks, in very dangerous areas, are coming forward and are willing to provide critical information concerning extremist activities in our area of operations,” Cushing said. “Local sheiks and Coalition Forces are working together and doing what it takes to improve security in insurgent-infested neighborhoods.”

“Belleau Wood was great for Hardrock (Company A) and 1-15,” Cushing continued. “As a result of this operation, three extremists were detained which further disrupted an IED cell along a major route that Coalition Forces travel each day.”

The 1-15 Inf. Regt., is assigned to the 3rd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Minutes from Sept. 25, 2007 meeting

· The meeting began at 6:30pm

· Group picture taken by Jon – Foothills/Oro Valley Magazine for November article on Blue Star Mothers

· Pledge of Allegiance

· Reading of previous months minutes – Approved by All

· Treasurer Report – $859.00 in checking account

· Old Business

o Shirts – Bonnielee Walsh - We now have a new printing company for our BSM shirts.

· Tee Time

· 3755 N. Runway Drive, #D, Tucson

· (520)291-1688

· Contact: Jim Rockwell

o Thank You Certificate – Barb League – Original design was too grainy and the designer will play with it a bit to make it look more crisp & clear. Barb will follow up and report back at the November meeting.

· New Business

o Letter from Rose – She has resigned as Secretary of BSM due to personal reasons. We will need a new volunteer to take her place. Motions were made for Barb League or Charli Greenlees. Charli agreed to be Secretary, with Barb as a back up. Approved by all. Charli will not be at the Nov. meeting so Barb will cover minutes for that meeting.

o Teams/Committees – Roxanne has come up with an idea for four sub-committees, each designated to handle a certain aspect of our group.

· Courageous Tigers – Fundraising Committee

· Flying Eagles – Letter & Correspondence

· Gentle Lambs – Emotional Support/Grief

· Industrious Ants – Community Service/Involvement

o At the November meeting, we will have “sign ups” for each team/committee.

o Family Fun Day at Wild Oats – Debbie S. – November 3rd from 10-12 at Wild Oats Market on Speedway Blvd. We are partnering with Wild Oats (marketing manager Kelley Pruest) to have a care packing party and card making event for the troops.

o Charity Emporium – Debbie S. - – this organization has various stores on its website. A portion of what you buy is donated to your organization. It doesn’t cost us anything, just a matter of signing up for it. All agreed that it sounds like something we should at least try.

o Email from Carolyn – Debbie S. – Carolyn Kneppel is a mom from the Phoenix area that is on our email. She has been emailing Debbie back and forth about issues she is having regarding her son, who has been in the military service before.

o The idea of having a “generic” type business card was brought up. Debbie M. will make up a few samples and bring them to the next meeting.

o Set up Yahoo account – Lois suggested we do this in order to make communication more effective for the group. She is willing to take on getting that set up.

o Cookbooks – Debbie S. – a company produces cookbooks as a fundraiser and the cost is very minimal. They are great gifts for family and friends. We could submit our soldier’s favorite recipes. The company puts together the whole book from the recipes you send it. Each recipe is on its own page to make it easier to read and follow. All agreed it sounds like a great fundraising idea.

· Announcements

o Oct. 27th – Patriotic Rally – Jacobs Field from 11am-3pm.

o Nov. 3rd – Wild Oats Family Fun Day from 10am-12pm.

o Nov. 12th – Veterans Day Parade

· Closing: Serenity Prayer

· Meeting adjourned at 8:40pm

· Next meeting Oct. 30th, 6:30pm

· Minutes reported by Debbie Miller

Thursday, October 11, 2007



When: Saturday, October 13, 1:00PM

Join us in making/decorating stockings for the soldiers.
The stockings will be used when the VFW meets on Sunday Nov. 18 to fill them and they will be sent to all the soldiers from Southern AZ - That includes the 1/285th!!

If you have decorating supplies to share, or material to make additional stockings please bring them.

Also you can bring snacks to share!

If you can't come but want to make some stockings contact Diane or Andrea and we can get you the pattern.

Questions Contact Diane Sotelo -

Monday, October 8, 2007

Good News from Iraq

Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

RELEASE No. 20071008-08
October 8, 2007

Local citizens assist Soldiers in decreasing violence
Multi-National Division – Center PAO

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Local Concerned Citizens brought a large cache to a 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment combat outpost east of Baghdad Oct. 5.

The citizens brought a cache consisting of 21 mortar rounds, one 57mm projectile, two 100mm projectiles, one 122mm rocket warhead, three PG-7Ms, four PG-7s, and one rocket propelled grenade to Combat Outpost Cashe and turned the items in to Soldiers of Company D, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, currently attached to 3-1st Cav. Regt.

The cavalry regiment officials estimated that more than 1,000 rounds of small arms ammunition and 60 pounds of TNT were turned in, as well.

Concerned Citizens groups are local volunteers who are committed to cooperating with Coalition Forces to decrease violence in their communities, much like a neighborhood watch program. Soldiers from Company D have been working to establish Concerned Citizens groups in Jisr Diyala, a town southeast of Baghdad, since July. Currently, two Concerned Citizens groups total approximately 300 volunteers.

Also in the 3-1st Cav. Regt. area of operation on the same day, local citizens informed Iraqi police of a potential improvised explosive device along a major road.

Iraqi police were able to remove the road side bomb and Soldiers from the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team secured the explosive for proper disposal.

The 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment is assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Benning, Ga.


FOR QUERIES, CONTACT THE MULTI-NATIONAL DIVISION – CENTER PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE AT: MND-CENTER_PAO@IRAQ.CENTCOM.MILThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it OR BY PHONE AT DSN 318-822-7482 OR COMMERCIAL 912-767-4114.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Thanks to Xerox!

And Chrissy Harlan for this:

If you go to this web site,
you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to some member of the armed services.

How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!! This is a great site. Please send a card.
It is FREE and it only takes a second.

This is an easy way to let our soldiers know they're appreciated.