Help a Marine Stop Soldier Suicides

veterans_day_military_tiesGive a warm welcome to my guest, Antonio Centino. He is a former U.S. Marine, Texan, father, husband, and founder of the veteran resource High Speed Low Drag.

“Back in 2003″, Antonio remebers,”my friend, Second Lieutenant Christopher Shay killed himself while we were deployed.”

Bill Briggs, NBC News contributor, in his article One Every 18 hours: Military Suicide Rate Still High, tells us, “Research published last week has experts concerned that American troops who survived multiple nearby IED blasts while in Afghanistan and Iraq now are at greater jeopardy for harming themselves. People who have suffered numerous mild traumatic brain injuries — or concussions — carry a higher suicide risk, according to the first study to make that connection.”

Antonio says, ” I’m going to give Stop Soldier Suicide ( a non-profit vet run organization) $20,000 this Veteran’s day to raise awareness of military suicide. To do this – I created 400 neckties to honor each of the 4 military branches. For every tie sold I’m donating $50 to the cause.”

Antonio and his friend, Hendrik Pohl, who runs Bows n’ Ties, partnered together on this project. Antonio explains, “All proceeds, all profits–we are not making any money on this– go to Stop Soldier Suicides.”

“You can check out my project here: The ties are really nice (100% silk, regimental stripe, using historic service colors). I figure give Marines/Airmen/Sailors/Soldiers a tie they’re proud to wear all the while helping those vets that need it. Win- Win!”

The ties are retailing for $79 each – however any veteran/active duty/military spouse can use the code “military” for a $30 discount.  Meet Antonio in this video explaining his cause.
Thank you, Antonio for your service and continued good works. You help make the world a better place. I bought my son a tie and can hardly wait to give it to him.

Sgt. Rex Military Working Dog Faithful To the End

Sgt Rex

Picture by Mike Dowling.

Mike Dowling, a Marine, wrote a book about his military working dog, Sgt.Rex. Enjoy this video. Mike explains the strong connection between a handler and his dog. Mike commented, “The most important thing you can learn as a handler is how to praise your dog.” Sgt.Rex had dual certification in protecting troops and detecting explosives and weapons.

Mike said,“We like to refer to the working dogs as ‘weapons of mass detection’ because they detect so well.” During Sgt. Rex’s years of service, “This military working dog conducted more than 11,575 hours of military supports and searched more than 6,220 vehicles during searches in Iraq, the Marine Corps reported.”

Thank you Mike and Sgt. Rex for your service and showing the unbreakable bond between a dog and his handler. Sgt. Rex retired in April of 2012 and was adopted by another one of his handlers.  Sgt. Rex enjoyed retirement for several months until he passed away.

A Marine Gives His Life

Last October, I was in Minnesota helping my daughter with the triplets. I went to my daughter’s hair stylist, Megan Scheffler. Megan was in her sister’s wedding to Marine Lance Cpl. Dale W. Means. Dale was deployed to Afghanistan soon after the wedding.

This past week I saw that Megan had posted on Facebook, that another Marine In Dale’s unit had been killed. I messaged her to see how Dale was doing. I cried when she wrote back that Dale had been killed the week before. He and his wife had just been married one year. Dale was laid to rest on Wednesday.

Please hold Megan, her sister, and their families and friends in prayer. Please pray for the Marine’s in Dale’s unit and all of our troops. Rest in peace, Lance Cpl. Dale W. Means.


The Shield of a Soldier’s Love

Give a warm welcome to my very special guest, the inspiring Maureen Valenzi. This dedicated mother writes a daily blog following the journey of her deployed United States Marine at Maureen’s Marine.

Maureen’s Marine is a finalist for the 2012 Milbloggies (6th Annual) Best U.S. Military Parent Blog Award.

The beautiful format of Maureen’s blog goes straight to the heart and helps us understand the every day sacrifices of our Marines and their families.

Maureen, thank you for sharing your story and for raising such a brave and caring son. Ian helps make this world a better place. Holding Ian and all of our troops in prayer.

The Shield

Ian’s email to us
this week

was unexpected

again and still
he sounds 

whole and calm

when he returns
from Afghanistan

I must remember…
to thank Ian for:

the shield from details
the wisdom to take the high road
the gift of peace he gives me

during this deployment

Ian consciously and
continuously protects me
from the nitty-gritty
heartache of war

no wonder I feel safe

by Maureen Valenzi

29 Years Ago- A Mother’s Story

Give a warm welcome to our guest, Lolly Crummett. Lolly is a United States Air Force Mom, a United States Marine Corps Wife (retired), a mom to three other wonderful young adults and a very proud grandmother.

Almost 29 years ago, I brought two beautiful mirror image identical twin boys into this world. They were 32 weeks premature and only weighted five pounds each. At the time, my husband was an Active Duty Marine, and we were stationed in Albany, GA. A long way from home for this little CA girl.

I sat there in GA and wondered how much further from home the Marine Corps could send us and still keep us in the United States. Then my husband got orders. We were going to Twentynine Palms, CA, a mere 3 hour drive from Momma and Daddy. Daddy was terminally ill,and I knew I wanted my 3 boys (I have a son 3 1/2 years older than my twins ) to have a chance to get to know their grandpa.

Danny, Jason, Tommie July 1985 

With the military, nothing is carved in stone until it happens. A month before our move my husband came home and told me we weren’t going to Twentynine Palms.  We were going to Hawaii, still in the United States, but 3,000 miles the other side of home. I was heartbroken.

I cried when I had to tell my parents. It turned out okay. Hawaii was part of my brother’s business territory so my boys got to see their Uncle Bum (yes, Uncle Bum, and my niece calls me Aunt Brat) four times a years when he came to Hawaii on business. My parents managed to come visit us once a year. I also managed to get home each summer for a few weeks to see the family.

After a three year tour in Hawaii, we finally got orders to Twentynine Palms, AGAIN, and this time they stuck. The boys and I and my pregnant belly came home early so I could spend some time with my parents and give the boys time to spend with Grandpa.

When I told Daddy I was pregnant, he immediately began referring to the baby as “she” something he’d never done with any of the other 5 grandchildren (all boys). They were always “it”. Daddy knew I was finally having the little girl we’d all wanted. He lived long enough to meet her, and passed away when she was 5 weeks old.

My own son, Tommie, one of my twins, is in the United States Air Force. This is July 2012 and he is preparing for deployment #7. He was home for Thanksgiving last year. It was the first Thanksgiving in 9 years that all 4 of my children were home together. It was also my precious grandson’s first Thanksgiving. It was the first time in 19 very long months that I saw my son, as he is now stationed in England.

Tommie and his mom and dad on his wedding day.

This will be his second deployment from England. He’ll be gone 6 months. Even though he’ll be back in February, expenses will prohibit him from attending his own twin brother’s wedding in April. Being deployed he’s missed countless birthdays, family gatherings, celebrations and funerals.

He was unable to attend his grandmother’s wedding because he was in Iraq. The Rabbi was great. He allowed me to keep my cell phone on “in case Tommie called” during the ceremony.

He missed his baby sister’s wedding. Leave was denied because he was within the deployment window where he couldn’t leave the country. With my beloved Daddy dying when Tommie was only 5 1/2, my uncle became a surrogate grandfather to my children. Tommie missed his funeral because he was deployed. When Tommie’s Godmother died, he couldn’t get leave to come say his last farewell to his beloved Aunt Lanie.

When your child joins the military, so do you. You make sacrifices along with your child. It’s part of the life they choose to lead. I’ve been a military wife for 35 years now. I’ve been a military mom for almost 11 years. They are two entirely different ball games. I knew what I was doing when I married my Marine.

When I gave birth to a helpless 5 pound baby, I had no intention of sending him to war once, let alone 7 times. He has seen and done things that only happen in my nightmares. His dad is a Vietnam Vet, so the two of them can talk about what they’ve seen and done in a way that they can’t talk to anyone else including my daughter in law and me. Do I like the decisions my adult son has made? Not always, but I accept and respect them.

I have four young adult children, and I am equally proud of all of them, but I must admit there is a piece of my heart reserved for Tommie that the other three can’t touch. I know each time Tommie goes to work, he’s laying his life on the line for our freedom. When he enlisted, he signed a check, made out to the United States of America in the amount of and up to and including his life if need be.

Serving our country runs in my son’s blood. His dad is a retired Marine, who is a Vietnam Vet. His uncle, my brother in law, was also a Marine, a veteran of both Vietnam and Korea in whose memory my son is named. My aunt and uncle both proudly served our country in World War II. My Grandfather (Tommie has his middle name ) served in World War I. It was inevitable that at least one of my children would serve our nation.  I fully expect to one day be the grandmother of a United States Service Member.


71 Year Old ElliptiGO Rider Travels 3,000 Miles for Injured Veterans

Picture from Rick’s blog

Rick Hermelin, a former active duty Marine jumped on his cross training running machine, the ElliptiGO, and in 100 days raised awareness and funds for the Semper Fi Fund,a 501(c)(3) nonprofit set up to provide immediate financial support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.

Rick’s one-man, self-supported adventure, as described on the Semper Fi Fund page, departed Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, S.C. on March 23, 2012, and finished at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, CA on Saturday, June 30, 2012.

The meaningful coast-to-coast finish aboard MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) commemorates Rick’s service in the United States Marine Corps, while also honoring the Semper Fi Fund, who will be on site to celebrate his finish.

As of this morning, according to Rick’s blog, the total of $10,622 was raised for injured veterans. Keep the donations coming. You can donate here. Thank you Rick for a great effort! You rock!

Love You More Than You Know supports the Semper Fi Fund, giving a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book to benefit our wounded veterans.

Wave the Flags the 3/25 is Home!

Several moms wrote stories about their Marines from the 3/25 in Love You More Than You Know.  These brave troops have their boots on the ground at home after seven months of deployment! The second wave of Marines from the 3/25 will return at the end of March.

Suffering heavy casualties on their previous tour in Iraq, we are so grateful that our prayers have been answered and all have returned safely from Afghanistan.

Watch this emotional video from Fox 8 as families are reunited. A young father meets his baby son for the first time saying there is nothing better than  holding him and kissing him in person! Welcome home and thank you for your service.

3/25 Homecoming

A Chance to Get Involved

Here is a military pen pal site dedicated to help service members get connected with civilians who want to be military pen pals. We know about the difficult task our military men and women face in overseas deployments – they are separated from family and friends for long periods of time. brings people here at home in touch with military friends around the world. We have identified web sites that support military penpals; scroll down for a list of military pen pals web sites. Visit these sites and find out how you can become a military pen pal and show your support for our troops. Most sites welcome both civilian and military pen pals.

It’s Been Too Long

Laurie Goyetche, author of “His Choice, Our Pride”  in Love You More Than You Know welcomed back her son Cpl. Zach Goyetche last week. The Marines of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit left for Haiti right after the devastating earthquake and just a month after returning from a previous seven-month deployment. The Marines provided food, water, and medical supplies to the Haitians. One of the Marines said, “It was a proud day for me and my fellow Marines to help serve these people.”  It is a proud day for us to have these Marines serve our country. Thank you for your service. Check out this video of their return.

Here is what Laurie had to say.

Haiti Relief Mission – Cpl Zack Goyetche

Our son, Cpl Zack Goyetche, and his Marine unit returned from a 7-month Middle Eastern deployment in December 2009.  Reacquainting with their families for just barely 6 weeks, they were called back to duty to serve in the Haiti Earthquake Relief Mission just 2 days after the devastating quake hit on January 12, 2010.  These Marines didn’t blink an eye with getting prepared to serve not their country this time, but one in dire need.  For them, new babies were still yet to be born, young children still discovering who their daddy is, wives still rejoicing that their husbands were home again, but duty called.

My son was off.  I received just one phone call about mid-way of the 3-month mission.  Last Thursday, my son and the final wave of his unit returned to the states!  In our first “I’m Back in the USA” phone call I asked my son to sum up in just a sentence or two what he will remember most about his service in Haiti.  He replied, “Because of me and my platoon, 3 people are alive today.  And that feels pretty good.”