Home Front Hero Christmas

December 31, 2013 in Featured, Organization News

Hiome Front Heroes san Diego

American Legion Riders from Chapters #365 & #852 outside the Davis home in San Diego.

On Saturday morning December 21st members of Gold Star Dads & American Legion Riders took part in this year’s Home Front Hero Christmas project. We made early morning deliveries to Military Families with deployed Fathers. This was one of the most rewarding endeavors we have ever taken on as a group, and watching the faces of the kids and wives was my best Christmas present ever, a true blessing for everyone involved.

GSD_ Maphias Nguyen

Gold Star Dad Michael Klasno with 5 month old Maphias Nguyen

Through the generous donations of the Gold Star Dads Sponsors we were able to raise $6625.00 which enabled us to treat the 10 families and the deployed spouse to a wonderful Christmas Surprise. As promised each wife received a wonderful Christmas stocking which included $150 gift cards to both Target & Walmart and $25 Starbucks card and a nice assortment of Girlie Girl stuff to pamper them. The children also received stockings and presents of games and toys.

First off I want to thank God for blessing this mission and giving me the strength to complete it. I want to personally thank each and every one of you who prayed for, donated to & participated in this year’s Home Front Hero Christmas project. Without true American Patriots like you this would not have been possible.

From the $1500, $1000 & $500 donations to the $25 helpers, everyone played an important part in this mission. Although we did not reach are original goal of 25 families – 10 was not bad for the first year. I hope we lived up to your expectations.

From San Diego to Santa Maria, thank you to the American Legion Riders, you were awesome as usual. Huge thank you to my good friend John Nanny for everything you did to make this possible. Biggest thank you to my wife Lynn who put up with the mess in our living room and a stressed out Mad Man for the last few weeks of the project.

Merry Christmas Everyone! Have a Blessed New Year.

Gold Star Family BBQ 2013

October 15, 2013 in Events, Featured, Organization News

Over 60 Gold Star Family members and 150 supporters gathered at Fairmont Park in Riverside, CA on  5 October for the 5th Annual  Gold Star Families BBQ.

posting of Colors and hanging of dog tags on battlefield crossThe event started off with a flag line formed by PGR and the posting of colors by Gold Star Dads Mike Allen, Rick Creed & Rick Stephens followed by the placing of the dog tags on the battlefield cross by Gold Star Dad John Ruiz. We were then treated to our National Anthem sung by PFC Kendra N. Coil, Chaplain Assistant with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment at Ft Irwin. Read the rest of this entry →

ALR Post 328 Offers Support

August 4, 2013 in California, Featured, Organization News, Veterans Projects

American Legion Riders present $500 Donation for Operation Noble Warrior

 

For decades American Legion posts across America  have welcomed veterans into their ranks and continued to support and promote veteran and active duty service member causes. In recent years the American Legion Riders have come on the scene and made it very clear that the well being of America’s veterans is in their blood and a big part of their overall mission.

American Legion Riders Donation Check Presentation

ALR chapter officers Carlene Warren and Moe Kwaschnefski present Gold Star Dads president Michael Klasno with $500 donation check at the American Legion post 328 in Norco, CA.

As a former Marine I am proud of my veteran status and membership in the American Legion.  It gives me great pleasure and a sense of pride to see fellow Legion members standing tall & proud at our nations veteran celebrations and memorial events. What outsiders don’t see at these events is the work that goes on behind the scenes. The tireless effort that members put forth, the volunteer hours at local VA facilities, the constant challenge of finding enough donations to fund their outreach and the countless donations made by the different American Legion posts that go totally unnoticed.

But Not Today. This weekend I was an invited guest at the American Legion Rider meeting at Norco post 328 in southern California. As a Legion member in good standing I am welcome at any post, anywhere in the United States. I say invited guest because this was a ALR meeting and I am not a motorcycle rider, YET.

The purpose of my attendance was  to personally thank the members for their recent participation in the “Let Freedom Ring” Gold Star Tribute Ride, update them on future events and to visit with old and new friends. I was informed a few day before the meeting  that the group had discussed ways they could help Gold Star Dads of America with our mission and had already voted to present Gold Star Dads of America with  a $500 Donation. The check is specifically directed for use for our Operation Noble Warrior project and I was pleased and honored to except.

This brings the Operation Noble Warrior Project total to $3500. We are still a long ways from the $15,000 projected cost for the Christmas Party at the VA Hospital and the Blue & Gold Christmas Ball for our Combat Veteran Families. But I have faith that with friends like the American Legion, American Legion Riders and America’s Patriots behind us these and many more Operation Noble Warrior projects will be a success.

Gold Star Tribute Ride Roars into Riverside

June 18, 2013 in Events, Featured, Organization News

The Gold Star Tribute Ride roared into the event parking lot on Saturday as riders from as far away as Central California & San Diego joined the Gold Star Dads to celebrate our Beloved Hero’s. Over 70 riders took part in this years event that concluded at the National Guard Armory in Riverside, California.

img_4896The largest organized group came from 2 chapters of the Combat Vets Association  (33-6 and 33-3) who were riding as part of the largest overall group the H.O.G. Riders from Victorville Harley Davidson. Thank You Gentlemen for your service and help making this event memorable.

This was a Poker Run so lots of great prizes were given out for the winning High & Low poker hands. Included in the mix were prizes donated by; Quaid Loma Linda Harley, Victorville Harley, Antonello’s Restaurant, Peppino’s  Itallian Restaurant & Diamond Bros Detailing, and assorted gift cards donated by our patriot sponsors.

Participants were treated to a great BBQ courtesy of our Gold Star Dads and our outstanding Blue Star support team. The “B Side” band provided entertainment of  classic music  throughout the day as the riders, gold star families and organizers enjoyed a day of fellowship, stories and  memories of our lost loved ones, and lots of prayers.

Over all it was a pretty good day for all. A huge Thank You to our event sponsors, prize sponsors and all the riders who attended and bought raffle tickets.

The Total raised for the Operation Noble Warrior project, after all expenses were accounted for was $3128. Well Done My Friends! 

Let Freedom Ring 2013 an Emotional Success

June 17, 2013 in Featured, Organization News

HonorGuardThe call to colors sounded at 0730 and the Combined Forces Honor Guard Team commanded by CMSgt Hosea Taylor U.S. Air Force hoisted the National Colors and Gold Star Banner to half-staff to begin the 2013 Let Freedom Ring ceremony.  Before a sparse crowd of patriots and a handful of Gold Stars and active duty soldiers, Gold Star Mothers Lynn Klasno, & Leann Graves began the reading of 177 names.

During the reading the Freedom Bell was rung 177 times as well by SSgt Manny Montanez, a Viet Nam Purple Heart recipient, a fitting honor for the soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines who lost their lives since last Father’s Day.

After the last KIA name was read the bell was rung one more time in honor of Sgt. Bowie Bergdahl  U.S. Army POW. With the Freedom Bell still echoing Bowie’s name the Rifle Detail fired a final salute. The Flag detail was ordered to raise the colors back to full staff and the bugler sounded Taps for one last time.

GSD_JonAshleyIt was an emotional event for some in attendance, Gold Star Dad Jon Ashley  emailed me this note on Sunday. “On behalf of my family and I, we want to thank you for your unselfish dedication to make the Let Freedom Ring ceremony a very special time for the Gold Star families. While I had reservation to attend, being it was the first Father’s Day without Joshua, I am glad I did.  I met a lot of nice people and it allowed me to pay my respects.  It really puts it in perspective when you hear the names being read.  Unfortunately there were too many I know all too well from the units Joshua worked with.”

The Let Freedom Ring ceremony was just the beginning of a wonderful day filled with old and new friends, great music and lots of food. I will report on the Gold Star Tribute Ride tomorrow so bookmark  this website.

I want to personally thank all the sponsors and volunteers who made this day possible and a special thanks to the photographers who provided coverage of this event;  Donald Kline from Examiner.com – Kirsten Thornton of Emma Rhys Photography in Menifee, CA and Louis Katz from Technolene.com.

Here is a link to Kirsten Thornton’s photoshttps://www.dropbox.com/sh/5fbkfuuy8q4eci0/PqF3N_iAXi

Here is a link to Louis Katz photoshttps://www.dropbox.com/sh/6v4ur4u998ejctu/X2nfngc8RJ