Thursday, October 15, 2009

A sad week again...

The next 7 days will again be a serious time for us. We will be standing for three military heroes who in different places earned our honor and respect.

I will be at the mission Friday in Coon Rapids for MAJ Hervas and in Duluth on Saturday for SSgt Taylor. SPC Cauley mission is in our Northern sectors next week.

These heroes are now in our hearts forever with their sacrifice. Please join whatever mission you can to show your honor, dignity, and respect for these men.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

September State Captains Report

The number of missions that the MN Patriot Guard delivered in August and September was again large.

August started out with the final mission steps for the fallen in July. The metro was handed a heavy load with these missions and everyone stepped up wonderfully!!! I am proud of how this state rallied to let these families know that we care and will never forget.

For the mission of Capt Thomas Gramith we again witnessed a missing man flyover by the Air Force. Because they were over the metro area they could not use their afterburners but watching the one aircraft go skyward separate was sobering and special.

The MN Patriot Guard was also invited to stand besides law enforcement from across Minnesota and the Midwest for the services of Richard Crittenden, Veteran, and N St. Paul Police Officer. The count was hundreds, if not over a thousand, law enforcement professionals standing in respect for their fallen brother who was lost in the line of duty. At the same time we were standing in honor of SSG Todd Selge. Again…. Our organization stood tall with honor missions at the same time.

August saw the final trip in the Remember the Fallen Tribute organized by the Military Salute Project. What Jeff “Sailor Doc” Seeber and the “boys” organized was something that I was very honored to attend. Across the state they said with honor, dignity, respect that we will never forget. I didn’t make as many as I would have liked because of the mission load and work demands but the stories I read about the greetings they found across the state in every town they went to were heart warming. I especially liked the one where a church timed their service to have every attending member come out to stand in the cemetery with the Military Salute Project and other attendees while the service was about to take place.

This event was the last event to be organized by Jeff and the Military Salute Project. They are retiring after 2 years longer than they thought they would be around organizing remembrances like this. All of us reading this owe them silent and public thanks for the work they have done since Echo Taps. Jeff is a friend and guide in many things for me. We don’t always agree nor have the same opinion but his counsel is one I value greatly. Along with lovely wife Candace I look forward to more relaxed days of friendship and laughs. Doc you are the best. Thanks for being there for us.

Our store shipping has moved to the warehouse of Dennis Kirk. Our great partners in the Patriot Ride volunteered to help out after John Redfield asked to move the store out of his house. As a volunteer gift we get the benefit of professional storage and shipping of our merchandise at no cost. John Redfield is introducing new merchandise about every few weeks now and I am excited by it. You will see long sleeve shirts back in stock soon. :-) we are trying to keep the selection fresh with new styles for everybody.

One event that we’d like to call out is the Northern Sector M&G at Camp Ripley that was also named Flag Line 09. As part of the Open House the Camp asked us to help organize an attempt at the longest Flag Line recorded. Just over 1,300 people holding a flag were recorded up there!!

During the program MG Shellito was a speaker. His focus was on how the public treats the military and veterans as compared to his early days in Army during the Vietnam War. With his comments pointed to the Patriot Guard he brought up two stories and how relates them to the rumble of a V Twin engine.

His first story was that the military had been told to expect protestors and the Army was nervous about what to expect. MG Shellito said that as they pulled into the tiny town they were greeted by hundreds of Patriot Guard Riders holding their flags in a tight circle around the church. He knew all would be Ok that day.

His next experience was sitting on a bus with family just after the church service for their fallen hero. As they looked out the front of the bus they saw the Patriot Guard Riders forming a line a flags for the bus to drive in between. The family looked at him and said they now knew somebody cared.

He said that when hears a motorcycle go by it reminds him that citizens all over Minnesota care and will always be there in a time of need.

It isn’t really our motorcycles that make him feel good. Motorcycle season will be ending soon and as we switch our mode of transportation to and from missions we again are reminded that we are collection of people with no boundaries or borders. What ever means of transportation we need we use to attend missions we will use. It is the turnout by all of you, no matter the weather, no matter the day, to always show the world you care. You matter. Thank you.

We have our challenges to be sure. At our October Leadership meeting we will be addressing some tough topics. We have to look at how we handle escorts with greater focus; our mission scope is large and growing too large maybe; and replacing leaders as they move with their lives. Your comments and opinions matter. Please keep sending them your Ride Captains. Unless it involves a honor mission for a fallen hero we will not have 100% agreement on any topic. And that is OK… as long as we keep an open mind to the issues.

So many things have happened this year already. Our mission load is heavier than ever, our donations growing, and member count up. I appreciate so much what the leadership team does for us here. The hours of time they commit to this with only your thanks as pay. Please let your sector leaders know that you appreciate what they do.

Ending this post on a very positive note. As you know Governor Pawlenty announced he is not running for Governor again as his term ends. With that they had campaign funds to disburse to qualified 501(c)3 organizations. We were blessed to have received $20,000 of those leftover funds. To use them we are going to partner with the Family Assistance Centers across the state to make available quick strike funds that can be granted on the spot to families of the deployed who need a hand. Thank you Governor Pawlenty for that wonderful gift. We will use in the nest way we can.

Be safe everyone and God bless America and our military!