Thursday, December 31, 2009

HOTH Leadership Change

Brian Jones has tendered his resignation as Help On The Homefront (HOTH) Coordinator effective January 1, 2010.

Brian joined the HOTH team early on helping at the Hastings Vets home and rapidly took on many other duties as the Assistant Coordinator for Gregg Campbell. I gotta tell ya… Brian was a “Git ‘R Done” guy and no one stopped him when he had his mind set on accomplishing something! Brian is very active in the American Legion Riders and we will see him on the road.

Brian… thank you for being part of helping develop one of the best HOTH programs in the country. We would not be even close to where we are without you.

Replacing Brian as the State HOTH coordinator is Yvonne Zappa. Yvonne works in the Family Assistance Center out of Camp Ripley has been invaluable to me helping sort through requests from families for help. When Yvonne thinks the need is there she jumps on it. She also knows how to decline a request when she thinks that is the right answer. Yvonne’s email address is and can best be reached this way. Yvonne will also be joining the Board of Directors as the HOTH Coordinator holds a seat on the Executive Committee.

Yvonne… I am so pleased you agreed to take on this additional duty. We need people of your experience to help keep driving HOTH forward.

The HOTH program has a fuzzy description and understanding and some of that is by design. By not having something rigid we could change it quickly as we learned what the real needs are of the program here in Minnesota.

The easiest way to think of the program is in these three areas;
1. Support of the Vets Homes and Hospitals including Walter Reed and Brooke Army Medical Centers if military members from Minnesota are there
2. Support of WIA military members
3. Support of the Family Assistance Centers in helping the families of the deployed

I want to thank the HOTH teams for their great support of our Vets. Our newest center that we are working with is the Silver Bay home and the Hibbing and Duluth teams are having a ball doing it! They have a Meet and Greet every month before they go to visit and play bingo.

The Fucile’s work very hard at the Minneapolis and Hastings home and I ask the metro membership try to find some time to help them out by attending. They are making a big difference to these vets.

State Coordinator – Yvonne Zappa
Assistant Coordinator – Open

Three Regional HOTH Representatives:
Northern Representative – Mike Sams
Metro Representative – John Foster
Southern Representative – Gary Miller

HOTH Veteran's Home/Medical Center Representatives:
MPLS Representative – Joe Fucile
Hastings Representative – Pat Fucile
Luverne Representative – Buck Underwood
Fergus Falls Representative – Dave Brimer
St. Cloud Representative – Yvonne Scheeler
Silver Bay Representative – Pete Prudhomme

If you are interested in learning more about Help on The Homefront Contact Yvonne Zappa at

Please thank Brian for his contributions and wish Yvonne good luck in her new role.

Happy New Year to all of you and I hope we all find peace and prosperity in 2010.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year To My Favorite People!

Members and friends of the MN Patriot Guard,

I want to extend to you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. For those who are Jewish I hope the Hanukkah season was wonderful for you.

It was a challenging year in many ways but our friends and family help us get through difficult days and celebrate the great ones! Hold them close and say thanks for being there.

If any military member is reading this but not home with family please know that we here in Minnesota are eternally grateful for your sacrifice. Our freedom is because of you and all those who served before you!

To those who lost a family member this year, either a fallen hero or veteran, we know the empty chair will be hard on you. You have a hug from 5,000 people that we hope will help you get through this Holiday. We will never forget.

The birth of Jesus is to me about hope and celebration. Being in this organization your efforts and caring are what keeps me filled with both. The heart I see at every mission is a reminder that none of are alone in this caring effort and each person can, and does, make a difference.

Thank you for your hard work and choosing to make a difference. Thank you for allowing me to be part of it with you.

Happy Holidays and see you on the flag line soon!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Airport Traffic This time Of Year...

Many of you know I travel quite a bit for work. Coming through the airport today it was so touching to see all the families gathered in the baggage claim areas with flags and balloons for their heroes coming home for the Holidays. The hugs, the tears of joy, and watching young families being reunited. I ran out of the “Dear American Hero” cards after about the first hour!

This season… please remember those who won’t be home. The MN Patriot Guard helped with donations to Serving the Troops and helping send fresh milk and cookies to our military heroes who are in the sand boxes. Let’s say a collective prayer on Christmas Eve for them!