Friday, April 30, 2010

Maple Lake Soldier Wins An Award

Colonel Salzman of the Contingency Operating Base in Basrah, Iraq, awarded Spc. Sarah O’Loughlin with the Army Achievement Medal for her efforts in organizing an Irish Scamper for military personnel.
O'Loughlin honored for International Irish Scamper

by Theresa Andrus

This year's Irish Scamper during Maple Lake's St. Patrick's Day Festival made history when a sister race was held in Iraq. And now its organizer has been honored for her efforts.

Spc. Sarah O'Loughlin, daughter of Mike and Ginger O'Loughlin of Maple Lake, was awarded with the Army Achievement Medal earlier this month at a ceremony at her base in Basrah, Iraq.

O'Loughlin had been a past participant in the Irish Scamper and organized an Iraq event that drew 236 service men and women to participate in the 5K race. O'Loughlin actually had 288 people sign up for the race she organized, but some were unable to particpate due to missions or other duties.

O'Loughlin's parents conducted fundraising in Maple Lake to provide race t-shirts for the first 200 runners to sign up, with the Maple Lake Lions donating money to ship the shirts to Iraq.

It was the first time that O'Loughlin had coordinated a big event and she thanked her family, the support she received from Maple Lake, and help she received from other soldiers in Iraq.

"I am very happy to have been recognized for all the work put into the run, mostly because I feel like it helps recognize all the people back home who helped me with it," she said. "A lot of work went into making the whole thing happen, and I am so grateful for everyone who helped me."

O'Loughlin will return stateside from her tour of duty in Iraq in late June or early July.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Our Non Political Nature

MN Patriot Guard team,

Our organization is completely non-political. We are neither pro-war or anti-war. We are not Republican, Democrat, Independent, or any other party political party. We take no position of any type that is debated or discussed in either our State or National Capital.

We are 150% for our individual military members making sacrifices around the world every day.

That said of late I am starting to hear complaints from people at missions who are over hearing comments about political decisions, political leaders, agendas of certain groups, or even questioning our stance on being non-political. It is important to our organization that we stay away from these types of conversations at missions. I can assure you that someone standing close by, and over hearing you, doesn't agree with your opinions.

Unless you are a personal friend you don't, and won't, know my views. I keep those discussions for times when I am in private and not acting in any way associated with the PGR. I don't want my views to be confused with possibly representing those of the PGR or you.

It is also why we ask you to not wear your vest or PGR gear to political meetings or events. It can create the illusion that we support or represent the views of the meeting you are at.

As citizens it is imperative to our future that we have these opinions and act on them responsibly. Most important is your exercising your right and duty to vote in each election. We do these vitally important things as private citizens, representing ourselves, and not the PGR.

Thank you for investing the time and heart to make this the best PGR in the country!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Weekend of April 10, 2010

I am so proud of this organization and its members.

On Saturday 200 members showed up in Rochester to show the world we hold LCpl Curtis Swenson in the highest regard for his sacrifice. 100 of those continued on further as he was laid down in his finally resting place. Many of those making that ride didn't get home until well after dark.

At the same time 50 MN Patriot Guard members greeted SGT Kurt Kruize as he was brought home from Iraq on his last journey.

This letter was received from someone attending the funeral for LCpl Swenson

I live in Wisconson and today I went to the funeral of LCPL Curtis Micheal Swenson, in Rochester, MN. As we came to the church we beheld a sight that almost took my breath away.

The Patriot Guard Riders were lined on both sides of the street with flags flying. It was extremely moving.

They stood tall and still. They held their flag and looked so solemn. The tears started before I was even out of the vehicle.

When I talked with the family they found it difficult to put in words their appreciation. What you have done has given them a memory to hold in the dark times. The PGR helps those in the most heart wrenching times.
You are a wonderful group. I salute you.

Thank You and God Bless..

This is a clip of the mission report for SGT Kurt Kruize
Today we escorted SGT Kurt Kruize from the St Cloud Airport to the Williams Funeral home. We had 48 MN PGR members stand the flag line at the St Cloud Airport. The flight landed at 9:07 AM.

SGT Kruize was received by US Army Reserve Color Guard, this was a very emotional moment, there was not a dry eye on the
flag line.

Billie Jo, Kurt's wife paused at the hearse and said "I Love You Sweetheart".

Let us never forget our heroes. Let us always support their families. Let us always answer the invitation with Honor, Dignity, and Respect.