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Archive for July, 2015

Taylor Bass took her love for goats and found a way to support military families and thank Operation Homefront for helping her family through a tough time.

Taylor Bass took her love for goats and found a way to support military families and thank Operation Homefront for helping her family through a tough time.

You could hear the bubbling enthusiasm as she spoke. “Mom! Cookie had babies!” That excited report came from Taylor Bass, the 9-year-old daughter of Army veteran and wounded warrior Benjamin Bass.

“Cookie” is a goat. And Taylor loves goats … and pretty much all animals. But what sets Taylor apart is that she is using her love for the farm and talent for raising animals to give back to people in need.

At Operation Homefront, we are continually touched by the generous nature of those who raise money for us with different kinds of fundraisers, but we have a special place for the kids who give back. And they find unique ways to be generous. Like the young girl who took donations on a back country road during the popular RAGBRAI bike ride across Iowa and raised $1000 for military families.

When we learned of Taylor’s unique story, word spread quickly among our staff.

 

 

Like most military kids, Taylor has experienced the pain of separation from a parent who serves.

Like most military kids, Taylor has experienced the pain of separation from a parent who serves.

Taylor’s dad, who served one tour in Iraq, was hit by a car while on active duty. As a result of complications from combat PTSD and those injuries, he was medically retired. In the midst of transitioning from military service to civilian life in Texas, the family struggled as they waited for their benefits to be sorted out. As their options began to run out, Operation Homefront stepped in to help. “Operation Homefront saved us because we didn’t get paid for three months and I didn’t have the money to pay (the car payment) and utilities … and (you) gave us money for food to feed our kids and diapers for my baby boy. (You) also helped us find other assistance in our area to cover our phone and school supplies for Taylor,” said Taylor’s mom, Krista.

Taylor sums it up neatly. “You guys helped us,” she said. And so, when family life became more stable, she wanted to say thanks by giving back. And she found a unique way to do that.

Taylor joined 4-H and started raising two goats – Elsa and Olaf. She did so well taking care of them that when she went to show them at the local county fair, one of her goats was selected for the premium auction at the livestock sale that followed the event.

Erica Howe, Community Liaison for Operation Homefront, met Taylor at the Texas A & M AgriLife Extension Service Office to receive Taylor’s gift to Operation Homefront.

Erica Howe, Community Liaison for Operation Homefront, met Taylor at the Texas A & M AgriLife Extension Service Office to receive Taylor’s gift to Operation Homefront.

At the auction, the bidding reached $1700 for her goat. Then, the word got out that she was giving the proceeds of the sale to support military families. People began to contribute money to the auction and to Taylor, to help her continue in 4-H.

The next day, her second goat was to be sold at another nearby auction and the news of Taylor’s intentions followed her there. The goat was sold, returned to Taylor, and resold several times, raising $1800.

 

When it was all over, Taylor had raised more than $3000 for Operation Homefront and she also made a donation to Wounded Warrior Project. “I’m super proud of her,” said Taylor’s mom.

Not one to sit back and be idle, Taylor is raising goats for 4-H again. This year, she wants the proceeds to go to children who are battling cancer. In fact, her goat Elsa was sold to a local farmer and Taylor may end up getting one of Elsa’s babies to continue her ongoing tradition of “kids” giving back.

Thank you for your service! Army veteran and wounded warrior Benjamin Bass and his family, Jaiden, Taylor and Krista have weathered a difficult transition from military to civilian life and are enjoying life on their acreage in Texas.

Thank you for your service! Army veteran and wounded warrior Benjamin Bass and his family, Jaiden, Taylor and Krista have weathered a difficult transition from military to civilian life and are enjoying life on their acreage in Texas.

 

Taylor gives us the perfect example to follow. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’re up to…you can make a difference. Thanks Taylor!

 

 

 

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The Fun.

Is there anything better than a warm Fourth of July? A dip in a pool or lake. Finding the perfect spot on the beach or in the local park. A spontaneous game of horseshoes or corn hole. Concerts and fireworks in small towns from coast to coast. The anticipation as dusk falls and the sparklers come out. The magic of summer in the air.

Tip: Cool Whip stands up well in the heat.

Tip: Cool Whip stands up well in the heat.

The Food.

Fourth of July cookouts and potlucks are, hands down, the best of the best. The deviled eggs, corn on the cob, fresh strawberries and watermelon, and always something special from the family Cool Whip dessert maestro. The burgers, the dogs, the smoked ribs. Messy and delicious and glorious.

 

The Moments.

Everyone seems to come out of their homes (and their shells) a bit more on the Fourth. Time slows down as the lawn chairs and blankets and coolers are laid out. We look at our phones a bit less and people a bit more.

The Promise.

There is something about the promise of our Declaration of Independence, and new beginnings that resonates with us, even today. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

One Nation.

The Unity.

It is inspiring that we get to see in others what drives so many of us to serve, the belief in that promise. All of America is decked out in red, white and blue, and we are reminded that there is more that unites us than divides us. With every salute, parade, and patriotic song, we are reminded that this gift of freedom, this experiment of democracy, is so dear to us that even to this day, young men and women dedicate their lives to protect it.

The Hope.

Even though it seems this time of year brings a new round of potential threats and calls to be aware of the dangers in the world, we pause to think about what would have happened had 56 men let their fear override their belief in the future of a free and independent state. We have been through worse as a nation, and have endured. We will continue to do so. Are we perfect? No. But the promise and the unity give us the hope. Hope will defeat fear every time.

The Renewal.

As the day ends, darkness falls and the first starburst explodes in the sky, we can reflect on the time together, away from work and troubles, and remember that America is still a strong nation. And, thanks to the legacy of those who declared our independence, those who died for it, and those who continue to protect it today…we are free.

The Team at Operation Homefront wish everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July!

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