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Posts Tagged ‘#Mission2Honor’

As part of our #Mission2Honor campaign, we asked you to share messages of thanks to our military families. Today is Thankful Thursday, and with Armed Forces Day around the corner, we challenge our community to send your own message of support via the link below, or create your own social media post using the hashtag #Mission2Honor.

Send a message of support!

This week, we picked some of our favorites we’ve received so far!

Thank you so much for all that you do and for the family that was left behind while you were protecting mine. You are true heroes. Thank you for everything. — Sherri C.

Thank you for your sacrifices each day so my family can live in such a wonderful country! From one Veteran to another, I appreciate each of you! — Retired Sgt. And Wounded Veteran, Don R.

Thank you so much for your sacrifice and service. Military members and their families have had to sacrifice so much, the past 16 years especially. I want to offer my heartfelt thanks and gratitude for all you do for our country. — Jim W.

A world of thanks to those who serve and their families for securing peace and prosperity for our country.  We are the best nation because our military guarantees us the space, resources, and freedom to pursue excellence in business, education, health care and all the other endeavors which make us Number 1.  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU! — John A.

I support all our military personnel and their families. You guys do a great job by serving and protecting our country. Thank you so much!! Salute for all of you guys!! — Janine S.

Join us for Military Appreciation Month and send a message of support to honor those who have served and are continuing to serve our communities across the country, using this link or via your social using #Mission2Honor. We will continue to share your messages as they come in.

 

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Last year for Mother’s Day, Air Force mom La Toya Wall received four “crazy looking birdhouses” that each of her children made at a Home Depot workshop in Anchorage, Alaska. The workshop was among many La Toya took her kids to on weekends while her husband, Blake Jacob, was deployed to Kuwait during the first half of 2016.

m2h operation homefront mother military WallJacobFam“It actually helped pass the time while he was deployed,” she said. “It put me on a schedule, knowing that they had these events” to occupy Sidney, 11; Khloee, 10; Khodee, 4; and Storee, 3. Blake also has a 9-year-old daughter, Ryleigh, who lives in Arizona with her mother. “It was awesome,” said LaToya, who compared the workshops to Scouting because Home Depot gives the kids aprons, achievement certificates, and patches or pins for their aprons. “It helped out a lot.”

Creative solutions are one of the things La Toya is known for at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, where the family has been stationed since 2013. She also wows her friends as a cook, baker, seamstress, decorator and multi-family game night coordinator.

“We’re a nerdy family,” she said. “We have a lot of game nights,” lip synching karaoke battles and Iron-Chef-style competitions, even sending guests home with to-go boxes because she was tired of all her Tupperware disappearing.

La Toya’s family will celebrate her this Mother’s Day — Blake will cook breakfast and dinner, and take the family hiking — for many of the same qualities that military moms across the world are honored, including self-reliance, resilience and a can-do attitude.

“You don’t necessarily depend on other people,” she said. “Moving here has definitely helped me into allowing other people to help. I’m used to just doing things. You don’t just wait for someone to do it for you.”

For her part, La Toya is thankful that the military exposes her and her family to diversity, “getting to meet people from different nationalities and cultures … I love that.”

m2h operation homefront military mom WallJacobFam2La Toya wouldn’t have known about the Home Depot workshops, where she made friends with other families who introduced her to a hiking group, if she hadn’t attended an Operation Homefront Back-to-School Brigade event in 2015. Home Depot, an OH donor, and other organizations that serve military families often provide information at OH events. At BTSB, her children and many others received backpacks filled with money-saving school supplies. “I’m always helping other people, so it was nice to be on the receiving side,” La Toya said. OH has distributed more than 250,000 backpacks to military children since the program began in 2008.

In 2016, La Toya and Blake participated again in BTSB, and also in Holiday Meals for Military at Thanksgiving and the Holiday Toy Drive at Christmas. La Toya particularly enjoyed the social atmosphere, like a church potluck, at the Holiday Toy Drive event, which included a cookie exchange. Each child receives a gift, and Santa is there to take pictures with families, something La Toya had been having trouble finding time to do, especially since Blake had been working nights.

When La Toya first heard about Operation Homefront from a friend, she wondered if it was only for needy families. “I’m pretty sure there’s someone that needs it more than I do,” she said, adding she didn’t want to take away from another family. But after learning more about who can qualify for some Operation Homefront programs, she realized, “This is for everybody.”

The families at the toy drive also received children’s passes to the local indoor waterpark, which La Toya has been putting off visiting because of the expense.

Under the Holiday Meals program, military families receive groceries or gift cards to buy food. The defrayed grocery costs allowed La Toya to buy ingredients to bake extra treats for her daughter’s birthday, which is on Christmas Day. “The day she came, I just couldn’t imagine not having her or any of them. I like the crazy smiles that I get sometimes.”

La Toya comes from a large family, the oldest with 15 siblings, at least seven of whom lived together in Texas. “My [step] mom would have a full household of all of us kids at any given time,” she said. Stressful babysitting and elder care responsibilities for her siblings and grandparents often fell to La Toya before she was 18. Even after she married the first time, she would sometimes travel home to cook Thanksgiving dinner.

“Cooking is the only way I can get everyone together. Food is like my family’s binder.” Over the last several years, La Toya has come to better understand her family’s dynamics, but has also welcomed the opportunity to shift from caring for her extended family to herself and her nuclear family.

“My kids have never really had traditional grandparents, and I have never had traditional parents,” said La Toya, who has not had a relationship with her biological mother since she was 5. “I don’t ever want to miss a moment with my kids,” she said, adding that she volunteers to chaperone almost every field trip.

Her stepmother, as a Jehovah’s Witness, does not celebrate holidays, so La Toya typically would simply call to tell her “I really appreciate that you stepped up when you didn’t have to.”

La Toya has been further shaped by miscarrying a baby at two months, and twins at 6 months, her three “angel babies.”

La Toya and Blake will move their family soon to Colorado, where Blake, a staff sergeant in logistics, will support the Air Force band. La Toya is considering starting a baking business or some other creative line of work, but is concerned making it a profession might take the fun out of hobbies she enjoys. “It’s very therapeutic,” she said of baking.

Their journey will be another adventure, traveling by ferry for four days to Washington and then driving through Idaho and Wyoming. Blake wanted to surprise La Toya because she loves lighthouses and he knew they would see several at ferry stops. But she’s not a fan of surprises, and was resisting taking the ferry, so he told her.

Remembering the two-week drive to Anchorage from Texas, passing through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Canada including the Yukon Territory with three kids and pregnant, and a couple flat tires along the way, La Toya and Blake happily “found out we like being married to each other,” she joked.

It’s Military Appreciation Month! Consider joining us on our Mission2Honor military and veteran families throughout the month of May. No matter how you choose to honor service members and their families, don’t let this month pass by without doing something to show your appreciation.

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M2H05.26.16We’ve almost reached our goal of filling out this map with your messages of gratitude to our military and veterans, and we could not be more honored to read the love, pride and respect our fellow Americans have for the military and veteran community. We’ve heard from Moms and Dads, spouses, sons and daughters, friends, family, and everyday Americans, all united behind the idea of supporting those who serve our country selflessly.

With just a few more days to go, we need YOUR help to complete the map by the end of Military Appreciation Month. Share with friends and families in the states we want to hear from. Anyone can submit messages here or on any social media channels using #Mission2Honor.

Here are some of our favorite #Mission2Honor messages from the last week.

Christine from New Hampshire

I am honored to be the girlfriend of a Vietnam Veteran. All of our veterans and their families made huge sacrifices so that we can live as we do today. I thank each and every one of you. God Bless!

Carol from Oklahoma

Our family appreciates the strength and sacrifice it takes to serve our country. We respect and honor those who serve, as well as those who support them at home.

Janet from South Dakota

There are not enough words to express the thanks that our military members deserve. At home or on deployment, they give their time, and sometimes their lives in service to our country.

Charlotte from Nebraska

Thank you to all the men and women who have and are serving our country. You are appreciated. God Bless you for your sacrifices, putting your life and family on hold, to protect us. Thank you again. God Bless.

Thomas from Illinois

I have stood where you now stand (US Army, ’65-’77) and have some idea of what you are going through. Words cannot express my appreciation for your actions.

Terri from Arkansas 

Words cannot express my gratitude for the many ways the men and woman of the military impact my everyday life. I work with the families at LRAFB and am extremely impressed by their commitment to the mission each and every day. I am honored to get to know these families and spend my days with their children while they complete their mission without worry. Thank you for all you do! There will never be enough ways to express my gratitude!

Roy from Minnesota

Very proud to know you.

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

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Learn more about out #Mission2Honor campaign at www.operationhomefront.net/mission2honor

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M2H map updated 051116We asked you to help fill out this map with messages of thanks to our military and veterans. Shout out to all of the Colorado folks, who took the top spot of most messages from a single state. Can you help spread the word to entirely fill this map by the end of Military Appreciation Month? You can submit messages here or on your social using #Mission2Honor.

Here are some of our favorite #Mission2Honor messages from the last week.

Michael from Hawaii

Much Mahalo and Aloha from Hawaii! When we think about what Military Families stand for: sacrifice, dedication, loyalty, honor, discipline, integrity, strength, faith, love, and enduring commitment – we salute you and humbly submit our deepest gratitude for all that you do to support and protect our great nation! God bless you and God bless the United States of America!

Ashley from the United Kingdom

My husband is Active Duty Air Force so from our military family to yours, past and present, thank you for your sacrifice, your time you dedicate to protecting our freedoms and your love for our great country. Land of the free because of the brave.

Audrey from Washington

Sending love, admiration, and respect to my dad Julian M., and his group of Vietnam-era, Chamorro Veterans in Tacoma, WA! That tiny island has shed more native blood for this nation than any other state or territory. God bless you all for your sacrifice

Vickie from Indiana

From the Hoosier state I personally want to send you warm wishes and thoughts to wherever you are. You are thought and prayed for every day. From Indy Blue Star Mom

Katrina from New Mexico

As a military brat and a Gold Star Sibling, I want to say thank you for all you do to keep our families safe and happy!

Laura from Colorado

I cannot say thank you enough to all the brave men and women who are serving, have served or gave the ultimate sacrifice and died for our country. On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you for your service!!

Shiloh from Missouri

Thank you for all you have and are doing.

You are the reason for our freedoms. May God bless you and your families in all you do.

Thank you.

Angela

Thank you to all of you, for all the support you give! And to my brothers and sisters in arms, thank you for always standing beside me!

Malissa

Every day of my life, all Americans lives are affected by what you do. We are able to enjoy our lives and feel safe because of what you do. Your selfless dedication and commitment to the United States of American is appreciated more than words can ever express.

Please know that I will be forever grateful for my freedoms, because of your service.

Reverend Conger from Texas

Blessings and Peace from Texas

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Join us next week as we post more of our favorite #Mission2Honor messages showing support from a grateful nation. Learn more about out #Mission2Honor campaign at www.operationhomefront.net/mission2honor

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Mission2Honor-FB640x640-MONDAY-41116Operation Homefront asked and you responded! #Mission2Honor is our campaign to share your messages of encouragement and thanks for our military and veteran families. Starting today, and every Thursday through May 26, we will share those messages to and from our military and veterans families as part of our #Mission2Honor campaign. Share your own message here…and get inspired by some of the messages going out to those we serve.

 

FROM A MILITARY KID TO THE COUNTRY THEY LOVE:

As a Marine brat, I am still holding myself to high standards of accountability and faith but most of LOVE. LOVE OF GOD, COUNTRY AND FAMILY which continues to give my life purpose. Thank you all three God, Country and Family for loving me back.

FROM A PROUD WIFE TO HER HUSBAND:

I want to say THANKS TO YOU for all your effort, for your work and family dedication. Because every day is different, like every place has different experience, with best, good, and less good moments. But always you have us: your 3 kids and me your wife who always love you. Thank you for being an excellent husband, a best father an amazing soldier you are our HERO WE LOVE YOU!

FROM OUR TEAM AT OPERATION HOMEFRONT:

  • Thank you to those who serve and our military families. I’m the proud daughter of a career Air Force dad — you have given your very best, and you deserve our nation’s best in return.
  • Your journey is long, your patience deep, your constant vigilance is true. From one military family to another… thank you!

FROM A PROUD MOM TO HER SON:

I’m so proud having a son who got lots of courage & brave enough to tell his mom he wants to serve the country. I’ve been missing you so much my soldier but I know you’re happy to what you doing. Always take care & mommy loves you so much ❤️. #ArmyStrongFamilyHooah#ProudMomArmySon

FROM ONE MILITARY FAMILY TO ANOTHER:

A simple thank you is never enough appreciation or understanding for the choices and lifestyle we military families live every day. I say we because I am a spouse of a military member and have three kids who live this life, too! While we may not be in the field or on a deployment, we feel the pain of separation. It makes us stronger people in the end because we share a unique experience. We are more independent and driven to be ourselves. We face criticism from family, friends and strangers along the way do not change our resolve to be the best we choose to be. So hold onto the place in your heart that is stronger than anywhere else and stay humbly by the side of your loved one.

FROM A GRATEFUL CITIZEN TO ALL:

Thank you for your service to our country! Your sacrifice is always greatly appreciated. Godspeed!

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Mission2Honor is a national initiative to publicly acknowledge and thank our military families. Every day, the families of our nation’s active duty, wounded warriors and veterans show their unwavering commitment to support and protect our communities. During the Month of the Military Child (April) and Military Appreciation Month (May), we invite you to show your appreciation for our nation’s military and veteran families by sending in a message of thanks. SUBMIT YOUR MESSAGE OF THANKS TODAY.

VISIT WWW.OPERATIONHOMEFRONT.NET/MISSION2HONOR TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN AND HOW WE WORK TO BUILD STRONG, STABLE AND SECURE MILITARY FAMILIES.

 

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lorelei-mcintyre-brewer-armyTen-year-old Lorelei McIntyre-Brewer has already faced more than most of us will in our lifetime.

Lorelei was born missing half of her heart, for which there is no cure, and her twin brother, Rory, passed away before the two were able to meet.  She underwent open heart surgery shortly after her birth at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Two more open heart surgeries would follow, and with her third, she fought her hardest battle yet. Lorelei’s lungs collapsed and she started to literally drown in fluid surrounding her heart and lungs.  After a long, grueling recovery, Lorelei survived her ordeal, but it changed her forever.  She became determined to make a difference.

At 5, she learned to sew in order to make compression heart pillows for pediatric open heart patients, aiding in their recovery from surgery.  She named her organization Heart Hugs and it spread like wildfire.

Heart Hugs works with children’s hospitals, orphanages, and individual families to provide these pillows at no cost to the patient and family, utilizing the kindness of volunteers around the world to help Lorelei ensure no child is turned away.

In addition to undergoing 21 medical procedures to date, Lorelei has also endured seven military-related relocations and has experienced a total of 36 months of her father being deployed. Lorelei’s favorite quote is “No matter what age you are, or what your circumstances might be, you are special, and you still have something unique to offer. Your life, because of who you are, has meaning.” Explaining how that quote applies to her, Lorelei said, “I can be so many things and help so many people as long as I stay focused.”

No one would fault Lorelei for taking time for herself and focusing on her extraordinary challenges, but Lorelei is not even thinking about slowing down.  As she explained, “I am missing half of my heart and people sometimes think I can’t do anything, but I can.”  And she does. Lorelei maintains a 4.0 grade point average in school and also dedicates a great deal of time to causes dear to her. She participates in the Single Ventricle Survivorship Program, the Cardiac Kids Developmental Follow-Up Program, and the Single Ventricle Revision Study Program. Lorelei also helps with the program “Socks for Vets,” created by her brother Cavan, who was our 2015 Army Military Child of the Year.

Lorelei is the daughter of Michelle McIntyre-Brewer and Medical Service Corps Officer Capt. Steven Brewer.

For the next week, we will be shining a spotlight on each of our Military Child of the Year Award recipients, as well as the first ever recipient of the Operation Homefront-Booz Allen Hamilton Innovation Award. Be sure to check back daily or follow us on Twitter or Facebook for updates. In addition, throughout the months of April and May, we invite you to show your appreciation by sending a message of thanks and sharing #Mission2Honor with your friends and family. Follow this link to share your message, or post your own message on social media using #Mission2Honor.

Our heartfelt thanks to our presenting sponsor United Technologies, and all of our 2016 Military Child of the Year Award sponsors, for making this annual award one of the highlights of our year.  Your support allows us to bring the stories of our military families to the forefront, making a difference in raising awareness of the challenges they face in protecting our nation.

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