Posts Tagged ‘social good’

Carrie Underwood took time to meet Antwon Speller and his family, giving him and his family, helping to lift them out of the challenges of dealing with the wounds of war.

Carrie Underwood took time to meet Antwon Speller and his family, giving him and his family a much needed break, and helping to lift them out of the challenges of dealing with the wounds of war.

“Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.” – Elton John

For a few hours one Saturday night, music brought peace to one very deserving military family.

As part of our partnership with Carnival Cruise Line and country superstar Carrie Underwood, select military families get a personal meet-and-greet with Underwood before her concerts. One such moment occurred at Underwood’s sold-out concert in Hampton, Virginia. The email we received from the Speller family afterwards validates the quote above, and why partnerships like this truly make a difference.

being around someone that has taken out their time to just get to know about you, and appreciate what you do for your country is so meaningful to me.”

We hear from many of our nations’ wounded and their families about feelings of isolation they experience trying to cope with both the seen and unseen wounds of war day in and day out. As simple as it may seem, a night out, especially one where these amazing families can connect and feel appreciated can be life-changing.

“However, I was in extreme pain but I wasn’t going to allow anything to ruin this moment, we all enjoyed an electrified experience that only comes once in a life time.” 

Anyone who has been in pain can tell you, its constant presence in your life can wear down even the strongest among us. Routine functions that many of us take for granted become monumental tasks. As time goes on, feelings of hopelessness can seep in as one begins to question whether there will ever be an end to the pain. Anything that takes the focus off the pain, even for a brief period of time, allows for a refocus and much-needed breather that can remind one that there is more to life and that it can and will get better.

Honestly, I just want to cry, for real, it has been a very rough couple of weeks for me, but as Ashley (Operation Homefront representative) said to me, ‘this is what makes all things worth all the while’… and she was absolutely right.”

Perhaps the time to spend together as a family, making memories, with a few hours of no worries, no pain… just joy… are what will be the catalyst to help someone through dark times. Give them something beautiful to hold onto when it is all too easy and understandable that one may want to give up.

“..all I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you guys.”

We suspect that when asked, most artists would answer that they just want to touch someone through their craft, to have an impact. That happened this Saturday night in Virginia, and we know it will happen again throughout Carrie’s “Storyteller” tour. In fact, check out this heartwarming interview with another of our families after their concert experience in D.C.

We appreciate the support of Carnival Cruise Line and Carrie Underwood as we continue to focus on building strong, stable and secure military families and the needs of our nation’s wounded veterans.

Learn more about our partnership with Carrie Underwood and Carnival Cruises

Check out Carrie on tour at a city near you.

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100,000 Facebook fans. Upon hitting that number, we sat back and thought about the meaning of this milestone.

Truly, it’s not about the number, but what it represents. A community of people from all over the USA, and even overseas, who have a common bond of service. Service to our country and service to each other. A commitment to making a difference in someone’s lives. That’s powerful stuff, and in a world that seems to be getting crazier by the moment, concrete proof of the goodness of people.

Hug someone right now!

There are so many good souls out there just waiting to bring a smile and a helping hand to their neighbor.

Yes, we have 100,000 reasons to celebrate today, but every day, we celebrate the one. The one person who found the courage to reach out and say, “I need help.” The one who reached out to say, “I want to help.” The one who dropped by to let us know how they are doing and how your support of our mission allowed us to make their lives better at a time when they felt nothing was going their way. And yes, even the ones who let us know, sometimes colorfully, that we have some more work to do.

We smiled for days after receiving this.  Your support means the world to our military and veteran families.

We smiled for days after receiving this. Your support means the world to our military and veteran families.

We particularly love to share pictures of what we’re doing and the impact your support is having on our military and veteran families. Some of our favorite posts have been from our photo contests. Over time, you have shared thousands of moving photos that have captured joy, sadness, triumphs and loss. You have allowed us to help share with the country a glimpse of what it means to serve.


Joy, relief, love…wrapped up in one precious moment. (one of the finalists in our My American Life photo contest, submitted by Krystal Lund)

So, we just want to say “Thank You” for checking in with us…whether it be daily, weekly or monthly. On our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram page or here on our blog. We know that these days, lives are very busy, and your time online is often filled with just as much to do and process as your offline world. Time is a priceless gift these days. We are honored that you would take the time to help us raise awareness of the challenges faced by military and veteran families, and how someone can help.

Together, we are unstoppable!


And we can’t say thanks without also mentioning those who make it possible…our individual and corporate donors. Your support is the reason we have a really good story to tell in the first place.


Thanks for 100,000 likes. We like you too.




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Who’s up for some fun and a chance to win some cool stuff, all while doing social good? Get onboard w/ Operation Homefront’s during the Veterans Charity Challenge! Any donation at any time during the challenge gets you a chance to win $250 GC. TODAY’s kickoff? If you donate at least $15 today, you will be entered to win a $25 Walmart gift card. We have so much up our sleeve, we almost want to spill it all (but we won’t)!  Check back periodically to see new challenges throughout the campaign!

What is the Veterans Charity Challenge? craigconnects, founded by Craig Newmark of craigslist, is celebrating its two-year anniversary by partnering with The Rahr Foundation to honor veterans and military families in the Veterans Charity Challenge. They’re giving away $100,000 and hoping to raise more money than ever thought possible for these amazing causes.

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Why wait until next week to register for the Marine Corps Marathon when you can run for a cause with Team Operation Homefront! For the past several years, we’ve run in honor of those closest to our hearts: our heroes who show us what determination and courage really means, and to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Meet our 2013 Team Operation Homefront Honorees:

gallegosTeamOHThe Gallegos Family: Sebastian and Tracie

When Marine Corps Cpl. Sebastian Gallegos arrived in Afghanistan the fighting began almost as soon as he arrived.

His unit replaced a group of British commandos who had just headed home. There was no time to adjust. The Marines were met with constant firefights. Continuous movement. Daily war.

Sebastian, a rifle team leader, was heading back to the patrol base with his team on Oct. 16, 2010. His squad leader stepped on an IED. The blast tore into Sebastian’s body and tossed him into a canal. His squad leader died in the helicopter on the way to the hospital. Sebastian’s right arm was amputated in the field hospital. Doctors left the shrapnel that peppered his back.

Once in the U.S., Sebastian’s wife, Tracie, came to San Antonio to be by his side. After three weeks as an in-patient, he was able to live with her in the nearby guest house. The one room accommodations were stressful for the couple and their dog.

Operation Homefront gave the young family a place to plan for the future. Now Sebastian and Tracie live at the Operation Homefront Village in San Antonio. Sebastian said the spacious apartment, “feels like home.” The accommodations have also allowed the couple to save for a home of their own.

“We are saving so much money here,” he said.

Sebastian, now 23, is in the process of applying to college and plans to study political science.


The Cruz Family: Carlos, Patricia, Enrique and Yazmine

Marine Sgt. Carlos Cruz has spent a combined 23 months in Iraq over three tours.

During each tour, the infantry Marine suffered TBI after IED blasts knocked him aside and left him unconscious.

Three deployments. Three blasts. Three bruises on his brain.

On his last trip to the battlefield, the 7-ton truck he was riding in veered off the road and rolled over. Carlos was ejected from the vehicle and knocked out. He woke up nearly an hour later at an Air Force base.

When he hit the ground, his neck and spine took the brunt of the impact.

Today, Carlos suffers chronic, debilitating pain because of that day. Doctors will not operate for fear of doing more damage. He also suffers from severe arthritis in his hands. If he tries to write for more
than 15 minutes, his hands swell. He cannot type or drive for longer than a few minutes.

Carlos was moved to the wounded warrior battalion where he worried every day about how he would support his family once he was medically retired. His wife, Patricia, was laid off soon after.

Operation Homefront gave them a safe place to live to make a plan for the future. Carlos is now medically retired and awaiting his final VA rating. He said without Operation Homefront’s help, the family, Carlos said, may have been

“If we weren’t at the village, it wouldn’t be good at all,” Carlos said. “This is a blessing and then some.”


Team Operation Homefront (TOH) is an endurance training program that provides athletes with an opportunity to fundraise for Operation Homefront while training for an endurance event either on their own or in a team environment. Funds raised go to support Operation Homefront Villages.

Also visit Team Operation Homefront on Facebook and on Twitter @RunTeamOH

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