Category Archives: Charities/Contests

Gina is heading back to the desert

Our good friend, Gina Elise, who is the founded of recently visited the very remote Marine base of Twentynine Palms to lift the spirits of the Marines and other personnel there. Well now she is heading back out into the desert to visit the soldiers of the National Training Center in Ft. Irwin, CA.

She will be going there on March 9th and just like when she visits VA and Military hospitals, she likes to take gifts for the soldiers to lift their spirits and thank them for their service. Ft. Irwin would like her to bring 300 of her star-studded 2013 Calendars with her to give out, but as of right now she is aiming for 100. She is not sure she can get 300 donated by people at this point.

So to reach 100 she is asking for people to visit her store at and purchase a 1, 2 or however many you can afford to be given to these soldiers as Thank You gift for their service. You can select to have them donated to Active Duty Soldiers and in the note on your order you can specify this is for her Ft. Irwin trip.

They are only $10 a piece and I would not ask this of you if I would not be willing to do it myself. I just purchased 4 for her trip to be given away as I see $40 as a small price to pay to brighten the day of four warriors for a whole year.

I am hoping that everyone who reads these words can spare $10 to buy at least one, if not more. While on the site, be sure and pick one up for yourself too, if you don’t have one yet. If not for you, for a Veteran you know as I am sure there is someone you know who could appreciate it.

Lt Dan gives back

Lt Dan Gives Back

Gary Sinise, known for his role on “CSI:NY”, but best known for his role as Lt Dan in the 1994 film Forrest Gump, is becoming known for his charitable actions and dedication to our veterans and service members. He has dedicated vast quantities of time and resources for those who have worn the uniform and continues to serve those who serve. In addition to being the spokesman for the Disables American Veterans organization, he has been leading the charge to build a monument in Washington DC for Americas wounded veterans, saying that

“I want it so our congress people can look out the window and be reminded of the cost of war.”

The monument is scheduled to be unveiled next year.

But Sinise does not stop there. “Lt Dan’s Band” is how Mr. Sinise gives back to veterans though entertaining and lifting the spirits of those both stateside and in theater. Playing 40-50 concerts a year, as a single act, with other bands and with USO tours. Lt Dan’s band has been raising both morale and funds to contribute to a multitude of non-profit’s that serve the needs of veterans and their families. This has caused many to consider him, as retired Army Lieutenant Col., (former) Rep. Allen West described Sinise as “the Bob Hope for this generation of combat warriors”. At a San Diego concert for wounded veterans, Sinise very humbly writes off such praise saying “I play bass guitar, I didn’t know that Bob Hope played bass, did he?” Continue reading

Operation One Voice

Every year a group of police officers, firefighters and Special Operations Forces members embark on the grueling 560-mile journey from Atlanta Georgia to the U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa Florida in support of the annual Operation One Voice Run. The run is done in honor of a different branch’s Special Operations Forces and the fallen members of those groups. According to founder Lt. Bill Stevens of the Duluth GA Police Department, “This year we are honoring the Navy Seal Team 6 where 20 members were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, August 6, 2011.”

Operation One Voice was founded in 2003 to show the support that Americans had for, and honor the sacrifices made by special operations groups in the Global War on Terror. It started off as Stevens making Special Forces Challenge coins and presenting them to the Army Special Forces at FT. Bragg, NC for Veterans Day that year. There was such a positive response to this initial initiative that Stevens realized the potential of this opportunity to give back. Continue reading

Luke’s Wings

In the years since the Global War on Terror began, there has been a spike in organizations and charities that serve veterans and their families, especially ones who have suffered injuries due to their time in combat. Organizations such as Wounded Warriors, Soldiers Angels, The Fisher House and many other have made huge strides to serve those who serve in a variety of manners. Now Luke’s Wings, a non-profit organization that provides flights to wounded veterans and their families at no cost, is joining that effort.

Founded in 2008, Luke’s Wings has raised over $1 Million and supplied almost 1000 airplane tickets to over 600 families in their time of need. Luke’s Wings firmly believes that “Bottom line: having family on site and by their bedsides during their long and difficult recovery and endless surgeries is mission critical.” Furthermore Luke’s Wings believes that having loved ones and family bedside during the healing process “helps pass the time, but also boosts their spirits, and in the most extreme cases, helps alleviate depression and reduce the risk of suicide.”

This Christmas season, Luke’s Wings is setting their goals high, which is to get 1500 wounded warriors and their families home by Christmas by raising $500,000. They are doing this by accepting donations and holding fundraising events. You can donate, read testimonials, and learn more about their organization at

It is hard to put into words how great an organization Luke’s wings is other than Christian Brown, an amputee who was critically injured in 2011 by an IED, ““Luke’s Wings has helped me by allowing my family to be there every step of the way.  My recovery process has not been easy, but it’s a relief to know I’ll have the support of Luke’s Wings, an organization that truly cares about the people they help.”

Learn more at:

USAA Teams up with Soldiers Angels

I just got word of this today (H/T to JD) and am excited to see this happen. What a great partnership between the two companies. USAA Bank Launches Alliance with Soldiers’ Angels 

USAA named exclusive credit card provider 

– USAA Bank and Soldiers’ Angels are introducing a customized credit card for approximately 86,000 veterans, wounded and deployed service members, and their families.

USAA Bank now offers the Soldiers’ Angels USAA Rewards™ World MasterCard
® credit card to help support the group’s programs and activities. USAA Bank will make a contribution to Soldiers’ Angels with every account opened or renewed, and each time cardholders make an eligible purchase.

“Year after year, USAA has shown its commitment to going above and beyond for military members and veterans, and so has Soldiers’ Angels,” said Patti Patton-Bader, founder of Soldiers’ Angels. “We are pleased to announce our relationship with USAA, and I am thrilled to welcome them to the Soldiers’ Angels family.”

“We are honored to be working with Soldiers’ Angels,” said Nathan McKinley, USAA vice president of military affinity. “Soldiers’ Angels has done a lot over the years for deployed soldiers and their families, including tens of thousands of care packages. I’m optimistic that this new program will assist in generating additional support, and USAA certainly appreciates the many contributions Soldiers’ Angels makes for our country.”

In 2009, USAA opened its membership to all veterans who have honorably served and their eligible family members. To learn more about the USAA and Soldiers’ Angels credit card program, call 1-800-531-7148 or visit

About Soldiers’ Angels

Since 2003, Soldiers’ Angels has been an ensign of advocacy and support for our nation’s men and women in uniform, veterans and their families. Their motto, “May No Soldier Go Unloved,” captures the energy that motivates hundreds of thousands of volunteers – the Soldiers’ Angels. Join them as they give wings to their work, and help them show our heroes a level of gratitude that is befitting of our great country. To learn more, visit

About USAA 
USAA provides insurance, banking, investment and retirement products and services to 9.1 million members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving or have honorably served our nation in the U.S. military and their eligible family members. For more information about USAA, or to learn more about membership, visit

Troops Direct bypasses the supply lines

Troops Direct, An Oakland based non-profit organization is stepping in and helping out troops on the front lines in Afghanistan by supplying them with the essentials that are overlooked or in short supply. By communicating on a daily basis directly with marines, soldiers, airmen and sailors that are on the ground, they are able to bypass the red tape that at times prevents non-profits from getting supplies and care packages directly to troops, and get essential supplies to specific Companies and Battalions within a matter of days.

Founded by Aaron Negherbon, what started small as an effort to help out and supply a former USC classmate who was deployed in Afghanistan a Captain in the Marines, has become an organization that ships in tons (not pounds), and not seasonally or even monthly, but weekly.

When it comes to our troops, the people at Troops Direct operate towards the goal of “making them the healthiest, most energized and highest spirited Marines, soldiers, aircrew and sailors that we can”. Continue reading

Madison Rising playing the Star Spangled Banner LIVE

Madison Rising performing the Star-Spangled Banner from You Served Radio & Blog on Vimeo.

This video was shot from my HD FlipCam at the 2012 Milblogger's Family Reunion held over Labor Day Weekend at the Soldiers' Angels Soldier Support Center in San Antonio, TX. Madison Rising came all the way down to TX from NYC thanks to the support from VUHL and put on a hell of a show. You may notice some back up vocals in the video. Those are provided by our very own CJ Grisham who could not contain himself and just had to sing along, :-). Pay close attention to the start of the video as lead singer Dave Bray is giving a history lesson as to how and why this song was ever written. You may learn something.

These guys are really starting to get noticed and they need to be. They are an awesome band and their music and message needs to be heard. Wendy sent me the following link to a great story about them,

I hope this post gets them some more traction and fans also. Right now they are in the final stretch in a kickstarter fundraising campaign. Three days ago they only had $14,000+ raised towards the goal of $50,000. As of the time of this writing they have 39 hours left and they are at $38,040. They are just under $12K from being able to fund their next album and tour. Check out their kickstarter page at and watch their videos. If you like their music throw them a few bucks and help them make the goal. It will be money well vested.

Meet Team Rubicon

We have had Team Rubicon on You Served radio before and we have interviewed some of their members at different blogging conventions. We have also talked about the suicide of one of their members, the heroic Clay Hunt. For those that do not know what Team Rubicon does or what they are about, or about what a patriot that Clay Hunt was this is a great video for you to watch.

They have put this together and done a great job explaining how the organization came about and why they do what they do.

Director’s Cut – “Meet Team Rubicon” / The American Veteran from Mel Soria on Vimeo.

Gina Elise in the News and on You Served Radio this week

A great friend and frequent guest on You Served Radio was recently featured by a Oklahoma News Station for her visit to a VA hospital in Oklahoma. You can check it out below and then be sure to tune in to You Served Radio at on Tuesday July 24th at 8:00 PM ET to join us as we have Gina on the show again to not only talk about this visit, but also her upcoming 7th calendar for 2013 and her recent appearance on Gene Simmons’s Family Jewels show.


Home Depot Gives Back to Veterans

In 2011, The Home Depot Foundation adjusted their goals towards veterans and their families in need. Since then, the work they have been a part of to help veterans in need of housing and renovations has been astounding. So far having donated $38.8 million in cash grants to 1,770 nonprofit organizations, and donating $19.1 million worth of product donations which directly impacted 34,000 homes, The Home Depot Foundation is giving back to veterans in an effort to “support nonprofits that focus on repairing, remodeling, and maintaining affordable housing for deserving families and individuals.”

While The Home Depot Foundation does not cater exclusively to veterans they have become one of the fundamental demographics that the organization strives to assist. At the end of 2010, having built 100,000 homes in the three years since their founding, they took a closer look at their efforts. Kelly Caffarelli, president of The Home Depot Foundation said that “We looked at a number of different groups being hit by the macroeconomics environment. Time after time, veterans came up. You’re twice as likely to be homeless if you’re a veteran. The unemployment rate among veterans is extremely high.”

Continue reading