Tuesday, December 28, 2010

102 and Counting

Though we've all finished our miles and fundraising efforts for Road Warriors 2010, I wanted to share a story that fits the passion we all had for "Finding The Road Ahead".

Today I had the privilege of attending the funeral of a woman, my husband's Auntie Alice, who lived to be 102 years old. She grew up the child of Italian immigrants, one of 13 children, working on a flower farm in Pacifica, living in a one room house, and after she got married, walking across the street every day to her church to meet with God for a while and go back home. Her sister told us that the last day she saw Alice...about a month before she died...she didn't recognize her sisters, but she had a smile on her face. A few weeks later, she went to sleep and never woke up again. Her only daughter Barbara, gave the eulogy today. At the end of telling her Mom's story, she simply ended with this, "Alice doesn't live her anymore. She lives with God now."

It was a very moving day for me. My parents and Dave's parents are gone. Some sad stories there. My father disowned me. He never wanted to know God or accept His love. In the end, he didn't want me either. That broke me. It wasn't like he wasn't offered the truth. He just didn't want anything to do with God's life or love. 

In the end, the only story of a life worth telling-- it seems to me--is that a person got to know God,  loved what God did for them, and then passed it on, not because it was a duty but because it was impossible to contain, because the love God put into a life just got so big, it spilled out onto everyone around. If that isn't our life's story, I have to wonder, what IS our purpose?

I hope that just like Alice, someone's last memories of me will be this: that just before I died, I had a smile on my face...that I wasn't afraid to die because I knew I wasn't dying at all...I was just taking a long awaited run to God's house.

Welcome home Auntie Alice.
That's Auntie Alice on the right at 100 yrs old and her sister Florine, now 91

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Truffles to Remember Christmas Campaign Sends Total to $9400

Merry Christmas from our home to yours! To celebrate the season, we just hosted our last event to help us reach our goal of raising $10,000... "Truffles to Remember". We set up shop outside of Studio 7 Art Gallery in Pleasanton, gave away our home made truffles and accepted donations for the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund. The scholarship fund is a beautiful way to tell the sons and daughters of fallen heroes that we will not forget the sacrifices their parents made.

Two Great Things Happened Today
First...It didn't rain! 
And on Saturday December 18th at the corners of Main and Angela Streets near the Farmers' Market, our big hearted Americans stopped to find out what was going on and donated another $85.00 which brings our donation total up to $9400 to honor America's military heroes! 

I'm SO grateful and SO pumped for our Christmas Miracle. 
All week the weather report threatened to drown out our event. But we asked the heavenly rain maker to help us out and the rain held off! Woohoo!

We made up little boxes of truffles that looked like special gifts and that is exactly how they were scooped up..as surprises for 92 year old grandmas and birthday presents for special friends. It was just a whole heck of alot of fun today.

If you have a couple minutes, here is a Freedom Alliance video that shows just exactly why and how our donations and efforts are worth every second of our time:

And if you would like to donate to Freedom Alliance, click here.

And thanks again to everyone...you gave from the heart of Christmas today.

Joyful all creation rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem

Friday, December 10, 2010

SOLD! Racy Red LeMond Has A New Owner!

The beautiful red Lemond Road Bike I was always so proud to ride now has a new home and owner! We are so grateful to Ian and Alicia Connelly for donating the $600.00 asking price to Freedom Alliance...this money is precious as it will be used to honor the memory of our fallen soldiers by sending their sons and daughters to college.

Thanks to Alicia and Ian!
 Our total for money raised through Road Warriors 2010 now stands at $9275!

What a fantastic and meaningful Christmas present for Alicia,
for Road Warriors 2010 and for Freedom Alliance.

What a perfect time to say...
"God Bless Us Everyone!"

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Au Revoir Racey Red LeMond Road Bike!

My Racey Red LeMond Zurich Road Bike

I did most of my Road Warrior miles on my Santa Cruz MTB, not the Greg LeMond road bike pictured here because I never felt quite stable on it and now I know why...it's too big for me! Should fit a person 3 inches taller than me so I put it on Craig's List yesterday. Besides....I have a new ride! Dave bought me a VERY HOT Trek Madone 6.5. Still getting used to the speed of this thing..scary going down hill so fast when you're so short!

Anyway, 3 inquiries so far. Sale of this beauty will be our final donation for Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund.

Only asking $600.00 for a gorgeous Christmas present for some lucky new owner who will also be honoring a veteran killed in action by helping send his/her son or daughter to college with a Freedom  Alliance Scholarship. Yes!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gotta Love My Katella High School Classmates

I loved high school...well most of it...but always my high school friends. They stuck by me even when I couldn't hold onto my regular baton, my fire baton or my swords during our KHS Spring Talent Show...I can't imagine how frightening the results of my sweaty fingers must have been for the people in the front row bleachers. They were watching a slicing, dicing and burning act. Of course I cried all night after my disastrous drop-itis showing, but my friends never teased or made fun of my folly. In my sophomore year, I advanced from baton twirler-dropper to assistant drill team leader. I remember "yelling' at the tall girls (I'm very short) in the back row who couldn't seem to meet my standard of marching with a 90 degree angle to their long legs (mine are short). They didn't hold it against me.
ok, ok, that's me on the left with my fellow KHS cheerleaders
Marsha Capen is third from right...she is our latest  big donor!

Some 41 years later, I find myself SO proud and grateful for my high school friends because they sponsored me so generously to support Wounded Warrior Project and Freedom Alliance.  Even though money was tight, my high school buddy Phil Bement pledged $100.00 right off the bat. One of those tall drill team members, long time friend Susie (Martin) Jaqua and her husband Jim chimed in with another $100.00. My cheerleading buddy Marsha Capen (and fellow RD) just sent us $100 wonderful dollars yesterday. And Bob Sherwin, our 30 point a game basketball guard and West Point graduate honored us with $500.00 donation thanks to a matching contribution from his employer Zenger Folkman...bringing us up to $8600! Mike Vanderwalker, who hosts our KHS reunion website, was gracious enough to let us announce Road Warriors 2010 on the website all summer and has offered to post any future fundraising announcements as we move forward.

High school is a bitter sweet time peppered with giggles, tears, unfettered joys and overt rejection for most of us. I've got some of those memories. But I also have a great sense of pride in the kids I giggled and cried with all those years ago. Can't thank you enough for picking up the gauntlet and making a stand for our nation's greatest citizens.

41 years later, KHS class of '69: tall Susie, me, Ginny, Sandy and Susie

BTW...since we're talking education, Road Warriors 2010 is still accepting donations for Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund which honors servicemen who have been killed or permanently disabled in ANY American conflict by providing their children with college scholarships--for any type of college and for up to 4 years of college. If you would like to make a donation to the scholarship fund for Christmas, click on the link www.FreedomAlliance.org.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Grand Kudos to "Sycamore Grove Park Warrior"!

John's on the right, then me and Steve Benson, neighbor and road warrior.

John Nelson, our dedicated "Sycamore Grove Park Warrior" got a very big surprise last week...He was given a much deserved (and our only) award--Marie Pascal's original water color painting of our signature home page photo "The Road Ahead" (the photo was taken by Gene Frieders at the back of Del Valle Dam in Livermore).

Looking at the painting for the first time, John's comment was, "No one could appreciate this more than me. It's where I run."

You might be wondering, why John? Because he just plain outdid everyone out there....John was one of the first persons to sign up for RWs2010 as his way to honor his two nephews Jeffrey and Christopher who are both serving in the military. John ended up logging an incredible 1,000 miles for our wounded warriors this summer and thanks to his generous sponsors, he brought in the highest amount in pledges.

John showed up at all of our events from Kick Off to Quilt of Valor to Wrap Up and Veterans Day Program. One of the nicest RW memories for me will always be the day that I got to run John's final 6 miles with him at our Sycamore Grove Park Wrap Up.  Congratulations John...You earned it!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Me, Abe & Road Warriors

A couple of years ago, while visiting my Uncle Gale and Aunt Janie in Rapid City South Dakota (that's a picture of their flag), I happened to look at the calendar they had hanging in the kitchen. It had all kinds of patriotic info added to each page. Flipping through the months I discovered something that would later play a big role in the birth of Road Warriors 2010.

My uncle had taped a copy of the Gettysburg Address to the calendar. He was memorizing it. He was 82 years old and memorizing the Gettysburg Address. I read it, line by line, and started crying. Mr. Lincoln clearly understood the cost of war, the value of life and refused to let the loss of life in defense of the union go unheralded. Reading through this short, but oh so famous address, I realized it expressed exactly the way I felt about our country, our soldiers, our freedom and our duty as citizens. For we are now engaged in a different great war testing our commitment and resolve to continue our founding fathers passion for liberty and freedom.

When I got back to California, I printed out a copy of the speech and started on the memorizing journey. I carried it with me in the car. Took it to the gym. Taped it on my bathroom mirror. I read and repeated. Read and repeated. The word "dedicated" occurred again and again in the speech. I think this word must have really taken hold in my soul because not long after my task to memorize the speech, I began to feel "compelled" to do something for our century's brave men, living and dead who have laid their lives on the line in our defense so that our great nation may not perish from the earth. The something turned out to be Road Warriors 2010.

Here it is for you to read, perhaps the greatest speech ever written, by the greatest President we have ever had. It was delivered on November 19th, 1863. My birthday is today, November 19th.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Thank you to all my Road Warriors. You have changed my life and encouraged my heart in so many ways. I hope you have felt the same. My passion for our soldiers and their families will take a new path next year and then maybe...hopefully...we'll meet again for Road Warriors 2012.

God bless you all,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"NICE JOB!" You made it to Veterans Day!

It's Veterans Day, the day we have all been working toward, the reason we've all been hitting the road since Memorial Day. Let me tell you about my fantastic finishing experience.

I took off for my final 6 miles run as a Road Warrior this morning on Foothill Road. I felt way better than I expected after putting in 1,083 miles since we started. WAY better...so I was chugging along pretty well for me, Just about 1 mile from the finish, a cyclist came up behind me and called out "Nice Job! You're going pretty fast."  I had seen him on the way out and now he found me on the back side of the run. 

Woohoo! I had a "Nice Job" shout out.  A "Congratulations" on my last day, putting in my last miles! Are you kidding me? I couldn't believe it. I took that as a heavenly pat on the back and want to call it right out to every Road Warrior out there.


You have done a fantastic job in sticking to a very long term project and made a HUGE difference to our wounded veterans and their children. 

So far, we are nearing the $7,000 mark in donations but we won't 
know the total tally for at least a month. 

We have been asked to deliver all donations by December 12. 
In order to make sure we get credit for them, please indicate Road Warriors 2010 on the check or include a sponsorship form with your donations.

If you donate by using the links on our "How to Donate" page, you will be sure to 
give us credit, so consider that as well.

Here's a look back at where we've been since Memorial Day...from our Kick Off at The Ridge Park, to Fourth of July Celebration, to card signings, to local trails, Wrap Up Outing and Quilt of Valor Presentation
Walking The Ridge at our Kick Off

Kick Off Banner in Place!

Two of our early recruits

These 2 Road Warriors Joined at a Pleasanton Triathlon
Wild Life Along the Road

Our Youngest Warriors

4th of July Recruiting Table

Why we love to Run at Sycamore Grove Park

Wounded Warrior Project Reminder of Why We Signed On

Cyclists Featured on our First Flyer

These are the heroes we can't forget

Our Tee Shirt Transfer Design...We made and gave away a dozen tee shirts

Our 9/11 Campaign at the Farmers Market

Backpacking Miles in September

Another donation for 9/11...we made it to $1200.00

The Road We Love to Travel

Wrap Up Buddies

Finishing the Quilt of Valor for Elizabeth
QOV on Display at Alden Lane Quilt Show...thanks JC for the pic duty!

QOV Presentation at the Veterans Day Program Nov 7th
Card Signing Table for the QOV...set up downtown.

Thanks for making it happen everyone!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


First of all, If you've been a road warrior all summer...THANK YOU! You're incredible!    I have gotten several calls and emails from wonderful road warriors who have finished logging their miles and want to mail in their donations. Here's how to make that happen:

To Donate by Check
You may make checks payable to Wounded Warrior Project with a notation of "Road Warriors 2010" on the check and/or enclose your sponsorship form to:

Wounded Warrior Project
Attn: Julianna Bansley
7020 A.C. Skinner Pkwy, Suite 100
Jacksonville, FL 32256

You may make checks payable to Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund with a notation of "Road Warriors 2010" on the check and/or enclose your sponsorship form and mail to:
Freedom Alliance Foundation
Attn: Amy Amundson
22570 Markey Court Suite 240
Dulles, Virginia 20166

To Donate Online
You can donate online by clicking one of the links below. The Wounded Warrior Project link takes you to my personal web page where you can donate in the name of Road Warriors 2010. The Freedom Alliance Link automatically tracks your donation to "Road Warriors 2010". Here are your donation links...


Road Warriors 2010 is YOU! You have made it all happen by deciding to put your time and your sweat equity on the line for a bigger cause. Both Wounded Warrior Project and Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund have benefited because of YOU.
God bless you and thank you many times over for your dedication to our goal of having fun and making a difference in the lives of our injured military men, women and their children.