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 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.

Monday, November 8, 2010

We Love a Parade...Even in the Rain!

WHAT RAIN? Veterans Day Parade marchers and onlookers weren't the least bit discouraged by the never ending rain yesterday...they were there to honor our vets no matter what. I've never been to a Veterans Day Parade or Ceremony before but I doubt I will ever miss it again. I cried a lot. So did everyone else. I welled up with pride at the men in uniform, the fly over, singing the Caisson song and seeing the faces of our very own vets being recognized for their service all the way from WWII, through the Cuban Missile Crisis, Grenada and the Gulf War. It was just an incredible day. Because pictures speak a thousand goes...

Foothill High School Marching Band

After the parade, people filed into the Memorial Building to sign cards to accompany our Quilt of Valor for wounded warrior Cpl. Elizabeth Bailey Wafflard. I was touched by how seriously and thoughtfully each person wrote their message. 

About half way through the program, Doug Miller Commander of VFW Post 6298 asked me to come up and present the quilt to Elizabeth. It was a very emotional time for all of us. Elizabeth has suffered brain injuries from her combat time in Iraq and is working very hard to get her health and life back to normal.

After the presentation, Elizabeth asked me to sit next to her and her roommate. She never let go of her new quilt, held my hand and told me, "I love my quilt. You'll never know how much this means to me." Well, we cried a lot. What a credit Elizabeth is to our nation. While he was giving his address Rear Admiral Jud Scott, US Navy (retired) looked right at Liz when he said, "We are all so proud of you." Here are the words I wrote for Liz:

Dear Elizabeth,

I can never, America can never fully repay you or thank you adequately for your service and sacrifice in the line of duty. You have stepped up to accept a challenge that few of us will ever face. We are so proud of you. On behalf of Road Warriors 2010 and a grateful nation, I am giving you a Quilt of Valor as a heartfelt token of our gratitude for your willingness to defend freedom and keep us safe at home. I hope your quilt will be a comfort and constant reminder to you that we have you in our hearts and will never forget your self-sacrifice in defense of America, the land we love and hold so dear. 
I'll never forget my day with Elizabeth and our Veterans. 
It was a long time coming. Now it's my treasure and a very fitting
wrap up for Road Warriors 2010.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Woohoo! Road Warrior JC Nelson Meets 1,000 Mile Goal

At our Wrap Up today--JC Nelson, Steve Benson & Dave Roberts-- proud Road Warriors all!
Congratulations all around for JC Nelson whose 10K run today at our Sycamore Grove Park Wrap Up put him over the 1,000 mile mark. John has been putting in his miles in honor of his two nephews Jeffrey and Christopher who are serving in the Army and Marines. He's even wearing his awesome Road Warriors 2010 tee shirt!!!

Anthony started logging miles in Sept and wants to be a RW next year!
Anthony Sison signed on at the Walnut Festival 10 K race in Walnut Creek...he came in from Tracy today to put in a few mega miles on his bike to help him reach his 100 miles. Great to see you again Anthony and thanks so much for coming so far to join us. Dave Roberts and Steve Benson took off for a winding walk through the sycamore trees. And I was lucky enough to run along side JC as he put in those final miles. I have a great feeling of anticipation about tomorrow's Veterans Day Parade (1 pm) and Program (2 pm) at the Memorial Building on Main Street. Elizabeth's quilt of valor is finished and ready to present to her at the program as a small but heartfelt token of our appreciation and deep gratitude for her courage, service and sacrifice while serving in Iraq.
I'm finishing the handwork on the quilt binding...25 years after starting it!
I am so proud of and grateful for all our Road Warriors who have commited to 100 miles or more, not just for themselves, but for the sake of  the courageous men and women serving in our Armed Forces. We simply cannot ever thank them enough. See you at the Veterans Parade (1pm) and program (2pm) tomorrow in downtown Pleasanton. The program is held in our newly remodeled Veterans Memorial Building with this beautiful bronze out front.
Thank you to every veteran in America. 
Thank you for your dedication and service for this great country we call America, the land we love and hold so dear.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Living For A Greater Cause: Why Road Warriors 2010 Supports Freedom Alliance

We've been logging miles all summer to help raise awareness and funding for wounded warriors and Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund. One of the recipients of the FA Scholarship is Henry Irizarry. I'm amazed at Henry's commitment and courage to do something great for America, just like his father did. After reading his story, you can  click here to donate to help more young men and women like Henry. Thank you!

Scholarship Spotlight: Henry D. Irizarry PDF Print E-mail
Written by Freedom Alliance   
Friday, 22 October 2010
Staff Sergeant Henry E. Irizarry gave his life on December 3, 2004 when an Iraqi insurgent detonated an explosive device near his Humvee while his unit was on patrol in Taji, Iraq, he was 38 years old. His son Henry was 15.
“My father sacrificed many things for a greater commitment. A commitment to serve not only his family and friends, but citizens across the country,” Henry wrote to Freedom Alliance. photo.jpg

Henry D. Irizarry is a Freedom Alliance scholarship recipient and a senior at the University of New Haven studying criminal justice. He made the Dean’s List for the past two years and is the president of Ambassadors for Christ and the Sergeant-at-Arms for the Latin American Students Association.

Henry says that seeing his father in uniform caused a burning desire for him to be like him. “My father inspired me to pursue a career in law enforcement. He taught me that it is ok to live for a greater cause and sometimes a greater commitment is necessary,” said Henry.

By providing a scholarship to his son, Freedom Alliance is pleased to honor Staff Sergeant Irizarry and all like him who have died or been injured in service to our country.
Last Updated ( Monday, 25 October 2010 )