Sunday, December 14, 2008

Medical testing

I am very behind on keeping the blog up to date. I have many excuses, but none that are really good enough to justify not keeping up.
Taylor had to go to Washington in Oct. for more medical testing again at the National Institute of Health. It had been two years almost to the day that we had gone there for the first time. We were extremely fortunate in getting a room to ourselves which was wonderful. However, I really wish that the makers of the so called 'beds' that are given to parents to sleep on, I wish that THEY had to sleep on them.

It was a long week for Taylor, but she did wonderful. She was strong and brave. There were some things that weren't pleasant, but she faced them head on and did what was asked of her. I was very proud of her. Once again, we had wonderful doctors and nurses and things ran really well. Each night, Taylor and I got out and walked the campus to get some fresh air and get out of the hospital room. It was hard for us at night time to think of us being so close to DC and yet, because of my lack of knowledge on how to get around, we were stuck in the room all night long. I guess it was for the best though, Taylor was able to get her rest.

This time, as her last visit, it was set up for her to be able to go over to the National Naval Medical Center and for her to spend the afternoon with the wounded. I have to say, this visit was much different then last. Last time we were there, patients were just about busting out of the rooms there were so many wounded there. They were doubled up in rooms. This time, there were far less and that was a wonderful thing. The ones that we were able to visit even had their own rooms.
It was so rewarding as a parent to watch Taylor talk with 'her guys' and to make sure they were staying motivated. She even told one Marine sternly that he had better stay motivated and do what the doctors asked, because he sure didn't want her coming back and giving him hell!!! I think she scared him! I really do wish that we lived closer or that we could afford her to get out there more often, she was so in her element talking with those guys. So at ease and everything just flows naturally. At first, they aren't sure of what to think of seeing this young girl walk into their rooms in THEIR hard earned uniform. However, once they hear her introduce herself as GySgt Taylor Batten and talk to her for a few minutes, all the apprehension they feel is gone and they are talking to 'one of their own'.

Some of the results on the tests were not what we wanted nor expected. Things could have went better as far as that is concerned, but on the other hand, things could have been much worse. We are thankful for the knowledge that we are learning and that is why we go there, to find out what is going on with her. It is always that double edged sword though, you want to know, but once you do you wish you didn't.
I am so proud of Taylor though. She wanted to once again, look outside of herself and look past her own discomfort of what she was going through and go visit the wounded to make sure that THEY were doing well and to give them some support. There were a few times things got rough for her and she herself could have used a visitor or two and some of her own cheering up, but not once did she do a 'poor me'.

We will be going back again in two years.

Once we were discharged, we stayed with Lt. Col. Maxwell's family once again. They opened their home and their lives to us just as they did when Taylor went to Camp Lejeune. They made us feel like we were part of the family again and Taylor was able to spend time with her friend that she so looks up to for inspiration. They are now at Quantico and Taylor and I were able to go visit the new museum there and it was more then outstanding. The Lt. Col. is recovering from a pretty major surgery and his fighting spirit is just amazing. Taylor watched and studied him, when he talked, she listened. She once again gained much on the inside from just being around him.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Happy Birthday Marines!

Yes, I know that I am very behind in updating Taylor's blog and have much to report, from her visit to Washington for her medical testing and visiting with the wounded, her time with Lt. Col. Maxwell, her coming home only to be able to fly back to Washington for a day with a group of WW11 veterans to see their monument. She was able to see The Presidents Own Marine Corps Band and spend time with them and so many other things. I will update SOON!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Taylor's love for is well documented and well known. This is where she gets her contacts to send to. She dearly loves Marty who has put his heart and soul into this great effort. lives off of donations to keep going and to keep making sure that our deployed are taken care of. If you have never looked at the website, we strongly urge you to do so. Now, there is a GREAT insentative to do so and here it is:

Now is your opportunity for a chance at owning a beautiful home for only $100.00!The Any Soldier® House Raffle!!
Beautiful Custom Colonial single-family home nestled on 7.989 acres in Prince Frederick, Maryland. Waterview of Patuxent River - Incredible Farm Property! Approx. 3500sq' on two levels with 1620sq' finished in bsmt, 5 br, 2.5 baths, Zoned Heat, upgraded fixtures, HWD, Italian Limestone, barnwood in LL, Recessed Lighting, Cherry Cabinets in Kit, H/W in Garage. 5 Stall Barn, 6 Paddocks, Hay Bin, Saw Dust Bin, Wash Rack, Electric and Water in every stall, large Run-In.
Recently appraised for $835,000!.
HTTP:// Thanks, very much, for your support!!

Go check out the website and look at this unbelievable house that could be yours for only the price of $100! If you don't win the house, check out the fantastic 2nd, 3rd and 4th places! WOW!


Taylor has joined the St. Joseph County Sheriff Explorer Program.

She gets to go to the Sheriff department and learn the ins and outs of law enforcement. One day, she learned how they do felony stops, she has shot the AR 15 and has worked in the jail one day. She is amazed! All the deputies have been outstanding to her and she really enjoys going.

This week is our county fair and she had the choice, go to the fair and do kid things, or walk around with the police. I don't think what she chose to do will shock any of you!

And wouldn't you know it, she was riding in a cart and they had just picked up a big bundle of money and there was an 'altercation'. The Sgt. she was riding with, told her to 'guard the cart and the money' and off he went. So, there sat Taylor with a boat load of money, not knowing when the Sgt. was going to return to her. She later told me, she guarded that money with her life and it was a good thing no one came up, because she would have let them have it! Cracked me up, but she was dead serious! She had a great time and looks forward to going back to the jail.
There was also a booth set up for cards for veterans for Taylor to deliver.

Remembering 9-11

9-11 Who will ever forget? Who can ever forget? That is a day, just like Pearl Harbor, that should be with every person until they day the pass. As time goes on, it is so easy to go on about things and just seem to not give it much thought. We do not do that.

Today, we were able to go to a service in honor of 9-11. It was such a beautiful day, eerily like that unimaginable day back in 2001. Seeing the firefighters out in their uniforms, with all their trucks, literally gave you goosebumps and tears in your eyes.

We had a fly over by WWll war birds and just about everyone fell silent in watching them come and then go right over us. This service was special to Taylor, as she had her good friend, Cpl. Cugliotta with her. This young man, went and signed up for service right after 9-11. He loved his country enough to know that we had been attacked and we would be going to war, he loved his country enough to stand up to protect her.

He has done 2 tours, one of them being wounded. The scars inside, live with him every day. He is very proud of his service, he is very proud of his country. Taylor and he have become friends and they seem to help each other. They pull strength from one another and have that unspoken bond that Marines have. I get a smile in my heart every time I think of those two together. Taylor pushes him to do things, and in turn, he shows Taylor what strength is.

Our family remembers 9-11. We think of the people that are gone because of that day, and how life has changed because of it. We think every day of all the people that fight today. It is sad to say, we are stronger because of that day. But we are.

Marine Corps League

The day that Taylor was made a Marine, almost 2 years ago, she was also sworn in as an honorary life time member of the Marine Corps League. 2 years, WOW, time sure does fly! To think, she was a PFC and now she is a proud Gunnery Sergeant, and just how much she has accomplished in that time. The deployed, wounded and veterans have all been touched in one way or the other by Taylor's deep love for her country and military. When I sit back and look over the last 2 years, I am actually brought to tears by what has all happened.

Taylor still battles every day with her health, but she is a STRONG fighter now. The change in her has been completely miraculous. The determination she has for her causes simply astounds me.

She has been trying to go to Marine Corps League meetings in the Kalamazoo area pretty regularly. These men that she sits in with, have all been so kind and wonderful to her. I still think that they are not really sure on how to be around her. I am hoping they are getting more comfortable around her. Most of them have not heard Taylor's real story and all the things she has done, they have sort of an outline, but I think if they all really knew just what she has been through and what she has done, some of them would treat her more like the Marine she is instead of the little girl they see with their eyes.

Taylor doesn't brag up the things she has seen or done, she just sits back and listens to these men. Most of them are from the Vietnam generation back to WW11. They want to be so respectful around her and not talk how we know Marines talk! Taylor loves going there and being with these great men and I have to say, there are times that the meeting will be going and I will just look around myself at the faces, and I am taken aback by the amount of history that is with these men. I am so thankful that we have been welcomed into their 'house'.

Today, we went out and did the Adopt a Highway trash pick up with them. I had my camera, but didn't take one picture. It is a tad bit scary being along side an interstate with semi trucks whizzing by you at 80 mph, so my thoughts were not on taking pictures. Let me tell you one thing though, that is HARD work. Taylor was cursing under her breath at all the litterbugs!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

B 17 Surprise

There have been a few occasions in Taylor's life where someone has decided they want to do something extraordinary for her and they will let me know and then it is up to ME to keep that surprise. It happened again and this one was very hard for me to contain my excitement on!

Taylor LOVES the mighty B 17 and P 51 Mustang, they are her all time favorite WW11 planes. The knowledge she holds on these is pretty amazing and she has had the great fortune of being able to be in a B 17 before, the Yankee Lady.

I am sure all that read her blog and know of Taylor, know of her meeting with Capt. Larry Jenkins, B 17 pilot, at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo. If you scroll down, you will see the post about this most amazing meeting between Taylor and Larry. I was contacted not to long ago by the Air Zoo saying that they had found the post and would like to know if they could print the story out in their newsletter that goes out to all their members. Of course I said, after all, Capt. Jenkins story should be heard by everyone as well as what little Taylor Batten does. They printed the story and had a really nice sized picture of Larry and Taylor together in it.

A few days after it was printed, we got a phone call from Capt. Jenkins. He told me had something for Taylor, I asked what and he told me that it had been arranged for Taylor to go up in a B 17. I asked what he meant by go up, as I was assuming 'go up' in it and look around. Go up means just that, GO UP, as in fly!! I actually was speechless and as most of you that know me, that does not happen often at all. He told me the date and time and where, we hung up and I grabbed ahold of Tanner and just started jumping up and down screaming! I KNEW what this was going to mean to Taylor! Tanner just looked at me like I had finally lost that one final screw that was holding my brain together!

Not only was there going to be a B 17 there, but a P 51 Mustang as well, again, I knew what this was going to mean to Taylor, her favorites were together and she had never seen a Mustang up close either. A B 24 and B 25 were with them as well.

We decided to keep this whole thing a secret from Taylor, just letting her think she was going to go see the planes, we thought it fitting that Capt. Jenkins be the one to tell her.

We got to the airport and there was Larry, sitting in his chair with the story of him and Taylor together, telling people about it. As soon as he saw Taylor, he just broke out into this wonderful smile. She almost ran to him and they hugged, she snuggled right into him. He kept his hand on her shoulder and said he had something for her, he reached in his pocket and pulled out the medal that is given for being a prisoner of war. He gave it to her. Do I need to tell you that the water works started then? She was in shock and so awed by it and so grateful.

This was a couple of hours before take off time, so they had plenty of time to go out and check out the planes and to just talk. As soon as she saw the Mustang, she started jumping up and down in excitement. It was off to our left and right in front of us was the B 24 and the B 17 beyond that. No B 25 as they had lost an engine and were doing work on it in Wisconsin. Taylor didn't know where to go first, she looked at both her beloved planes and they were in opposite directions. She followed Capt. Jenkins and they both looked up at the B 17 and then people started coming up to Larry. Taylor couldn't help it and she got up in the 17, called Nine O Nine. Again, that is why she thought she was there, to look at the planes. As soon as she got up, the Mustang started up and went out for a ride, so she got to hear it, feel the air as it went by, feel the rumble of it and then watch it take off. She just stood there clapping, she couldn't contain her excitement for this!

She then went in and looked at the 24, called Witchcraft and spent time in there. She came back out, couldn't help it, got right back in the 17! When she was done, she came out and talked with Capt. Jenkins again. At one time, it was so sweet. They both had been out for a good hour, talking with people almost non stop and in the sun and she was a bit concerned for him. She came up behind his wheelchair and put her hand on his shoulder and asked how he was doing. He looked up at her and held on to her hand still on his shoulder and told her he was doing alright and he wanted to know how she was doing, she said 'if you are alright, then I am alright to'. They stood there holding hands, looking at each other and smiling. It just took me back to when they first met and for a moment, it was just those two together as if no one else was around. It happened again and I remember so clearly thanking the good Lord right there and then that I was able to witness this incredible moment and bond that was just meant for them at that very point in time.

Two hours had passed and it was getting close to take off time. During this time, the Mustang had come in a few times and taken right back off, but it flew right over her at a hard angle and it was so thrilling. Unfortunately, that was as close as she ever got to the Mustang that day. They pulled everyone off where the planes were except for those that needed to be there. I told Taylor we could stand there for just one more minute with Larry and then we would have to back up with everyone else so we could watch Nine O Nine fire up and take off. It was then that I saw the disappointment in her eyes, she could have stood out there all night long and wanted to do so! Larry rolled by her and went up and talked to the man that would be flying the 17 for a minute and then he came back to Taylor. He said so seriously, 'I just talked to the pilot and we wanted to know if you would like to go up in her'. Taylor didn't even catch on to what he was saying, she thought he meant the 'boy it sure would be nice huh' kind of way. He said it again and you could slowly start to see it sink in to her, but she was fighting it, she just didn't know what to think. Larry said to her that she was going up. Her jaw literally dropped down and I mean it when I saw it dropped! She looked at me as if she were needing me to clarify. I just started to laugh/cry and told her 'YES YES YES YOU ARE GOING UP'. Her tiny hands flew up around her head and she just kept yelling HOW over and over again. I have never seen her so shocked, ever. Then, I seen something else I hadn't seen her do out of excitement, she started crying! Then, her knees buckled and I had to go up to her, I am serious when I say she was on the verge of blacking out, she was that shocked and that excited. We finally got her to where I thought she was OK and then she just grabbed onto me and held me as tight as she ever has and jumped up and down screaming THANK YOU. I told her it wasn't me, I don't know who was making it possible for her to go flying in her beloved 17, but it wasn't me. She about rung poor Larry's neck when she gave him a hug to!!!!!

Want to know what even made it all the more special? Capt. Jenkins got to go up with her! Now she got to sit up front and poor Capt. was stuck in the back, but they were together and she knew he was there with her. During the flight, they popped a hatch and held her up so her chest and head were sticking out of the plane and she took pictures that way. She got to sit in the bombardiers seat for a while.

When they landed, she got out and had her hand over her mouth, she was still that shocked. She didn't even know what to say! It is 2 days later now and she is still just now trying to comprehend all of it.
On the way home, she did get a bit quiet, the excitement and shock of it all did a number on her, but it was WELL WORTH IT. She talked abit though about being so amazed, I asked about what. She said that sitting there as the plane was flying, she looked back and saw Capt. Jenkins sitting in the back. Then, she looked up front to where his place was and should be, in the pilots area. She said she was amazed because of how Larry's plane was hit and the injuries he sustained, on top of being blinded from the explosion, how he made it out of his seat to where he had to go to stay alive. She said in all earnest, 'mom, it is a miracle'. She is right, an absolute miracle. That got us both to talking, miracles to happen and they happen for a reason. There are many miracles around our family that have come to us because of Taylor.
Lt. Col. Tim Maxwell, a miracle he is alive. A miracle that happened so that he could fight forth and make a difference for thousands of wounded. Cpl. Josh Hoffman, a miracle that he is alive. A miracle that happened so that others may see what he used to be to what he is today, and he still fights and everyone around him is so happy. Sgt. Major Kasal, a miracle he is alive. A miracle happened so that he could save the lives around him and inspire. Capt. Larry Jenkins, WW11 B 17 pilot, a miracle he is alive. A miracle that happened so that he may pass on history as it really happened and a miracle that happened so that he may share special moments as he and Taylor have. GySgt Taylor Batten, a miracle she was even born because of her medical condition, less then 1% even survive birth. A miracle happened so that she could touch the lives of so many and make as much a difference as the many miracles before her. Look around you, how many miracles do you have in your life. Take the time to realize that they are just that, miracles and then do all you can to cherish them. These are just a small example of what we have been surrounded by because of Taylor, there are hundreds more.....

No one will tell us who gave this once in a life time gift to Taylor. I know they are reading this, so I want you to know that you gave her more then just a plane ride. You obviously know her story and you know how important things are to her. You know what matters and what doesn't. You know how giving her soul is even if her body and medical condition don't let her do the things she wants. You know how much she loves Capt. Jenkins and the B17 and you made this happen for her and Larry. Thank you. Your gift will last for a life time. I don't know if you were there to see her reaction to being told she was going, I hope you were. Ed Rossi, Ed Sackley and Roger Jenkins, I am glad you got to share this day with us, thank you!

I can only post 5 pictures at a time, so I am going to be uploading more onto her photobucket site and I will email to those of you that I have your email addresses.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wounded Warrior, American Hero

Yesterday, once again, Taylor was given a gift. One that can't be found in any store or bought on line for any amount of money. She got to visit a wounded warrior, Joshua Hoffman.

I have sat and tried to think of ways to describe the visit so that it does justice to Joshua and what he has been through. There is no way to do that, other then to speak from the heart.

We didn't know what to expect, or how he would react to having a 'kid' there to visit him. We walked into the apartment and Josh was in the middle of the room with his special chair. Taylor came around to his side, he moved his eyes to focus in on her. I introduced myself first and he nodded, but moved his eyes back to Taylor. She got closer to his side and let out 'Nice to meet you Marine, my name is GySgt Taylor Batten, but that would be GUNNY to you son' Josh's whole face lit up!!!!

It was an incredible visit, because Josh can't speak, but yet, he speaks volumes. He was funny, animated, truthful and a smart ass! He does this through his eyes, face, head movements and his spirit and soul! We were there for 3 hours, but it didn't feel like it, time really flew by and I know that Taylor could have sat along side him all day long.

He got a kick out of her and her famous 'suck it up cupcake' line to the Sgt. she made drop and give her 20 and to sound off like he had a pair. He REALLY liked that.

I was able to tell Josh about Taylor and her health and the things she can't do because of it. I told him of the things she has done though BECAUSE of it. There was one profound moment between the 2 of them when talking about not being able to do things that you want....she told him it flat out sucked and he looked right at her and agreed with his whole being. I have a picture of the two together and it is one of my all time favorites. It is my favorite because here are two people with bodies that will not allow them to do what they want, what they desire. Yet, these two with damaged bodies, have the spirit that will NOT allow those bodies to make them anything less then what they are, warriors. Inspiration is all I kept thinking in watching them together.

You bet he wishes he wasn't in the condition he is in, just the same goes with Taylor. But, they both are taking what they have and they are making it work. They are making themselves be true, hard core, inspirations for all to follow.

They both have to work harder then the average person to do what everyone else takes for granted. They both face not what they thought their lives would be. They both struggle when it is hard to understand why those struggles were given to them. Yet, they both smiled, they both joked, they both love and they both are alive.

Josh has an amazing fiance, Heather. I was awestruck by her love for him. When we walked into that apartment, it was clear the minute we saw her speak to him and take care of him. She loved Josh how he was before and she loves him how he is now. So many people could learn so much from her and him being together. They are what love is about. I am so fortunate that Taylor and I got to spend a day with them and we plan on making a pest of ourselves and becoming a permanent fixture in their life.

I forgot to ask permission to post about how Josh was wounded and his story, if it is alright, I will post here for you all to know just how amazing his story is.

I am going to apologize to Josh right now, one of his pictures, his eyes are closed. I actually took the picture a couple of different times and each time, his eyes just didn't want to agree with the camera. I love the picture though because it captures one of his expressions and believe me when I say this, meeting him and seeing his expressions, left a life time IMPRESSION on Taylor.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Gunny's Veterans Ride

July 12th has come and gone. There was much work to be done in such a little time, often when planning an event, you have a long time to plan, we had only a few months to put together 'Gunny's Veterans Day'.

There was such an outpouring of generosity from donors as far as door prizes and raffles and food to helping out with funding. We are so very grateful for each and every donor.

The weather was not our friend that day, as there were severe storms predicted, starting at the time the ride was to begin all the way to when the 'party' was to start. We watched the radar and there was a nasty line coming our way. We had many phone calls come in to us from friends that were supposed to come from afar and they were not going to come because of how bad the weather looked.

Despite that, we had many people show up and brave what was to come. The riders took off and the wind picked up and it started to drizzle. The band decided to not set up outside just knowing they would be facing certain death if they stayed out. We moved some tables around getting ready for the horrible stuff coming. Guess what? NOTHING CAME!!!!! Every place around us got down pours, but where it was predicted for, it didn't happen. So, we were so happy for that, but so disappointed as well because it stopped many from coming in.

We had great food and the band was WONDERFUL even if many people didn't get to hear them. Many people left with not one prize, but multiple prizes. Most of all, everyone was so generous with giving their money to Taylor to help out her beloved veterans.

We plan on doing this again next year with hopes of it being bigger and better and beautiful weather!


Monday, July 7, 2008

4th of July

Another 4th of July has come and gone. For many people, it is a long weekend, a sale, a party. To us, it is a time to be thankful for our nation we call home, and a time to celebrate those that made it possible for us to do just that.

Taylor was invited to ride with the veterans in the Schoolcraft parade. This parade is a parade like no others, they do it in grand style (I however HATE to see it turn into a political hey day to get a vote)

This parade has always had a great showing of veterans, but this year, we were shocked when we actually saw how many were there. There were 5 big hay wagons of veterans! All these men proud to show they served and sadly, for those that we have lost. Taylor sat proud amongst these men. Some knew of her and the others that didn't were just very curious about her. I did have one man break down and sob over her and even as I type this, it still breaks me down over his reaction to her.

I wish the pictures had turned out a bit better. We were so incredibly proud to see Taylor take her place with these men and for them to open their arms and hearts to her.

Iwo Jima

On 4th of July, Taylor was invited to ride on a float with veterans. She was very excited about this and was very honored. It was at this parade last year, she met her friend, Floyd Holes. He fought on Iwo Jima and he was with Joe Rosenthal when the famous picture was taken. Floyd was a communicator with the 28th Marines 5th Division.

Taylor was able to meet with Floyd on several occasions and just sit and talk with him. He was a bit hard of hearing, but sharp as a whip and a memory that was amazing. He had written a book about his time and he gave Taylor a copy of it and signed it for her.

We went to a military appreciation dinner and Floyd and his wife Millie were guest of ours. There is a post about Floyd further down on Taylor's blog.

Why am I writing about this again? Because Taylor was so incredibly excited to ride on the float and to be with Floyd again. When we saw Floyd, we could tell right away how much he had aged since we last saw him in the fall. He was now using a walker and he looked much older. Taylor almost trembled with excitement as he got closer. He got to where she was and she just threw her arms around him, so happy. Sadly, Floyd did not remember his 'little Marine gal' as he so affectionately had called her on their many visits together.

It took some work to get Floyd up on the float, but once they did, Taylor climbed right up to be with him. She told him who she was and he just didn't remember. He told her the a few of the stories he had already told her, but she sat there and listened to him as if she had never heard them before. I could tell she was sad, but she smiled at him and listened intently. While Floyd may not remember her or many things from recent history, when he spoke of his time on Iwo Jima, he was very clear on what he had to say.

I post about Floyd and Taylor's heart break so that any of you reading this realize, this great generation of WW11 veterans are leaving us fast. Do not wait, do not hesitate to visit with a veteran. Do not wait or hesitate to find out their story. Even if you know them, and they act as if they don't know you and tell their story to you again, listen with your heart. There will be a time, in the very near future you won't be able to hear that story first hand. There will be a time in the very near future you won't be able to look into the eyes and a real hero as you shake their hand and thank them for what they did for this country.


We went once again to Missouri to be a part of the fund raiser. Great time, GREAT CAUSE!

Last year, Major B and Taco (Lt. Col. Bell) were there and this year they were not, for they have both volunteered to go back to Iraq and Afghanistan and they are serving our country, so we dearly missed them. Sue, we missed you as well!

The weather was great, no rain gods mad this year like last! It was a bit on the warm side, but no rain so that was a trade off. Della did a wonderful job as usual in getting things organized. However, the morning of the ride, there was a funeral for a fallen Marine and many people couldn't make the ride due to being at the funeral to give this hero his proper send off. We still had an outstanding showing of people there.

Last year, we went through some beautiful mountain scenery and it just went on and on and on. This year, the route was different and part of it was even closed off because of the flooding going on. We actually got to see some of it. In the one picture we have on here, you see water up to the road. That is not supposed to be there. The river was about 8 miles away and that is how far in it was in that spot.

The roads were scary, and we followed in the van, driven by Marty's son, Jesse. He was an excellent driver, I can say that for certainty. On the roads we were on, once it was white line, there was no more road, no dirt, no nothing but drop off's and he did an outstanding job in making sure the Batten family made is back safely! Thanks Jesse!!

Taylor had a great time being there. is something she believes in with her whole heart and it is one of the many organizations she is very proud to be a part of. Thank you Marty for all the hard work you do to make sure our deployed are taken care of, and thank you for making sure that my Gunny is taken care of!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ways to support the troops

After the parade on Friday night, we set up a booth all day Saturday, giving our literature on how to support the troops. Taylor was there all day long, shaking hands of the veterans that came to her booth.

She talked of Hope For the Warriors,, The Patriot Guard Riders, Dog Tags for Kids. A few booths down from us was a pretty incredible woman. She came over to talk to us and she was wearing a Home For the Troops running shirt. Come to find out, she runs marathons in hopes of raising money for our disabled troops. Right up our alley! Right now, she is focusing on LCpl. Josh Hoffman from our great state of Michigan. If you would be interested, please check her personal page out

We are hoping that Taylor was able to raise some interest on how to be supportive and places you can do to do that. She also was able to give out several of her flyers for the upcoming Gunny's Veterans Ride, scroll down a few entries and you will see what that is about if you don't already know!


Taylor was in a parade this past Friday night, 6-13-08, for the Water Fest. She invited her neighbor, Jack Palmer, a B 17 top turret gunner to ride with her, he said YES. She also invited a Korean army veteran, Merlin Huff to ride with her, he said YES. The whole idea of being in the parade was to bring awareness to supporting the troops and our veterans, and that is what the signs said on the truck, along with the American flag and POW flag.

SFC. Noble, US Army, rode in the back with Taylor. He is one of the recruiters that helped Taylor when she had her Military Appreciation Night. While Taylor may kid him (you know how Marines are!) she really likes him. He has been wonderful to her and has offered up all his help for Taylor's Gunny's Veterans Ride. In fact, the whole recruiting office of the Army has been extremely supportive and have offered up their help and other things for Taylor. We are so incredibly appreciative of these guys, especially SFC. Noble. He rode with Taylor, he smiled and waved to the crowd as they stood and clapped for him, for Taylor and for our 2 wonderful veterans we had with us.

Tanner and Kevin walked in front of us, holding the banner that the Daughters of the American Revolution had made up for Taylor for her outstanding patriotism. I was driving the truck and I will freely admit that there were several times I was brought to tears. When you stand on the side lines of a parade and you see the veterans come, you hear only your section clap. Driving down the road, except for a few small areas, everyone clapped. And I finally got to see first hand how many people do indeed do the right thing. We will keep working on the ones that don't.

One incredible moment happened, gives me goose bumps........We got about half way through the parade and a lady came right up to the truck and talked to our neighbor Jack. She had a very heavy accent and she asked him if he had been over the Netherlands. I stopped the truck for her to talk to him and I am so glad I did. Her husband was liberated by the Americans. She was so grateful, to hear her voice and the passion in which she spoke, it was like nothing I have ever heard. I HATED to have to get going again but the parade was now backed up because of us and I had to go. It was an amazing moment.

Once the parade was over, Taylor jumped down and asked me if I heard all the people clapping and all the people yelling THANK YOU, I told her I did and it was one of our neater moments I have to say!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Memorial Day Parade

Many people view Memorial Day as another day to catch up on things, or to get a good deal on all the sales that are going on. Taylor asked why on earth there would be Memorial Day sales. I do not have an answer for her on that, for that is something I don't understand myself. We did not catch up on things, nor did we do any shopping.

For Memorial Day, we went and watched Taylor march in a parade to honor those that have fought for this country. Taylor stood once again amid many great men, and had the distinctive honor of standing and marching next to a Pearl Harbor survivor. As the crowd stood and clapped as these men walked by, along with one small girl with the biggest heart, I was brought to tears many times. She stood tall and gave the proper salute and showed just what respect and honor is. Taylor was even allowed the job of lowering the flag down and up again. Good job Taylor!