Let Freedom Ring! June 29, 2016



Let Freedom Ring!


Marine Vet Saved Lives in Orlando


Houston VA Doctored Appointment Data

Special Report from Bret Baier/Fox News


Vietnam War Vet to Receive Medal of Honor


Toby Keith – American Soldier Music Video

Freedom Don’t Come Free


Independence Day


McConaughey on America



Coming Home

Angel Flight


A Time For Choosing







Independence Day


Independence Day, also referred to as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the Continental  Congress declaring that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and no longer part of the British Empire.  The congress voted to approve a resolution of independence on July 2, but after much debate and revisions of the wording, the congress approved it on July 4.  He missed it by two days, but on July 1 John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail:

“The second day of July will be the most memorable epoch in American history.  I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.  It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God almighty.  It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”  wikipedia




Sweet land of liberty…let freedom ring!




Photo:  Imran Yousuf/Marine Times


Marine Vet Saved Lives in Orlando


Orlando – A Marine veteran is being hailed as a hero after helping dozens of people escape during the terror attack at an Orlando nightclub.  Imran Yousuf, who served in Afghanistan, was working as a bouncer at the Pulse nightclub when gunman Omar Mateen opened fire.  Yousuf immediately recognized the sound of a high caliber weapon and his training kicked in. “Everyone froze.  I’m here in the back and I saw people start pouring into the back hallway, and they just sardine packed everyone,” Yousuf told CBS News.  He knew that just beyond the packed crowd was a door to safety.  “There was only one choice, all stay there and we die, or I could take the chance, and so I jumped over to open that latch and we got everyone that we can out of there.”  He estimated that 60 to 70 people were able to escape.  “I wish I could have saved more,” he said. Yousuf’s military awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Korean Defense Service Medal and Afghanistan Campaign Medal.   Fox News Insider, The Independent, Marine Times


Houston VA Doctored Patient Appointment Data



The Center has an annual budget of $912M and cares for more than 109,000 vets.  HoustonVA.gov


HOUSTON – Employees at Houston-area Department of Veteran Affairs facilities manipulated scheduling data for hundreds of medical appointments, understating patient wait times by days or even months, according to an agency watchdog.  Investigators with the VA’s Office of Inspector General concluded that two former scheduling supervisors and the current director of two Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Houston had instructed staff to record appointment changes as if the patient had canceled, even when the VA initiated the changes, according to a released report.  The report’s revelations incensed legislators and veterans advocates, including local veterans who have complained about difficulties getting treatment in the Houston facilities.  “You’re impacting the lives of heroes, that’s the thing that’s just sickening,” charged Cody McGregor, National Outreach Director of Concerned Veterans for America and an outspoken critic of the VA.  Local VA officials acknowledged the shortcomings found in the report, but said that no veterans were harmed.  “The majority were seen within 30-40 days, very few had a longer wait time,” said Anna Teague, Associate Chief of Staff of Ambulatory Care at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.  “It was just errors.”  chron.com


Vets may have to settle for seeing a nurse under new VA plan. Click here to see a Special Report from Bret Baier at Fox News.






Photo:  Associated Press


  Vietnam War Vet to Receive Medal of Honor


WASHINGTON – Some five decades after he led a platoon credited with rescuing dozens of soldiers pinned down by enemy fire, a Vietnam War Veteran will be awarded the nation’s highest military honor for valor, the White House announced.  In May 1967, Army Maj. Charles Kettles led several helicopter trips to help evacuate wounded soldiers near the district of Doc Pho.  He returned to the landing zone without additional aerial support to rescue stranded soldiers pinned down by enemy fire.  Kettles helped save the lives of 40 soldiers. The ceremony is the culmination of an effort that began in 2012.  William Vollano of the Veterans History Project launched the campaign. Lawmakers got involved and several men from his company, the 101st Airborne Division, sent letters.  “Kettles personifies the Army’s ‘Warrior Ethos’ – never leave any soldier behind,” said Secretary of the Army Eric K. Fanning.  Kettles retired from the Army in 1978 as a lieutenant colonel.  He resides in Ypsilanti, MI with his wife, Ann.  Associated Press, Fox News


  American Soldier









Soldiers from the U.S. Army's Third Infantry Division patrol in central Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2005. Some Iraqis sympathized with U.S. forces on Wednesday after hearing the American death toll in the Iraq war had reached 2,000, but others noted that many more Iraqis had died in the conflict and said they hope the U.S. "occupiers" will soon go home. (AP Photo/Jacob Silberberg)
 (AP Photo/Jacob Silberberg)


snowmobile forum.com



Soldiers Memorial Fund

The purpose of SMF is to memorialize PFC Scott Vallely and his service to our country – to carry on his name by individuals making contributions and donations to Veterans, Members of the Armed Forces and their families.  We are a 501 (c)(3) tax deductible organization





Donate here


Over 90% Goes Directly to Vets!  


McConaughey on America



Photo:  Elsa/Getty Images


Photo : aceshowbiz.com


During a recent interview about his latest film “Free State of Jones,” which focuses on the Civil War, the 46-year-old actor said he is optimistic about the country’s future.  “America turns the page and evolves quicker than most places historically,” McConaughey said.  “In that way I’m inspired and it makes me happy to be, and honored, to be an American. I’m not saying everything is just as it should be, but our ambition and our diligence to march forward for change, to test it out, to not give in to every new idea…where do we hang onto tradition, and where do we progress with new ideas, and ones that will hopefully stand the test of time?”  The Daily Caller


Coming Home

Angel Flight




A C-130 carrying home a fallen angel.




Land of the free, because of the brave.  

God bless our serving soldiers and our veterans!


A Time For Choosing




U.S. Armed Forces, We Must Fight

A video message from President Ronald Reagan






Donate here


Over 90% of donations go directly to veterans!


Soldiers Memorial Fund

PO Box 1596

Bigfork, MT  59911


Associated with the National America Supports You program


SMF Archives



Soldiers Memorial Fund Website



Visit Stand Up America



Stand Up America US | P.O. Box 1596, Bigfork, MT 59911


In God We Must! A powerful message from President Reagan June 15, 2016

June 15, 2016




In God We Must!

A powerful message from President Reagan


Amputee Vet Shoots Himself, Ignored by VA Crisis Hotline


A Final Salute


Hungry Heroes


Wife Finds Disabled Vet Husband in Tears


June is PTSD Awareness Month


Coming Home 


“Taps” – America’s Song of Remembrance 


Editor – Sharon DiLorenzo






A powerful message from President Ronald Reagan



Quadruple Amputee Veteran Shoots Himself After Being Ignored by VA Crisis Hotline



Nicely shown with Gary Sinise/U.S. News


The VA has failed our veterans so much that even their crisis hotline is doing nothing to save them as they commit suicide at a rate of 22 a day.  Tragically, quadruple amputee, Tod Nicely, nearly became another statistic when he recently attempted suicide by firearm after the VA crisis hotline ignored his pleas for help.  Nicely shot himself after being told by the hotline support to call back when be becomes “less irate.”  The veteran survived the suicide attempt and now says that life is good.  He lives in a customized home that suits his needs, built by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Gary Sinise Foundation.  Time Magazine, myfreshnews.com, U.S. News


  A Final Salute


Fredericksburg, VA–At first just a  handful of people planned to attend her funeral.  Then word spread on social media about the formerly homeless veteran who never married or had children and twenty minutes before the ceremony at the cemetery, a caravan of cars created a traffic jam. Serina Vine, who worked in radio intelligence for the US Navy and who died May 21, 2016, had no known living relatives and spent the last 20 years of her life at the VA’s 120-bed Community Living Center in Washington, DC.  She was 91 years old when she died and was homeless before coming to the VA facility.



Dave Ellis/The Freelance-Star

Army Maj. Jaspen Boothe, president for the non-profit Final Salute, Inc., kisses Serina Vine’s casket after the Quantico National Cemetery service.  Boothe never met the WWII vet, but felt compelled to honor her since both were once homeless veterans.  JB Branscome, The Freelance-Star


New York Daily News




                                                      Over 90% Goes Directly to Vets!  


Donate here


Soldiers Memorial Fund

The purpose of SMF is to memorialize PFC Scott Vallely and his service to our country – to carry on his name by individuals making contributions and donations to Veterans, Members of the Armed Forces and their families.  We are a 501 (c)(3) tax deductible organization.


Hungry Heroes




Twenty-five percent of the nation’s total active duty and reserve personnel are seeking food pantries and other charitable programs according to an inquiry conducted by Feeding America, a hunger relief charity. The help is sought for various reasons, experts say.  For active duty, pressures include low pay and poor financial planning by junior soldiers, the difficulty of spouses to hold steady jobs due to base transfers and deployments, and the cost of living when a military family must go “on the economy,” a situation created when base housing is not available.  For veterans, the triggers are the transition to the civilian world and trying to live off low disability pay or retirement.  NBC News


A military family volunteers at the Jewish Family Service food distribution center for military families in San Diego. NBC News Photo

Wife Finds Disabled Vet Husband in Tears


Brittany Lynn Garrett Photo

Former combat engineer, Christopher Garrett, a US Army Specialist who had deployed to Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division, earned a medical retirement and a 100 percent disability rating after being shot in the gut. Despite his disability and the persistent nagging pain, the veteran did his best to maintain his home, including mowing the yard with an old-fashioned push mower.  Garrett’s wife, Brittany, found him outside crying, and after determining that nothing was wrong with her husband, was blown away by what was right…an anonymous neighbor had witnessed Garrett struggling with the old push mower and decided to bless him with with a brand new John Deere riding lawn mower.  The Conservative Tribune

June is PTSD Awareness Month



US Department of Veterans Affairs

In June of 2010, Congress named June 27 PTSD Awareness Day.  In 2014, the Senate designated the full month of June for National PTSD Awareness. After a traumatic event, most people have painful memories.  For many, the effects of the event fade over time, but for others, the memories, thoughts and feelings do not go away–even years after the event.  Mental health experts do not know why some develop PTSD and others do not.  If stress reactions do not improve over time, they disrupt everyday life and it is important to seek help.  ptsd.va.gov

Coming Home















AP Photo














Day is Done


American’s Song of Remembrance


US Army Photo




Composed by Major General Daniel Butterfield

Army of the Potomac, Civil War

Fading light dims the sight,

And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.

From afar drawing nigh – Falls the night.


Day is done, gone the sun,

From the lake, from the hills, from the sky.

All is well, safely rest – God is nigh.


Then good night, peaceful night,

Til the light of the dawn shineth bright.

God is near, do not fear – Friend good night.





Over 90% of donations go directly to veterans!


Donate here



Soldiers Memorial Fund
PO Box 1596
Bigfork, MT  59911

Associated with the National America Supports You program


SMF Archives


Soldiers Memorial Fund Website


Visit Stand Up America Website













SVSMF Family: “Papa Fred” Best Documentary Awarded To Carlos Lenz June 15, 2016

SLHS Filmmaker Wins Two Top Honors at VHSL Film Festival

by Karen Goff

South Lakes High School senior Carlos Lenz won two top awards at last week’s second annual Virginia High School League (VHSL) Film Festival.

Lenz won Best Documentary chosen by the Grand Jury for his six-minute film, Papa Fred, which follows Lenz’s grandfather, Fred Gedrich, a runner who has completed hundreds of races, as he faces cancer treatment.

“What’s remarkable to me is he never lost his passion for running, or his spirit, despite being diagnosed with Stage IV lymphoma/leukemia just a few months earlier,” Lenz narrates in the film.

Gedrich ran everyday for 32 years. Watch the short film (above) to see what happened when cancer broke his streak.


“It was like a combination of me looking for an idea and my grandfather recently being diagnosed with leukemia,” says Lenz. “He wanted to have his story kind of told. … It was an interesting task to undertake and very challenging. I believe everything worked out as a result.”

Lenz has acted in plays at SLHS, but says his real passion is film. He has taught himself the basics of filmmaking and has been making movies since he was young, he said. He will study film at George Mason University next year.

Lenz also won the top honor in the Best Commercial-Public Service Announcement chosen by the Grand Jury for Be the Difference, about suicide prevention.

Other winners from Fairfax County Public Schools included  Shaun Saleih and Sam Sikora of Robinson Secondary School, Audience Choice Documentary for Ram Pride, and Shank Rai of Annandale High School, Audience Choice Commercial-Public Service Announcement for McDonald’s All Day Breakfast.


Editor’s Note: Carlos Lenz and his grandfather, Fred Gedrich are members of the Scott Vallely Soldiers Memorial Fund and Stand Up America family.