Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

From:

 

The Scott Vallely Soldiers Memorial Fund, Staff, Supporters and

 

MG and Mrs. Vallely and Prince Nemo

 

The “America First Team”

 

 

Be sure to take some time out of your busy lives to enjoy the magic of the holidays this season. There is nothing more magical than the Birth of Jesus Christ, family, friends, decorated trees and lights to brighten us up.  Give and receive love this holiday season and you will surely have a joyous Christmas. Best wishes to your family and always may Christmas spread cheer in your lives!

There is no greater gift this holiday season than spending time praising God with family all around the Christmas tree. Wishing all of our family members peace and love this holiday season. May you feel the joy in your home that you bring to us at SUA. We are wishing you blessings and joy this Christmas. We are so happy to call you a member of our family and we cherish your support.

You gifted us with your friendship and support for many years now. This Christmas, we thank you for being our rock of strength in good times and in bad. You deserve all the goodness and goodwill that the Christmas season brings. Christmas is the time to give gifts to your family and let them know how much you care about them, so that’s what we are doing. The best present one can hope for this year is to spend time together as a united America.

May God’s blessing shine down on you and your family. Sending love from our family to yours. This is a joyous season to take a step back from our busy lives and enjoy time with our loved ones. Best wishes to you and yours.

 

MG Paul E Vallely and Mrs. Vallely and Prince Nemo.

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Army vet slain after returning to Chicago…August 18, 2016

Army vet and youth mentor slain after returning to Chicago:

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Abner Garcia, center, with blue YMCA polo and hat, poses with kids he mentors as part of an at-risk youth program. Garcia was fatally shot Saturday in West Elsdon. [Photo from Garcia family]

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Abner Garcia (c.) was shot dead Saturday in West Elsdon. The photo shows Garcia being honored for his work with the YMCA at a recent bulls game. He is pictured with Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard and Bulls center Cristiano Felicio

 

By Joe Ward | August 15, 2016 10:14am | Updated on August 15, 2016 10:32am

www.dnainfo.com Serving Midway Chicago Lawn Ashburn

WEST ELSDON — Abner Garcia’s family held back its fears and concerns when the young man decided that he wanted to join the Army, thinking it would at least keep him away from Chicago’s violence.

They were proud of him when he returned from service last year and decided to mentor at-risk kids through a YMCA anti-gang initiative.

Now, after the 23-year-old was fatally shot in West Elsdon Saturday, they’re trying to fathom how a promising, young life fell victim to the gun violence he worked to escape.

“How can he go through the Army, come home … it’s supposed to be a safe place, you know? And this happens,” his cousin Da’Maris Garcia said. “It’s heartbreaking.”

At 1:40 a.m. Saturday morning, Abner was driving with two people in the 5200 block of South Pulaski Road when a van pulled beside them and people inside the van flashed gang signs at his car. The people in the cars began to argue and someone in the van opened a door and shot at Abner’s car.

He was hit in his head and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition. He was pronounced dead at 5:45 a.m. Saturday morning, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Family said Abner was out to dinner and drinks with his dad and some friends before he was shot. They said they weren’t sure if the attackers followed them from the restaurant or if there was some kind of prior confrontation.

Itzel Garcia, Abner’s cousin, said when the men began throwing gang sings, Abner tried to tell the men to leave, but that they instead drew a gun and shot at him from close range. No one else in the car with Abner was hurt.

“He had no chance,” Itzel said. “These guys just started shooting. It’s shocking.”

Abner, of the 5400 block of South Luna Avenue, was attending University of Illinois at Chicago with the hopes of becoming a Chicago Police officer, family said.

His desire to be a police officer was an extension of his work helping at-risk kids and serving the county: He liked to help, and he particularly wanted to help stop Chicago’s growing problems with crime, they said.

“He always wanted to give back,” Da’Maris said. “We were all scared [when he joined the Army] to leave and let him go, but the family always 100 percent supported him.”

While working towards a degree in criminal justice, Abner volunteered with “Urban Warriors,” a YMCA-based program that works with kids in danger of joining gangs.

Like Abner, any of the kids he mentored were Hispanic, and they looked up to him as proof that a better life is possible for South Side kids, Itzel said.

“He was driven. He wanted to continue to help and save people,” she said. “He wasn’t done living his life.”

He had been honored for his work by the Chicago Bulls, even getting his photo taken with NBA star Damian Lillard before a game at the United Center.

Garcia appeared in a DNAinfo story in May about the murder of one of his uncles, Jesus Juarez.

“We were really close to each other,” Garcia said then of his uncle, who was shot in a drive-by shooting in Pilsen as he stood at the take-out window of a grill on Halsted Street along with several other customers.

The uncle was described as a hardworking family man with three children who owned a heating and air conditioning company.

 

Article

 

 

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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.

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“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.

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

Dying Vietnam vet asks for final meeting with beloved horses outside hospital May 25, 2016

From Fox News:

Dying Vietnam vet asks for final meeting with beloved horses outside hospital

Published May 23, 2016

FoxNews.com

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Vietnam veteran Roberto Gonzalez’s final wish was granted Saturday when he was reunited with his beloved horses — Ringo and Sugar — outside of a Texas VA hospital.

Gonzalez, of Premont, Texas, who was shot and paralyzed during the war, was wheeled outside the front doors of Audie Murphy Veterans Hospital in San Antonio where he was greeted by the horses he had raised for decades, mySA.com reported.

Gonzalez, who was one of the hospital’s first patients when it opened in 1974, had asked his family to see his horses one last time. The family passed along the request to hospital staff who gladly obliged. Ringo and Sugar then made the 150-mile trip to the hospital to see him.

“Horses are his life,” his wife, Rosario Gonzalez, told KABB. “We’ve been training and raising horses for 30, 40 years.”

The South Texas Veterans Health Care System posted a photo of the meeting on its Facebook page on Sunday, calling Gonzalez a great American and identifying him as one of the first patients at the hospital.

“A heartfelt Thank you, to all at Audie L. Murphy V A Hospital,” Rosario Gonzalez posted in response. “A special thank you to the spinal cord staff, all of you became a part of our family.

“The care you have been giving my husband and to me goes above and beyond,” she wrote. “You are our angels God Bless you all.”

Gonzalez reportedly learned that his kidneys and liver were failing when he recently visited the hospital for a back wound.

“He never let his injuries slow him down. He loved horses, he loved cattle, he loved ranching and farming. He was proud to serve his country,” Rosario Gonzalez told ABC affiliate KSAT.

Gonzalez’s May 21 visit with the horses came 46 years to the day after he was wounded in Vietnam. His wife told local media stations that her husband was one of the only licensed, handicapped horse trainers in Texas.

“When the horse came up to him he actually opened his eyes. They came up to him and I think they were actually kissing him,” Gonzalez told News4SA.com.

See article here

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From CNN:

Watch Video here

Military Suicides Remain High

Military Suicides Remain High

The Pentagon reported on Friday, 4/1, that 265 active-duty service members committed suicide last year.  This continues a disturbingly high suicide rate that has been ongoing for at least seven years.  The numbers of suicides in 2001 was 145 with 321 in 2012.  The increase in suicide in the military was driven largely by the Army where suicides rose sharply from 45 in 2001 to 165 in 2012.

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Click Here to Read The Full Story

Vet Tries to Make Doctor’s Appointment

Army veteran, Dennis Magnasco spent two days trying to make a doctor’s appointment at his VA clinic in Bedford, MA but couldn’t get anyone to come to the phone.  So, it was decided to film the never ending not-so-merry-go-round process.  Huffington Post
Please watch this compelling video…

 Editor’s note:  If you will notice, the vet ends up at the same place he started, “Hello, welcome to the Bedford VA.”
Terminally Ill Vet Says VA Abandoned Him
SGT. John Marshall, diagnosed with terminal cancer says VA denied him benefits due, in part, to missed appointments while he was hospitalized for pneumonia and battling PTSD.  Highly decorated combat vet says his terminal cancer can be traced to the time spent over burn pits in Iraq where everything from IEDs to batteries were burned.  Fox News
Editor’s note:  Too bad this veteran lacks the ability to be in two places at the same time.
Veteran Fired After Confronting Robbers
Store Manager, Joe Morici, has been fired from CVS Pharmacy in Beltsville, MD for stopping shoplifters.  Robbers attempted to assault Mr. Morici with large screwdriver.  Washington Times
Editor’s note:  Apparently it is against company policy to stop a crime or defend yourself.  Our vet obviously acted out of his instinct to protect.  Well done!