Thank you to Donna Grella and Melissa Wise for joining us this week as we explore the life and the talented PFC Devin Grella US Army. Devin was the 3rd of 4 boys in his family, he loved sports and music, and he earned his Eagle Scout. What a fun family! We ask that you watch, say his name, comment and share the video to help our mission. We thank you all for your support each week.
Enjoy learning more about LCPL Jonathan Etterling USMC from mom and dad. It is our honor to celebrate his story this week. Would you watch the video, pause it to say his name aloud, and share it with others to keep his story alive? We appreciate all you are doing in the Fallen 15 world of supporters to help us in our mission of honoring those in our weekly videos.
Live a Life Worth Their Sacrifice! That is the quote on Margi’s shirt today and what a perfect quote. Learn why it means so much to her. Enjoy stories of SPC Levi Crabtree U.S. Army as his mom, Margi, shares about his sense of humor, passion for adventure, and immense love for his family and pets. Levi was one to keep them on their toes and therefore they have a quote “That’s So Levi!”
We ask that you watch and share Levi’s story to keep his story going. Have a “That’s So Levi” kind of a day as you “Live a Life Worth Their Sacrifice.”
Join Chrisi and Michelle as they have the pleasure of speaking with Tina Stevens, the mother of SPC Gavin Colburn US Army. Gavin is one of our 2020 Fallen 15 honorees and we are so happy to have the opportunity to learn more about him, his childhood years, how he made others laugh, and how those he served with surround his family in community. Tina is a special part of our family at Fallen 15 and we thank her for her time sharing with us. The audio cuts in and out a little, but please take the time to listen and honor SPC Colburn, so we can keep his story going.
Post by Al Burzynski, APR (photo by Al Burzynski, APR, 2008)
One of our cohorts and my dear friend Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) Army Veteran, John B. Jordan asked me to pass along this bit of sad news a member of his family Michael I.A. Yoder, GWOT Marine Veteran, age 23, pass Aug. 8, 2019, Newark, Ohio.
If you can, please support his call to action and attend the funeral as he wants to ensure his beloved, GWOT Marine, receives a proper send off. I will be attending representing the Fallen 15.
Please keep John, our fallen Marine, and his friends and family in your prayers.
In closing, wanted to share the words of my cohort, retired Army Chaplain Bill Underwood who said during a compelling, thought provoking training session, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” It’s important to remember we are not alone and there is no shame in calling on your battle buddy, cohort, friend, loved one or even the VA Crisis Hotline if you are in need. Always know your voice matters and regardless what you might think at the moment someone does care.
Did you know POW/MIA Recognition Day is commemorated every September on the third Friday, a date not associated with any particular war. In 1979, after the families of the more than 2,500 Vietnam War POW / MIAs pushed for full accountability, Congress and the president passed resolutions making it official. Last year we teamed up with the Yellow Ribbon Support Center for the first annual Pause to Remember event.
The Fallen 15 and their patriotic cohorts once again will reaffirm our pledge to; Never Forget.
Check out Yellow Ribbon Support Center’s Keith Maupin one-on-one interview with Global War on Terrorism Combat Veteran Gretchen Klingler as a part of the National Veterans Memorial Museum (NVMM) RallyPoint series. Image created by Rick Isbell.
Today, I (Al Burzynski, APR, Fallen 15 board member) was reminded of the importance of warrior wisdom and the importance of the Falen 15 misison. A special thank you to Fallen 15 President Rick Isbell for his leadership, patriotism, and continued service to country. I’ve been fortunate to be able to serve alongside him in the veterans’ community for many years and together we continue to make a positive difference in the world with our Fallen 15 cohorts. Wanted to share with everyone a heartfelt leter from one of our Vietnam Veteran cohorts U.S. Army Capt. Robert “Mac” McGowan (retired). He wrote this letter for an Army Soldier, with the blessing from his mother, who was on leave attending a country concert back in 2006 and fell victim to a vicious physical assault because he was wearing a t-shirt representing his Army unit. The following letter, “Warrior Wisdom” served as the impetus for my Welcome HomeWarrior Project (2005 – 2010). Together Rick and I established and supported the groundbreaking military seamless transition program. The Welcome Home Warrior logo Rick and I created, and Rick brought to life through his illustrations is one that has signifigant meaning even today. (See letter and illustration below. For a copy of the letter contact firstname.lastname@example.org or txt 614.537.5440.
Author of Welcome Home Warrior Letter Robert “Mac” McGowan (2006) Co. A, 2/8 Calvalry (Airborne) Served two tours of duty in Vietnam as an Infantryman.
Dear American Warrior:
Thank you for your service to our country and for your willingness to put your life on the line.
I saw combat in the Vietnam War. Since I am also a returned combat soldier, I know you have seen things, experienced things and done things that most people in the America to which you will return will never be able to understand.
Returning home will puzzle you. Nothing will ever be the same. This is part of the burden and the blessing we warriors bear.
We speak a language that only other warriors can truly understand. Memories and dreams will visit us for the rest of our lives. Our wounds may heal, but our scars will remain forever.
The protected America to which you return will never be able to comprehend what you have done for them.
With the exception of the people who were directly touched by the attack on September 11th, American civilians do not understand war. You and I do not want them to know what we have had to learn.
We have seen the effects of war’s savagery in the faces of small children. We do not want to have to see American children wear those same, sad faces. When you return to our America, I urge you be patient with our protected countrymen. If they jest at your scars and belittle your sacrifice, it is because they have never felt a wound. They have no concept as to how much they are in your debt.
As a warrior, you are blessed. You now understand the fragility of life. You know that each mundane moment is filled with miracles. Not knowing if each day or moment would be our last, we learned in combat to appreciate each moment and to savor every simple pleasure.
You deeply understand the concept of selfless sacrifice, of total commitment to something more important than self. You know a vintage of love that comes from a willingness to lay down your life for your friends. You have watched them do as much for you. Most people never receive this wisdom.
You comprehend friendship in dimensions unfathomed by those who have not received the sacrament of battle. Our comrades, living and dead, more brothers than our own brothers, will live within us for all time. Not every one here will understand.
When you return to America from your foreign war, you will begin to understand that we are aliens in our own land. We are travelers come home from far-flung destinations, poor in substance, rich in deepest understanding.
You must never forget this wisdom. You must never deny nor denigrate it. You and I and the very few like us, have had the high honor to have served at the very sharpest point of the spear.
We know that war must never be invoked for light and transient reasons. We understand that the only acceptable goal of war is victory. We know too well, that the road to victory is paved with blood and tears.
Thank you for your service, courage and sacrifice – and welcome home.
Welcome to our warrior band.
We extend to you our hearts and hands from a thousand battlefields.