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Welcome to CN's Fit After Fifty Column by Betty Thomas

On This Page:

• Forgotten Soldiers Outreach opens Furniture Annex Thrift

• Stand Down House holds 13th annual picnic

• YouTube Music Video - Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders vs U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

• Condo News Columnist's Grand Nephew, Veteran of War on Terror

• Iraq War veteran guest at Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge Christmas Luncheon

• Special Flag Presented to FSO

• West Palm Beach National Guardsman receives Bronze Star

• Nephew of FSO founder killed in Afghanistan

• 1218th Transportation Co., Florida National Guard, 

returns home after 1 year deployment in Iraq  

• A Tribute to a Fallen Soldier


08/30/2013


Forgotten Soldiers Outreach Opens 

FSO Thrift Store II/Furniture Annex

Photos by Jimmy Shirley

On Friday, July 12, Forgotten Soldiers Outreach (FSO) opened their second thrift store, FSO Furniture Annex in Buttonwood Plaza at 3032 Jog Road. Their original thrift store, also in Buttonwood Plaza is located at 3080 Jog Rd.

Participating in the ribbon cutting were (pictured above) were City of Greenacres Deputy Mayor Rochelle Gaenger and Rep. Lori Berman Dist. 90, as well as Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Scott Wilson, Donna McDaniels of the City of Greenacres Community Center, the FSO Team of Volunteers and the FSO Thrift Store Team.

Others present were City Councilman Pearce, Roy Foster of Faith Hope & Love Charity/Stand Down House.

Cici’s pizza provided free pizza slices for attendees.

Revenue generated by the thrift stores will help fund FSO’s monthly "We Care" packages, but will offer a voucher program for returning soldiers as well as 50% off to returning veterans.

Donations are needed of furniture, clothing, house-wares, etc. Free pickup. Info: 969-2222.


Stand Down House Holds Thirteenth Annual Picnic

Photo by Jimmy Shirley

Pictured above are Andrew Nguyen (front), Bob Leiup ("Loop") standing left, Casimiro Crocket, Adm. Dir., and Gary Dukes. The men are members of Nam Knights. Ms. Crocket lives at the Mayfair House in Palm Beach.

Roy Foster,

co-founder of Faith*Hope*Love*Charity, Inc.

and the

Stand Down House

Max Nelson, a Vietnam Veteran, is pictured with his wife Celia and his mother-in-law Anita.

On Saturday, July 13, Faith*Hope*Love*Charity, Inc. held their thirteenth annual STAND*DOWN Picnic at Dubois Park in Jupiter. Stand Down, founded by Roy Foster, is a grassroots, community based intervention program designed to help homeless male veterans with a "hand up", not a hand out. Its program was  developed to help veterans who are struggling with PTSD, mental health issues and other physical issues and have lost their home, dignity and the ability to lead productive lives. It is a multi-tiered program that offers supportive services to assist veterans, active duty armed forces and families, supportive housing, job training, education referral, VA/SSA benefit information, AA/NA meetings, peer to peer support groups, outreach services, family counseling, and so much more. The program has helped over 2000 veterans.

The Stand Down House for homeless/displaced male veterans is located at 4309 Davis Road in Lake Worth.

Faith*Hope*Love*Charity, Inc. has also opened a residential facility for families and female veterans struggling with homelessness.

  For more information about Faith*Hope*Love* Charity, Inc. and the Stand Down House, please call them at (561) 968-1612 or visit their website at www.Standown.org


YouTube Music Video 

The Miami Dolphins cheerleaders sent the U.S. Troops in Afghanistan a music video and the troops sent one back ... mimicking the cheerleaders almost to perfection. And the soldiers set off a four-point deuce mortar as point of punctuation.

Soldiers win ... hands down!!

 


Marc George Senzamici, 

Veteran of the War on Terror

Standing sentry in Iraq

Marc Senzamici,

 promotion to First Sergeant,

May 3, 2009

Marc George Senzamici is the son of Tony Senzamici’s nephew Al Senzamici. Tony is the Condo News columnist for Cresthaven Dudley. The following is an account provided by his father, Al, for the Condo News...

Marc George Senzamici enlisted in the Army in1993 and started basic training 7 September 1993. Following basic training, he was assigned to the 10th Mountain division at Fort Drum, Watertown, New York where he met his wife Kathy. While assigned to 10th Mountain division, he was part of the invasion of Haiti (Operation Uphold Democracy) and was in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti from 1994-1995. He went to Egypt in 1997 for a year.

Marc became an Army recruiter in Batavia, New York from 2001 to 2004. He was then assigned to 172nd 4-23 B Co Stryker Brigade unit at Fort Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska and was in Mosul, Iraq for a 15 month tour 2005 - 2006.

The 172nd Stryker Brigade unit was rebadged as the 1/25 Stryker Brigade unit and Marc was then stationed at Fort Wainwright, Fairbanks, Alaska where he did another tour of duty in Baghdad, Iraq with wth 1-25th Stryker Brigade A Co from 2008 to 2009.

Marc was promoted to First Sergeant in May of 2009. This was followed by a tour of duty with the same unit in Afghanistan where he sustained traumatic brain injury and loss of hearing from multiple IED explosions. He has also been diagnosed with PTSD.

Marc is now in the Wounded Warrior Project and he and his wife Kathy own a home in North Pole, Alaska. You have to drive on base to get to their home. He is scheduled to retire in 2013. He is currently enrolled at University of Alaska, Fairbanks and becoming a certified welder and fabricator. He loves building things for his trucks.

Marc has been awarded the following:

2 Bronze stars - 2006, 2009; Meritorious Service Medal; Combat Infantryman Badge; Expert Infantryman Badge; 3 Army Commendation medals; 11 Army achievement awards.

He loves camping, hunting and 4 wheeling in Alaska. He makes me proud every day.


Iraq War Veteran Guest of Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge Christmas Luncheon, Dec. 18, 2011

Photo by Jimmy Shirley

Angel Crespo served with the U.S. Army 4th Inf. in Iraq from Sept. 2008 to Sept. 2009, the same unit that captured Sadaam Hussein in 2005.Crespo had served in the National Guard during peace time. After 9/11, he enlisted in the Army. He was a guest of the VBOB Chapter for their Dec. 2011 luncheon.

Angel Crespo is pictured on his first day in Iraq…. "The picture was taken on the tarmac of Bagdad International Airport while waiting for choppers to take us south about 75 miles of Bagdad," explains Crespo.

Photo was taken by another soldier


A "Special" Flag Presented to Forgotten Soldiers Outreach

Donald Pray (left) presents to FSO the flag and certificate to Lynelle Zelnar (center) Executive Director and Founder, Bob Nichols (right) National Chairman of the Board.

Lake Worth, FL – On July 12, 2011, FSO Volunteer and avid supporter, Donald Pray formally presented to Forgotten Soldiers Outreach (FSO) an American Flag that was flown over the Headquarters of the International Security Force in Kabul on May 2, 2011, the same day that our forces killed Osama Bin Laden. Mr. Pray also presented a Certificate that was sent to him, along with the flag, to present to FSO from Captain John Tucci, United States Air Force presently serving in Afghanistan. Captain Tucci is a family friend of Mr. Pray, and also an FSO recipient. Captain Tucci wanted to show his gratitude to the organization so he forwarded the flag and certificate to Mr. Pray to personally present to Forgotten Soldiers Outreach.

Bob Nichols, National Chairman of the Board and Lynelle Zelnar, Executive Director and Founder of Forgotten Soldiers Outreach were honored to be the recipient of such a special flag commemorating a very special day in our country’s history.

Zelnar commented that ‘we simply want to send that little bit of home to assure they are not forgotten", and to receive such an honor from a recipient, is truly special and is what keeps our mission alive.

Captain Tucci commented in his cover letter that he was very appreciative of FSO’s "we care" packages that they have been receiving and noted that they have a "very positive impact on his morale and that of his fellow service members".

FSO is proud to say that since 2003, they have sent out over 100,000 "we care" packages benefiting over a quarter million of our military personnel, covering all world theaters.

If you wish to volunteer, make a donation or inquire on more information about Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization registered with the State of Florida, State of Georgia and State of Tennessee, please log on to www.forgottensoldiers.org or call 561-369-2933.

 

Master Sergeant Arthur Head of West Palm Beach receives Bronze Star

Photos by Jimmy Shirley

Sen. Bill Nelson prepares to pin the Bronze Star on M/Sgt. Arthur Head

Bronze Star Commendation

Bronze Star

Kathleen Dougherty and M/Sgt. Arthur Head following the ceremony.

Jimmy Shirley, of the Condo News with Sen. Bill Nelson.

On 5 March 2011, Senator Bill Nelson (D. Fla.) made a special trip to the National Guard Armory off Gun Club Road to pin the Bronze Medal on Master Sergeant Arthur Head, of the Florida National Guard. He rewrote the security protocols for Afghanistan after arriving there and finding security incredibly lax. Two years after he left Afghanistan, when then Vice President Dick Cheney was visiting the post where Head had been, the base was attacked with suicide bombers and grenade launchers in a surprise attack. Because of the policies M/Sgt. Arthur Head had developed and implemented, the base was not breached.

Head, 55, has served in the military for 27 years and plans to stay in the National Guard until he must retire at age 60. All the men in his family, grandfather, father, uncles and brother, all served in the Armed Forces. His son Brian is serving with the U.S. Coast Guard in Texas and was unable to take leave to be here. Brian was supposed to pin the medal on his dad. However, his former mother-in-law, Kathleen Dougherty, of Boynton Beach, was on hand to congratulate him following the ceremony.


Nephew of Forgotten Soldiers Outreach Founder, Husband Killed in Afghanistan 

In Memoriam

Spc Michael Stansbery Jr.

1/17/1989 - 7/30/2010

We at the Condo News and Condo News Online are saddened to learn of the loss of Spc Michael Stansbery, Jr. US ARMY, nephew of Lynelle Chauncey Zelner, Executive Director and Founder of Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, and her husband Mike. Following is the announcement made to the organization's volunteers and supporters followed by a personal message from Lynelle for Condo News Online  ...

 

A TRUE LOSS TO FSO AND TO MY FAMILY, PERSONALLY

 

July 30, 2010 - It’s with great sorrow and a heavy heart that I bring this message to you, but I feel I need to share this with everyone….today I received a phone call from my mother-in-law to inform me that our nephew, Spc Michael Stansbery Jr., US Army was killed in action in Afghanistan, yesterday!  You may have heard about the 6 that were killed on the news today…well one of them was my nephew.  My husband was very close to Michael, and the family was concerned on how Mike (my husband) would take this news, so they came to me to break it to him…the most difficult moment of my life!

Michael was on his second tour, this time with the 101st Airborne Division and in Afghanistan, last year he was with a different division and was stationed in Iraq.  Michael was only 20 years old.  Not only was he our nephew, but he was a committed, dedicated soldier who truly gave his life to our country.  He always wanted to be a soldier, ever since he was a little boy, I have no doubt that he died doing what he wanted….serving our country.  Michael was also a recipient of FSO, and established a wonderful email relationship with Helen Saucier, FSO Packing Event Manager.

She said Michael was such a nice, kind gentleman, and always very polite and appreciative for what we sent to him,  He also provided FSO with other names of soldiers, and for this tour, he even requested specific items, that they needed, which we were able to fulfill.  What touched Helen so much was how Michael would express in his emails his true appreciation along with certain requests, including pillow case covers because of the dust, Honey Buns, mini-flashlights and cheap snacks and it really moved her when he would even recommended to just go to the Dollar General or Walmart and that there is no need to spend a lot of money.  He always emailed to say THANK YOU and that he and the guys truly appreciate what FSO does for him and all the military personnel. 

Michael, was not only my dear nephew, but he was one of America’s Great
Heroes, who will be forever missed, and forever remembered.

Please, for Michael, continue your support of FSO…..as he gave his life for all of us, but always made a point to acknowledge how much he appreciated FSO and all the volunteers.   This one really hit home for FSO!

The deaths raise the July tally of U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan to 66, making this month the deadliest of the war since U.S. warplanes began bombing Afghanistan a month after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.  Now Michael has become a statistic….but he will always be a hero to me!


"What an honor to be the Aunt of a True American Hero, Michael gave the ultimate sacrifice on 7.30.2010 for our country, and I know deep in my heart, this is what he would have wanted...he was a committed, dedicated soldier, who believed 100% in serving our country.  This was his pride!   He wanted to be his soldier his entire life and was able to fulfill his dream, unfortunately for the United States of America, his dream ended on his 2nd tour, this one in Afghanistan, but he died a True American Hero! RIP Michael.... 

As the "grieving aunt",  Executive Director and Founder of Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, Inc. ("FSO"), a national not-for-profit organization that since 2003 has been sending out monthly "we care" packages to our military personnel serving overseas, covering all world theaters, Michael's death has touched the organization and it's volunteers personally.  His gratitude and emails of appreciation to FSO is an example of what a nice, gentleman, appreciative man he was.  He provided us with more names of soldiers to become recipients and made special requests of items, which we were able to always fulfill   It's the gratefulness and appreciation that he and others soldiers share with us that keeps our organization going strong....this is a time that people can help us with our mission of sending "that little bit of home" to assure they are not forgotten, by making a donation to FSO in Michael's memory, what an awesome way to pay tribute and honor a True American Hero!   Donations can made directly via paypal on our website, www.forgottensoldiers.org or mail to:

Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, Inc.
3550 23rd Avenue South, Suite 7
Lake Worth, Florida  33461

"Letters from Home", photo by Spc Michael Stansbery, Jr. shows some of the letters from school children included with items sent by FSO to soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Spc Michael Stansbery, Jr. 


When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again

Story and photos by Jimmy Shirley

Roy Foster, "Faith, Hope, Love" Charity; Stand Down House is ready to welcome the 1218th back home.

Sgt.s Mitchell, Rivera, Lebron, active duty U.S. Army soldiers, await the arrival of the 1218th  

Sgt. June's wife (left) and his mother went all out to welcome their soldier back home.  

1st Lt. Raymond L. Nagley, of the 1218th Rear Detachment, Transportation Company lives in Wellington. Lt. Nagley helped organize the event. 

Colonel Frank Laudano gives a brief welcoming speech to the troops. 

Staff Sergeant Staci Caicedo 1218th Transportation Co.

Son - Jordan G. 17, Lake Worth High School, active in Water polo and football; both from Lantana

 

On 1 July 2010, the 1218th Transportation Company, Florida National Guard, came home from a year long deployment in Al Asad, Iraq. After landing at the Palm Beach International Airport, they were escorted by the Sheriff's department to Lake Lytal Park where they dismounted the buses and marched to the Callaway Armory. After they gathered in formation in front of the armory, and after enduring a short speech by Colonel Frank Laudano while standing in the hot, scorching Florida sun, they were dimissed into the loving arms of family members eagerly awaiting to do just that.


A Tribute to a Fallen Soldier

By Jimmy Shirley


A note from the author: Meeting the Seidel family is one of the most significant moments of my life, which is what prompts me to share this story now. The experience was very deep and moving. I will never forget Rob and the rest of his family. 


On 20 December 2006, Sgt. Luke Shirley was leading his platoon of men on a dismounted patrol through a cornfield in Iraq, a region there known as the triangle of death. In the lead, he halted his men as he found a tripwire on the ground. After he called in the coordinates to headquarters, he stepped over the wire and within a few feet, stepped on the real target, an improvised explosive device which catapulted him into the night time air and back onto the ground, minus his right arm and leg. Thus, the rest of Luke's life began.

His brother Joshua, with whom he was closer than most siblings are, was within 60 miles when Luke was hit. Joshua was soon located and made aware of his brother's situation and was flown to be with him, for moral support and to aid the medics in the field. But for the love and mercy of God above, and the skill of the medics in the field, Luke would have died that night, for as has been told me, he bled out there.

Earlier that year, on 18 May, 1st Lieutenant Robert Augustine Seidel III, died in Iraq when his humvee was struck by a roadside bomb. He was 23.

According to LTC Kevin Brown on May 20, 2006:

"Robert was a great American. He was confident, competent, humble and always had a wry smile ready to flash to brighten any moment. I had the utmost confidence in his ability - he was an outstanding Infantry Platoon Leader and I am proud to be able to say that I served with him."

Such are all the eulogies listed on the website hosted by the United States Military Academy at West Point, new York. Rob was a 2000 graduate of Catoctin High School, and a rifle platoon leader with the 2nd Battalion in the 22nd Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division, out of Fort Drum, N.Y. He graduated from West Point in 2004 Lt. Seidel was also an Army Ranger who was qualified for air assaults. Rob Seidel is a third generation Emmetsburg resident. He holds the distinction of being the first Emmetsburg resident to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point NY.

Back in June of 2007, Luke learned he was to be a recipient of a wheelchair accessible van, compliments of a  fine organization, OPERATION SUPPORT OUR TROOPS, http://www.west-point.org/family/support-our-troops/, based in Rhode Island. I had been invited by him to be a part of this and there was no way I was going to miss this.

Joshua and Luke Shirley look over a plaque memorializing Lt. Seidel. The plaque was a gift to Luke from the Seidels.

 

Photo by Jimmy Shirley

Joshua, Luke, the driver and myself departed from D.C. early in the evening for West Point, New York, where on Saturday between the 1st and 2nd quarters of the Army/Rhode Island football game, the presentation would be made. But on most of the day of Friday, we spent a lot of time with the presenters, Robert Augustine Seidel  II, his wife Sandy, their son Steve, and the organization. I got to know of their pain, the loss of their first born son, Robert III. According to those who knew him, Robert was the kind of young man parents only dreamed their daughters would bring home as the man they planned to marry. His brother Steve, always looked up to him and according to his parents, Rob was not THE perfect son, but almost. 

Photo by Jimmy Shirley

Luke Shirley, in wheelchair was presented with the wheelchair accessible van at left by Operation Support Our Troops in memory of Lt. Robert A. Seidel, III, killed in Iraq. With Luke are Seidel’s parents and brother, (l-r, standing) Sandy, Robert, Jr, and Steve.

When the van was presented at the game by his parents, there was not a dry eye around them, including me. The fans were mostly oblivious to this, even though an announcement had been made. Some did applaud afterwards. But for those of us who were immediately around them, tears were dribbling and words were choking.

The Seidels ought to be commended for doing the fine job of raising two boys into men. Steve is now a certified paint and body man in Pennsylvania. I can say this with all honesty. I will always remember the Seidels and their son, Rob. They will be in my heart until the day I leave this earth.

While Rob was in Iraq, he penned a beautiful poem called A TRIBUTE TO MY FATHER. So, being Memorial Day has just passed and Father's Day is right around the corner, it seemed appropriate to share this wonderful tribute to the man who meant so much to this fallen hero, the man who inspired these wonderful words.

He would watch us, his eyes filled with worry and pride

Two sons of my father, my brother and I.

Deep down we knew he would always be there,

To protect us and shield us from all life’s despair.

And as we’ve grown older I know he must yield,

To a duty that only a father must feel.

To watch over his sons though they’ve grown to be men,

And to offer us guidance every now and again.

And I know he must ask of the Lord as he prays,

Watch over my boys if today is my day.

 

Now cloaked under the darkness of a soft desert sky,

I feel a strange likeness between my father and I.

For now I’m a father to thirty young men,

Related only through the blood that we’ve shed.

And they look up to me to lead them through the fight,

For we know not what awaits us this cold desert night.

But I’ve vowed to protect them and bring them all home,

So may I find strength in the courage they’ve shown.

And like my father I ask the Lord as I pray,

Watch over my boys if today is my day.


Written in the Iraqi desert by: 1LT Robert A. Seidel, III,

27 Oct 1982 - 18 May 2006

Killed in Action Operation Iraqi Freedom

 

Rob Seidel on 30 January 2007:  "The following quotation was found on Rob's laptop computer when it was returned to us from Iraq, about a month after Rob's funeral. We were so astonished by the message, we had it inscribed on his Tombstone. He was buried in his hometown of Emmetsburg Maryland with full military honors. Within thirty feet of his final resting place stands an old oak tree, and within two hundred yards lies the creek he used to play in as a child."

Bury me beneath that old oak tree,

Down by the creek I used to play in as a child.

And you will see,

When you hear the bugle play,

It plays for me.

And my soul will carry on."

Lt. Robert A. Seidel III


Luke and Joshua immediately following the van presentation. A reporter (not pictured) wants to talk to them.

 

Photo by Jimmy Shirley

Luke, Joshua and Jimmy were guests of West Point Superintendant Lt. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenback on his yacht for a dinner-cruise down the historic Hudson River after the van presentation. The photo was taken with Jimmy's camera by a member of Operation Support Our Troops. 





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