2014 in review

This is pretty cool. It shows how my stuff performed over the yr for my Hero Home Source page. The link at the bottom shows the whole report. I like that 29 different countries were reached.

If you click on the “Follow” button on my page, you can be part of my 2015 report.

To quote the great Ron Burgundy, “Stay classy America”.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 35 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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979 Ocean Avenue Open House

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NJ $10,000 Grant Program

New Jersey Home Buyers $10,000 Grant Program at Burlington County Library with Thomas Wolff, Cynthia Deehr, Rich Rickards and Pauly Paul Films.

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My Memorial Day Weekend

So, just getting around to chatting about a great weekend. Our VFW participated in 15 events at cemeteries and other ceremonial salutes in the area. This included 3 parades. (I may be low by one or two but it is at least 15) It was exhausting and I am lucky to be able to have gotten out of bed this morning. I didn’t know that I could be so old at 50. The kids enjoyed gathering up the brass as we did our 3 volley’s at each location and hopefully had some understanding of what was going on with our VFW. I also was able to speak to a couple of Veteran friends and they decided that they would like to be a part of our VFW and signed up. Our VFW is so much more than the stigma that is out there about VFW members and what they do at the post. Yes, we have a canteen but our VFW is SOOOO embedded in the local area that it is almost impossible to miss us. We do so much for our communities through both of our Members and Auxiliary charters that at times, it seems like it is impossible one organization could do all of that. These events we did this weekend, we do every year. This is not the first and it definitely wont be the last. If anyone in our area who is reading this would like to learn more about our awesome VFW and/or our tremendous Auxiliary, please, let me know and I will get you the information. I heard yet again from a friend of mine who thought you had to be retired in order to join the VFW. Not even CLOSE to the truth. We need to correct this message if this is how many active duty Veterans are thinking. Also, if you have a family member somewhere in your lineage that served, please ask as you may qualify to be an Auxiliary member. It isn’t limited to just spouses. Medford VFW Post 7677 is MUCH more than old guys sitting around drinking and swapping old war stories so if you want to make a difference in your community and to the local Veteran’s, please contact me and I will answer any questions you have. Maybe next year you can feel the pride I felt each and every time we fired a salute this past weekend honoring the men and women who wrote the ultimate check so you and I can have the freedoms we have.

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Memorial Day

On this final day with this final blog for this Memorial Day, I thought I would put in a couple of videos. The first is the detail team that is picking up the soldier and transporting them from the aircraft to the transportation vehicle. And the second one is almost impossible to explain unless you have attended a funeral where this has taken place. I will say that I am happy I started doing these videos and posts for Memorial Day and Veterans Day. I cant explain what it does but it is kind of a soothing experience when I do it. I know that some of the videos are already being repeated but these videos actually trigger some of the memories I have had in what I do consider to be and amazing 24 years of defending this great country.

Today our VFW will be doing the final ceremonies that have been ongoing throughout the weekend. I participated in many of the events and it was very much an honor to be a part of each and every one of them. Today finalizes with the parade here in Medford and then a final salute to the soldiers lost  in a small ceremony at the VFW. I will say this, our VFW is truly the Tip of the Spear. I know many of my comrades see that line being overused and many times, in accurately used by leaders in the military. But in Post 7677, we do really lead the way in so many local events. Our post has participated in 13 events throughout the area this weekend honoring our fallen comrades. We do many events for families in the local area and support many other veteran causes. We have many proud members of our post and it shows with the amount of things we do to support our local communities in the area.

The men and women have a very important job when it comes to this event. I have never been on one of the details for this but I have witnessed the transporting of the body and it really does make a lasting impression on you. I can still see these events like they only happened yesterday. I will admit that there are many details about many of my missions that I do not remember but I do remember the transporting of the Human Remains that left my aircraft.


As for the next video, every time I have encountered this ceremony/tribute, I get chills. I know firemen and police officers have a similar ceremony they do for their fallen comrades and it has the same effect on me as our last roll call ceremony. Like I said in the opening paragraph, if you have never witnessed one of these first hand, I wont be able to explain it to you. It is just impossible to explain.

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Memorial Day the Movie

Today I am writing about a movie that I saw on blind luck after I was retired. This movie really hit home with me as there are things that many veterans will not speak about that happened to them when they were in combat. Some are too painful to remember and some are just things they do not want to speak about for one reason or another.

Many of the memories that I see veterans not wanting to share involve losing a friend or comrade from your unit. No one will ever be able to understand the bond that these veterans have with each other when they have experienced combat. I think police and firefighters may be able to relate as the are put in harms way with partners and colleagues that they work with day in and day out for many years. Many times a spouse complains about how they wish their husband (this seems to be a stronger bond in men that I have seen, no disrespect to the ladies, this is just my observation) was as close to them as they are their members of their units.

I know that I have had bonds with a few people over my career but they are nothing compared to what someone who has been in combat and harms way has with the members they have served with. If you have never seen this movie, check it out tomorrow. As far as I know, it is only shown on Memorial Day and I think it is a Lifetime movie. Now, I have been wrong in the past so I could be wrong on both counts but I will stand by the fact that the movie is worth watching and or DVRing.


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Flag Placement

Today is a bitter sweet day for me as my daughter Zoey has been going with her Girl Scout Troop now for the 5th year to place flags on the grave sites of the veterans at the General Doyle cemetery. It is bitter sweet for me as I am so proud of her wanting to do this but at the same time, I cant be there this year. I just was not able to get the time off and I wont be able to share this with her this year.

It is an awesome feeling to see the cemetery green and rolling hills and in less than 30 minutes, it is covered in Red, White and Blue as every grave site has a flag on it. The scouts, both boys and girls, come from all over the state to help put the flags on the grave sites. I cant describe the feeling I get each year I go to this event. It is such a proud moment for me to do this and help remember all of our Veterans who have served and in many cases, died, defending our rights and freedoms.

I am proud to be able to do this along side my daughter and her troop each year and I will be thinking about them as they are doing this and supporting my brothers and sisters in arms. I wont make the mistake of missing this next year though.


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21 Gun Salute

This is always one of my favorite parts of our Veteran ceremonies. I dont know why but for some reason, I always feel a great sense of pride when this is executed. I did some research on the history of the salute and there is quite a bit out there and there are a few different versions of what the actual history may be. The following is the one that I like and it isnt way different than a couple others but there are some differences in some of the depictions of the history of this ceremonial procedure.

At military funerals, one often sees three volleys of shots fired in honor of the deceased veteran. This is often mistaken by the laymen as a 21-gun salute.

Anyone who is entitled to a military funeral (generally anyone who dies on active duty, honorably discharged veterans, and military retirees) are to the three rifle volleys, subject to availability of honor guard teams.  The firing team can consist of any number, but one usually sees a team of eight, with a noncommissioned officer in charge of the firing detail. Whether the team consists of three or eight, or ten, each member fires three times (three volleys).

The three volleys come from an old battlefield custom. The two warring sides would cease hostilities to clear their dead from the battlefield, and the firing of three volleys meant that the dead had been properly cared for and the side was ready to resume the battle.

The flag detail often slips three shell casings into the folded flag before presenting the flag to the family. Each casing represents one volley.

I found a video that I like that depicts this salute with the bigger guns of the Army. I hope you like it as I do.

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The Price for Freedom

Now, I am not trying to get into a political debate but many people think Ronald Reagan was one of the best Presidents we have ever had. Depending on what you look at and how you view it is up to you. I know that he did make some very good speeches throughout his tenure and this is no exception. It is true that our Military knows the price they may have to pay to keep our freedoms going. There are many places around the world that are not even close to having the freedoms we have.

I have been to countries that make me even more proud than normal to be lucky enough to have been born in the USA. I also realize that we have so many people in this country that take those freedoms for-granted and simply do not even realize how lucky they are to be in this great nation. We have had men and women throughout our young nations history give the ultimate sacrifice so that we may be free. I was not planning on using a speech for one of my blogs but as I was researching some videos, this one kept popping up so I listened. I do like it and I hope you do to.

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American Soldier

I have always liked the music by Toby Keith and this is one of my favorite songs he sings. He paints a pretty accurate picture of the American Soldier. I know that when I was serving, many of the things he touches on in this video are pretty accurate. Did I think about not coming home? I know I didn’t dwell on it but the thought would creep in every once and a while. I was always proud to wear the uniform and did realize that it meant I may not come home one day.

Luckily my career was a long one and one that I am proud of but I did have my share of soldiers whom I gave their last trip back to the United States to. I can honestly say that I was very proud to be able to give them that ride. Unless you have ever done that, you will never know what the feeling is and I will never be able to explain it to you accurately. It is sad when you think of the families that have lost a brother, a son, a husband or a father but it is also an honor knowing you are getting them home for the last time.

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Memorial Day Leadup

Well, it is that time of year again, Memorial Day is soon approaching and I have done a little blogging to commemorate some things I feel about the service and some memories. I also include some videos that I like. I stated this two years ago around Veterans Day and I was doing two blogs per day for a week. That was fun and challenging. Things have changed a bit over the last couple years and I am lucky if I can keep up with one per day but I started something that I like and I will continue to do it at least for one more year.

I know many people think of Memorial Day as a three day weekend and that it is. It signifies remembering all of the sacrifices people have made over the life of this country and what it means to serve and to be a part of a brotherhood that has lost so many. In our area here in New Jersey, it starts today. The VFW’s throughout the state do a commemoration at the Beverly Cemetery and our VFW proudly serves in whatever capacity that they require us to do. This year, we carried the colors and though most of us are broken down old men and women by now, we did a pretty good job in my mind representing our fallen comrades.

As I looked out today over the many, many grave markers at the cemetery, it became quite humbling thinking about all of the men and women who have come before me. Not everyone of course died in action but they have at least seen the action. The cemetery we were at today has people from as far back as the Civil War buried there and to think of all the blood, sweat and tears that have been shed throughout the years really made me feel very humbled and extremely proud at the same time that I at least share a small bond with anyone and everyone who has ever served this great nation.

I am going to start out this blog with a video that I really like. You can tell by the men and women who are also singing along with their branches fight song how proud they are to be serving with their branch. Each branch of course has its own fight song and if you have ever been to a military ceremony, changes are pretty good that their song will be sung. Also, I think KISS does an amazing job with this.


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