31 October 2009

Airman Medic: We are Proud of you!

(Photo Source D.L. USAF)

Senior Airman Ashley Jackson is an Air Force Medic in the fight in Afghanistan. Note the trauma shears hanging ready for action!

Read here about how she treated members of her squad when their MRAP came under IED attack.

I feel lucky and proud to have such fine young people out there as the face of Air Force Medical care.

29 October 2009

14/365 Give a gift membership to the American Legion

The American Legion is a great organization for veterans. The provide community service, help with local and youth programs, and offer a friendly relaxed place for veterans to gather.

For me, the most rewarding part of being a member is to be able to rub shoulders with veterans from previous wars. It's a great benefit to be able to kick back with them, have a beer, and hear their stories.

If there is a veteran in your life who is not a member, consider the unique and generous gesture of giving them a gift membership. Here is a video from the national commandant explaining the program:


There are even opportunities for non-veterans to participate in the Legion Auxiliary.

Take care!


11 NOV Veterans eat free at Applebees

This is advertising I'm happy to pass along:

Applebees restaurants will serve Active Duty Military and Veterans Free from a selected menu on Veteran's Day, 11 NOV 2009.

Details here:


28 October 2009

Thank you Capt. Rob Yllescas

Thank you Capt. Rob Yllescas. You are not forgotton.

Thank you Dena, your strength and bravery are inspiring.


For the Troops (13/365) Donate frequent flier miles

I don't know about you all, but I get that periodic letter from the frequent flier miles program telling me to buy magazines or lose my miles. I usually lose them

Here's something better to do with miles: Donate them to troops' families.

There are many organizations accepting miles, but one of the easiest ways is to donate them through Fisher House:


Visit their Hero Miles Program Here:


Through the generous donations of many individual Americans, they have been able to give more than 18,000 tickets worth $25 million to troops' families. Many times the trips they take are from home to a military treatment facility to visit a spouse undergoing treatment for wounds received in combat. Helping families when they need us is a way to thank them for the sacrifices they have made for us.

27 October 2009

12/365 Give a soldier a vacation!

I've come across several organizations that offer free vacations to troops returning home from deployment. Each of these organizations is usually the effort of a small number of individuals or merchants, each donating time in their own vacation home, or a gift certificate for vacation and travel related services.

This is a great way to help troops and their families one at a time. If you have a vacation home, offer up a free week to a troop. They are very responsible, and are used to moving in and out smoothly. As an individual family, you could contact a military base or hospital near your home. Check in your area, there may already be a cooperative that is organizing vacation donation to troops.

If you have the organizational skills, draw together other families or hotels/Inns that would offer free vacations to troops. Try to get local merchants and restaurants involved for vacation activities. If you have a time share and wont be using it, offer it up at a local base. You could get help on the base from the MWR (Morale Welfare Recreation) office or the Family Support Office.

Deployment actually costs a lot of money. There are lost wages, the need for child care, phone bills, the little travel items that aren't covered, and repairs and maintenance that have to be hired out when the troop (or troops in some double military member families!) so there isn't often money left over for vacation. It would mean a lot to a military family to have a spot to celebrate their reunion.

26 October 2009

11/365 Donate a cell phone for the troops

Both times I deployed, I took my satellite phone. It was a big fat brick of a phone, it looked a little like the old briefcase phones, like the drug dealers were using in the movie "New Jack City". I picked it up on ebay, it didn't hold a charge well, and the recharger was a chunky plug that was wired for European outlets. The sandstorms and helicopters would mess up reception, and I needed a direct view of the sky to use it. Still, that phone served me well and I actually completed 1/3 of my MBA from Iraq by teleconferencing with my study group, sitting out on top of the bunkers on moonless nights. Best of all, when times were tough and I was low, I knew I could reach out to Meredith and there was no better way to recharge my spirit.

A great way to give a troop a boost is to donate a cell phone. Nothing is more of a comfort than a few minutes talking with a loved one. It can break up a 36 hr journey and transport me home for a precious moment.

Everyone has an outdated cell phone in a desk drawer somewhere. There are plenty of local organizations that will take phones, but here is a national one:


This program was started by two teens outside Boston who raised money for troops. Donated phones are cashed in with a company called ReCellular, and the money is used to send calling cards to troops abroad. Cards can be used in any country where there is USO or military phone service available.

Here is a news report about their program:

(10/365) Help reservists by donating leave and sick days


Just a quick note today on this:

It is an incredible strain on reservists and guard troops when they have to pull up roots, disrupt family and work, and serve their duty on deployment. Although they have legal protection to keep them from losing their jobs outright, activation usually means a cut in pay, and time before and after deployment can suck up leave and sick days.

When I was active duty, I could usually arrange with very understanding colleagues (who had deployed many times themselves!) to massage a few days of vacation before deployment, and our commander always made sure we had the chance for two weeks of "reconstitution time" with families upon redeployment home.

It may not be so easy in the civilian workplace!

So, this is a chance to help out those who are defending all of us. If a coworker is deploying, consider donating leave days/sick days to allow them time with family before and after their tour. For bosses, do what you can to make their transition in and out of deployment as easy as possible.

These generous gestures are definitely noticed and appreciated! It is a way we all, civilian or military, can do our part.

Have fun!


If you didn't get it already: Coupon info


I'm sure that most of you who read this blog already have this coupon, but I wanted to make sure that anyone who was going to buy the book got the discount. Our publisher, NTI Upstream, is offering a 20% pre-release discount on any copies ordered before 1 NOV 2009. Here is the coupon info:

It is my pleasure to announce the official pre-sale release of NTI Upstream’s new book, Coppola: A Pediatric Surgeon in Iraq, available at http://www.coppolathebook.com

The book is now available at a 20% discount until the end of October at http://www.coppolathebook.com. Use presale code “NTI09”

Remember, Christmas is coming...

Have fun and love life!


25 October 2009

Holiday suport for troops (9/365) Operation Love from Home

Send cards and support to the troops:

Operation Love From Home


Has organized a holday card drive for troops deployed over seas.

They need your help! Send Cards, holiday treats, postage, or donations.

guidelines and info are here:


Here is how it works: (from Operation Love from Home)

OCTOBER 15 to NOVEMBER 28, 2009
The Mission: To collect Christmas/Holiday cards and festive holiday goodies for troops serving our country all over the world, to let them know that we are thinking of them during the holiday season and have not forgotten them!
**We are also collecting candy canes, cookies (store-bought only please) and other festive, fun holiday items to include with our cards! Let's share that holiday spirit in a big way!
The Reason: Being away from home, often living in harsh conditions with combat & constant danger is difficult ~ our troops need to know we have not forgotten them!!! Mail from home helps to keep our troops' morale strong, making a very real difference in their lives. It keeps them motivated and focused when they know we care about them!

The Address: Send your signed, unsealed thank-you cards to the following address:

P.O. Box 1660
Loganville, Georgia, 30052
The Guidelines:
**The cards can be handmade or store-bought. Even regular letters are fine. This is a great opportunity to get your Scout troop, school, church/house of worship and other civic organizations involved in doing something to tangibly show support for our troops.
**Please do not write the date on your cards. This is so that, in the event cards reach us after our shipping deadline has passed, we can hang on to the cards and use them for our next card drive.

**Keep the cards fun and light-hearted – this is not a dating service, nor do we allow political or anti-war sentiment! Any cards of an inappropriate, suggestive, or political/otherwise negative nature will be thrown away.

Contact Info for questions:

If you have any questions, please contact us at Kat@OperationLoveFromHome.org or