Saturday, March 31, 2012

Our 5th Birthday

On March 31st, 2007  I created a little Facebook group Called "Tim Hortons For Our Troops after I had heard that there had been a location opened in Afghanistan for troops and that they were paying for their coffee. What I didn’t know at the time but found out later was that Tim Hortons did not charge franchise fees and that all profit from the Timmies location go back in to the Military Families fund. The membership of this group grew very fast in just under a week it had already gained 4000 members and people wanted to help. Here we are four years later and group members have sent over $45,000 in free coffee. The Royal Canadian Legions troop morale fun had sent over $300,000 in free coffee to our troops deployed in Afghanistan.  
When my 92 year old grandmother in Grand- Falls Newfoundland heard m e on VOCM News (A station in Newfoundland) talking about Tim Hortons for our troops she wanted to get involved. Her and my aunt Shirley went out to Tim Hortons to buy their paper certificates and they wrote “God Bless you and stay safe” on every single one of them. About six months later the Military Family Resource Center had delivered all the certificates I had delivered that were sent to them from all over Canada. At the time I was running as a related group and I received a very nice email one day from an American soldier who had received the certificates from my grandmother and wanted to say thank you. 
I printed off the email and had it sent to my Nan and to this day she still has it framed and tells people about the nice letter she got back from a U.S. Soldier. On November 20th, 2007 just after moving to Calgary from Toronto I went out to check the mail and saw that I had received something from the Tim Hortons head office. 

I opened it and my jaw nearly hit the floor when I saw that they had sent me the last remaining Tim Hortons Kandahar hat that they were giving away as “Roll up the Rim” Afghanistan and apparently soldiers were trading digital cameras for them. I wear this hat proudly to this day and didn’t want to put it away or on a shelf. In February of 2009, we had a new manager starting at the company I used to work for and I had heard that he had done three tours in Afghanistan as a sniper and was looking forward to meeting him. After about week of him being there I went to introduce myself and told him about the site 

 and what we were doing. He not only had heard of it , he had received a stack of Tim Hortons certificates from a group of grade four students at a school in Toronto, Ontario. He said “Tomorrow, I have to bring something to show you” . The next day he came in to work and showed me one of the certificates he had received and on it was a drawing of a heart, with the words “I LOVE YOU – Please come home safe” from a student in grade three. He told me he had used the other one’s but kept this one in his pocket during all three of his tours and wanted to keep it with him until he did make it home.
A few months later, I received an email from a group of soldiers that were just back from tour and had received certificates from a elementary school in Toronto, Ontario and they wanted me to arrange to go in to meet the kids and say thank you. I contacted the principal and told her and they were very excited to meet them. So I had arranged this and i didn’t know that they were bringing the entire school in for an assembly in which I had to give a speech in front of. A little nerve wrecking to say the least but before I got up to speak the principal gave an amazing speech about how the kids should never feel like ideas are insignificant as “One drop of water in the ocean is all it takes” The soldiers then spoke and I’ve never seen a more quiet bunch of kids in all my life and that is one day I will never forget.
In 2009 after two years of running Tim Hortons for Our Troops and I went to log on to the site and saw a message from a company in Pakistan that had shut my site down with some pretty hateful messages all over my main page towards our troops. I wanted to give up and throw in the towel as all my work, my pictures and website was gone. This group had totally destroyed the server that was hosting it. I was talking with the mother of a fallen soldier who died serving his country at the age of 24 and she said “You can’t quit, I’ve met so many people from your site and other fallen soldiers families that have helped me grieve. When soldiers are killed in Afghanistan the other soldiers have to keep going the next day and move on” Those words will stick with me for as long as I live.
The next day I was listening to "The Red & White" by Julian Austin and there is a line in it that says "Do we take the time to Thank A Soldier for everything they do" and thus "THANK A SOLDIER" was launched.
I wanted to thank every one who sent certificates when we were doing this, who invited people to the groups and have always supported this and my other projects. Thank You to Tim Hortons for supplying the location at no cost and allowing the proceeds sold to go back to the military families that need it.  
The doors of the Tim Hortons in Afghanistan are now closed as of November 2011 but I hope we atleast made the lives of our troops a little easier.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Thank A Soldier - T-Shirt Design Contest

So here's the plan, every day in my email I get people asking if we are going to be making t-shirts and we used to have them on our page for awhile but took them off as proceeds were used to pay for web hosting costs and such and don't need them any more.

So I'm thinking we should have a T-Shirt design contest for our group members.  For those who are not graphically inclined we will also do a shirt contest for people that can come up with the most creative saying to put on a shirt.

Once we receive atleast FIVE submissions (from each age group) of a design & slogan I will post them on our "Thank A Soldier" Facebook page and the design with the most "Likes" will have their shirt featured on our page and receive a free shirt with their design on it.

Proceeds from the sale of the shirts will go to Military Minds but we can also change this up every few months and pick charities from different countries too.

Categories : 
Ages 9 and under 
Ages 10-13 
Ages 14-18
Ages 18+

Rules : 
Deadline for first round of submissions will be April 30th 2012 in which voting will begin.  Designs & slogans (Sayings) must be original and not the property of any one else.  No copyrighted material may be submitted 

If you have an idea for what we could put on a T-Shirt, send it to

Please send your :  
Name, where you are located, age and contact information, unless you are submitting an entry for a child.  only the first name will be published on our website for anyone under the age of 18.

This contest is open to anyone, anywhere in the world!!

Please put "T-Shirt Submission" in the subject line of your email.

Thank You & Good Luck!

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Tribute tattoo for fallen heroes


This tattoo is Damian Dyke's tribute to fallen soldiers the quote across his soldiers is from a DMX song and reads :

""If it takes for me to suffer for my brother to see the light, Give me pain till I die, but please Lord treat him right"

Damien served as a personnel support worker for the Canadian Forces for four years in Afghanistan and this was his way of showing respect to our fallen heroes.The tattoo was inspired by a Slyvia Picota painting called "Croix" 

The photo that inspired the tattoo:

Photo via Silvia Pecota Artiwork

Do you have a military tribute or military themed tattoo? Email it to us and it may be featured in our upcoming YouTube video featuring tribute artwork

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


For the last five years I have been running various efforts to show gratitude to our men and women serving our countries and those that have served in the past and have given a lot of my time to spread a positive message. I am a huge user of Twitter & Facebook as outlets to get the message out there to show appreciation but too many times the only time you see major coverage of our soldiers on the news is when they do something controversial or when we sadly lose on in battle.

Well that is about to change.

I believe every day this should be done but I wanted to set aside ONE special day a week being Thursday for people to take part in posting positive messages on their Twitter feeds & Facebook status and tag them #TeamTas  Once this tag catches on hopefully #TeamTAS will be an every day tag but until that happens we're going to be pushing it hard on every Thursday.

We see a lot of Team this, team that’s that celebrities and their fans post and they are trending within a matter of minutes. Whenever “The Voice” is on TV you will see #TeamXtina, #TeamBlake, #TeamAdam and #TeamClo all trending and no disprespect to them but it’s time to cause a shake up.  Every glittery vampire in the Twilight series has their own "Team" so why not one for our brave men and women serving and our veterans?

That being said I’m askin everyone to post a positive message to our troops on every Thursday and tag it #TeamTAS.

Whether it’s a shout out to someone you know on Twitter that is a member of the military or a veteran, whether its a tribute YouTube video or positive story, or SIMPLY a message saying thank you. If we get enough people tweeting with #TeamTAS in it we’d be on the Trending Topics list in no time at all.  If you would like to post a photo to Twitter and tag it, or link to your favourite military related YouTube video that is also ok just as long as #TeamTAS is in there some where.

This is not an ego stroke or anything self promoting it’s a chance to get the word out to the world about what we do and if you are a member of our Facebook Page or follow us on Twitter, you are already on #TeamTas

Please also feel free to take a photo of yourself holding a piece of paper with #TeamTas on it too and I'll repost them on our Facebook page.  Like our friend Tori did below!

Tori from It's Tori Time joined #TeamTas today

NOTE : If you don't use facebook you are free to upload a photo to OUR FACEBOOK PAGE holding a sign with #TeamTAS on it and I will gladly post on twitter for you too.

We’ve made two Twitter buttons below that will automatically send a tweet to your feed for you

1. Click below to automatically tweet this page in your feed

If you would like to type your own message click the button below to Tweet to the #TeamTAS tag:

Watch our YouTube video :

Check out other members of #TeamTAS

Check out Military Minds on Facebook

SUBSCRIBE to FUNKER530's YouTube Channel for rare Afghanistan Combat Footage 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Our Duty - Photo Project


Our Duty is planning a series of videos to increase public awareness of what Canadian Forces and RCMP veterans have endured.

The public has seen a lot of war in Afghanistan but not much else. We forget all the other things, so Our Duty would like to post some reminders. We'd like veterans and families to submit photos for inclusion in these videos. In particular, we are seeking pictures of:
- Domestic ops, especially hurricane cleanup, the Quebec Ice Storm, Winnipeg Floods, etc.
- SAR training and/or ops
- Peacekeeping ops, especially interactions with locals
- Humourous pics of fun times - camp life, goofing around, etc.
- WOW pics of you doing amazing things: jump school, HAR training, live-fire exercise, anything that looks really cool

To submit, you can email your pics to or join the Our Duty group and post them.

- Your name,
- Date and location of photo (if possible),
- Brief explanation of photo (i.e., "Mortar training, I'm the gal in the middle"),
- Mission name (if it has one),

NOTE: These must be your own pictures, either taken by you or with you in them. This is for copyright reasons, so that you can authorize Our Duty to use them. All copyrights will remain with the owner; we will be using them with your permission. (We'll send out an authorization form before we use them.)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Thank A Soldier - Bumper Sticker

The most requested item I've gotten in the last few years is to make a bumper sticker so I decided to go ahead and do it.  We will be giving all proceeds from the sale of these stickers to Military Minds which will be $1.00 per every on sold.

We also will be giving away FIVE of these on April 30th and details about how you canter by Facebook, Twitter & by email are listed below.

Thank You! 

To purchase any of the above bumper stickers you can ORDER HERE! ($1.00 from each one will go to Military Minds)


Twitter : Click the Tweet button below to be entered once

To enter on Facebook go to our Facebook page and SHARE THIS POST

To enter via email answer the question "What is the name of the person I started the "Thank A Soldier Weight Loss challenge with" The answer is here send your answer to our CONTEST EMAIL 

Contest closes APRIL 30th, 2012

Please feel free to leave a comment as to what you would like to see added and all these are also available for purchase by visiting the Zazzle page 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Meet a very special Golden Retriever

Hi!  My full name is MuchAdo Formula for Victory, but my friends just call me Tori!  While I’ve got a few fancy schmantzy titles in obedience, field and agility, and even one in dock diving, the thing I love doing most is putting smiles on people’s faces.

Back in January 2011, when I heard that Troy & Mareike Yocum (Drum Hike/Hike for Heroes) were walking across the United States to raise funds for struggling military families, I thought that was pretty neat.  But then when I heard that Emmie, their shiba inu, and Harley, their chihuahua, were walking, too, I thought that was even cooler!  I asked Mom if it was okay if I tried to get sponsors to help their mission, and she told me to go for it.  I figured I’d be lucky to raise a couple hundred dollars, but my friends really came through for me, and I ended up walking 275 miles and bringing in just under $4700! 

Helping our military is pretty important to me.  Several of my mom’s family members are veterans, and I know the ones who serve are the ones who keep us safe!  I had just become a therapy dog when 9/11 happened.  Because I still needed to complete some paperwork, I couldn’t go to the Pentagon Family Assistance Center to help like my “brother” Irish did, but I remember the stories Irish shared with me about those who talked to him at the Pentagon.  When I went to the 2008 Pentagon Memorial Dedication in Irish’s place (he was 15 then, and it would have been too long a day for him), I enjoyed meeting some of the family members, and he was glad to hear later that they remembered him!  

I know a lot of people joined the military after 9/11, and some of my favorite therapy visits of all were to our Wounded Warriors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center between 2004 and 2007.  While I hated to know they were in the hospital, I was glad to put a smile on their faces and let them know how much I appreciated their service!  Another favorite “job” has been going to the yearly Parents and Children Fighting Cancer Christmas party at Andrews Air Force Base for the past seven years!

When Troy asked if I could help out by walking again, I told him I sure could, and I signed up to do 400 more miles between Veterans Day 2011 and 4th of July, 2012.  Since I’ll be 12 when we finish, I signed my “sister” Bridget (a three-year-old corgi mix) and my six-year-old nephew Breaker up also as part of Team Tori.  I’m in great shape and I expect I’ll be able to get all the miles done myself, but just in case I have an “off” day, I don’t want to leave my friends hanging! 

I know I could finish up the miles easily if I just walked around the neighborhood a mile or two a day, but our military don’t have it easy, and I don’t think I should either!  That’s why I try to plan most of my hikes to be four to six or even more miles at a time, and I love the hikes that are out in nature the best!  Some of them have been a bit tougher than I expected, but it’s all been worth it.  My favorite hikes are the ones that include somewhere to swim and M-U-D!! 

I’m looking forward to finishing my 400 miles and bringing in a lot more money for our military families.  If you want to keep track of my journey, look me up on my Facebook page – “It’s Tori Time”. 

Have paws, will travel!  Slurps and tail wags, Tori 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Elton Adams - East Coast Countdown

MCpl Elton Adams who we have featured on our blog many times with songs like "What A Soldier Left Behind" & "Hard" which we used in our Operation You're not alone campaign has just released a song with Canadian country artist Julian Austin called "My Canadian Girls"

For those of you who may not know Julian Austin's song "The Red & White" inspired me to create everything that is "Thank A Soldier" as there's a line in it that says "Do we take the time to thank a soldier for everything they do" and thus TAS was born.  He has played many shows for our troops in Afghanistan also and is one of the biggest supporters of our troops that I know.

We are asking that you take 10 seconds of your day vote for Elton in the East Coast Countown and help him get his music recognized.

There is no limit to how much you can vote, if you want to sit at your computer for the next 48 hours clicking VOTE every 10 seconds, GO FOR IT! ahahah 

There is no registration, all you have to do is click the above link, scroll down to "My Canadian Girls" by Elton Adams and click vote.  Then put a check mark in the YES box and click submit and you are done.  There is no sign up, you won't receive any emails from the East Coast Countdown site and you'll be showing support to a currently serving Canadian soldier who just makes music because its what he loves to do.

Thank You


View the video for "My Canadian Girls" below as well as several other videos we have made featuring Elton Adam's music.


I've posted some of the videos we've made using Eltons Music below as well 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Poll : Free Parking for our Veterans all year round?

In Barrie, Ontario Veterans can park at all on-street parking meters and all municapally-owned off street metered parking lots for the maximum time allowed. One condition is that the Veterans vehicle display a valid veteran licence plate which are available to the provinces license issuing offices.

While some cities offer free parking to Veterans with plate all year round some cities only permit this on  Remembrance Day in Canada and Memorial Day weekend in the United States.

Living in Calgary, Alberta I know we have the highest average for parking in all of Canada and I'm sure most of our veterans could not afford up to $30.00 a day in some downtown parking lots or even the basic meter lots.

Please take a moment to take part in our poll.

Do you think parking should be free for our Veterans in all downtown cores and municipal parking lots all year round and not just on military related events?

Do you think parking should be free for Veterans in all downtown cores and municipal parking lots? free polls 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Supercross - Toronto

On Saturday March 24th, 2012 SUPERCROSS is coming to the Rogers Center in Toronto and we are giving away THREE family passes of four tickets to our group members on this Friday March 9th.  Over 300 members have emailed me and told me that if they win to give them to a military family which is awesome and we've had over 100 military families enter.

More good news, ANY member of our Facebook page whether you are military or a supporter of our troops can go see this event for $20.00 using the discount code SCROSS on the ticket master web page