Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Soldier's Last Order

"I wrote this a year ago to honour Trooper Larry Rudd (Tpr Rudd, KIA-24 May 2010, A Sqn, RCD, TF 1-10 Afghanistan), I just went through some old stuff and found it, and decided to show it to the rest of the world. We all miss ya bud! - Mitch M. 

A Soldier's Last Order -
A Soldier has fallen, this time, this year,
But let there be no worry, but cheer.
For this Soldier will carry on,
He has been given his marching orders, 
To guard and protect our angel filled skies,
While us down below weep, and cry.
But he will carry on, doing what he knows best,
To stand guard over all and protect us to the end.
He is smiling and gleaming because he knows,
That there is no higher calling than defending the friends he once know.
He may be gone, but he's here till the end,
After all this Soldier once fought and braved above all.
He will never retreat just regroup for another day,
Waiting for you to fight beside him again one day.
He will now take up his last post,
And be on guard the rest of his days,
For this brave Soldier's last order,
Be our guardian and answer our prayers.
Soldier on my fellow brethren,
I will see you again, someday. 

Written by. Mitch M, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Major announcement - Monthly Newsletter

In December 2009 I decided to create "Thank A Soldier" on the CAUSES application on Facebook and it grew faster than anything that I have ever seen in my life.  It was  great place for member interaction via videos, photos and links but then a lot of those member options were removed and it wasn't very interactive.  We were able to obtain 4.1 million members on there but only a few thousand would interact with monthly posts on ther so I decided to go a new direction.

In December 2011 we created the "Thank A Soldier" Facebook page so that people wouldn't have to leave FB to view our page and it has been amazing.  The interaction with members and posts are amazing and it's amazing how fast one post can go viral within an hour.  I love that we can post albums on there such as the Military Tattoo tribute album and the comments are incredible.  It is like having the "Thank A Soldier" page as a friend on Facebook only we will never ask you to grow our farm or help our mafia team grow.

With the CAUSES page I used to send out 2-3 email updates a month with our various projects and about 2000 people would read them (Out of 4.1 million members) so I emailed them to ask for an explanation and was told the following.

" the emails that you send via the cause continue to have very high complaint rates. A normal level of complaints for an email is .1% of users marking the message as spam. Your messages have complaint rates upwards of 1%. As a result, we have turned off email sending for your cause."

When people joined the "Thank A Soldier" cause there was a "Sign me up for email updates" and 1% of 4 million people is 40,000 which doesn't make any sense to me as most emails would show read by 3000-5000 people at the most.

Someone on our Facebook page suggested posting the Causes email and asking members to email them saying how our updates are not spam and we are just going to move along and go a whole new direction.

That being said I have decided to delete the Causes page all together and continue on with the "Thank A Soldier Facebook page and our Twitter account.

We be launching a MONTHLY newsletter were we will send ONE email a month updating all our group members via email with projects, YouTube videos, interviews and stories.  Basically what you see on our blog page with a ton of other things added.  What is in this newsletter is up to all of you as well.  I would like to feature a military charity every month, maybe a story of a military family and recognize a military member every month with our "Hero of the month" nominations, the possibilities are endless.

We are going to be looking for a name for our monthly news letter and if you have a suggestion leave it as a comment on our Facebook page photo here!

That being said, if you would like to have this monthly update come to your email there is a sign up option below, and PLEASE only sign up for it if you want to receive it.  I would rather have 50 people signed up for the newsletter that want it than 4.2 million people with 40,000 of them that are going to mark the email as spam.

When filling our the SIGN UP form the only required field is your country of residence, everything else is optional


Note : At 8pm Eastern tonight I put a notice on the "Thank A Soldier" cause page stating it would be deleted on April 30th, in five hours TWO people read it so I went ahead and removed it.  I would rather have a quality page like the "Thank A Soldier Facebook Page" with 60,000 active members instead of a cause page with 4.18 Million members with no one realizing they are on it.  It was tough to delete it but we are getting stronger and making more noise now than we ever have on our page.

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Shaun Clark - A Tribute To Fallen Heroes

Shaun Clark from Doncaster UK along side with Kevin Kent from Fantasy Tattoo Studio Doncaster , organised a fund raising event for Help the Heroes. The fundraising event started on the 11th November 2009 at 11:00am to commemorate rememberance day and to support Help For Heroes Charity. 

Help for Heroes raises money to support members of the Armed Forces who have been wounded in the service of their country. They asked supporters to do their bit to show these extraordinary young men and women that they are cared for.

Over a million people have responded to date and millions of pounds have been raised to buy much needed services that will aid their recovery, but we need more! So far, we have allocated almost all of the money we have raised in order to fund direct projects and support other service charities

Check out the YouTube video done on this tribute :

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

From The Sandbox To The Cage - Shane Kruchten

Photo by Luis Rivera

I want to introduce you all to Shane Kruchten who was a Lance Corporal United States Marine Corps. Shane was in the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines for most of his career but was injured during his last tour in IRAQ. Shane has a tattoo on his back with the names of 19 friends he lost while on his two tours also and dedicates a lot of his time helping fellow Veterans as much as he can.

"I loved the Marine Corps and would still love to be in if they allowed me" - Shane Kruchten

Shane has now started a new mission as a MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter and is currently fighting with Xplode Fight Series 145 Championship on June 22 at 29 Palms.

I had the pleasure of interviewing him about it for our blog page. Shane’s dream is to be on a official UFC fight card and our goal is to make that happen. At the bottom of the Interview there is a “TWEET” button where you can send his story to Dana White – UFC Presdient.

TAS : Can you tell us about your recovery from your injury in IRAQ and what that was like?
SHANE : It started slow and had many hurdles presented to me. I actually had to move to Wisconsin at first to get basic help from my parents. But after all the support that never stopped coming in from everybody that surrounded me I was able to start making headway in recovery to the point I’m at now. There were a lot of people that always believed in me even after I stopped believing in myself. Its crazy how far a little inspiration will go when it is presented toward an individual.

TAS: Take us through your thought process when you saw MMA and said to yourself, I want to do that or could do that and did you have doubts because of your injury suffered overseas?
SHANE : I defiantly do, my largest fear in the beginning was my head. Due to suffering a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) overseas I was and still am worried about the possibility of easier concussions, or worse easier chance of being knocked out. Everything else is not a real big issue, I mean at times I do pain but I have a lot of heart so I’m able to press through and usually overcome the issues with the pain.

TAS : When your training for your next fight what's the one song that gets your blood going?
SHANE : There is one song that always gets me going, I would half to say it would be J. Cash "GOD'S GONNA CUT YOU DOWN" The song is quite inspirational and gets me just goin.

TAS: What did you say to the people who doubted you when you wanted to become involved with the MMA?
SHANE : This is an interesting question, because there were many doubters in the beginning as well as there are still doubters that continue to doubt me even after all my success. You know I tell them the same thing "WATCH ME, BETTER NOT BLINK CAUSE YOUR GONNA MISS AN AWESOME DISPLAY" usually I am met with a chuckle or two but after some watch me fight there like " WOW, That’s a whole different person in there" There were also those whom worried about my involvement in the sport due to the brutal beatings some take, to that my answer is always the same." If IRAQ couldn’t kill me I don’t think getting in a cage will!"

TAS : You are going to be participating in an upcoming fight card in front of troops? How does that make you feel to be able to do that?
SHANE : The simple fact that I am able to give back to troops in any way is amazing in itself. The fact I get to fight in front of them it’s even more amazing and humbling. With that being said the fight on June 22nd is at 29 Palms California which is a Marine Base and its for the 145lb Championship Belt!!! So its WIN/WIN all the way around!!! I’m fighting in front of my fellow Marine Corps Brothers, the fight is for the Championship, and I’m able to give back!!! Furthermore all the money I make from this fight I’m donating to Wounded Veterans whom need the money more!!! And not to mention the individual I’m fighting is an Army Vet.....MARINE -VS- ARMY

TAS : So in your career so far, and training, have you found a particular move or technique that you like or favor more than others?
SHANE : I would half to say I really favor wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu alot more than standing up. But as of late I have worked very diligently on my standup and have become alot more comfortable with standing up and boxing.

TAS : What are your goals with being an MMA fighter?
SHANE - My goals in this sport have always been the same

- Get over 10 pro fights ((Completed I now have 11)) – Shane’s record is currently 9w-2L

- Fight for a CHAMPIONSHIP belt (( Doing on June 22nd 2012 with XFS: Xplode Fight Series))

- Get 1 fight in the UFC!!!!! (( Not yet but with continued support we will get there))

- I can then retire a happy man!!!

TAS : If you could have a fight with anyone in the UFC who would it be?
SHANE : This is a great far as what weight class and all of that. If we are talking in my weight class and currently on the UFC active roster I would half to say Leonard Garcia. The reason I would say him is because he is just like me, He never quits and you would half to almost kill him to beat him. I think the fight def would have alot of heart and make for a show stopper!

TAS – If there was one thing you could say to our page members and anyone who reads this article what would it be? 
SHANE - SIMPLE.... If you have a goal always go for it, The strongest roadblock to any goal in your life is yourself.

I want to say Thank You to Shane for taking the time to do this interview with us and most of all Thank You for your service.

Please share this article and lets help spread the word about this Wounded Warriors Story. If you are on Twitter you can CLICK HERE and it will send a tweet to Dana White (UFC) and who knows we can help him reach his goal of his ONE UFC FIGHT.

Thank You !
Dave Murphy

Video footage Courtesy of Xplode Fight Series (R) an A2M Entertainment Inc. Production

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

More than just a pretty face - Bonnie-Jill Laflin

More Than Just A Pretty Face - Bonnie-Jilll Laflin

Bonnie-Jill Laflin is a scout for the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers the only female scout in the NBA. She has been an NFL Cheerleader, featured in Maxim and FHM magazine and even on TV's Baywatch. Some of these things you may have heard of but Bonnie-Jill also has a deep support for our men and women in uniform and has done numerous tours with the USO as morale visits to troops serving in Afghanistan & IRAQ.

Bonnie-Jill has also helped us at "Thank A Soldier" with reposting of many of our projects and efforts via her Twitter feed @BjLaflin. I asked Bonnie-Jill if she would mind doing an interview for our blog and she didn’t hesitate.

TAS: You have done numerous tours overseas with The USO what inspired you to want to do this and how many have you done? 

Bonnie Jill : It started with my family in the military both my Grandfathers served in WWII, one of which was a recipient the Silver Star and Purple Heart and my Uncle was a career Marine who served in Vietnam. I have so much love and passion for our troops, and learned that we can’t do enough to support these amazing people I call heroes. They sacrifice so much to protect us, so I continue to go on these tours to boost morale and let them know how much I appreciate them. I have been on 18 tours all over the world including 8 to Iraq and Afghanistan.

TAS: What has been your most memorable experience in the visits you have made?
Bonnie Jill :
Its hard to point out one as I've had so many memorable experiences...going on these tours is life changing..just being able to spend time with the soldiers and hear their stories is something I will never forget. Each soldier I have met has touched my life..they are always in my thoughts and prayers.

TAS: Tell us about Hounds & Heroes and why you started that?
Bonnie Jill : I'm very involved with charities so I wanted to make sure I could bring more attention and support to the two causes that really touch my heart – the rights of animals who can’t speak for themselves, and support for the military, who, just by doing what they do, put their lives on the line to make our lives safer.

TAS: You are currently the first and only female scout in the NBA can you tell us how you got started in that?
Bonnie Jill : I was working as a sports reporter in L.A., and one of my regular assignments was to cover the L.A. Lakers. Since I love the sport, I spent a lot of time talking strategy with the coaches, and with the owner, Dr. Jerry Buss. Dr. Buss loved what I had to say, and thought it would be an interesting idea to see if a woman would scout differently than a man, so he decided to give me a chance. They tried me out, liked my scouting reports and the rest is history :-)

TAS: You obviously have a love for animals as well as our soldiers, how many pets do you have?
Bonnie Jill : I’m on the road so much that I can’t have as many as I‘d like, but hope to one day have a sanctuary where I can rescue all animals. My 3 fur kids (what I call them) consist of 2 dogs, Diamond Chanel and Wilt Chamberlain; and 1 cat, Johnny Cash...and of course they are all rescues. I'm always rescuing and fostering dogs so lets just say there have been a lot of fur babies that have lived here :-) Me and my father also have 2 racehorses.

TAS: If you could tell the members of "Thank A Soldier" one thing about why it's important to show our men and women gratitude what would it be?
Bonnie Jill : Regardless of the politics involved and whether you support the war or not you MUST Support Our Troops! The reason we have the freedom that we do is because of our brave men and women in uniform...some people tend to forget that!! Freedom Isn't Free! Our military are the true Heroes!
TAS: You've been very supportive of reposting Tweets by Military Minds, how important is it to spread awareness of PTSD?
Bonnie Jill : It’s crucial. We need to treat PTSD the same way we would treat any injury incurred in the line of duty – with respect and support. I would ask “civilians” to read up a little, maybe talk to someone at their local V.A. if they need help understanding. And if you know someone who you think might have been impacted, please help them to get to someone who is trained to help. Getting help for PTSD is not a weakness; it’s a sign of incredible strength, and we need to do everything in our power to support these people.

TAS: A lot of times the "Military Families" are the forgotten ones too what would you like to say to them.
Bonnie Jill : It might sound cliché, but “Thank you for your service.” Without the families, we have no military. The families are the backbone of these fine men and women..they give up careers to follow their military loved one around the world, hold down the home front during deployments and offer their unfailing love and support. I Salute them.

TAS: what's the one thing you would want people to know about Bonnie-Jill Laflin?
Bonnie Jill : I love my family, my friends, sports, and I love to help charities especially my “Hounds and Heroes”. Whether it takes a my Cowboys cheerleading uniform, an iconic BAYWATCH swimsuit, a SF Giants baseball hat, a pair of cowboy boots, or a “Hello Kitty” t-shirt, I’m going to do my part and make sure that my voice is heard. My parents have always instilled in me to stand up for what I believe in and that's exactly what I'm doing :-).

Visit Bonnie0Jill's Website :

Bonnie-Jill's Hounds & Heroes Project

Friday, April 20, 2012

If you think "Supporting Our Troops" means supporting the war READ THIS

Every now and then on our Facebook page I"ll see a post that "If you support the troops you support the war" and last year we ran in to this when we had a elementary school that was all set to send letters to men and women serving in Afghanistan & Iraq but the school said "NO" because it promoted support of the war. I sent a notice out to my group members and they received so many emails that it was reversed and the letters were sent.

Recently now that a large amount of US Soldiers have returned from IRAQ and Canadian forces have ended their "Combat Role" in Afghanistan the messages seem to be popping up again. When people hear about "Afghanistan" for the most part its when we lose a soldier to an IED attack or during a fire fight. What you don't hear are the reconstruction efforts.

These efforts included a range of initiatives, such as the building of roads and wells, assisting with the improvement of mosques and local markets, as well as the provision of solar-powered lighting. Not only did these efforts contribute to a strengthened security environment—road improvements reduced opportunities to plant improvised explosive devices, for example—but they also enabled local Afghans to begin rebuilding their economy and their future.

I'm going to fill you in on some of the other things our men and women are doing in various operations around the world and how they come to help whenever needed.The Canadian Forces has what is called DART - Dissaster Assistance Relief Team

Following the earthquake-generated tsunamis that devastated coastal regions of Southeast Asia on December 26, 2004, Canada sent an inter-departmental reconnaissance team to assess the requirement for assistance to the region. By the time Katrina made landfall on August 29, 2005, America's military was mobilizing for emergency response.

Almost 10,000 National Guard troops were on the ground in Louisiana and Mississippi. The Canadian Forces partook in OPERATION UNISON to help in the relief efforts of people affected by the hurricane.

In 2008 after an earthquake in Haiti the HMCS St. John's (Canadian Navy) was sent to assist in the relief efforts The United States also sent over 10,000 troops to assist In Haiti via the USS Carl Vions and the USS Bataan carrying a Marine expeditionary unit.

In July 2011 The Canadian forces were called in to assist with flooding in Souris, Manitoba Our troops also assisted with the Red River flood in 1997, Y2k preparation, Security for the 2010 G8 & g20 summits in Ontario, assistance with the 2011 Ontario Forest Fires and also provided security for the
2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Lets talk about the United States Coast Guard : On an average day, the United States Coast Guard saves 32 lives, assists 308 people, saves $8 million in property value, conducts 142 search and rescue cases, responds to 34 oil or hazardous chemical spills, boards 90 large vessels for port safety checks, inspects 64 commercial vessels, processes 120 seamen’s documents, investigates 17 marine accidents, conducts 128 Maritime Law Enforcement boardings and identifies 97 violations of the law, seizes 84 pounds of marijuana, seizes 148 pounds of cocaine, services 150 aids to navigation, and interdicts 22 illegal migrants.  The Canadian Coast Guard is a civilian organization with no military or law enforcement responsibilities. Although Canadian Coast Guard personnel are neither military nor peace officers, they may operate CCG vessels in support of military operations, or they may serve an operational role in the delivery of maritime law enforcement and security services in Canadian federal waters by serving as a platform for personnel serving with one or more law enforcement agencies.

I hope this write up gives you a better idea of some of the other things our men and women serving do overseas and at home to keep us free and make the lives of others better.  I was browsing through some Red Friday posts earlier today and saw a post that says "Wear Red on Friday to show support" and it was tagged with the caption below it "Until they all come home".

The thing is we may have 1000s of soldiers deployed on operations around the world but we also have tens of thousands in the Reserves and National Guard who are ready to defend us and help us if called upon.  Another thing that bothered me about this was that so many of our soldiers are returning with PTSD issues and when they return home they need our support more than ever.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kevin McHarg - Hero To Hero Team Canada

Today I was on the Facebook page of Kevin McHarg and I saw that a friend of his had posted the following :

William Mensie  "Hey everyone I just wanted to let all those out there that Bob Bailey MPP has a request out there for nominations for the Queens Jublie Medal I thought it would be nice to nominate Kevin McHarg of Hero to Hero for all his work in supporting the troops over the years. So if everyone could take the time and leave a note on Bob's page that would be great."

I thought this was an amazing idea and messaged Kevin and asked him if he would mind me posting on our blog here about him and Hero To Hero Team Canada on our page and his response simply was "I would be honoured, Thank You"  You can read more about the nomination below but first here's a little bit about this amazing man who I'm proud to call a friend.

I met Kevin McHarg a few years ago who is the director of Hero To Hero Team Canada, their motto is "Troops Don't Choose Their Battles Any More Than Firefighters Or Police do", Kevin had contacted me through my email and told me about what Hero To Hero US & Hero To Hero Team Canada was doing for troops and I instantly wanted to help him get the word out about it.

Without asking Kevin has always been there to offer assistance with any of our projects including this photo he sent in for "The Gratitude Project"

A few years ago at a restaurant in Calgary, I had the pleasure to meet Kevin in person where he presented me with a Hero to Hero - Directors coin of excellence.  Meeting him in person and seeing the passion and love he has for troops it is easy to see what a class act he is.

Kevin has also helped other organizations spread the word of what they are doing and never asks for anything in return.  He has helped "The Petrolia Cookie Lady" sends thousands of home baked cookies to our men and women serving also through his program.

The Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal Nomination

Bob Bailey - MPP for the Sarnia region is accepting nominations for the area for people deserving of The Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal and I want to help with the nomination of Kevin McHarg from Hero To Hero Team Canada for nomination for this medal.

Ever since I've known Kevin he has been behind us 100% and always helps us with our projects.  He has sent 1000s of shirts from first responders to our men and women serving in operations all over the world as well as care packages for troops.

"We first met Kevin about 5 years ago after he contacted me regarding the Red Fridays Campaign and how he wanted to make the Red Friday Ladies (myself and Lisa Miller) celebrity ambassadors of the Hero to Hero Team Canada program.From that moment on we have been great friends! Kevin has always supported our cause and has always made extreme efforts to help us in any way possible.

Hero to Hero has had such a positive effect on our troops far and wide because of Kevin's dedication.   Kevin has always been so dedicated to putting smiles on the faces of deployed troops. He invests so much of his time to supporting our Canadian soldiers, he is truly an amazing man, a hero to us!"

Recently,we, the Red Friday Ladies were honored with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award and I believe that his honor should also be bestowed upon Kevin McHarg for his dedication to Hero to Hero!" 
- Karen & Lisa - The Red Friday Ladies 

If you would like to email Bob Bailey MPP your support of this nomination his email address is 

Please include the following at the top of your email and then feel free to add what you like.

I support the nomination by Dave Murphy (Thank A Soldier) & William Menzie of Kevin McHarg - Hero To Hero Team Canada for consideration of The Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal

(Add optional text here)

Your Name
Your location
Contact email

Dave Murphy -

Read more about HERO TO HERO TEAM CANADA below : 

From the Hero To Hero Team Canada Website : "In September of 2005 when I met Liz Jackson, the Founder and Director of HeroToHero.US at the International Association of Firefighters Memorial in Colorado Springs, I had never heard of this Troop Morale Campaign.

She filled me in pretty quickly. It didn't take much to convince me that this was a great way to show support for our troops. Like most people, i wanted to do something to show my support but wasn't sure what to do.

I also happened to be working with Jason Bosker one of Sarnia Fire Rescue's newest recruits at the time who had come to SFRS after 15 years in the Canadian Armed Forces. He had been deployed to Kosovo and Croatia for 3 rotations during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. He served during a period where support for our Armed Forces was lacking on many fronts.

When I returned to work after the Memorial I asked Jason what he thought of the idea of First Responders giving the worn shirts off their backs to our soldiers. Actually the way I put it to him was ... "Would you have given a Rats A** if some firefighter or cop had sent you his used t-shirt when you were deployed?"  Without hesitation, as his eyes began to gloss over he told me that if anyone had sent him a Labatts Blue bottle cap it would have made his day because it was from home and someone had taken the time to send it to him.

That was the defining moment in bringing the HeroToHero.US program to Canada ... our humble beginning.

We started laying the ground work in Canada almost 5 1/2 years ago and it has been just over 4 years since we shipped out our first "Packout" of T-shirts from First Responders across Canada.  In March 2007 (our first effort) we shipped 228 shirts to deployed troops. In April 2008 we shipped over 1200 shirts. Between March & July 2009 we shipped 2200 shirts and 450 hats.

Originally, we collected shirts for a year and then held what we called a "Packout" where many of our volunteers gathered at a firehall in Sarnia, Ontario and helped pack up all the shirts for shipping to Canadian troops deployed all around the world. Since July/2009 we have been receiving enough donations on a regular basis that we are now able to ship shirts year round instead of just once a year. As of April 2011 we have shipped a total of 6000 shirts and hats to deployed troops. 


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thank A Soldier - T-Shirts

A Few weeks ago we launched the "Thank A Soldier" T-Shirt design contest and have gotten some really good submissions so far.

You can vote for your favorite on our Facebook page and also order them below.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Free Download of the new song for Military Minds

Military Minds new song is available for download right here.



Watch the video below :

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Military Minds song released

Please take a moment to check out this song  written for Military Minds by "D-Smoke & Rooks McCoy"

Military Minds is an organization spreading awareness about PTSD, and works hard to get Veterans back on their feet after they return from deployment.