Monday, January 26, 2009

SOLDIER PORTRAITS Exhibition Opens January 30, 2009 at the Georgia Southern University Center for Art & Theatre

Soldier Portraits, an exhibition of photographs by Savannah artist Ellen Susan, will be on view at the Georgia Southern University Center for Art & Theatre in Statesboro, Ga. January 30 - March 12. The public is invited to attend all exhibition and gallery events free of charge.

The University’s Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art will host an opening reception on Friday, Jan. 30th from 5-7 pm at the Center for Art & Theatre. Ellen Susan will speak about the exhibition and her creative process on Wednesday, Feb. 18th from 5-7 pm in the Visual Arts Building Auditorium at Georgia Southern University.

Susan uses the wet collodion process—a photographic technique used in the 19th Century during the American Civil War—to make portraits of contemporary American soldiers, many of whom have deployed to Iraq and/or Afghanistan for multiple tours of duty. The artist describes how she, “wanted to produce physically enduring, visually arresting images of people sent repeatedly into war zones.” Many of the soldiers depicted are based in southeast Georgia.

One of her aims in photographing contemporary soldiers this way is to provide a counterpoint to anonymous media representations. The wet collodion process is slow and deliberate, requiring a large view camera and a darkroom onsite. The combination of the long exposures and the peculiarities of its appearance often elicit comments like "you can see into the subject\\\'s soul.”

In contrast, much contemporary portrait work made with view cameras exhibits a neutral, deadpan appearance. While the slowness and formality of large-format photography can lend itself to emotional distance, the specific properties of the wet plate process eliminate even the potential for that kind of image. Susan explains, “Personally, I think what the images reveal are simply lusciously

rendered and highly detailed physical attributes of the individuals. I don’t think you can see anybody’s soul in any photograph, but if the appearance is compelling enough, it lets you imagine that you can—and then consider the face and the person it belongs to, and what they might be all about.”

More information about the Soldier Portraits project can be found at

For more information on this exhibition and other gallery programming provided by the Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art, visit Georgia Southern’s Gallery

Programming is supported by Student Activity Fees; all events are free and open to the public. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Georgia Southern University will honor reasonable requests for accommodations. The Center for Art & Theatre is open Monday through Friday from 9 - 5 and by appointment. Docent tours are welcome and available upon request by calling (912) GSU-ARTS (2787).

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Disabled Vets on the Move: Globetrotter Marathon Program Launched

/PRNewswire/ -- The Globetrotter Marathon Program has been established to provide a unique experience for disabled war vets to travel and participate in internationally recognized marathons around the world. Participants are all single or double amputees who smartly navigate the 26.2 mile courses in hand crank wheel chairs.

The Program was recently launched by Marine veteran Charles Klotsche and so far teams of vets and their spouses have participated in marathons in Berlin, Moscow and Krakow Poland. The Program flies under the banner "Disabled Vets on the Move" and these men and women do just that as they burst out from the starting line often in tandem with the elite marathon runners.

"Our Program offers these exceptional men and women a special opportunity as they begin their difficult path of re-integration into their local communities," said Klotsche. He went on to note that these global competitions "help boost their self-esteem and competitive spirit, broaden their global horizons, and allow them to serve as roving good will ambassadors on behalf of the country they so ably served and for which they made life-changing sacrifices in the name of freedom."

For 2009, the Program is planning on sending Vets and their spouses to the Paris and Montreal Marathons. Klotsche also said they are considering a unique experience in the Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset, billed as the world's most beautiful 100 Km Marathon, located around Hovsgol Lake on the northern border of Mongolia.

Program details can be found on the website at and cash contributions to help defray Program travel and related costs can be made on the website. Those interested in donating frequent flier miles that the Program can use to transport the vets and their spouses to and from the marathons should send an email indicating the airline and number of miles to "Make a difference--Make a donation".

The Globetrotter Marathon Program is an extension of the domestic marathon program known as the Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans, started by the New York Achilles Track Club in 2004.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

On the door of a wounded Navy Seal's hospital door

To enlarge, click on the photo.
I found this on a blog by The Discerning Texan.
If you check out his blog you'll see he definitely has military ties! I'd guess Army.
This hand written poster shows just how great those who've chosen to fight for our country really are!
The spirit of our men and women in uniform is phenomenal. We owe them so much and they ask for so little.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"Pizzas 4 Patriots" Initiative to Support U.S. Troops at Super Bowl Celebrations Overseas

(BUSINESS WIRE)--DHL, the world’s leading express delivery and logistics company, with the support of a local Chicago-area business and community members will deliver thousands of freshly frozen pizzas to U.S. servicemen and women serving throughout Iraq and Afghanistan in time for Super Bowl XLIII celebrations.

In 2008 a suburban Chicago Veteran, MSgt. Mark Evans, was inspired by his son’s idea to send thousands of pizzas to the troops in time for July 4th celebrations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This year he’s continuing his family’s mission by organizing the delivery of more than 2,000 pizzas for Super Bowl celebrations. Evans collected enough donations to purchase all of the pizzas, provided below cost by Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria of Northbrook, Illinois.

DHL, which flies directly to many of the U.S. bases in Iraq, has agreed to donate its shipping services for delivery of the pizzas.

Thousands of pizza’s packaged in temperature-controlled containers will be picked up Friday, January 23, at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, and loaded onto DHL trucks. The shipment will fly from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York directly to the Middle East, with delivery to military bases just in time for Super Bowl celebrations.

“As a retired member of the military, I appreciate the support of the local community and DHL helping bring reminders of home to our U.S. troops stationed thousands of miles away,” said Ret. Sgt. Mark Evans. “The reactions we have received by families, friends of the military and the troops themselves about this initiative have been heartwarming.”

DHL was the first international air express carrier to provide service to Iraq and Afghanistan following the lifting of sanctions and now operates the most extensive logistics service into these countries.

“As the specialists in international shipping, DHL is honored to leverage its global network and transport this shipment to lift the spirits of our servicemen and women based in the Middle East,” said Adrian Watts, Managing Director U.S. Government Sales and Support for DHL Express. “It’s part of our ongoing efforts to support our troops, and honor our U.S. servicemen and women who help keep us all safe.”

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Western Governors University Extends Deadline for Reservists and National Guard Scholarship

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Western Governors University (, the leading non-profit online university, will extend the deadline for the WGU Reservists and National Guard Scholarship to June 30, 2009. This scholarship is designed to help members of the Reserves and National Guard attend college online.

The WGU Reservists and National Guard Scholarship is valued up to $1,500 and can be used to earn a degree in any discipline offered by WGU in its colleges of Business, Education, Information Technology or Health Professions. WGU is both regionally and nationally accredited.

Recently named a Top 20 Military Friendly University by Military Advanced Education Magazine, WGU's unique accredited programs have proven a great fit for many active-duty, reserve, and National Guard military members and their spouses.

Up to 30 scholarships will be awarded, with awards made every month on an ongoing basis. However, this is a competitive program and scholarships will be awarded based on a candidate's academic record, readiness for online study at WGU, and current competency, in addition to other considerations. Early application is strongly suggested.

WGU's online degree programs focus on the needs of adult learners by providing flexible, technology-based instruction. WGU's competency-based education approach makes it possible for military students and spouses to complete the requirements for their degrees at a quicker pace and accelerate their programs based on their prior experience, academic background, and time commitment to study.

For more information or eligibility requirements on the WGU Reservists and National Guard Scholarship, please visit or call 1-866-225-5948 (866-CALL-WGU)

About Western Governors University (WGU)

"[WGU is] the best relatively cheap university you've never heard of."
- TIME magazine (Nov. 2008)

WGU is the only accredited online university in the U.S. offering competency-based degree programs. The private non-profit university has been a leader in online education for more than 10 years. WGU is the recipient of the USDLA 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning for 2008, awarded in recognition of WGU's success in expanding access to higher education. WGU has been honored as one of the 2008 Top 20 Military Friendly Colleges and Universities by Military Advanced Education magazine.WGU sponsors the Online Student Survival Guide, a blog that addresses many of the questions and daily concerns online students from any online college or university face.

Now serving more than 11,000 students, WGU was founded by 19 U.S. governors, and is supported by more than 20 leading corporations and foundations. They include institutions such as AT&T, BearingPoint, Dell, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Hewlett-Packard, HCA, Microsoft, Oracle, Qwest, SunGard Higher Education, Sun Microsystems, and Zions Bank. WGU offers bachelor's and master's degrees in business, information technology, teacher education, and health professions, with students in all 50 states. More information is available at

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Our Soldiers are Impressive!

I have been wandering around the "Multi-National Force - Iraq" (MNF) website reading a few of the stories. I continue to be astounded by the goodness of our military.

Gen. Jack Wheeler started sending the MNF newsletter to me a while back. I was so impressed with the content, I tracked down an address and asked for permission to reprint the stories. Turns out the guy who responded to my request in the affirmative was none other than our very own Fred Wellman! He no longer lives in Peachtree City, of course, but many of you will probably remember him. He is a great example of all that makes our military so impressive in so many ways.

The world just gets smaller and smaller.

If you aren't reading about the great things happening in Iraq I'd encourage you to do so. We (Fayette Front Page and Georgia Front Page) try to share some of the good articles and info we receive in our daily update from American Forces Press Service and other sources. If we thought you'd read it, we'd include every bit of positive info that's sent our way. Truthfully, there's so much good news we'd probably have to hire additional staff to post it all.
If you'd like to keep up with Fred Wellman (LTC Frederick P. Wellman, Chief of Public Affairs, Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq), here's a link to his blog, "Armed and Curious, Home of the Heavily Armed Tourist" (great title!):

Here's a link to a page with a list of current articles on MNF:

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Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hero of Hudson River Crash Landing Got Start in Air Force

The pilot who crash-landed a crippled airliner in New York's Hudson River this afternoon, saving 155 lives on board, is an Air Force Academy graduate who received his pilot training in the Air Force.

Chelsey B. "Sully" Sullenberger steered US Airways Flight 1549 toward the river when both engines failed less than five minutes after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport. All 150 passengers and five crew members survived the incident.

Sullenberger is an Air Force Academy graduate who served in the Air Force from 1973 to 1980, according to his resume posted on the homepage of his company, Safety Reliability Methods, Inc.

He was an U.S. Air Force F-4 Phantom II fighter pilot who served as a flight leader and training officer in Europe and the Pacific. He was also the Blue Force mission commander during Red Flag exercises at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

President George W. Bush and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg were among the first to publicly laud Sullenberger for quick thinking and heroism that averted a catastrophe.

Bloomberg noted during an early evening news conference that Sullenberger did not leave the aircraft as it floated in the river until he had confirmed that every passenger had been safely evacuated.

"It would appear the pilot did a masterful job of landing in the river and making sure everybody got out," Bloomberg said. "I had a long conversation with the pilot. He walked the plane twice and made sure that everybody was out."

Bush, in a statement released by the White House, said his adminstration is coordinating with state and local officials to respond to the incident as it monitors the situation.

"Laura and I are inspired by the skill and heroism of the flight crew as well as the dedication and selflessness of the emergency responders and volunteers who rescued passengers from the icy waters of the Hudson," he said. "We send our thoughts and prayers to all involved in the accident."
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
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Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

Friday, January 16, 2009

Legion Launches VetCam to Link Military Families Worldwide

/PRNewswire/ -- U.S. military troops deployed overseas can now use their Webcams to talk with their families back home, without having to download software packages that may not pass muster with command cybernet security requirements.

Barry Steed, CEO/President of NCB International, provider of VetCam, says, "America has the best business and technology in the world today. It is our responsibility to do our part and say thank you."

The American Legion has launched "VetCam," a free Webcam service that enables service members and veterans to talk face-to-face on their personal computers with friends and family. Once VetCam users register online, they can connect with two Webcams and use the service 24/7 from any Internet connection.

"Webcams have been around for a while, but many required downloading software to make them work," said David K. Rehbein, national commander of The American Legion. "We want our troops, our veterans, and their families to be able to enjoy the pleasure of talking face-to-face with their loved ones -- anywhere in the world -- with just a couple of mouse clicks.

"Next to actually being there, seeing and talking with your spouse and kids, mom and dad, and best friends are morale-boosters prior generations of veterans never had," Rehbein said.

To initiate the service, a user needs a Webcam or computer with built-in Webcam. Then, just register and start communicating. Once registered, simply log in at any time to connect. (You can watch a short demonstration video of how to use VetCam.) For more information, please visit:

All members of the U.S. Armed Forces (active duty, reserve and National Guard), members of The American Legion, and their families and friends are welcome to use VetCam.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Budweiser Military Tribute Extended by Anheuser-Busch InBev

/PRNewswire/ -- A tribute program that has provided free admission to Worlds of Discovery for more than 3.2 million members of U.S. and coalition armed forces and their families has been extended through 2009. Budweiser's "Here's to the Heroes" was launched in February 2005 to acknowledge the service of military men and women and the sacrifices made by their families.

"It is gratifying to all of us at Anheuser-Busch InBev that so many members of our armed forces have taken advantage of this program and honored us with a visit," said Jim Atchison, President of Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC). "This is a difficult time for our men and women in uniform -- and their families --- and we are honored to give them something back."

Here's to the Heroes provides a single day's free admission to any one SeaWorld or Busch Gardens park, Sesame Place, Adventure Island or Water Country USA for the service member and as many as three of his or her direct dependents. The program is sponsored by Budweiser, the flagship beer of Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Any active duty, active reserve, ready reserve service member or National Guardsman is entitled to free admission under the program. He or she need only register, either online at or in the entrance plaza of a participating park, and show a Department of Defense photo ID. Also included in the offer are members of foreign military forces serving in the coalitions in Iraq or Afghanistan or attached to American units in the U.S. for training.

"This is one small way we can acknowledge and thank the soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen whose service helps to preserve the freedom and safety of every American," Atchison said. "It's important to all of us at Anheuser-Busch InBev that we show our gratitude to the men and women of our armed forces and their families for the sacrifices they make on our behalf."

Here's to the Heroes is the fourth tribute to military personnel offered by the company since Yellow Ribbon Summer welcomed service members home from the Gulf War in 1991.

Three Worlds of Discovery -- SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld San Diego -- operate year round. The company's remaining parks are seasonal, with varying opening dates this spring. Each park's operating schedule is available online.

Inactive, standby and retired reserve members, military retirees, U.S. Merchant Marine and civilian Department of Defense workers are ineligible for the program. The program does not include Discovery Cove or SeaWorld's new waterpark, Aquatica.

Orlando-based Busch Entertainment operates nine Worlds of Discovery across the U.S.: SeaWorld Florida in Orlando, SeaWorld California in San Diego, SeaWorld Texas in San Antonio; Busch Gardens Africa in Tampa, Fla., Busch Gardens Europe in Williamsburg, Va.; Discovery Cove in Orlando; Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pa. near Philadelphia; and waterparks Adventure Island in Tampa and Water Country USA in Williamsburg. Aquatica, SeaWorld's waterpark, opened in spring 2008.

The Worlds of Discovery play host to more than 25 million guests each year and employ 26,000 people nationwide. On the Web at

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Georgia's Shorter College Establishes Military Discount For Professional Studies Students

Shorter College is now offering tuition discounts for students enrolled in the Professional Studies Program who have served the United States through military duty.

The scholarship, which applies to active and retired military personnel and their spouses, will give a 20-percent discount on tuition for students enrolling in Shorter's Professional Studies Program. Geared towards working professionals in Greater Rome and the Atlanta area, the college's Professional Studies Program offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in many courses of study.

More information on Shorter's professional programs can be found at

Questions about the Military Scholarship Tuition Discount should be directed to Frances Tamboli at

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Georgia Front Page

Monday, January 5, 2009

Disney Parks Celebrate U.S. Military With Free, Multi-day Admission to Theme Parks in 2009

/PRNewswire/ -- As Disney Parks ask "What Will You Celebrate?" and invite guests to turn their personal milestones into magical family vacations in 2009, America's military personnel will have one more reason to celebrate: Free multi-day admission to Disney's U.S. theme parks.

With the "Disney's Armed Forces Salute" offer, active and retired U.S. military personnel, including active and retired members of the United States Coast Guard and activated members of the National Guard or Reservists, can enjoy complimentary, multi-day admission into Disney's U.S. theme parks, great rates at select Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort hotels, and additional special ticket offers for family members and friends.

"For so many of the men and women who serve in our U.S. military, time together with their families is cause enough for celebration," said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "We are grateful for their service and hope 'Disney's Armed Forces Salute' will allow our troops to create wonderful, magical memories with their family and friends."

At the Disneyland Resort in Southern California:

Through June 12, 2009, each active or retired member of the U.S. military can receive one complimentary three-day "Disney's Armed Forces Salute" Park Hopper ticket valid for admission to both Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure parks. During the offer period, active or retired U.S. military personnel also may make a one-time purchase of an adult or child three-day "Disney's Armed Forces Salute Companion" Park Hopper ticket for up to five family members (including spouse) or friends for the price of an adult 1-Day Park Hopper ticket.

Disneyland Resort hotels are also offering special room rates for active or retired military personnel. For example, at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel, active or retired members of the military and their families may find hotel rooms starting at $119 per night during value season, with great savings during other times of the offer period. This offer is available through June 12, 2009, and the number of rooms available at these special rates is limited.

For information regarding "Disney's Armed Forces Salute" at the Disneyland Resort, or to make reservations, military personnel may call 714/956-6424.

At Walt Disney World Resort in Florida:

Through Dec. 23, 2009, each active or retired member of the U.S. military may obtain one complimentary 5-day "Disney's Armed Forces Salute" ticket with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More options. This ticket is valid for five days of admission into the four Walt Disney World theme parks, plus a total of five visits to a choice of a Disney water park, DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park or certain other attractions. During this offer period, active or retired U.S. military personnel may also make a one-time purchase of up to a maximum of five 5-Day "Disney's Armed Forces Salute Companion" tickets (one theme park per day) for $99 per ticket, plus tax, for family members (including spouse) or friends. Although this ticket for family members and friends does not include either the Park Hopper or Water Park Fun & More options, this ticket can be upgraded to add either such option, or both, for an additional $25, plus tax, per option. All tickets and options are non-transferable and must be used by Dec. 23, 2009.

Ask about the great rates that may be available at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels for active or retired U.S. military personnel during this offer period.

For information on the "Disney's Armed Forces Salute" offer at Walt Disney World Resort or the Disneyland Resort, or to make reservations, active and retired U.S. Military personnel may call the ITT office on their base. Information about "Disney's Armed Forces Salute" offer at Walt Disney World Resort is also available at

Through the years, The Walt Disney Company has demonstrated its support of United States' servicemen and women through a variety of initiatives. Disney's support for the U.S. Marines' Toys for Tots program started 58 years ago - when Walt Disney became one of the original sponsors. Since 1995, Disney's Operation Uplift program has sent over 90,000 postcards to troops worldwide, thanking them for their service. The company also supports U.S. service members and their families as a sponsor of the USO and its centers. Each year, Operation Disney Care packages, containing Disney DVDs, books, magazines and games, are sent to centers around the world to help entertain the servicemen/women and their families, Disney Minnie Grants are used to host family appreciation events, while Disney VoluntEARS donate many hours participating in local USO projects.

Other Offer Details:
-- Complimentary "Disney's Armed Forces Salute" tickets may be obtained
only by active or retired U.S. military personnel, including activated
members of the National Guard or Reservists (with orders showing
active status after Jan. 1, 2008) and active or retired members of the
United States Coast Guard. Spouses are not eligible.
-- Complimentary "Disney's Armed Forces Salute" tickets for admission to
the Walt Disney World Resort can be obtained only at participating
U.S. military base ticket offices (including at the Shades of Green
Resort at the Walt Disney World Resort), or at Main Entrance theme
park ticket windows. Military personnel will need to activate those
tickets at Main Entrance theme park ticket windows in order to use
those tickets (no more than 1 such complimentary ticket per service
member will be activated).
-- Please see a participating U.S. military base ticket office for an
exchange certificate for the complimentary "Disney's Armed Forces
Salute" ticket for the Disneyland Resort. The exchange certificate
will need to be redeemed for such ticket by the active or retired
military personnel at a Main Entrance theme park ticket window
(maximum of 1 such complimentary ticket per service member).
-- "Disney's Armed Forces Salute Companion" tickets for family members
and friends may be purchased only by active or retired U.S. military
personnel, including activated members of the National Guard or
Reservists (with orders showing active status after Jan. 1, 2008) and
active or retired members of the United States Coast Guard (or, in
each case, their spouses, but not both).
-- "Disney's Armed Forces Salute Companion" tickets for admission to the
Walt Disney World Resort can be purchased only at participating U.S.
military base ticket offices (including at the Shades of Green Resort
at the Walt Disney World Resort), or at Main Entrance theme park
ticket windows. "Disney's Armed Forces Salute Companion" tickets for
admission to the Disneyland Resort can be purchased only at
participating U.S. military base ticket offices.
-- Military personnel (or their spouses) who purchase "Disney's Armed
Forces Salute Companion" tickets for admission to the Walt Disney
World Resort for family members and friends will need to activate
those tickets at Main Entrance theme park ticket windows in order for
those tickets to be used (regardless of where those tickets are
purchased). Actual prices for such tickets may be less than prices
shown above.
-- Military personnel (or their spouses) who purchase "Disney's Armed
Forces Salute Companion" tickets for admission to the Disneyland
Resort for family members and friends will receive exchange
certificates to be redeemed by such military personnel (or their
spouses) for tickets at Main Entrance theme park ticket windows (one
ticket per exchange certificate).
-- The military personnel (or spouse) will be required to present valid
military identification (which, for activated members of the National
Guard or Reservists, also includes orders showing active status after
Jan. 1, 2008) for all ticket transactions (including to activate
tickets, and/or redeem exchange certificates for tickets, at Main
Entrance theme park ticket windows). A valid ID may also be required
for admission.
-- "Disney's Armed Forces Salute Companion" tickets are limited to five
per service member (regardless of place of purchase and whether
purchased by service member or spouse) and all five must be purchased
at the same time. Accordingly, no service member (or spouse) will be
permitted to activate, and/or to redeem exchange certificates for,
more than a total of five "Disney's Armed Forces Salute Companion"
tickets for the Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort (regardless of
whether activated or exchanged by the service member or spouse).
-- First day of use of "Disney's Armed Forces Salute" complimentary
tickets and "Disney's Armed Forces Salute Companion" tickets at the
Disneyland Resort must be no later than June 12, 2009, and tickets
expire 13 days after the first day of use or June 25, 2009, whichever
occurs first. Last day of use on "Disney's Armed Forces Salute"
complimentary tickets and "Disney's Armed Forces Salute Companion"
tickets at the Walt Disney World Resort is Dec. 23, 2009.
-- Tickets must be used by the same person on any and all days. "Disney's
Armed Forces Salute" complimentary tickets may be used only by the
service members to whom they are issued. "Disney's Armed Forces Salute
Companion" tickets may be used only by the friends and family members
for whom they are purchased.
-- This offer may not be combined with any other offer.

"What Will You Celebrate?"

Military personnel taking advantage of this offer will find even more to celebrate during their stay. Beginning now, Disney Parks is embracing a newly identified nationwide travel trend called "celebration vacations," in which Americans mark special occasions in their lives with a family vacation.

In 2009, Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resorts ask guests "What Will You Celebrate?" and lead this growing trend with new entertainment and services that allow guests to turn their personal milestones -- a birthday, an anniversary, Quinceanera or any special occasion -- into magical Disney experiences.

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Future Airman Loses 160 Pounds, Gains Confidence

Note: We debated on whether to add this to Military Matters or this blog, Salute Our Military. Obviously, we decided to include it here since this gentleman deserves a huge salute along with the military for being his ultimate goal!

For the past 15 months, Leo Knight-Inglesby has pushed himself beyond the limits he and his loved ones ever thought possible.

The 22-year-old Silver Spring, Md., native shed more than 160 pounds to meet the physical standard of Air Force enlistment, amazing his recruiter, family and friends.

"No one believed I would do it till I showed them the [enlistment] papers," Knight-Inglesby said. "My life has completely changed. Not only am I stronger, physically, I am mentally stronger and more confident."

Today, the former 351-pound college freshman noshes only on healthy food, limits his daily caloric intake and exercises at least five days a week. Although he maintains the same smile, he looks like a different person at about 190 pounds, his recruiter, Air Force Staff Sgt. Ty Lopez, said.

"He's well on his way to making his goal of 185 pounds before heading to basic military training," Lopez said.

Knight-Inglesby is scheduled to enter basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, in March, but said he hopes to attend earlier if a spot becomes available.

The 317th Recruiting Squadron recruiter caught Knight-Inglesby's attention in the summer of 2007 while speaking about Air Force opportunities to a group of people near a local community college.

"I wasn't getting much interest out of anyone except an obviously overweight guy in the back of the group," Lopez recalled. "He asked me questions that I gladly answered in hopes that the other guys in the group would become interested. At the end of our conversation, Leo said he wanted to join."

The recruiter told the young man he looked heavier than the maximum allowable weight to enlist, and that at his height he needed to weigh under 202 pounds to join. A week later, Knight-Inglesby visited Lopez, tipping the recruiting office scale at 347 pounds and leading the future airman to a serious evaluation of his life.

"My uncle was overweight and had a massive heart attack, and I didn't want that to happen to me" he said. "I knew I had to get my life on track, and I wanted the benefits the Air Force offers."

The potential to travel overseas, especially to Germany, remains a powerful motivator for Knight-Inglesby, as does his father's encouragement to serve in the military. Both his grandfathers and father served in the Army, and his brother serves in the Navy.

The only issue that kept Knight-Inglesby from becoming an airman earlier was his girth, he said.

Lopez said Knight-Inglesby's weight loss gave him insight on the power of personal determination. When Knight-Inglesby proved he was serious about making the standard, Lopez joined him at the gym and helped the future airman continue when he reached a plateau in his weight loss at 220 pounds.

"We worked hard and he would never give up," Lopez said. "No matter how hard I worked him or how tired he got, he would keep going and ask for more.

"As a recruiter, we get hung up on time management," he continued. "I have 28 high schools and colleges to visit every month in addition to scheduled appointments. Applicants 15 to 20 pounds overweight say they want to join and that they'll lose the weight, then I never hear from them again. But based on Leo's case, now I'll think twice about not taking them seriously."
By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Lindsey
Special to American Forces Press Service
(Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Lindsey serves in the Air Force Recruiting Service public affairs office.)
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Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Military Order of the Purple Heart Supports New Initiative for Veterans

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) issued a strong statement today in support of a new Veteran benefit initiative by U.S. Rep. Steve Buyer, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs. According to National Commander Jeff Roy, “The MOPH applauds Chairman Buyer’s efforts to accelerate construction of the needed VA Medical Centers and facilities as not only improving health care to veterans but also stimulating the economy by accelerating the construction schedule of these facilities. This is particularly true for the VA Medical Centers in New Orleans and Denver.”

Representative Buyer’s initiative would also provide $2 billion to the Veterans Administration over the next two years to once again allow the VA to guarantee loans for veteran-owned small businesses. It also proposes an additional $375 million for job training and placement programs for veterans, especially homeless female Veterans. MOPH feels this initiative could not be better timed or more deserved.

This year, the MOPH joined the VA in implementing a new program to help locate and assist homeless Veterans in accessing the benefits they earned while serving in the defense of their country. According to Roy, “We are proud that through the MOPH Service Program, we currently advise all veterans on their benefit entitlements and we are actively assisting Veterans by hosting job fairs, conducting job training and job placement. However, we cannot do it all, and Rep. Buyer’s proposal for increased funding for these programs in the VA will go a long way toward rewarding our Veterans for the sacrifices they have made.”

“The MOPH urges the Congress to include America’s Veterans as they deliberate new measures to stimulate the economy and recommends funding of these new initiatives,” said Commander Roy.

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