Semper Gratus!

Be Grateful You’re an American!

October 16, 2006

Heroes in Need and Updates

by @ 9:05 pm. Filed under Milblogging, Troop Support, True Heroes

First, an update: SPC Joshua Sparling is getting a promotion to Seargent this week, and has scheduled Nov. 15th for the amputation of his lower-right leg.

Soon-to-be Sgt. Sparling
Josh in March of this year outside Walter Reed.

The amputation is a good thing! The poor guy has been in misery for nearly a year while the leg heals enough to support the upper part once he’s fitted with a prosthetic. Below mid-calf is toast, but he’s keeping a lot more of the leg now than if the Docs had amputated last year.

Second, a Soldier’s family in need: Many of you may be readers of A Storm In Afghanistan and know the unbelievable trials and victories of a tremendously courageous family. The Stanley’s are again facing a life-threatening illness and have decided to come home to the States.

The Stanleys

The following email from Andrea Shea King was forwarded to me by super-troop supporter Mary*Ann, who has been a real friend and rock for Reid and his family.

Military Family Compassionate Auction The auction bidding will begin at 10 p.m. ET, Thursday night, 10/19.

Lt. Col. Robert “Buzz” Patterson, USAF (Ret.), Chief Operating Officer with the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is donating and will personally autograph a trio of his best selling books: “Reckless Disregard: How Liberal Democrats Undercut Our Military, Endanger Our Soldiers, and Jeopardize Our Security”; “Dereliction of Duty – The Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Compromised America’s National Security”; and his most recent book “War Crimes – The Left’s Campaign to Eliminate the Military and Lose the War on Terror”, debuting in January ’07.

Patterson was the senior ranking officer of the five military aides serving in the Clinton White House, and carried the “nuclear football” – the top secret briefcase containing the launch codes for America’s nuclear weapons.

Constitutional Public Radio is honored to join Buzz Patterson in this benefit auction for Army Spc. Reid Stanley (“SC Eagle” at and his wife Ellicia, who is battling cancer of the brain, breast, and lungs. They have three young children. And mounting expenses.

SC Eagle writes at his website: “We have finally received word back from the military. Hospice care is not covered. Which means, any home care we provide Ellicia here will be out of our own pocket. This is going to be expensive. So, reluctantly, and humbly, we’d like to ask those of you who stop by… Please help. Anything will be appreciated. Ellicia will likely need home care as her mind shuts down. And she wants to be at home, not in a hospital… home, surrounded by our children.” And military insurance doesn’t cover that.

“SC Eagle”, stationed in Germany, was deployed to Afghanistan, and now faces another, more personal war, one with Ellicia’s life in the balance.

Patterson will autograph each book with a personal message to the top bidder.

Sure to make a thoughtful and personal Christmas gift for that special military guy or gal or your favorite veteran, the three-book set will be a historic keepsake for years to come, and help a military family in their time of need.

I’ll put the link to the auction up when I get it, but in the meantime please go to Reid’s site and put a few $$ in the kitty.

Third, a new arrival from Iraq:
Cole Gainey arrived Wednesday. His wife, Heather, came in Thursday. Friday afternoon mom Lynn and father Tom arrived along with his sister, Aubrey.

Sister Aubrey is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer Cheerleader.


Guess who’s going to be the most popular guy on the ward?

Kids Can’t Learn if Their Brains Are Frozen

by @ 7:14 pm. Filed under Milblogging, Troop Support

Leta has written a post and emailed it to several of you guys who, for some inexplicable reason, read this blog. Others may not have seen it so I’ll post it in the hopes of generating a little income for some very deserving kids.

Klokot Schoolroom

Good morning all. While I don’t “know” most of you personally I am truly honored to be included in your “group” thanks to GunnNutt! That’s right – it’s ALL HER FAULT! 🙂

REALLY long story but as a result of “adopting” one Soldier deployed in OIF1 I have ended up (as all of you have) with a huge family of military personnel in my life. Ah! What a wonderful feeling and huge honor. During the course of this “journey” one of my groups of “adoptees” who had all served in OIF and some in Afghanistan, were deployed to Kosovo. While they were there they (UNOFFICIALLY) invited me to Kosovo. It was a setup! 🙂 Within days of arriving there I was absolutely hooked on helping. I found out many things during that first trip but the most important thing I found out regarding the military there is that they are directed to accomplish certain tasks and missions yet they are not funded to do so. Therefore, when I returned I founded Progress Through Peace, Inc. (PTP) as a means by which to assist them (indirectly, of course -we MUST follow the rules!) in securing tools, resources and funding for the needs they identify there. It has been the most amazing experience of my life and it’s just beginning. I have returned to Kosovo 3 more times since last August and will be leaving again on November 17th for my fifth trip (at my own expense). WE HAVE made significant progress in many areas and have begun the work on several others. We are working to establish a DARE program in the schools, we are working with a partner here in the US as well as the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology there to totally overhaul the elementary and secondary school systems to bring them up to, at least, minimum standards as set forth by the Ministry, we have recently sent 10 horns and hundreds of pages of sheet music and will this week send 20 violins, 20 music stands and more sheet music for the Gnjilane School of music (a GREAT story in itself), we will be establishing educational coops throughout the region so that teachers can both receive basic educational materials such as pens, paper, pencils, educational maps, etc AND attend professional educational seminars on subjects such as “problems students”, “slow students”, “involving parents”, etc. and on and on and on. We have a LOT of work to do but with the Soldiers of US KFOR as our partners it’s an “easy” job. They are THE BEST!

I’m writing all of you for two reasons. One – to get the “word out”. Two – because of the email below mine.

I received the email yesterday from a teacher at an elementary school in Kosovo, Serbia (former Yugoslavia). I’m forwarding it to you because it is just one of MANY basic needs that we are trying to provide for the schools there. I was wondering if maybe your company or any other organization (civic, church, etc.) might be interested in helping out with a donation. I do know the teacher who sent the email. He actually risked his job to participate in an Educational Summit we held in Kosovo in July and August of this year because he knew that he would gain knowledge from it for his students and fellow teachers. The military had to pick him up and return him every day because of security “issues.” He came under the guise of “interpreter” because the “powers that be” in Belgrade absolutely positively forbade any Serbian teachers from participating in the Summit because it was multi ethnic. We had other Serbian teachers there as well and were pleased that they realized the value of the seminar and were willing to take the risk. All of the non Albanian teachers had to have military escort to and from each day. Not surprising to me was the fact that the Albanian teachers welcomed them and the group was completely cohesive and worked together. I have visited in the home of the author of the email below and have been to his school on several occasions. The attached photos are of me in that school in December 2005. Notice that I am wearing a heavy coat which I never took off. Also notice that many of the students have on coats as do the teachers in the photos. The ones who don’t have coats on didn’t have one to wear but we remedied that before we left. Finally, notice the wood burning stove. It was NOT burning that day because they only had enough wood last year to burn for a few days. None of the schools in Kosovo have heat other than from wood burning stoves. Most, including this one, have no indoor plumbing at all – yet another story!

While it may be difficult to read his email because of his English all he is asking for is money to purchase firewood for the wood stoves that provide heat in the class rooms. They take education very seriously and know it is a basic building block to any future they may have. Our estimate for the purchase of wood for this school for the winter is $2000.00. Any part of that amount that will be appreciated and 100% of your donation will go to the purchase. NO Administrative fees!

Hopefully this information will assist you in our request for a donation. For more information you may access our website. It is very elementary in design but we have no interest in paying money for a “pretty” design right now when the money needs to be spent on basics in Kosovo. In time we hope to find a volunteer who can make it “prettier” but that is not a priority.

We have already provided funds for wood for another school but our funding is tapped out at the moment and we still have expenses to pay for the Summit that was held in July/August of this year. I receive an email or two each week from teachers asking for very basic things. We are doing our best to accommodate them. We have 2 warehouses full of palletized educational materials and hygiene items as well as access to 20,000 lbs of medical equipment and supplies that we are working to get transported to Kosovo. I expect to get a flood of emails like this one requesting money for fire wood in the coming weeks as the temperatures plummet there.

Thanks so much. Please understand I am NOT expecting a donation from you. I know that EACH of you has done more than your share to support our amazing troops. I’m just hoping that you may know of an individual or organization that might be interested in helping out. Fund raising admittedly, is the part of this job I dislike the most.

In order for a donation to be tax deductible under 501c3 it must be made out to Delta Living Academy (our partner). We do have pay pal as a link on the PTP web site but PTP has not yet been approved for 501c3 status (my own fault – just not enough hours in the day).


Leta M Carruth
Progress Through Peace, Inc./Delta Living Academy
Executive Director (PTP)
P O Box 100
Cordova, TN 38088

From: teacher
Sent: Sun 10/15/2006 4:24 AM
To: Leta Carruth
Subject: letter
Dear Mum Leta,

With a great respecting of yours.I want to say hallo and I also want to ask you,how are you and what impresions you took back home from Kosovo.I hope you remember me, my name is teacher. I worked with you during conference in Ferizaj-Kosovo like interpreter. I realy hope that you effort and work you did in Kosovo will bring concrete purposes,also I want to remind you about project with name KLOKOT SCHOOL,that I have wrote.

The bigest problem we are dealing at this momen is fire wood. Maybe you can do something for us, because school has not money to provide fire wood for this season.

Apprecative for everything you did for us,and everything you do for our school.

Answer me at teacher.

Klokot Schoolroom Stove
Leta in the schoolroom with the tiny wood stove and student.

Yes, I look like a dork in these photos but I stayed (as I always do) in a local family’s home with no heat, no electricity and no running water.

I encourage all of you to check out Leta’s site. If you want to read more about her exploits, set aside some time and click on “Travel Journals” for all her exciting (and tear jerking!) encounters in the strange and wonderful land of Kosovo. While you’re there, drop some $$ in the kitty to fund the much needed help that PTP is providing.

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October 2006
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Tribes. "I am not a wolf. I have never harmed a person in my life. But I am not a sheep, either. I know these forces are out there, and wishing it were not so will not only not make them go away – it will rob me of my chance to kick their ass when they show up."
Bill Whittle


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