Sunday, March 14, 2010


Where does it come from? This thing called dedication...dedication to principle, to passion, to life, to purpose, to people you have never met, to country.

Last night I attended, with Kelsie my therapy dog, the celebration of the grand opening of the Soldiers' Angels Shipping Center/Museum in San Antonio.  It was a grand event.  Volunteers in Soldiers' Angels t-shirts, pins, bracelets and conviction were in attendance, as well as soldiers  from OEF and OIF, and some from previous wars also present to support and honor the opening of a shipping center, all run by veterans, that send out a 'semi' daily full of donated items to our deployed military.

"Let no soldier go unloved, until they all come home!" (the mantra of Soldiers' Angels) rang out, as group photos were taken of the entire group in attendance.  It was a breathtaking, reverberating, and somewhat chilling experience in a way.  As the words rang out, I hoped the nation heard the words.  This morning, I hope the nation knows what the work of one passionately dedicated woman, Patti Patton-Bader has brought to fruition.  I invite you to visit their website, read the history of this group of indefatigable individuals and realize that one person truly can 'build a village' and join them in their effort to 'let no soldier go unloved.' 

I was blessed to meet SPC Troy Yocum. Troy was but one of the Soldiers' Angels and volunteers who stooped to pet Kelsie and thank her for her service to the soldiers and to the United States of America.  He seemed mesmerized by her vest, touching each of the patches and pins attached with great interest and intensity.  As his fingers fell on the American Flag he asked how he could have one.  I wasn't sure what he meant at the time.

But I soon found out.  Troy, an honorably discharged Iraq-War Veteran will begin hiking with Emmie his dog, while drumming, for over 7000 miles, circling the USA to help raise $5 million dollars for struggling Military Families, beginning april 17th, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky.  A SOLDIER'S HIKE FOR OUR HEROES!  and  Troy is ready - physically, mentally and emotionally.  In February 2011, he will come through San Antonio on his march across the U.S. - Penny's from Heaven Foundation's  Soldiers' Angels Support Dogs and their owners  will walk with him as he enters the city.  "I will only walk as fast as the slowest person...that's how the Army does it."


Emmie or Emerson Elaine Eskridge the Superdog was born in Louisville, KY on June 19th, 2007. She is the smallest of the six original and distinct breeds of dog from Japan called Shiba Inu (柴犬?).She is a small, agile dog that copes very well with mountainous terrain and trails. Emmie has an abundance of energy. She loves to run, play catch, and hunt small animals.
Emmie has a thick coat, especially during the winter. Her safety is a main concern from the crew during very hot days. If temperatures rise then Emmie will take it nice and easy by riding in the RV that follows SPC Yocum. Of course she can't stand this. She always wants to be out front to lead the hike. Troy sometimes thinks that she was born for the purpose of hiking across America!

So this morning, Emmie is proud to announce that she is certified as an Honorary Penny's From Heaven Soldiers' Angel Support Dog!  You see what Troy wanted, as he touched the American flag on Kelsie's vest, was a vest for Emmie to wear as she walks for fifteen months across America to support our Heroes.  She will have a vest, an American flag and the Penny's From Heaven Foundation patch and a Soldiers' Angel pin.  She will proudly represent what we stand for, she will proudly represent our country, and she will proudly honor our soldiers, as she and Troy bring awareness to their mission!

"To further spread the word that our American Heroes are fighting just as hard at home as they do overseas. We hope to provide a peace of mind and lay the foundation for military families in need to succeed. Troy will literally put one foot in front of the other, crossing the great states of America to reach people and help spread the importance of helping our military families." 

Their goal is to raise the needed $5 million for these families! "

Troy is extraordinary.  His dedication is intense. "Our soldiers are ready at a moments notice. They don't pick their battles, but when called to service they respond. Keeping our enemies at bay. Our heroes are champions of freedom not eager for war but willing to sacrifice. One for the need of many. Many veterans live by this military code and have done so when our country needed it the most. Now it is our NATIONAL HEROES who need our help and its time that we all stand by them with honor. While one soldier may miss holidays, a birthday, or a birth of a child, others may suffer mentally and develop anxiety, depression or PTSD. Some even sacrifice much more by being injured by road side bombs, being shot or taking shrapnel. Some pay the ultimate price. In any case, we ask a lot of our men and women in uniform and when in their time of strife, who can they call on?"

Please help Troy and Emmie, support them, and support those men and women who allow us the freedom to walk across America free!

And you had better believe that Penny's From Heaven Foundation Soldiers' Angels Support Dog teams will be there for them.

Soldiers' Angels is proud to support SPC Troy Yocum on this truly inspiring Hike For Our Heroes. "May No Soldier Go Unloved," encapsulates the motivation behind Soldiers' Angels. The volunteers of Soldiers' Angels work tirelessly to demonstrate active care and concern for veterans, the wounded, deployed service members and their families. Soldiers' Angels volunteers will spread the word in their communities before Troy's arrival in their area. Soldiers' Angels media team will also post updates on Troy's progress on their official sites at Twitter @soldiersangels, and 

They are happy to have started off Troy's fundraiser efforts with a $1,000 donation and urge others to contribute.

Soldiers' Angels is a volunteer-led 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and their families. Founded by the mother of two American soldiers, they are an international, volunteer-led organization supporting America's men and women in uniform. With over 30 different teams and projects, their nearly 200,000 volunteers assist veterans, wounded and deployed personnel and their families in a variety of unique and effective ways.

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If you would like to donate to Troy and Emmie's journey, please let us know! 


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