ASN Gold Star Family Reunion Day

ASN Gold Star Family Reunion Day

A “Gold Star Family Reunion Day” we hosted over 18 families of our fallen to a day of train rides, pony rides, a visit to the zoo, lunch, games fellowship and Healing! We would like to thank all those who helped make this day possible: Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Irvine Park Railroad, Rawhide Pony Rides, Orange County Zoo, Zevia soda & Company Picnic Specialists. Shout out to John Ford, Gary Jack, Trisha Marshall Eric D Cook Carol Ann Nelson Lori Picard Sgt Nate Serda, Sgt Craig Hart, 1st Sgt Anthony Ball, William Mimiaga and our Special Guest #MedalOfHonor #JohnBaca

A Day of Gratitude

A Day of Gratitude

By G. A. Volb

Fort Irwin Public Affairs

In an ongoing effort to ensure members of the Fort Irwin community recognize the sacrifices of those who serve, “A Day of Gratitude” was observed Nov. 25 honoring local Gold Star Families, first responders and Soldiers.

The day began with a Gold Star banner presentation to family members who lost loved ones during service to the nation, and continued with a “Thanksgiving” lunch, visit to the Fort Irwin Museum and entertainment shared by Gold Star families with current Soldiers.

By honoring these patriots, we hope to continue the legacy of support for those who sacrificed so much and those who continue to serve, said sponsors of the event. We want it to serve as a lasting tribute to those families who lost a loved one while serving our nation – for them to know that we will never forget.

The history of the Gold Star program dates back to August 1947. It was then that Congress enacted Public Law 80-306 establishing the Gold Star Lapel Button for the public identification of the direct next of kin to military members of the Armed Forces of the United States who lost their lives in wars. The button, consisting of a gold star on a purple circular background bordered in gold and surrounded by gold laurel leaves, is furnished without cost to each widow or widower, including parents, children, and brothers/sisters.

Teresa Bullock, a Blue Star and Gold Star mother, said “this event is one of the few such events I’ve attended. Fort Irwin has made an effort over the last few years in southern California to reach out to families, inviting us to concerts and to take tours. It really means a lot to us just to be with the (Soldiers) – and hug them.”

Bullock’s two sons served, her oldest, SSgt. Christopher Webb, served in Iraq and lost his life March 7, 2007 while trying to rid a village of IEDs (improvised explosive devises) prior to a local event so villagers could hold it safely. Blue Star Mothers are those who have children currently serving or who have served and honorably discharged. Bullock, herself, is a veteran.

“This is why our Survivor’s Outreach Services is so important,” said Lori Picard, Fort Irwin’s Survivors Outreach Services Coordinator. “It allows these families the opportunity to stay connected to their Army family.”

Gratitiude2Annie Nelson, of the American Soldier Network, agreed: “There is a big disconnect in our country today between Americans and our military and veterans. That includes the families and families of our fallen. It is long overdue that all of the organizations that claim to support our heroes do whatever they can to help bridge that gap, raise awareness, ensure that no veteran, military member nor their families feel that they are every forgotten or not appreciated. Freedom is not free and we as a nation must always recognize that and show our gratitude whenever we get the chance.”

Nelson pointed out that the “Day of Gratitude” focus isn’t limited to mothers and fathers who lost children in service to the nation, but includes recognizing grandparents, spouses and children as well.

“I personally had men I knew lost in the battle of Fallujah, and as my journey with my own starting the American Soldier Network I have buried many fallen heroes from battles in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as from the invisible wounds that kill here at home,” said Nelson. “So for me spending time and helping the healing process is very personal.”

Closer to home, two of Fort Irwin’s younger Soldiers shared similar sentiments.
“My uncle was a squad leader in Vietnam,” said Spec. Zachary Brooks, 22, of Ash County North Carolina and Soldier with Irwin’s Medical Command. “He was wounded, but told those above him to make sure the other wounded got out first, so he waited on the second helicopter while others were evacuated.”

His uncle, Cpl Ed Pierce, died while waiting on the second helicopter to arrive.
“Zach has been on the phone for months trying to make this happen for his family,” said his wife, Staff Sgt. Amber Brooks. “Ed was his mother’s only brother, so everything he gets here today he’s going to take back to North Carolina for his mother.”

Picard and SOS provide support to more than 500 families from San Bernardino to Los Angeles.

“It’s a great way for [families] to reconnect with other families who are in the same position,” emphasized Nelson. “Losing loved ones is difficult, but losing loved ones in war is a very different dynamic and grief, reuniting these families and allowing them a social time to be together and in a safe, upbeat, positive setting is all a part of the healing process.”

Show Your SOUL Donate Your SOLES

A National Outreach Campaign for American Soldier Network

Angels Within Inc DBA American Soldier Network EIN 033-0713731

Yes we are crazy! Help us collect 25,000+ pairs of USED SHOES!

A Florida-based organization collects old/used shoes, repairs and distributes them to impoverished villages and communities in 3rd world countries.

● Baby/toddler, teen/youth, mens/womens – Boots, slippers, sandals, high heels, tennis shoes

● Over 630 million shoes are thrown away every year in America creating chemical compounds too difficult to breakdown in our Landfills.them FREE to impoverished villages and communities in 3rd world countries.


● Once 25,000 pairs reach the operation hub, Shoes are cleaned-up, repaired & re-fab’d. Then, the Shoes are distributed to the local towns’ people.

● This employs the local residents, giving them a trade, skill & a paycheck.


● When the challenge is met, a check for $0.40 per pound of shoes goes to our American Soldier Network to aid the annual veterans outreach projects and advocating for veterans needs nationwide. This campaign directly aids our active duty military, our combat wounded men/women and veterans or all eras. Our Heroes NEED US!!

DEADLINE November 7, 2014

Shoe PARTY Shoe LOAD Sunday 11/9/2014

Illusion Cycles our Shoe HQ

(Shoes need to be together in pairs)

In the News: Desert Dispatch  Victor Valley Daily Press

 ● Illusion Cycles 14726 Goldenwest Street, Suite F Westminster – 714-894-1942




Read More Here: Desert Dispatch  Victor Valley Daily Press


American Soldier Network visits veterans home


BARSTOW • Volunteers from the American Soldier Network paid a visit to the Veterans Home of California-Barstow on Monday, and they showed up with hundreds of bags of free stuff for the veterans there.

ASN founder Annie Nelson and her team of volunteers came to the Veterans Home for the program’s annual Hearts for Heroes Valentine’s Day Outreach. Nelson’s team brought 205 SWAG bags.

“SWAG for us stands for Showing Warriors America’s Gratitude,” Nelson said. “In the bags we have items of Valentine’s candy and handmade cards from children across California, as well as items donated by the organizations that support us.”

Nelson has spent the past 10 years traveling the country and raising awareness for U.S. veterans of all eras. For this year’s Hearts for Heroes event, ASN chose to visit the High Desert.

“The reason we chose the Barstow Veterans Home was we had a shoe drive for the American Soldier Network back in October, and the Barstow/Victorville area community raised over 5,000 pairs of used shoes to contribute to our shoe drive,” Nelson said. “This is our way of giving back to the Barstow/Victorville community, delivering our Valentine’s (gifts) to your Veterans Home.”

Veterans Home director Raymond Lau said he was impressed with the ASN event.

“It is really super good,” Lau said. “We have a lot of volunteers that come up here, and for the American Solider Network it’s the first time they came up here, and that’s about a three-hour drive for them. We’re simply amazed.”


Battle Shark Challenge

Battle Shark Challenge

The Southern California Recruiting Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. John Oliver would like to invite you to our annual Battle Shark Challenge, April 27th at Huntington Beach.  We currently have over 1,000 young Americans in our Future Soldier program and we’re expecting no less than 800 of them, their family members and 300 active duty Soldiers to attend a ‘Surf City’ day of competition, teambuilding, and partnership.

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