Our Board Members
My grandfather was a WWII veteran of the South Pacific and was in the USAAF before it was the Air Force. My father was a Cold War Era veteran of the Air Force, serving in the Arctic Circle radar range. The summer right after high school, I went to join the Air Force. That same summer, I ended up getting a job at a defense contractor, and stayed there almost ten years. I regret not going into the service, but have tried to stay in touch with my friends that did. I stayed in the technology field, and over the last 30 years or so, I have met a lot of Soldiers. The experience has always given me a feeling of honor and gratitude.
Fast forward to the last dozen years, and I have a family now. We live in a free country unlike any other on earth because of Soldiers who have given both service and sacrifice so that we can be free. It is because of this that we started the Tampa Bay Troop Support group in 2006, and send packages to our Soldiers stationed away from home. We continue to grow and grow, and I feel as if everyone in the group is part of our larger than life family.
I am a little fish in a big pond. Many of my kids friends joined the military right out of high school. My dad was a Korean war vet & my brother served in the Air Force. If I had it to do over, I would have joined the Air Force when I got out of high school.
I was honored to help out when I was asked to join Tampa Bay Troop Support in their venture to send stuff from home to our soldiers away from home. Through this great group of people I have made some terrific friends, on both sides of the shipping line. I love being a small part of this wonderful group! If not for the men & women who sign their lives away, (and their families who support that decision) for our freedom, we would not be able to enjoy the lives we live.
My Great Grandfather was a WWII Veteran, he was USAAF. He was Air Force before it was Air Force. My Grandfather was Air Force as well. I used to listen to my Great Grandfather talk about his service and stories about the war. I remember that the were some missions that he told me about, if it had gone wrong no one would be looking for them for a long time. I believe that he was explaining Veterans Day to me; I interpreted it as “a day to thank the good guys”. We had to go home that night and I told my parents that I wanted to send some of my hot wheels to the good guys. For those of you who have kids you know that hot wheels are one of their prized possessions at a young age. So we found out a way to do it. Here we are almost 10 years now and over 3,500 boxes later.
It means so much to those overseas to get mail. We have got letters, videos and emails thanking us for doing what we do. We should be the ones thanking them. If you ever see a veteran, please say thank you to them. I may be a kid, but I understand how much this means to them. I know that we live in America, a free country. One thing that most of us know is that Freedom isn’t Free. I have full intentions on serving my country as USAF. Thank You to all Veterans and all of those who are serving our country.
There is a long line of military personnel in my family. Starting with my grandfather(Opa) who fought for Germany and was wounded in WWI. Opa immigrated to the United States and loved his new country becoming an American citizen. My dad served in the Navy flying in P2V Orion aircraft hunting Soviet submarines. My uncle was a submariner while in the Navy. Today, I am proud to say my son Matthew is serving in the U. S. Navy working on F/A-18 Super Hornets.
Many years ago in a land far away…oh wait wrong story. I have had the pleasure of calling David my friend since the second grade. One evening David and I were talking and he mentioned sending a few boxes of treats to the troops serving in Iraq. Instantly I knew I had to help. We ended up sending 4 or 5 boxes and the rest is history. Guess you could say I have been involved with Tampabay Troop Support from the beginning. Now at every packing event, I get to send one special box to my son Matthew!