Sea to Shining Sea

July 12, 2012

This piece may not be about skydivers but it does include people with no shortage of  courage: expectant women whose husbands are deployed.  We often show our appreciation to the troops but don’t always remember the daily sacrifices their spouses make.

Thank God for LeAnn Morrissey, for she remembers.  In 2007 she founded the non-profit Operation Shower which provides joyful baby showers for military families to help ease the burden of deployment. Little did I know when I stumbled upon this organization, it would have such an impact on my life.

It started about a year and a half ago, when my friends Lana Wescott, Judi Marchand, Dana Miller and I proclaimed ourselves ’41’s First Mates’ and set out to raise $25,000. That was the amount needed for Operation Shower to shower 80 expectant moms whose husbands were deployed on the USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN-77).

Why 41 you may wonder? And why Maine and Texas you may ask? Well, it’s because those are the two states the ship’s namesake (a/k/a the 41st president of the USA) calls home. Many people from Maine and Texas attended the christening and the commissioning of the ship so feel a real connection to it.

We held many small fundraising events over the course of several months and found that people were delighted to donate. Friends in Maine knitted blueberry baby caps while friends in Texas knitted cowboy booties to go along with the traditional shower-in-a-box provided by Operation Shower which offers everything a new mom could ever need.

Set up day for the shower, entitled ‘Sea to Shining Sea’, was on September 16th at a church in Norfolk, VA. This is what it looked like when we arrived.

And this is what it looked like when we started moving boxes.

Then we started unpacking boxes.

We worked hard all day making table decorations……

arranging flowers…..

Assembling strollers

Organizing all the shower-in-a-boxes.

And unpacking dozens upon dozens of colorful bath tubs. Couldn’t help but think  these bath tubs would also make great wine coolers.

Look how beautiful the room turned out.

And how beautiful is this cake? The bear, the duck, the lighthouse….all cake. And check out the waves. Yes, I ate a bit too much of it and still, 10 months later, I am trying to work it all off. Weight does not come off as easily these days but that is for another blog post.

It never occurred to us that we would be seeing babies. But of course, some of the moms who had recently given birth, had to bring their little ones. We all loved getting a chance to hold the babies while the moms could open their gifts and enjoy that cake.

One of the best parts of the shower was the final raffle for a top- of- the- line stroller. When the winning number ’41’ was called, everyone was instructed to look at the number under their plates. Guess what? They all had the number 41! Look at the face on this mom as she discovered she was a lucky raffle winner.

Here’s a group pic of some of the beautiful moms.

The amazing LeAnn Morrissey a/k/a Chief Shower Officer,is below on the left with the talented Amy Belle Isle, Chief Event Organizer by her side, next is Judi, Lana then me with my bad hair. ( I am so tired of always being the oldest person. Yesterday, a cashier in the grocery store asked me if I wanted the senior discount! When she saw the disgust on my face she immediately started back peddling, saying it was only her first week of work. What was that supposed to mean? I hate that cashier.) Bad hair and all, I am now an Operation Shower groupie and have helped out with two showers in California and one in Connecticut.

A few days after the shower, I received an exciting email from the captain of the aircraft carrier but I am going to save that for another post.

Please check out operationshower.org for more information. That’s an order.

Favorite Soldier/ Third Favorite Veteran*

July 18, 2011

My favorite soldier in the United States Army, SFC Michael Elliott, retired recently after  more than 24 years of service. I was honored to attend his retirement ceremony at Fort Bragg and to read a letter from President Bush #41.

Fort Bragg, located just west of Fayetteville, North Carolina, is named for Confederate General Braxton Bragg. It covers more than 251 square miles, which is about 3 times the size of Boston. Fort Bragg is best known as the home of the US Army Airborne Forces and Special Forces. It is also the headquarters of the Golden Knights where Mike was a team member for 10 years.

I was very excited about going to Fort Bragg, so allowed for plenty of time to drive the few miles from my hotel, in order to arrive in plenty of time for the 10:00 AM ceremony. What I didn’t allow for  unfortunately, was a problem at the gate. Mike had told me to enter Fort Bragg at the Butner Rd entrance because that road leads directly to the Golden Knights’ headquarters. I tried entering at Butner Rd but quickly learned  it’s only for military.  I was instructed to make a u-turn, exit the base and enter at another entrance a few hundred yards away.  Having very little time to waste, I entered the first available checkpoint at the second entrance. So what, that it said something about a ‘dod card’?  I entered anyway, hoping it was like driving into the ‘correct change’ booth by mistake and being allowed to pass through. No such luck.  I told the guard that I had no idea what a ‘dod’ was while kinda hoping at the same time that maybe I had one and just didn’t know it.

Should have known that 'dod' stands for Department of Defense.

The guard wasn’t amused, told me to take yet another  u-turn, exit Fort Bragg for the second time and go to a different checkpoint. Time was fleeting. When at last I found the right place to enter, I had to get out of the car so it could be inspected.  I wasn’t surprised as this was the same procedure when I visited Lakehurst Naval Air Station a year ago. The drill consists of the driver popping open the trunk and hood then exiting the vehicle and opening all doors. The reason the driver must do everything is so the guard can read  his/her body language in an effort to determine if there is an explosive in the car. All went smoothly until I was asked to open the hood of the rental car. It had popped but had not unlatched. I can’t open the hood of my own car let alone that of an unfamiliar one. I admit, I wasn’t trying very hard because I did not want my hands to get dirty. One can not read a letter from a former leader of the free world with dirty hands. It’s the truth. The annoying guard, who obviously didn’t grasp the seriousness of the situation, continued to insist that I stick my hand under the hood, with absolutely no regard for my newly manicured nails. After many attempts, the hood finally opened. When I noticed black grease on my finger tips, I almost cried. Seriously. The guard, probably in an effort to get rid of me as fast as possible, ran and got a bottle of  hand sanitizer hoping it would solve the small crisis. Fortunately, the grease came off. I got back in the car and floored it through Fort Bragg in order to get to the ceremony on time.

Golden Knights' Headquarters~ Notice how the roof looks like a rectangular parachute.

Upon finding the Golden Knights’ headquarters, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Relief lasted only seconds though as I was horrified to see that every available parking space had a sign saying ‘Military’.  Now that’s just rude!  It was about 9:58 AM and panic was setting in big time.  I found a dirt lot nearby, parked my car and with only seconds to spare,  walked as fast as I could, down a hill in 3 inch, wedge sandals back to the Golden Knights’ headquarters.  I was met at the door by a very nice man who said, “You must be Nancy.” Dang, I realized that meant I was  the last person to arrive. He swiftly lead me to the room where everyone was waiting for the ceremony to begin and showed me my seat along the wall with the other speakers. (Obviously they  all knew which gate to enter and how to open the hood of a car.) The ceremony started about 8 seconds after I arrived.

Singing National Anthem

After the National Anthem, the Battalion Commander said a few words. He singled out several young Golden Knights in attendance and asked them all to stand. He proceeded to point out that everyone standing had not even been born yet, when Mike Elliott joined the Army!  Before I knew it, and pretty much before I could settle down, it was time to read the letter which was written to one of my favorite people by one of my favorite people. It wasn’t easy.

That is a bruise on my arm not a tattoo.

Next up was the Battalion Commander who presented Mike with the Retirement Award for over 24 years of faithful service to our country.

Then Mike was presented with the Excaliber Sword by the Sergeant Major.

There were more presentations including a litograph, Certificate of Achievement from President Obama, Retirement Certificate, and a US flag and lapel button. At retirement ceremonies, flowers are typically presented to the retiring soldier’s mother and spouse. Mike made sure that every woman at his retirement ceremony received a yellow rose.

The floor was then opened up to team members and guests. One by one, they went to the front of the room to talk about Mike. Some stories were funny, others were serious but all were heartfelt. It was pointed out by many that Mike had so much fun while being a Golden Knight that he really hasn’t worked a day in the past 10 years.

One of the many friends who spoke.

A short video clip was shown of Mike preparing for his final skydive as a Golden Knight. In the clip, he is seated at a table piled high with Golden Knight medallions. He explained that he was going to take them all on his last jump then pass them out at the retirement ceremony.  I asked Donna Dixon, the  Golden Knights’ media director, if that was a Golden Knight tradition. She replied, “No, that’s just Mike.”

Picture of video clip.

Last Jump

A nice lunch followed where I had the pleasure of chatting with many of the guests including Mike’s proud parents and fiance. I loved that his father wore a necktie from the USS BUSH aircraft carrier.

SFC Paul Sachs very kindly gave me a tour of the Golden Knights museum where a great deal of attention is given to President Bush’s jumps. President Bush’s most recent jumpsuit is on display complete with a cardboard cutout of his head so it looks as if he is standing there in real life. The museum includes countless trophies and awards all won by the Golden Knights over the years. There is also a separate room in honor of the Knights who have lost their lives. I wish I could have spent more time in the museum.

An old style parachute on display in the museum.

After the tour, I said my good-byes, took my yellow rose and  Golden Knight medallion and sped out of Fort Bragg before another guard could stop me.

* Two WWll vets have first and second place locked in the ‘favorite veteran’ category. That would be my father followed by President Bush#41. Mike Elliott has a lock on third place.

Jumping the Shark

June 4, 2011

This is not your typical jump story. It’s scary and poses some risks but doesn’t involve a plane or a parachute. This jump is off a boat into shark infested waters in the Bahamas. True, they may be ‘nurse sharks’ and not considered dangerous to humans “for the most part” but they are sharks nonetheless. THEY. HAVE. TEETH. My friend from the dock, a 35 year old guy named Food who grew up homeless in Nassau said, ” If the shark bites your fingers, it won’t bite them off, it will only break them.” (That is the reason I am beginning this blog entry before the jump while I can still type.) Food also told me not to wear anything that shines and to make sure I don’t smell like meat. I’ve got both of those things covered so I guess I am all set.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term ‘jumping the shark’ it is an idiom used to describe a moment in the evolution of a television show (or blog) when it begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery. It comes from an episode of Happy Days when Fonzie, while waterskiing,  attempted to jump over a shark. I fear that posting pictures of myself in a bathing suit might be this blog’s ‘jumping the shark’ moment.

As with skydiving, it is very important to be prepared so I met  with Food on the dock the morning of the ‘jump’ for an intense briefing on the correct procedure for coming face to face with sharks.

Very serious preparation course with Food. "Don't wear anything shiny and don't smell like meat."

More of the intense preparation course.

Q&A. "So you mean I actually go IN the water?"

Later that day, when the sharks had just enjoyed scraps given to them by  local fisherman, I decided it was the best moment to open my eyes and jump.

Locals cracking open conch shells and throwing scraps to the sharks. We ended up with a delicious conch salad for lunch that day.

I put on my bathing suit, walked to the boat’s stern and began to wonder why the hell I had decided to do this. It was the same feeling I had on the plane while walking to the open door to skydive. What was I thinking and why did I get myself into this?  I took a deep breath, hoped for the best and slipped into the water. My eyes continually darted in all directions as I waited for Mack the Knife and his friends to appear. The wait was nerve wracking. For a second I imagined I would feel the same way if I were in the mountains of Afghanistan on alert for the Taliban.

First glimpse

And immediately right back out of the water!!!!

Getting braver and swimming away from boat's ladder. Note shark in upper right corner and my main concern is looking at the camera.

Too many sharks moving in. Time to get out.

Food, who stopped by to watch my shark encounter, later told me, “You was tremendous and not scared. You were brave enough to want to touch a shark. A lot of people don’t want to even go near the water. I am proud of you.”

When we said good-bye,  Food decided to offer me some last minute advice on life which I thought I’d share.  He said,”Take things slowly, never rush. If you rush the brush, you’ll spill the paint.”

Maybe tomorrow, I'll swim with the pigs.

Don’t Mention the Red Sox, Please.

April 18, 2011

I haven’t written much on my blog recently because I’ve been busy working on a book proposal and also on the ME/TX themed baby shower for 100 expectant spouses of the crew of the GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN-77). For more information on the baby shower,  please go to facebook and look for the group entitled, Maine and Texas Support Operation Shower/ GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN-77).

My friend Geri Smith (her husband’s name is Tom), who has been mentoring me on the book project, has repeatedly told me to keep up the blog.

She is probably right but after days of interviews and writing, the last thing I feel like doing is more writing.

In the meantime, under the category of ‘Patriotism’, I have a story I’d like to share. This press release from the office of President George W. Bush (#43) just came my way a few hours ago. I LOVE what he is doing.

PRESIDENT BUSH TO HOST WARRIOR 100 MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDE

DALLAS, TX (April 18, 2011) – From April 25-27th, President George W. Bush will host the Warrior 100 (W100), a 100-kilmometer mountain bike ride in the Big Bend with fourteen United States servicemen and women who were seriously wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I’ll be riding across the deserts of Texas with wounded warriors to show the unbelievable character of our men and women in uniform,” said President Bush. “It’s a 100-kilometer ride in the desert, and it’s not a leisurely ride; it’s a ride to herald people who were dealt a severe blow and said, ‘I’m not going to let it tear me down.’”

The W100 will highlight the courage of US troops who have served their country honorably during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. It will also herald the significant contributions of organizations that support these heroes and their families while they are gone and when they return home. Organizations represented on the ride include the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Ride 2 Recovery, World T.E.A.M. Sports and the Wounded Warrior Project.

The bike ride will serve as the inaugural event of the Social Enterprise initiative of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. The Social Enterprise initiative highlights the work of those who find innovative ways to help others.

Riders alongside President Bush include Sergeant Sam Cila, USA (Ret.) of Riverhead, NY; Sergeant Andy Hatcher, USMC (Ret.) of Alexandria, VA; Sergeant Major Chris Self, USA (Ret.) of Clarksville, TN; Lieutenant Colonel Patty Collins, USA of Kileen, TX; Corporal Jon Copsey, USMC (Ret.) of Vista, CA; Colonel David Haines, USA of Louisville, KY; Specialist Carlos Hernandez, USA of San Antonio, TX; Lieutenant Colonel Marc Hoffmeister, USA of Fort Richardson, AK; Staff Sergeant Scott Bilyeu, USAF (Ret.) of San Antonio, TX; Corporal Josh Davis, USMC (Ret.) of Vail, AZ; Sergeant First Class Dillon Behr, USA (Ret.) of Arlington, VA; Staff Sergeant Kenny Butler, USA (Ret.) of Barre, VT; Sergeant Bryce Cole, USA (Ret.) of Cypress, TX and Specialist Jake Lerner, USA (Ret.) of Jacksonville, FL.For more information and to follow the riders, please visit http://www.w100k.com. For more information on the George W. Bush Presidential Center, including the Social Enterprise Initiative, please visit http://www.bushcenter.com.

PS: Ok, you can ask about the Red Sox today.

Final R H E
Blue Jays 1 2 0
Red Sox 9 13 0
WP: Matsuzaka (1-2, 6.43)
LP: Romero (1-2, 3.12)

Another Miami Dolphin Cheerleader Jumps!

February 24, 2011

Several of the  2011 Miami Dolphin cheerleaders recently jumped with the Golden Knights in Homestead, Florida. Shannon, loved her experience so much that she sent me the following story. Although it doesn’t describe her jump experience in great detail, it  will give you an idea of the professionalism of the Golden Knights. Thanks Shannon, for sharing your story.

The Golden Knights is a group of incredibly talented gentlemen. I expected them to be rigid and dry Army men, hardly cracking a smile, but they are the exact opposite. Yes, they are professional and serious when needed. After all, they were about to jump out of a perfectly good airplane thousands of feet above the ground with us strapped to their stomachs. But all rules and precautions aside, these men are comforting and inspiring. One of the demonstration team members, Howie Sanborn, even let me help him pack up his parachute before his next jump. To take me and put me on the same level as him and trust me to put together the one thing slowing his 120 mph fall instilled a great feeling of confidence in me. It’s as if Howie wanted to share something very special to him with us and because of that, I learned to do something that most will never do in their life. For Howie to not even question a complete stranger, said great deals about his character and how much he values sharing with others what he loves so much.

I had a difficult time because of my fear of heights, but somehow my instructor, Aaron Figel, and my photographer, Jared Zell, made me completely forget about those fears. They eased any worries by simply making me laugh nonstop. They joked and told stories and made every step of the day full of pure and natural fun. It shows when someone loves what they do for a living – in fact, it makes all the difference. At one point, somewhere about 8,000 feet in the air, Jared looked to me pointed out the wide-open plane door and smiled as he opened his arms and said “Welcome to my office.” What an incredible reality.

These men, the best in their unusual line of work, have trained and auditioned for this career that they love so dearly. They are blessed to be able to do what they love the most every day of their lives, and they know it. The don’t take a single moment or opportunity for granted and live each second to fullest, unlike many other people I know. With every laugh and joke it is clear how much they are grateful to be where they are and enjoy every second of it. It is that energy that can be felt throughout the day, on the ground and in the air. It is that energy that was comforting and fun. It made me feel as though we had known them for years. This day, spent with them, has taught me great things about myself and my life. I will never forget them and the impact they have had on me will be with me for years to come.

What an honor it was to jump out of a plane with the Golden Knights.

Cheers! Shannon

The American Widow Project

January 19, 2011

In 2007, Tayrn Davis was 23 years old, married and getting ready to graduate from college when her husband was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. She found herself feeling totally alone and longing to talk with other people in the same situation.

Taryn Davis with her husband, CPL Michael Davis.

Taryn decided to drive across the country to find other young, military widows with whom to talk about love, loss and  to learn how they survive. What started as a trip to help herself heal, turned into the non-profit organization called The American Widow Project, “an organization dedicated to the new generation of those who have lost the heroes of yesterday, today and tomorrow, with an emphasis on healing through sharing stories, tears and laugher…….military widow to military widow.”

Taryn’s cross-country road trip also resulted in a 75 minute documentary featuring six military widows. It covers everything from how they met their husbands, the knock on the door, being a single parent to decorating a headstone. Taryn’s documentary is given out free to all military widows and widowers to assist them in their healing process.

Taryn now travels the country on this bus which lists names of brave soldiers who have given their lives.

The American Widow Project has a newsletter written by widows and a hotline answered by widows. The women do not hold seminars or have speakers they rely on each other. They get together for weekend getaways of golf, surfing and even skydiving in an effort to enjoy life the way they did when their spouses were still alive. Everything is organized by Taryn.

I am astonished at what Taryn has accomplished at such a young age and under such tragic circumstances which is why I nominated her for a Point of Light Award. I know there are lots of good people out there but can’t think of anyone more deserving of the award than Taryn. If you feel the same, please go to pointsoflight.org and click on ‘what we do’ then ‘ recognizing service’ and fill out the online form.  It will only take a few minutes.

Taryn, front/left and friends in front of the AWP bus.

The following quote by Thornton Wilder appears on the AWP website. “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”

Please check out the American Widow Project at americanwidowproject.org or by clicking on the link in the blogroll in the column on the right.

Skydiving is Lovelier, the Second Time Around!

October 26, 2010

Thought it would be fun to compare photos from my first skydive, at an unnamed jump center in Massachusetts, to a few from my ‘golden opportunity’ in Florida.

Here I am exiting a plane in in the skies of MA in June of 2007. Note my tandem instructor is not wearing a hat or a jumpsuit.  In fact, it doesn’t even look as if he is wearing a parachute. Looks more like a backpack to me.  That plane was so rickety, I remember thinking my odds for a safe landing were much better jumping out of it than attempting to land in it.

The shot above is of me exiting the Golden Knight’s plane in Homestead, FL on March 1, 2010. My tandem master, SFC Mike Elliott is wearing all the appropriate gear. More important, his parachute looks like a parachute, not a back-to-school supply. My heart was not in my throat during the short  ride on the Golden Knight’s plane  to 13,500 ft. Of course I was nervous but it was the good kind of nervous.

Here I am free-falling in MA. At least I was given a helmet to wear but no gloves. The navy, short-sleeved, cotton jumpsuit made me feel more like I should be pumping gas at a Sunoco station than jumping out of a plane.  I recall it was quite chilly at 13,000 feet so my tandem instructor’s head must have been freezing. Perhaps he didn’t wear a helmet so his earrings would be visible.  Because my comfort level was in the negative numbers, my eyes remained  tightly shut during the entire free-fall. I saw NOTHING. All I did was pray that I wouldn’t leave my children without a mother. Again, please note the ‘backpack’ which, I might add,  looks poorly packed. If I had seen pictures like this before my jump, I would have surely stayed in bed that morning.

The jumpsuits provided by the Golden Knights are top quality and actually designed to help the skydiver fly.  For me, it was a huge bonus that the jumpsuit’s ‘cool factor’ is off -the-charts high. I was very grateful for the heavy duty gloves which offered good protection against the wind. Believe me, when you reach speeds of 120 mph during the free-fall, there is a lot of wind. Once again, the parachute looks professional, is neatly packed and appears as if it actually might open. SFC Elliott is wearing the appropriate head gear and I am fairly certain there are no earrings underneath. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Thanks to the Golden Knights and SFC Elliott, my comfort level was high enough that I not only kept my eyes wide open but even managed a pathetic little ‘thumbs up’ sign.

What was I thinking in MA? I didn’t even know this guy’s name.  Why in the world did I put my life in his hands?  I realize now that I basically jumped to impress people. I wanted people to say, “Wow, you skydived!”  Talk about immature. I was a fool. A psychologist would have a field day with that one.

Why did I jump the second time?  I did it for myself.  All I wanted was to keep my eyes open and enjoy every moment. Having witnessed firsthand the professionalism of the Golden Knights and knowing that safety is their utmost concern, I was able to achieve my goal.

My two skydiving experiences couldn’t have been more different. Hands down, skydiving was lovelier and SAFER, the second time around.


Steve Foxman

September 23, 2010

Widener University Registrar Steve Foxman, a student pilot who has always been fascinated with flying,  was recently invited to jump with the Golden Knights. He didn’t hesitate saying ‘yes’, even though he is unable to look down while standing on a second floor balcony.

Steve and SFC Mike Elliott a/k/a my tandem master....oh and President Bush's too. Photo courtesy of Golden Knights.

“I’m not a risk taker at all”, he confessed.  He accepted the invitation because Ten years down the road, I don’t want to have regrets. If someone asks me ‘what is it like to skydive’, I’ll know.” The fact that former President Bush jumped with the Golden Knights at the age of 85 helped to convince Steve it was an opportunity he should seize.

Steve might not be breathing but he still managed to smile. Photo courtesy of Golden Knights.

Steve said “I don’t know if I enjoyed the free fall; I didn’t really have time.” He found it difficult to breath while free falling and explained, “The air was sucked right out of my lungs.”  In looking at the picture above, I noticed that Steve’s mouth is open. Perhaps had he kept his mouth shut, the air would not have been sucked out. Just sayin’…. While Steve didn’t quite enjoy the free fall, he would do it again in a heartbeat but only with the Golden Knights.

Happy to be back on the ground. Photo courtesy of Agent 99.

Steve still feels the ‘skydiving high’ whenever he watches his jump video. He recalled, ” After jumping, I felt as if I could do anything. It was a different kind of strong.  It was ‘Army Strong’.”  I wonder if he’s tried looking over a second floor balcony yet.

Romance on the DZ

September 6, 2010

For some reason this was posted between two old stories. I have no idea why and no idea how to fix it. So, here it is again.

If a prize had been given at Lakehurst Naval Air Station to the skydiver with the most spectators, it would have gone, hands down, to Carmine ‘Chops’ Czapla, a police officer with the Department of Defense.  He’s an extremely likable guy so it’s not surprising that he has so many friends. What’s surprising though is that they were all willing to take time off from work to watch him jump. The reason?  Unbeknownst to Chop’s longterm girlfriend Jessica Ruzicka, he was planning to propose marriage as soon as he landed at the drop zone.

Chops with SSG Joe Jones~Photo courtesy of Golden Knights

Chops had been planning to propose to Jessica for a couple of months but was waiting for the perfect moment.  When he learned of the skydiving opportunity just the previous day, he knew it would be theperfect time to propose. “I wanted it to be something Jessica would never forget,” he said. Always one to love a bit of drama myself, I was quite taken with Chops’ plan.

SSG Joe Jones seemed to take his time soaring through the air with Chops as Beyonce’s lyrics “If you like her then you better put a ring on it. If you like it then you better put a ring on it. If you like her then you better put a ring on it”  reverberated around the drop zone. Jessica seemed to be the only person at Lakehurst who was completely clueless.

Photo Courtesy of Golden Knights

Upon landing, Chops immediately dropped to one knee as someone slipped him a ring. (Smart man not to have had a ring in his pocket during the free fall.) While none of us on the sidelines could hear anything, Chop’s and Jessica’s body language spoke volumes. Cheers and applause erupted when it was obvious her response was ‘yes’.

I asked Chops if skydiving was something he always wanted to try and was surprised when he quickly answered, “NO WAY!” It turns out he is deathly afraid of heights. He was scared out of his mind just at the thought of jumping let alone going through with it. He only jumped so the proposal would be something Jessica would remember forever. “I NEVER would have jumped just for the fun of it,” he added.

Jessica

Being too caught up in his romantic story, I never got around to asking Chops his thoughts on the jumpsuit.  I wonder if it played a role in Jessica’s positive response.

It was finally time for me to pop my question, “Which team do you like better, the Red Sox or the Yankees?” Chops proudly, yet sweetly said, “I’m a diehard Yankee fan.”  Of course his answer annoyed me big time, but he proved to me that all Yankee fans are not obnoxious. Congratulations Chops and Jessica.

This entry was posted on May 9, 2010 at 2:24 PM and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. Edit this entry.

100 Bundles of Joy!

August 26, 2010

Brooke Sheldon of Lillybrooke Events, Judi Marchand, Lana Wescott and I are working hard to help spread awareness about Operation Shower, a nonprofit organization which gives unit-wide baby showers to expectant mothers whose husbands are deployed. In addition to raising awareness, we are also raising funds for a baby shower for up to 100 expectant moms whose spouses are on the USS GEORGE HW BUSH (CVN 77).

Brooke recently held a very successful JMcLaughlin trunk show with a percentage of sales going to Operation Shower.

Brooke in front of Lillybrooke Events

Three nights ago we had our first Operation Shower informative event  at the home of dear friends in Kennebunkport, Maine. We were pleased that everyone seemed eager to help.  A few people offered to have fundraisers for our cause and Louise Hurlbutt of Hurlbutt Designs offered to donate 100 baby books for the shower. We have a lot of work ahead but are confident we will raise the $50,000 necessary for the shower.

Lana, Nancy and Brooke

We’ve started a facebook page called, Maine and Texas Support Operation Shower/USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN77). Please join. You don’t have to live in Maine or Texas to participate. If you’d like to make a tax deductible donation, please make checks payable to Operation Shower, write ‘GHWB’ in the bottom corner and mail to Operation Shower, 125 Brighton Way, Clayton, MO, 63105.

If you’d like more information on Operation Shower, go to operationshower.org.

Please help us spread the joy.