March 27, 2010

WEST CHESTER VICTORY RALLY – 3/27/10

Filed under: Rallies — Rich Davis @ 6:51 pm

Thanks to all the patriots who came out to show pride and gratitude to our troops. We had a big turnout and perfect weather. At noon we sang the National Anthem and two military moms held the flag for us.  Gloria’s son just came home from Iraq and Faith’s son-in-law is in Afghanistan right now.

 

We always say a prayer that God bless our troops, protect them, and guide them to victory.

  

Military Moms Faith and Joy. 

Special welcome to newcomers, Donna and her husband Eric, and also to Fred standing next to JoAnne.

 

Army Mom Maureen with her daughters Christy and Molly.  Their brother John-Paul is an Army Officer in Afghanistan. He’ll be home on leave and we hope we will be able to see him and salute him.

 

Below are 3 Vietnam Vets. Airforce Bud on left and Marines Lee and Jim.

 

  

Our WWII veteran Frank sends a thumbs-up to “his guys”.

Vietnam Veteran Ralph stands with Military Dad Harry.

        

Vietnam veterans William (USMC) and Barry (Army).

 

        

After the rally I went to West Chester University to watch the softball game and ran into Chris, he’s wearing a Marine Corps sweatshirt in honor of his friend Willie, who just graduated from USMC Boot Camp a week ago.  Hopefully Marine Willie will be able to visit us some time. We wish him well and thank him for his service.

March 23, 2010

SHEEPDOGS PRESENT CHECK FOR MIKE HORROCKS STATUE AT WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY – 3/23/10

Filed under: Announcements,Heroes — Rich Davis @ 11:02 pm

Here’s the photo of our check presentation on the campus of West Chester University in front of Phillips Memorial Hall.  We raised $2000 at our fundraiser at the Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown for the statue of Mike Horrocks which will be dedicated at the WCU Football Stadium on Sept 11, 2010.

WCU President Greg Weisenstein told us, “College kids need role models. This statue will be a way for all our students, especially the football team, to remember that Mike Horrocks, a WCU football player, was a hero.”

In the photo are Athletic Director Dr Edward Matejkovic, President Greg Weisenstein, me, and Steve Grabicki(representing PA State Senator Andy Dinniman).  Photo was taken by WCU photographer Bob Williams.  

Here’s the story of how Mike’s teammates from West Chester University are raising money to honor their quarterback and leader from 1981 -1984.

Back Channels: A lasting tribute to 9/11 victim
West Chester University alumnus to get statue.
by Kevin Ferris of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Mar 14, 2010

Spend any time with the people who knew Michael Horrocks when he played football for West Chester University and you’re going to hear about the Delaware game. A lot.

Powerhouse Delaware vs. longtime rival West Chester – usually a good day for Blue Hens fans. In fact, Delaware had a 15-game winning streak against the Rams when the teams met for the season opener in 1983.

Mike was in his third year, the starting quarterback. His friend Rick Ulrich was also in the backfield that day, and he remembers the Rams initially taking Delaware by surprise.

“We got ahead pretty quickly, and by a large margin, 31-7 or 31-10,” Ulrich says. “But they slowly figured out how to stop us. Little by little they put points on the board.”

A late interception sealed the deal. Rams won, 35-27 – something that hadn’t happened since 1956 (the teams didn’t meet every year). The record-setting quarterback went on to lead his team to a 7-3 season.

“He was disciplined, on and off the field,” Ulrich says. “When he set his mind to doing something, he worked every day diligently to make that happen.”

One thing he set his mind to, and talked about often while at West Chester, was being a pilot. After graduation in 1985, he – of course – made it happen. First as a pilot and flight instructor while a Marine Corps officer. After the service, he flew for United Airlines. Along the way he and his wife, Miriam, had two children, Christa and Michael, and they settled in Glen Mills.

Mike, 38, was the first officer on United Flight 175, which crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001.

Now, on the next Sept. 11 – 27 years and a day since the Delaware game – his teammates will lead the school as well as family and friends in honoring Mike. At the season home opener against Edinboro, they will dedicate a statue of the cool, disciplined young man who led and inspired them.

The team wanted to show No. 14 in action, the classic quarterback pose of one arm extended, the other back and ready to launch the ball, eyes downfield, searching for a receiver. And that’s exactly what sculptor Brian Hanlon of Toms River, N.J., has in the works.

It will be set just off a path at the northwest corner of West Chester’s John A. Farrell Stadium, with Mike facing the gridiron. The football team will pass the statue at every home game as it makes its way from the athletic center to the field.

There had been talk of a tribute at West Chester since 2001, but vague plans began to crystallize two years ago, when Mike’s former teammates approached the school. Honors to alumni and other valued members of the university community are a natural part of school life. Plaques are hung, trees planted, buildings and classrooms renamed, scholarships endowed.

Mike’s teammates wanted a statue, which for this campus would be a one-of-a-kind tribute. (There’s the ram statue, but none of a person.)

Joe Walsh, who played center for West Chester in the early ’80s, acknowledges that Mike’s reaction to a statue would likely have been, “What the hell is that?” But, given the kind of man he was, how the football fraternity still feels about him, and how he died, the team believes strongly this is the way to go.

“Nothing short of a full statue could do Mike honor,” Walsh said. “Put a plaque on a wall and people will walk right by it. Hang it outside the locker room and then the community won’t see it.”

University officials from the athletic department to the president’s office were happy to help but skeptical. They assumed the expense and time-consuming fund-raising efforts needed to pull the project off would perhaps steer the well-intentioned teammates to a more modest tribute.

Not when a guy like Mike is your inspiration. You set a lofty goal, and then work diligently every day to make it happen.

They are indeed making it happen. The initial fund-raising target was $100,000, half for the statue and half for an annual football scholarship. They’ve raised about $68,000, so the statue is covered. They have six months to raise the remaining $32,000 for the scholarship fund, though Walsh is pushing hard for an initial fund of $100,000.

They’ve held two large dinners, organized Super Bowl and March Madness pools, and there was even a last-minute gathering at Victory Brewery Co. in Downingtown last weekend that raised $2,000. Teammates push each other for contributions, both financial and material. The landscaping and stonework around the statue, as well as the crane that sets it in place, will also be donated.

And it’s not just teammates.

“Anyone affiliated with West Chester football is trying to get involved,” Ulrich says. “Guys who didn’t know him, who maybe read about him, or just saw him play. They want to jump in and help. Their heart and soul is into the project.”

If you’d like to jump in and help, send checks payable to the WCU Foundation, Box 541, West Chester, Pa. 19381, or call 610-436-2868 to donate by credit card.

March 21, 2010

WEST CHESTER VICTORY RALLY – 3/20/10

Filed under: Rallies — Rich Davis @ 11:23 am

The first day of spring provided perfect weather for another large turnout of patriots proud to show public support for our freedom fighting troops, our flag, and our country.  The past winter was tough, but so was the commitment and support for our victory movement.

         

Above, Joe Crescenz, his brother Michael was the only Philadelphian to receive the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War.

Our troops are special, they know what made this country great.

They step forward and sacrifice their tomorrows so that we can enjoy our todays.  

The work hard, they train hard, they want to keep us safe, they are the best of us. 

God bless our troops, protect them, and guide them to victory.

March 20, 2010

UNITED STATES MARINES FROM BRIDGE COMPANY B – ALL HOME, ALL PRESENT AND ACCOUNTED FOR

Filed under: Heroes,Welcome Home — Rich Davis @ 11:30 am

Late last night, about 50 people from the Warriors Watch Riders, A Hero’s Welcome, Moms4RMarines, and Sheepdogs went to Philadelphia Airport to welcome home the final 6 Marines from Folsom, PA.  It’s always a touching moment to see the mother and child reunions.  These local heroes spent 6 months in Iraq and then volunteered to extend their time in harm’s way by going to Afghanistan to help train Afghans.  We love them and are proud of all they do for us.

 

Below, the Bridge Company B commanding officer, Major Jerry Kleber, who came home a couple days ago, spoke and thanked us for taking time out on a late Friday night to come and honor his fellow Marines.

We are happy to do it, we are forever grateful for what you sacrifice for us and for helping oppressed people gain freedom around the world.  Thanks to you Jerry for leading them and thanks to God for bringing all 150 of you back home, and none wounded either.

Thank You Troops!  Thank You Military Families!

March 16, 2010

WELCOME HOME MARINES! WARRIORS WATCH RIDERS, LEATHERNECKS MC, AND OTHER BIKERS PROVIDE MOTORCYCLE ESCORT FOR LOCAL HEROES.

Filed under: Heroes,Welcome Home — Rich Davis @ 9:38 pm

More Marines from Bridge Company B in Folsom, PA returned home from harm’s way.  These local Marines spent 7 months in Iraq and then volunteered for 3 more months in Afghanistan.  Several patriotic bikers from the Warriors Watch Riders, Leathernecks, Second Brigade, and others gave them a motorcycle escort from the Philadelphia Airport.  A Hero’s Welcome and Sheepdogs joined the families and formed a giant flag line to give them the “Welcome Home” they deserve.

The wives were very happy to see their husbands.  Above is Jean, she hugs her husband Jerry, he is the company commander.  Happily, Jerry’s unit suffered zero casualties during their dual deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. 

The families were very emotional, lots of smiles and tears of joy.

            

It was a beautiful day to come out and show public support for these heroes. We are grateful and proud to let them know that while they were away, doing the job that must be done, they were not alone.

Welcome Home Marines of Bridge Company B! 

 Thank You and Thank You Marine families!

March 14, 2010

WEST CHESTER VICTORY RALLY – 3/13/10

Filed under: Rallies — Rich Davis @ 12:10 pm

Without a doubt, this was the worst storm we’ve ever faced.  Heavy gusty winds and steady downpouring of rain made this the toughest conditions we’ve ever had in over 30 months.  But like our troops, we stood firm and kept our flags flying.  It’s amazing the way everyone works so hard to pay tribute to our troops and show appreciation for all they do for us.

  

At noon we gathered to sing the Star Spangled Banner and say the “Lord’s Prayer” for our troops and country. We were honored to have Marine Iraq War Veteran Mark hold the flag for us.  He is currently attending the Pennsylvania Police Academy and is almost half-way through.  We are grateful to all our first-responders (police, firemen, medical techs) and all branches of law enforcement too.

     

Here’s Frank, our WWII veteran, even in his wheelchair the storm didn’t stop him from supporting the troops. ”They’re my guys”, he says.

  

At the end we passed the “Support The Troops” coin from Dan to Dennis. Each week a different person gets the coin, it gives us a chance to get to know each other and its an honor to carry around for a week.

Thanks again to all who came out on such a miserable day.  It’s on days like this that we shine brightest.

To The Troops! To America! God bless us our troops, protect them, and guide them to victory.

March 8, 2010

MIKE HORROCKS DINNER AT VICTORY BREWING COMPANY – HUGE SUCCESS FOR US AND WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY

Filed under: Announcements,Heroes — Rich Davis @ 11:13 am

A packed house at the Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown enjoyed a delicious meal and heard motivating testimonies from West Chester University guests and friends. It was a huge success.  Everyone had a terrific time and we raised $2000 for the Mike Horrocks Statue and Scholarship.

Joe Walsh was Mike’s teammate. Joe was the center and Mike was the quarterback.  He told us a few stories of how Mike led the team, time after time to victory.  He talked about the tremendous hurt that he and all his teammates feel about the way Mike was taken from us by Islamic terrorists on Sept 11, 2001.  When Joe spoke, his eyes filled up and the audience was captivated by his words.  He thanked us for helping to raise the money they need to get the life-size statue of Mike erected next to the West Chester University Football Stadium. 

  

PA State Rep Curt Schroder and Chester County Sheriff Carolyn Welsh shared their thoughts of what the statue will mean for the university and community.

The Rams Head Coach, Bill Zwaan gave a great speech about how hard Mike’s teammates have worked to make this dream a reality.  He said, “Nobody thought a bunch of football players would really be able to get a life-size statue  built, but these guys overcame all the odds, they have made it happen.”   He also spoke about what the statue will mean to the West Chester University football team.  He said, “I will make sure our players never forget Mike Horrocks.”

WCU’s Athletic Director Dr Edward Matejkovic gave a terrific speech and invited us to be at the first home game this year, on Sept 11, 2010 – so that we can witness the unveiling of the statue.

Everyone had a good time, the Victory Brewery Hall is perfect because it is decorated with patriotic posters from WWII and has a quote from Theodore Roosevelt saluting our military along the top of the walls.

    

We had 3 active duty military there.  Below is Matt, he’s been in for 15 years, started out as a Marine for 5 years and has been in the Army National Guard ever since. He recently returned from Iraq.  Also we had Jon Kromer, an Army Combat Medic, back from 15 months in Afghanistan and Ava is in the Air Force.  Many of the attendees were Military family members. 

(will add more pictures later)

The total cost for the statue and scholarship is over $100,000.  They still need about $35,000. We will do all we can to help these teammates of Mike Horrocks get the ball over the goal line.  

We will make a formal presentation of our check at the president’s office at West Chester University on Mar 23rd. 

Anyone interested in making a donation can call 484-947-5173.

March 7, 2010

WEST CHESTER VICTORY RALLY – 3/6/10

Filed under: Rallies — Rich Davis @ 3:26 pm

Here comes the sun! Warm weather gave us the first nice day in months. Our pro-troop rally had a huge turnout of regular Americans, proud to stand behind our troops and show public support for them and their noble missions.

Our youngest patriots, Scott and John, held the flag for us as we sang the National Anthem and said the “Lords Prayer”.

  

Special welcome to Brett (below). He’s 17 and plans to join the National Guard when he turns 18.   Another newcomer was Linda, who found out about us when we met at the Christmas Carol sing-a-long we had on Christmas Eve.  Thanks for stopping by and we hope to see you again. 

We get a lot of honks, thumbs up, and positive feedback at our rallies.

 

       

After we say our prayer, we pass the “Support The Troops” coin.  Every week we give the coin to a different person. Sheriff Bunny Welsh passed it to Dave Yoder, a patriot from Phoenixville, who was there with his fiancee Kelly and her mother.  Congrats Dave and thanks for your commitment and support of our victory movement!

Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to stand together for our great country. We meet every Saturday in West Chester from 11AM till noon at the courthouse on the corner of High St and Market St. See you next week!

Our Troops sacrfice everything for us. They have stepped forward to preserve our country and keep it strong and free. May God bless them and their families, protect them as they protect us, and guide them to victory.

 

March 5, 2010

SHEEPDOG BANQUET TO RAISE FUNDS FOR MIKE HORROCKS STATUE AND FOOTBALL SCHOLARSHIP

Filed under: Announcements,Heroes — Rich Davis @ 4:22 pm

UPDATE – 8 tickets still remain for tonight’s dinner, if you want to attend, please call 484-947-5173.

On Sunday, March 7th, the Sheepdogs will have a banquet to raise money for West Chester University football player Mike Horrock’s memorial and scholarship.  Here are the details.

Mike Horrocks, in his West Chester quarterback days.

What:    Mike Horrocks Fundraiser
Where: Victory Brewing Company
                420 Acorn Lane
                Downingtown, PA 19335
When:   Sunday Mar 7th, from 5PM till 8PM.
Cost:      Tickets are $30 each and are payable at the door
Menu:    7-course buffet (BBQ Pork Sandwiches, Roast Beef Sandwiches, Red Pepper Medley, Wings, Brewery Pretzel Bites, Assorted Pizza, Garden Salad)
Bar:       Cash Bar – all attendees will receive 2 beer tickets to get Victory draft beer at a discount of $3/pint instead of the normal $4.50/pint.

Special guests include: Bill Zwaan (Head Coach, West Chester University Football), Dr Edward Matejkovic (WCU Athletic Director), Paul and Miriam Isenberg and their children (teammate of Mike, wife of Mike and their 4 kids), Dick Yoder (Marine, former West Chester Mayor, Player, Coach, and Athletic Director at WCU), Sheriff Bunny Welsh (Chester County Sheriff and President of PA Sheriff Association), Curt Schroder (PA State Rep), and Andy Dinniman (PA State Senator).

Below is part of the post I wrote about Mike last September.

A couple weeks ago I learned about a special event that was being planned for 9/11/09.  The West Chester University Football Alumni was hosting a dinner to remember their teammate - Mike Horrocks.  Mike was the starting quarterback for 3 seasons (1981-1984).  In his first start, as a sophomore, he led the team to a major upset over heavily favored Delaware 35-27.  He ended up with an outstanding college football career, beloved by his teammates for his leadership and heart.  After college he went into the Marines and became a pilot.  After the Marines he became a commercial airline pilot – for United Airlines.  He was the co-pilot of Flight 175 which was the 2nd plane to hit the World Trade Center Towers.  He was 38 years old.  His teammate Joe Walsh said, “He was the very best we had, the best of all of us, he was our leader.” 

911rally.wcu 031

The Phila Daily News had a nice article.

Former teammates honor their fallen leader: A statue for Mike Horrocks, pilot of Flight 175

 by Dick Jerardi.

THE FIRST GAME that Michael Horrocks started at quarterback for West Chester was Sept. 10, 1983. It was at Delaware. The Blue Hens were expected to win big. West Chester won, 35-27.

His teammates never forgot how cool the quarterback was that day and every day. After they all graduated from West Chester and went their separate ways, the teammates got on with their lives. Some stayed local, became lawyers or went into business. Others chose a different path.

Horrocks went into the Marines. Became a first lieutenant on the way to captain. Went to flight school and flew in a squadron of KC-130 tankers. After he left the service, Horrocks became a pilot for United Airlines.    Click HERE to read the rest of it.

If anyone is interested in attending the fundraising banquet at the Victory Brewing Company on Sunday March 7 – please call 484-947-5173.

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