May 28, 2012

MEMORIAL DAY RALLY IN WEST CHESTER, PA – 5/26/12 – “WE REMEMBER”

Filed under: Heroes,Rallies — Rich Davis @ 8:56 am

We held our annual Memorial Day Rally when we hold signs with specific names of heroes we’ve known, neighbors, friends, and family members. 

     

Above, Earnie, a Vietnam Veteran,  holds a flag in honor of his son Tyler who is an Army Green Beret, currently in Afghanistan, and Dan, a Vietnam Veteran, salutes while we sing the National Anthem.  Dan’s son is a US Marine, currently in Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all our troops and their families.

           

Thanks to all who came out and made it happen. We will never forget our American heroes who gave up their tomorrows so that we could enjoy our todays.

 

July 1, 2011

SHEEPDOGS VISIT FT DIX / McGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE – 6/30/11

Filed under: Heroes — Rich Davis @ 9:28 am

One of the benefits of being retired military is being able to visit our bases. We went to Fort Dix yesterday to shake hands with America’s finest. We are very proud and grateful for their service.

God bless our troops, protect them and their families. As they fight the fight for freedom, they are not alone. We stand behind them.

June 17, 2011

LOCAL MARINE GETS HERO’S WELCOME IN DOWNINGTOWN, PA – 6/16/11

Filed under: Heroes — Rich Davis @ 8:54 am

Lance Corporal Andrew Bowser, USMC, recently returned home from Afghanistan. Andrew, age 24, graduated from Bishop Shanahan HS (Downingtown, PA) in 2005. In 2008, he joined the Marines and got married. He and his wife Holly never got to take a honeymoon. He spent 6 months in Afghanistan and got home on Memorial Day weekend (he was away for 9 months total). He finally got a chance to take his wife for a long overdue honeymoon. They have 2 kids (1-yr and 2-yrs old). They were greeted with a flag line at the airport and given a motorcycle escort to the Marine Corps League in Downingtown for a surprise welcome home party. His father is a Vietnam Veteran and his wife prayed the rosary for her Marine son everyday.

WELCOME HOME! THANK YOU AND HOLLY SO MUCH FOR YOUR SERVICE AND SACRIFICE!

June 1, 2011

FLEET WEEK 2011 – NAVY VISITS NEW YORK CITY – 5/31/11

Filed under: Heroes — Rich Davis @ 7:15 am

Every year during Memorial Week the Fleet comes to New York City.

Tours are free and Marine William and I went to see the ships and meet the crews. These sailors and Marines are America’s best, we shook a lot of hands.

May 27, 2011

SPECIAL MEMORIAL DAY RALLY – “WHO WILL YOU REMEMBER” – SATURDAY MAY 28, 2011

Filed under: Heroes — Rich Davis @ 11:25 pm

Who will you remember?

Most of us know someone who died while serving our country. Tomorrow, Sat May 28, we will have a special Memorial Day Rally in West Chester. From 11AM till noon. Bring a sign with the name of your friend or loved one. Lets remember those who gave their lives so we might enjoy ours. I am making signs to remember these heroes.

1) Sgt Louis Fastuca, US Army - killed last July in Afghanistan by an IED, he was 24 years old. He lived in West Chester. Most of us went to his funeral, we remember the motorcycle escort, the hundreds of people lining the route from the church to the cemetery, hands on hearts or holding flags. We learned what a great young man he was, gifted classical pianist, who wrote a song in high school and played it at the funeral of the mother of his best friend who had died of cancer. Shy as a boy, Lou Fastuca overcame his shyness by playing ice hockey and boxing. He joined the Army because he believed the jihadists must be stopped. He became a special forces soldier. He was very loving and affectionate to his 2 younger brothers. His Mom and Dad are strong, devout Catholics, leaning on faith and the shoulder of God.

2) 1st Lt Travis Manion, USMC - killed in Iraq by a sniper in April 2007, it was his 2nd combat tour in Iraq, he was 27 years old. Travis is special to me because I went to junior high school with his mother Janet. Travis was an outstanding Marine officer. He literally put the weight of “training the Iraqi soldiers” on his broad shoulders. He constantly put himself in danger to set the example and help the Iraqi learn to overcome their fears. The Iraqi soldiers that he trained are, to this day, the all-stars, the best fighters. The jihadists in Iraq set out to stop Travis and in spite of many close calls, they finally did. The Iraqi Army was so saddened, they named their base after him. Travis was the first American to ever have an Iraqi Army Base named after him. He received the Silver Star and the Bronze Star, the nation’s 2nd and 3rd highest medals. In addition, Travis was from Doylestown, and went to the US Naval Academy, while there he was on the wrestling team and was ranked 20th in the country. He was also a football player in high school. Travis’ trademark statement was, “If not me, then who.” Visit the Travis Manion Foundation .

3) Midshipman Freddy Eisler, USNA - died in Nov 2008 while attending the US Naval Academy, he was 19 years old. Freddy may not have died on a battlefield, but to me he is every bit a hero and warrior. All his life, as early as 5 years old, he wanted to attend the Academy. His father had been an Annapolis graduate and Navy jet pilot for 24 years. Freddy wasn’t gifted with high SATs or grades, but he was an overachiever because of his big heart. He was an Eagle Scout, could speak 2 languages, was an expert scuba diver and sailor, and was a football player at Bishop Shanahan High School. He was the oldest of 5 children, the other four are all girls who idolized him. Freddy applied for Annapolis but his grades weren’t good enough, they said he had to go to the Naval Prep school and if he did well, he could attend the Academy. Freddy was accepted by several other colleges, but decided to go to the Prep school to fulfill his lifelong dream. He had a great year at the prep and was admitted to the Naval Academy in 2008. Sadly, just 2 months after becoming a midshipman, Freddy contracted spinal menigitis and was given 6 hours to live. He fought it with all his might and lasted 6 days. During that time, his fellow “Class of 2012″ midshipmen bonded together, lining the halls of the hospital by the hundreds, praying and singing the Naval Hymn, pulling for him to pull through. All who went to Freddy’s funeral service in West Chester were awed by the sight of 7 busloads of his classmates, all midshipmen dressed in uniform, coming here to honor their fallen brother.

4) Lcpl Alan R. Schultz, USMC - killed in Vietnam in August 1967, he had just turned 20. Al Schultz was my hero. He was the boyfriend of my older sister. When he would visit us, he would spend a lot of time with me, throwing a football or having a baseball catch. They say you don’t remember someone for what they gave you or where they took you, you remember them for how they made you feel. Well, Al Schultz made me feel like a million bucks. He saw how skinny I was and brought his weights to my basement and taught me how to lift them properly, showing me exactly what exercises to do. I loved him, he was short, but muscular, wore glasses. When he left for Vietnam in Oct 1966, he said, “Keep my weights for me till I come back.” Sadly, 10 months into his one-year tour, he was killed by a mortar fragment to the head, in an ambush in Quang Tri. I will never forget him, I cried the rest of that summer. I will never forget his military funeral in Levittown, PA. Sunny day, very hot. The flag covered casket, the Marines carrying his casket so slowly, the precision. The sunshine made their uniforms look illuminated. The 21-gun salute, shuttered through the silence and the sobs. His mother’s pained face, his father’s tremendous strength. His older brother was active duty Air Force, wearing his blue uniform. Al Schultz was a US hero. He didn’t have to go to Vietnam, he had a hearing problem, but he insisted he go, he loved his country. I never understood why protestors said Vietnam vets like Al Schultz were baby killers, committing crimes and atrocities. I knew what a good decent man he was. To this day, whenever I see a US Marine, I see Alan R. Schultz of Levittown, PA. Our Vietnam Veterans were just as much heroes and patriots and liberators as any soldiers from any previous war in America’s history.

5) Capt. Jeffrey P. Toczylowski, US Army, KIA Iraq Nov 2005. Was 30 years old, from Upper Moreland, PA. He was Army Special Forces.
He wrote this letter:
Dear friends and family,
If you are getting this email, it means that I have passed away. No, it’s not a sick Toz joke, but a letter I wanted to write in case this happened. Please don’t be sad for me. It was an honor to serve my country, and I wouldn’t change a thing. It was just my time.
Don’t ever think that you are defending me by slamming the Global War on Terrorism or the US goals in that war. As far as I am concerned, we can send guys like me to go after them or we can wait for them to come back to us again. I died doing something I believed in and have no regrets except that I couldn’t do more.
This will probably be the longest email most of you have ever received from me. More that one of you complained on multiple occasions about my brief emails. I have requested to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery and would like you to attend, but I understand if you can’t make it.

There are many more, like Medal Of Honor recipient, Lt Michael Murphy, USN, Navy Seal, KIA in Afghanistan June 2005.

And Cpl Michael Crescenz, Medal Of Honor recipient, US Army, KIA in Vietnam. Was 19 years old, from Philadelphia. His younger brother Joe attends our rallies every Saturday.

We will honor our troops by remembering the fallen. At noon we will sing the National Anthem and say a prayer for our troops, asking God to bless and have mercy on all the families and friends of the fallen.

May 16, 2011

LOCAL SOLDIER RETURNS HOME FROM AFGHANISTAN. BRIAN PIASECKI RECEIVES “HERO’S WELCOME” FROM NEIGHBORS, FAMILY, AND FRIENDS – 5/15/11

Filed under: Heroes — Rich Davis @ 1:28 pm

Over 100 neighbors, family, and friends gave Sgt Brian Piasecki a surprise “Hero’s Welcome” at his parents home in Media.

Neighbors came out in droves to greet and hug their local hero.

Brian received a motorcycle escort to his parents home by patriotic bikers known as the Warriors Watch Riders. The Welcome Home was organized by WWR and “A Hero’s Welcome” who arranged for police and firetrucks to help with the escort and pagentry.

Brian poses with his wife and daughter and receives a “Certificate of Appreciation” from Danny (A Vietnam Veteran) of “A Hero’s Welcome” while his mother and father look on with great pride and relief to have their son home. This was Brian’s second combat tour. He spent 15 months in Iraq, followed by 13 months in the States, and then 12 months in Afghanistan. He is a proud member of the Army Airborne, one of our nation’s finest fighting units.

Many sheepdogs were part of the escort and were happy to shake his hand and meet his family and friends, including Evie whose son is an Army Combat Medic, myself, and Ernie, a Vietnam Veteran. His Army son recently graduated from SERE school.

It was a great day, Sgt Piasecki has wonderful neighbors. Thanks to everyone who gave this brave American freedom fighter a day he and his family will never forget.

April 8, 2011

A SHEEPDOG VISITS FT DIX – 4/7/11

Filed under: Heroes — Rich Davis @ 5:12 am

I went to Ft Dix this weekend to hang out with some of our heroes from all over the United States.

Most of the ones I met had recently returned from overseas. They are deployed all over the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan. All branches of service are on base.

Lots of “Military Pride” items can be purchased. Its a great place to shop.

It was great to see the troops relaxing and enjoying being back in the states. They sacrifice so much for us and we are forever grateful and proud of them.

Thank You Troops, God bless you. You are the very best of all of us.

March 20, 2011

“THEY CONQUER WHO ENDURE” BY JEANNE RAPP – LOCAL VETERANS GATHER AT BRANDYWINE FLAGS IN DOWNINGTOWN FOR BOOK SIGNING – 3/19/11

Filed under: Heroes — Rich Davis @ 9:26 am

The Sheepdogs traveled to Downingtown to join the celebration for the new book “They Conquer Who Endure” – filled with stories of local heroes from Chester County.

Jeanne Rapp is the manager of Brandywine Flags in Downingtown, PA. Her store offers a variety of products, including flags, magnets, and plaques. Recently she wrote a book detailing stories from local veterans (heroes) from all wars and conflicts. Many of them were present for a book signing.


“They Conquer Who Endure” – can be purchased at Brandywine Flags. Come on in, meet Jeanne and see if any of your neighbors are in the book.

March 4, 2011

WELCOME HOME FOR LOCAL MARINE FROM BRIDGE COMPANY B – 3/3/11

Filed under: Heroes — Rich Davis @ 11:11 am

The Sheepdogs went to Philadelphia Airport to welcome home Staff Sergeant Brian. We were joined by the Bridge Company B Sergeant Major and his Commanding Officer. Brian has been in the Marines for 10 years, he will attend Penn State University and major in Engineering and remain in the Marine Reserves.


WELCOME HOME MARINE! THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE, SACRIFICE, AND COURAGE!

February 25, 2011

FUNDRAISER FOR A LOCAL HERO – NAVY CORPSMAN JAY RAFFETTO IS HONORED AT FUNDRAISER IN CHESTER COUNTY – 2/24/11

Filed under: Heroes — Rich Davis @ 10:37 am

Special thanks to Chester County Sheriff Bunny Welsh who invited me and my mom to a fundraiser for Navy Corpsman Jay Raffetto at the Aneu Bistro & Wine Bar in Berwyn, PA. It was called “The Coach and The Corpsman” as former Eagles Head Coach Dick Vermiel donated his Vermeil Wine for a winetasting.

Also present were 4 Marines and a fellow Navy Corpsman, who came to be with their mate, their “Doc”. The Marines don’t have “medics” so the Navy gives each unit a corpsman who becomes part of their Marine unit. These corpsmen are beloved by the Marines. Jay Raffetto was a special corpsman, he had completed a tough specialist school called “SARC” (Special Amphibious Marine Reconnaissance Corpsmen), its the equivalent of being a Navy Seal in the Navy Corpsman rating.

The Marines came to show the comaradarie they feel for Jay, they give him support and never let him forget that he is their “Doc Raffetto”.

Jay’s older brother Pete was there too, Pete is a Marine, served four years active duty and currently works in the restuarant business in West Chester.

It was great to meet Coach Vermeil who teared up as he spoke about Jay Raffetto. He said, “I’ve been in a profession where we honor people and hold them in high esteem, the all-pros and the all-Americans. I care for them dearly,” the coach said. “When you compare what all those great kids have done in contrast to what this kid has done – the real definition of a hero, the real definition of somebody worthy of emulation – it just jumps out.”

Jay was deployed with his Marines in Afghanistan and 4 months later was severly wounded by an IED, he lost both legs above the knee, his left arm above the elbow, and 3 fingers on his right hand. Thankfully, God graced Jay with a wonderful young wife named Emily. She’s 22 years old, they got married 6 months before he got wounded. He is making a remarkable recovery, his face is bright and clear and his morale is high. Please keep Jay and his wife in your prayers as he continues his therapy and recovery.

If you want to help our hero (Jay Raffetto), donations are gratefully accepted by the Chester County Hero Fund.

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