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BBQ Honoring Wounded Soldiers at the Japanese Embassy

Pam & Charles at Japanese Embassy with General and Mrs ShinsekiI attended a barbeque party with my sister and husband, hosted by Ambassador of Japan and Mrs. Ichiro this past Sunday. It was held at the Japanese Embassy; the gathering honored General Eric Shinseki, Secretary of the VA, and his wife, Mrs. Shinseki, as special guests. Other honored guests included OIF and OEF veterans and wounded warriors.

My husband and I spoke with the Shinsekis about his VA experiences (which have been very good so far), his trials and tribulations at Walter Reed, and my work with Blue Star Families. Mrs. Shinseki mentioned in our conversation that she met with Kathy Roth-Douquet, BSF Founder and Senior Advisor, several days ago and that it went well. Mrs. Shinseki mentioned that she saw Blue Star Families as the 21st century answer to military families! I told her that I thought this was a good description of what Blue Star Families stands for. We actually spoke with them for about fifteen minutes before other attendees realized who we were speaking with. Everyone was running for the food lines at the beginning (and the food was worth the running and the wait), while Charles and I decided to speak with the Secretary before he got tied up. It turns out that this was a good plan.

On Monday morning, Claire Woodward, our Executive Director, received a “very nice note” from Mrs. Shinseki mentioning that she met us. It is nice to be recognized and it is wonderful for Blue Star Families!


Our day at the Beyond Tribute Press Event

On Thursday, May 21st, my husband Charles and I attended the Beyond Tribute Press Event. We were among many dignitaries, including Gen. (Ret.) Wesley Clark and Dr. Jill Biden. The room was filled with veterans and military service organizations that included Blue Star Families, MOAA, American Women Veterans, U. S. Vets, the McCormack Foundation, and others. The program was supposed to commence at 12 noon, but due to all of the excitement in the room, along with the networking, it began a little behind time at about 12:30pm. What a great event!

Beyond Tribute is a not-for-profit organization that has brought together leaders from business, the arts, veterans and civic groups, and ordinary citizens to change how they celebrate Memorial Day and Veterans Day by transforming holiday sales promotions into fundraising entities that actually help our wounded veterans and their families. Their mission is to “redefine our Memorial Day and Veterans Day holidays by engaging the American business community and its customers in a national campaign that will raise charitable dollars to benefit those who are struggling with the wounds of war, including the invisible wounds: PTSD, traumatic brain injury and combat-induced anxiety and depression. Funds raised go directly to top rated charities that help veterans in need throughout the USA.”

Actor and director Bob Balaban emceed the event and gave introductions to the speakers.
The speakers were Gold Star Mothers of America President Georgie Carter Krell, who was very personable (and took a liking to Charles), General (Ret.) Wesley Clark, Carmella LaSpada from the White House Commission on Remembrance (www.remember.gov), and finally, me and my husband. We spoke on our experiences of his two deployments and subsequent combat injuries, his three years at Walter Reed and our involvement with the scandal, and I mentioned Blue Star families. We received a standing ovation!

Please see the following news article for more information about how you can get involved with Beyond Tribute at , and go to the Beyond Tribute website at http://www.beyondtribute.org to sign the pledge.