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  1. The cause As you know we had a wonderful project that spanned from October to the end of the year of 2017 that involved the Gold Star widow and her two children as assigned to our community by Operation Ward 57. You can see the project at: The Patriot Woodworkers with Op Ward 57 Adopt a Gold Star Family for the Holidays - 2017 The donation During the project we witnessed many forms of heart felt giving, from the actual raffle ticket purchases, to the exchanging of the winnings from one member to another. Every step of the way, everyone who participated in this project performed heroically, I want to thank everyone once again for their giving, and participation in this very important annual tradition of ours. Thank you! Sometimes, things happen in these projects that are, well, just pretty danged cool, and one of those things was the shipment I received from Patriot Woodworker @honesttjohn. The shipment contained one blanket for each member of the Merlo Family. These blankets were hand made by Mrs. Mordus, (spouse of John Mordus aka honestjohn). John informed me the items were on their way, and I was expecting them, but what I was not expecting was the handwork that went into this operation. My own mother is a crocheter, I grew up with the craft, so I understand the time and heart that goes into this craft, the blankets of Mrs. Mordus were knitted. I am showing images of the work the night before we shipped the gifts from our home to the Merlo Family. I want to apologize for the image quality, it was late, the lights were dim in our home, shortly after I took these pictures our kids wrapped each blanket individually and put a name tag on the gifts before we put them in the shipping box for delivery the next day. This knitted blanket was made for Mrs. Merlo, the knitting is exquisite and detailed, can you imagine spending the time that it takes to make every single tiny square and creating those squares methodically around each heart. I had a chance to feel this blanket, it was very soft, and it had considerable heft to it as well, I was tempted to wrap myself in it but my heart said no, the first wrap should be performed by the honored recipient, Mrs. Merlo. Look at those tiny knitted stitches The hearts The following are images of the blankets Mrs. Mordus created for the children, Camilla and Charlie, the baseballs went to the boy, and the butterflies went to the girl. Mrs. Mordus crafted a border around the fleece fabric of both blankets. This is a style of making blankets that my own mother has been wanting to do for sometime now, mom was over at this time, and she closely examined the borders to see how Mrs. Mordus fabricated them. I wish I had taken close up images of the borders, I don't know why I did not. At this writing I am right now kicking myself. Camilla's flutterby blanket Charlie is a baseball fanatic! And of course, do you think @honesttjohn could let that box of blankets ship without something from the shop! John installed a completely wonderful keepsake box for Mrs. Merlo that he created. This was unexpected, a beautiful touch to an already incredible shipment for the Merlo Family. I am not sure what the box was made from, it may have been John's trademark Pine that he uses in many of his plaque projects, hopefully John will chime in here and let us know. And the grand finale, the Merlo kids with their warm blankets on Christmas morning. You can tell they are very happy. We do not have an image of Mrs. Merlo with her blanket, it was not provided, but I can surmise why we do not have that image, well you know how ladies are, early in the morning, just out of the rack, hair not straight yet, I am sure the image is out there, but Mrs. Merlo surely wasn't going to let that one get out! Without further adieu, the kids Charlie and Camilla and their cherished blankets. (these images shown here, with permission given by mom Merlo) Little Camilla showing off mama's blanket In closing Again, I want to thank everyone who was involved in this project, it was a huge success this year thanks to you all. And on behalf of our entire Patriot Woodworker community, Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Mordus for this very special gift, that will keep on giving to this family for years to come, as they curl up during cold season with these blankets. This topic is long over due, and I want to also apologize to @honesttjohn for taking so long to get this up and live, thanks for your patience John.
  2. Introduction Every year The Patriot Woodworker's adopt a wounded warriors family for Christmas. We do this through a great veterans support organization named Operation Ward 57. The Patriot Woodworker's apply to Ward 57 to be accepted to receive our family for Christmas, and each year we are chosen to participate. And each year, our sponsors donate wonderful items for us to raffle for this cause. We use 100 percent of the raffle proceeds to purchase gifts for the kids, and a Christmas dinner for the family. Our Mission We need your help to accumulate funds for our Gold Star adopted family, who has given much to our nation in physical and emotional sacrifice and much more in family sacrifice. All proceeds from this raffle will be used to purchase gifts for Camilla, Charlie, and mom Nicole and to provide a Christmas dinner for the family. The Gold Star Family This year we are proud to be supporting the Merlo Family from San Marcos, California. They include Mrs. Merlo (widow of Spc 4 Ivan Merlo), and her son Charlie at 4 years old, and Camilla at 7 years of age. The Merlo's in Service Young Mr. and Mrs. Merlo. History Spc 4. Ivan E. Merlo of San Marcos, California graduated from San Marcos High School in 2006. He joined the Army that October and arrived at Fort Campbell four months later. He was due to return home within two weeks after finishing a yearlong deployment in Iraq. He was supposed to serve as the best man at the wedding of his best friend and brother in combat, Pfc. Phillip J. Pannier. But Merlo and Pannier both died while waging an Army offensive targeting insurgents north of Baghdad. Just before being deployed, Ivan married his long time girlfriend, Nicole. His awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon, Weapons Qualification, M4, Expert. Ivan died in Samarra, Iraq of wounds sustained during combat operations at age 19. Army Service 2nd Battalion 327th Infantry Regiment 1st Brigade Combat Team 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Fort Campbell, Kentucky Gold Star Family History The term Gold Star family is a modern reference that comes from the Service Flag. These flags/banners were first flown by families during World War I. The flag included a blue star for every immediate family member serving in the armed forces of the United States, during any period of war or hostilities in which the armed forces of the United States were engaged. If that loved one died, the blue star was replaced by a gold star. This allowed members of the community to know the price that the family had paid in the cause of freedom. Read more... Our prior years projects Operation Ward 57Adopt a Wounded WarriorFamily for the Holidays - 2015 Operation Ward 57Adopt a Wounded WarriorFamily for the Holidays - 2016 Click on the Raffle Ticket and support our adopted family! Tickets only $2 each with multi ticket discounts! Rules Sorry, only Residents of the US and Canada may participate All are welcome to participate, members, forum hosts, admins and non-members. (John Morris (Founder) and family may not participate) Please allow 1 to 3 weeks for delivery of prizes, most of the time prizes are sent out immediately You may purchase as many raffle tickets as you like Raffle ends midnight December 16th 2017, names will be drawn one second after midnight 4 names will be randomly drawn by Raffle River, and prizes will be awarded in the order of names drawn, starting with Laguna Certificate, then the Rikon Slow Speed Grinder, then the Woodriver Spindle Sander, then the Full Size Easy Wood Tools. You may also enter by mailing check or money order made out to The Patriot Woodworker and send too: The Patriot Woodworker - 977 Sussex Rd, San Jacinto, CA. 92583 You may also request one free entry by submitting your request through regular postal mail, please use address above. This year, the items our sponsors have donated can be seen in the image below, these are some great prizes folks! The tickets are only 2 dollars with multiple ticket bargains, and your odds of winning are very high given our typical turnout. To view the ticket prices, and to purchase your tickets please click on the Raffle Ticket above! A full accountability of the proceeds will be reported on at the end of the raffle so you know your hard earned money was used for our Adopted Family. You may win one of the following prizes! 4 Winners will be randomly drawn by Raffle River In Closing Ok Patriot Woodworker's, it's time to muster and it's time to show everyone what we are all about! The purpose our woodworking community was created is for this reason, to help those who have served us, and paid the price. Remember this is not charity, this is not a hand out, this is payback! Thank you sponsors! We also need to thank our sponsors Woodcraft Supply, Laguna Tools, and Easy Wood Tools for their generous support and for donating those wonderful items for the raffle! For without them, we would not have a community, nor would we be able to perform the work we do. Thank you guys!
  3. Final Debrief Once again I'd like to thank all those who participated and all those who sent positive thoughts and prayers to this wonderful project we held, and we will hold once again this year in 10 short months. Many of you did not win any prizes, but please keep in mind, the grand prize was helping the Akins Family to have a wonderful memorable Christmas. So we all won in that regard! Thank you to all who participated! To view our project please visit this link Operation Ward 57 Adopt-a-Family for the Holidays Project 2016 Raffle River hosted our raffle, you can see the total contributions by you, our supporters at Raffle River Patriot Woodworker Portal Total Raffle Proceeds and Expenditures Gross $1159.00 Service fees $43.86 Cashiers check fee $5.00 USPS fee $8.95 Gifts $306.02 Check to Akins $700.00 Check to Akins Disbursement to occur 01-23-17 $95.17 Balance $0.00 Fees Definitions Gross - Total contributions by you, our generous contributors Service fees - Fees charged by raffle system per transaction, for example, a $50.00 raffle ticket purchase had a $1.75 service fee attached. A $5.00 raffle ticket purchase had a $0.55 service fee attached. USPS fee - Cost to send cashiers check to the Akin family, "Express Service". Gifts - The amount that was spent per Operation Ward 57 Guidelines on the children. A maximum of $100.00 is allowed per child. Check to Akins - The amount of the check that was sent to the Akins for their additional holiday expenses. (They purchased more items for the kids, they had a wonderful meal, and they used the funds to offset the costs of their automobile trip to Texas to visit their parents, Jessica Akins mother and father. Without this disbursement, the trip would have been complicated to make. Check to Akins - The remainder of the funds in the coffers to be sent to the Akins on January 23, 2017. (The Patriot Woodworker community will update this debrief topic with a copy of the last check.) Balance - Account clear and closed. Gifts and Disbursements Numbers and addresses cleared out for privacy Letter to Akins Please see attached (below) Word Doc letter that accompanied the check for $700.00 to the Akins. Last email from Akins to all of you Thank you again for all the stuff, we are so incredibly appreciative of all The Patriot Woodworkers did to help us. We had a rough trip and your generosity made it easier on us! Alexander absolutely loves his desk, and Xavier really loves his new superhero toys! My husband, Thomas, wants to get in touch with you all as well, because he has been making wood projects, and is thinking about making them to sell, as he is very talented. His email is thomasakin25@gmail.com if you don't mind contacting him. Thank you so much again. I will send you some pictures of Alexander with his desk and Amelia when we replace the clothes with larger sizes for her. We, unfortunately, did not get pictures of Xavier Christmas, but hopefully we can get some soon and will share with you. Happy new year! The Akins In closing Dear friends, this was a wonderful and memorable project we undertook, and it was a mission well executed with all your help. The Akins had a wonderful Christmas thanks to all of you. We have made this a tradition here on The Patriot Woodworker, and we will hold this event again in 10 months. We'd like to also thank our sponsors, for without their contributions and help, this project would not have been possible. Thank you to all who participated, and thank you to all for your interest in our Operation Ward 57 and The Patriot Woodworker Adopt-a-Family for the Holidays project. If anyone has any further questions regarding this project, you can contact John Morris by Private Message or email at administrator@thepatriotwoodworker.com Letter to Akins with Check1.docx
  4. Please congratulate the following winners for our Adopt a Family for Christmas Project Raffle! We are proud to announce the following! Carl D Zimmerman II Laguna Store Credit $500.00 value Donna Jackson Easy Wood Tools Mid-Size Trio of Tools $360.00 value Brian McCorry Rikon 9" Slow Speed Grinder $140.00 value Kelly Churchill Rikon 6" Buffer $100.00 value Thank you all for your participation, we'll follow up with the Family Christmas details in another topic, including how your raffle funds were used for this family, and we will notify our supporters who donated these awesome prizes, and the awards should be shipped out very soon! Thank you all for a very successful raffle project, for a very deserving family! ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Introduction Every year The Patriot Woodworker's adopt a wounded warriors family for Christmas. We do this through a great veterans support organization named Operation Ward 57. The Patriot Woodworker's apply to Ward 57 to be accepted to receive our family for Christmas, and each year we are chosen to participate. And each year, our sponsors donate wonderful items for us to raffle for this cause. We use 100 percent of the raffle proceeds to purchase gifts for the kids, and a Christmas dinner for the family. CLICK HERE to view last years project. Click on the Raffle Ticket and support our adopted family! This year, the items our sponsors have donated can be seen in the image below, these are some great prizes folks! The tickets are only 2 dollars with multiple ticket bargains, and your odds of winning are very high given our typical turnout. To view the ticket prices, and to purchase your tickets please click on the Raffle Ticket above! A full accountability of the proceeds will be reported on at the end of the raffle so you know your hard earned money was used to help make our family's Christmas a wonderful time for a very deserving family. Rules Sorry, only Residents of the US and Canada may participate All are welcome to participate, members, forum hosts, admins (accept for yours truly nor my family members) and non-members Please allow 1 to 3 weeks for delivery of prizes, most of the time prizes are sent out immediately You may purchase as many raffle tickets as you like Raffle ends midnight December 19th 2016, names will be drawn one second after midnight 4 names will be randomly drawn by Raffle River, and prizes will be awarded in the order of names drawn, starting with Laguna, then the Rikon Buffer, then the Rikon Grinder, then the EWT Turning set of tools. You may also enter by mailing check or money order made out to The Patriot Woodworker and send too: The Patriot Woodworker - 977 Sussex Rd, San Jacinto, CA. 92583 You may win one of the following prizes! 4 Winners will be randomly drawn by Raffle River Mission We need your help to accumulate funds for this family who has given much to our nation in physical and emotional sacrifice and much more in family sacrifice. All proceeds from this raffle will be used to purchase gifts for Xavier, Alexander and little Amelia and to provide a Christmas dinner for the family. The Family This year we are proud to be supporting the Akin Family from Grass Valley, California. They include Mr. Akin our wounded warrior, Mrs. Akin, his spouse, and Xavier, their 5 year old son, Alexander, their younger 2 year old son, and little Amelia, their new 2 month old baby girl. The Akin Family Below History Mr. Akin was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, he was riding in the gunner seat of a JERRV (Joint Engineering Rapid Response Vehicle) in a convoy, and the vehicle was hit by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) almost directly under where he was sitting. His team leader was wounded in his head resulting in a Terminal Brain Injury, but Mr. Akin sustained the brunt of the explosion force and shrapnel. Joint Engineering Rapid Response Vehicle Mr. Akin spent his time recovering at a hospital in Fort Lewis, Washington, from a broken left femur, resulting in rod and screws being placed down his entire femur. His right foot and ankle were shattered, followed by a year and a half that included 5 surgeries, plates and screws, then eventually resulting in a below the knee amputation. He also fractured his tail bone, and received a head wound resulting an a Terminal Brain Injury. In Closing Ok Patriot Woodworker's, it's time to muster and it's time to show everyone what we are all about! The purpose our woodworking community was created is for this reason, to help those who have served us, and paid the price. We also need to thank our sponsors Woodcraft Supply, Laguna Tools, and Easy Wood Tools for their generous support! For without them, we would not have a community, nor would we be able to perform the work we do. Thank you guys!

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Operation Ward 57 Challenge Coin Display Project

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