Active Duty Military, Veterans, Families, And ALL who Support Them and Help Them
Trust Me — You will want to listen to this:)
Listen August 23, 2012 at 8pm EST www.blogtalkradio.com/talkingwithheroes1
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Direct Link to this show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/talkingwithheroes1/2013/08/24/home-with-heroes-and-gold-star-mothers
Home With Heroes Program with Hosts AF Veteran G. Mark LaFrancis and Jim Bob Allgood interview United States Marine Corps Major Jennifer
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(Ret) Air Force Veteran G. Mark LaFrancis and Jim Bob Allgood (Star of the TV Show Redneck Adventures) TalkingWithHeroes.Com HOME WITH HEROES Program Hosts
Home With Heroes is a nonprofit honoring veterans and their loved ones through projects, fund-raisers and media programs.
Our goal with the show is to expose America to a variety of veterans needs and the nonprofits helping them. G. Mark LaFrancis – (Ret) 20+ Year Air Force Vet, Videographer, Childrens Book Author, Troops and Veterans Supporter and Now HOST of the G. Mark LaFrancis www.TalkingWithHeroes.com Program www.inspiringauthor.com
And Jim Bob Allgood (Star of the TV Show Redneck Adventures)
Listen as Mark and Jim Bob Interview: United States Marine Corps Major Jennifer Marino and Iraq and Afghan Veteran Van Brinson
Marine’s Cross-Country Bicycle Journey Honors Gold Star Families
Follow them on: https://www.facebook.com/GoldStarRide
Information below By Richard Rhinehart
Holbrook, New York, August 1, 2013 – Recognizing the exceptional sacrifices members of America’s military have made in the line of duty, United States Marine Corps Major Jennifer Marino will ride her bicycle across North America beginning this month to seek out gold star families from coast to coast.
Retiring from her service after 15 years, Marino sets off from Camp Pendleton, California on August 10 for a 77-day journey that is scheduled to end October 25 at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia. Marino is dedicating her ride to those who have fallen in service.
“I wanted this ride to be about something more than just my own personal sense of accomplishment,” said the Colorado native, who served two tours in Iraq. “Simply saying the ride was to honor fallen heroes didn’t really seem to have a true impact, so I wanted to connect the project with military families in some way.”
“I met a gold star mother who told me that her greatest fear is that her son’s memory will be forgotten, and I wondered how many other gold star family members feel that way. I wondered if any of them would be willing to share their stories with me if I visited them along my journey,” said Marino.
One gold star mother, Kathy Hanley, introduced Marino to the non-profit American Gold Star Mothers organization. Explaining her idea for a ride, the organization was supportive, allowing Marino to reach out to individual members. “As I meet with these families along my way, I hope to learn a little about their fallen heroes through interviews of appreciative remembrance. I want to know who their sons and daughters were in life, and share their stories with the world.”
Deciding to ride her bicycle across country was personal for Marino, who served as a helicopter pilot in the Marines with World T.E.A.M. Sports Chief Operations Officer Van Brinson. “I love to ride and was inspired by his [2010 Sea to Shining Sea] ride, especially with its connection to wounded warriors. I wanted to ride my bike across the country to celebrate my retirement and give myself some time to think and mentally prepare for what comes next. I also wanted to dedicate my ride to our fallen heroes-men and women who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, and who, as a result, will never have the opportunity to cross things off of their own bucket lists.”
“We at World T.E.A.M. Sports applaud the efforts of Major Marino,” said Brinson. “Her endeavor will bring some attention to the silent heroes of the US Military, the family members. These are the people who are left to carry on as their son or daughter is forward deployed in harm’s way.”
Marino will begin her duties as the Executive Director of the Boulder Crest Retreat for Military, Veteran, and Family Wellness in Bluemont, Virginia once her journey is complete. The rural, non-profit retreat for seriously wounded veterans and their families opens in September. In addition, she has hopes of putting her stories together into a book of her ride and her visits with mothers and families.
During her journey, Marino will be accompanied by her own mother, who will provide support with an accompanying support vehicle and by gold star mothers and families. “I love partner riders, and I will be happy to have people join me along the way,” Marino said, noting that riders wanting to participate for a day should contact her through her website or Facebook page to meet her at a daily starting point along the 17 state route.
Marino’s Gold Star Ride website will launch in the coming days, and will feature information about the ride, reports and photographs, and an opportunity to provide donations. Working with American Gold Star Mothers, all donations are tax-deductible, with the funds applied to ride logistics. Any remaining funds will be donated to the non-profit organization. “This ride is about honoring sacrifice and celebrating lives,” Marino said.
Follow them on: https://www.facebook.com/GoldStarRide
Marine Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran Van Brinson
Van Brinson Chief Operations Officer of World T.E.A.M. Sports, Marine Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran. Van Brinson is responsible for the overall operations of the organization
Our Mission Statement
World T.E.A.M. Sports changes lives through sports.
For more than 20 years, we have used athletics to challenge disabled men, women and children to accomplish goals they never thought possible. In all our events – whether mountain climbing, biking, white water rafting or many other sports – we include both disabled and able-bodied participants.
Four things always happen at our events:
• Disabled participants build self-confidence and physical fitness.
• The disabled provide a role model for other disabled citizens, encouraging them to take up physical activities.
• The disabled become a moving inspiration to other participants and to spectators when they see that disabled individuals can meet challenges beyond anyone’s imagination.
• The disabled and able-bodied participants learn to work as a team to overcome those challenges.
We change lives through sports.
World T.E.A.M. Sports is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization headquartered in Holbrook, New York. Support comes primarily from individual and corporate donations and sponsorships.
About World T.E.A.M. Sports
A Founder’s Vision
James Benson, a Boston businessman originally from suburban Chicago, founded World T.E.A.M. Sports in 1993. As a high school student in McHenry, Illinois in 1960, Benson became aware of a fellow student, Ricky Prine, who was talented not only in the classroom but also consistently showed signs of great athletic ability. However, Prine was disabled and was consistently excluded from activities by his peers. Benson saw something different in Prine and recognized him as a capable person, notwithstanding his disability. It was through this formative experience that Benson made a promise that if ever given the opportunity, he would create an organization committed to providing more opportunities to individuals living with a disability and he would use the power of sports to make them possible.
The Early Years
In October 1987, Benson and Stephen Whisnant, who would later become World T.E.A.M. Sports’ first Executive Director, were intrigued by the possibility of accomplishing an athletic achievement previously thought to be impossible. This led them to organize the Ride Across America, a month-long, 2,650-mile bicycle ride from Newport Beach, California to Jacksonville Beach, Florida in conjunction with California Special Olympics.
The ride included disabled riders, many of whom had never before participated in an outdoor event. This ride was followed in February, 1990 by the Kilimanjaro Confidence Climb, which saw 12 mentally challenged athletes and 15 non-disabled athletes form a team to attempt this difficult climb over nine days. Unfortunately, owing to inclement weather, only a portion of the team successfully reached the summit. The 1990 documentary film made during this climb, entitled Let Me Be Brave, was narrated by renowned sportscaster James Brown and aired as a CBS Sports special; Let Me Be Brave went on to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Program Achievement that same year.
Inspired by the public reaction to the Kilimanjaro Confidence Climb, Benson and Whisnant chartered World T.E.A.M. Sports as a non-profit organization in 1993. With the new organization, they had a broader vision – they wanted to achieve these extraordinary challenges while enabling athletes with disabilities worldwide. The realization of that vision led to the AXA World Ride, a 13,000-mile bicycle adventure through 16 countries over nine months in 1995, featuring over 10,000 day participants and 400 stage riders. Amazingly, there were five “core” disabled riders who rode every mile of this incredible journey! A documentary film narrated by Charles Kurault, entitled World Ride: The Possible Dream aired as a CBS Sports Special on Thanksgiving Day, 1995.
World T.E.A.M. Sports served as the organizer for the August 1996 NationsBank Paralympic Torch Relay from Washington, D.C. to Atlanta. For ten days, World T.E.A.M. Sports, in a partnership with the organizing committee and event sponsors, crisscrossed busy avenues, back roads, rivers and lakes. President Bill Clinton hosted the organizers and the first torchbearer on the south lawn of the White House on the morning of August 6. The final torchbearer was greeted by 70,000 spectators in Centennial Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremonies of the Paralympic Games. World T.E.A.M. Sports advisory board member, Mark Wellman, scaled the steep cauldron tower and ignited the Paralympic Torch.
The success of the 1995 AXA World Ride led the organization to tackle another great challenge: pairing former combatants from both sides of the conflict in Vietnam to overcome both their disabilities and their prior animosities. Known as the Vietnam Challenge, this event paired 70 disabled riders from the United States and the former North Vietnam with 20 able-bodied coaches on a 1,250-mile bicycle expedition that led from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in January 1998. The resulting 120-minute documentary film from Kartemquin Films, Vietnam Long Time Coming, was hosted by Dick Enberg and aired as an NBC Sports Special on Veterans Day 1998; it too became an Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Program Achievement. World T.E.A.M. Sports co-chairman Peter D. Kiernan spoke to CNN Television and NBC’S Today Show and Channel 12 Daytime Edition about the ride.
Becoming the “Face of America”
May 2000 saw the launch of an ongoing series of bicycle events in the United States that endures to this day. The first Face of America ride partnered with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and featured two teams departing simultaneously from San Francisco and Boston on May 13. 2000 Face of America LogoThe teams met at the Memorial Arch in St. Louis, Missouri on June 3. Each team covered over 1,400 miles and included disabled and able-bodied riders from 40 states and ten countries. Participant disabilities included spinal cord injured (paraplegic and quadriplegic), visually impaired/blind, cancer survivors, hearing impaired, cerebral palsy, intellectual and developmental disability, amputee (single and double) and brain injury. A total of 100 core and stage riders participated in the ride, including participants as young as seven years and as old as 77 years.
Following the tragedy of the September 11, 2001 attacks on Washington and New York, the September 2002 Face of America became a “moving memorial” with more than 1,400 participants riding 277 miles in three days from Ground Zero in New York City to the Pentagon just outside of Washington, D.C. 2002 World T.E.A.M. Sports co-chairman Peter D. Kiernan provided a preview of the ride to New York’s Channel 1 television. A year later, on September 12-14, 2003, the ride was reprised, with over 500 riders from ten countries coming together to be a part of the Face of America. Cyclists with and without disabilities rode from Battery Park City to the ferry past the Statue of Liberty to the shores of New Jersey, continuing through Delaware and Maryland, ending their exhilarating ride in Washington DC.
After a brief hiatus, the Face of America ride was re-envisioned in April 2006 to honor those who suffered injuries in the Global War on Terror that followed the 2001 attacks. Working with the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and The National Navy Medical Center, the 2006 ride raised over $100,000 for future World T.E.A.M. Sports events. Reporter Ally Donnelly wrote and produced The New England Cable News Network’s award-winning 30 minute documentary about the ride in 2006, The Long Journey Home. In 2008, the ride was redirected, from Washington to Gettysburg. It has featured a growing number of participants, including many active duty members of the armed forces, who want to help reintegrate these wounded warriors back into their communities. To learn more about the annual Face of America rides, please visit the official event page.
In January 2007, World T.E.A.M. Sports sponsored the Return to Kilimanjaro expedition, bringing seven mentally challenged athletes to Africa’s highest mountain. Although the 1990 expedition was unsuccessful in that all participants did not reach the summit, the 2007 expedition met its goal of safely reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro and returning.
The Adventure TEAM Challenge in Colorado is a multi-day, multi-event outdoor event, featuring teams of five with disabled and non-disabled athletes. Envisioned by Golden, Colorado adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, the Adventure TEAM Challenge made its debut in June, 2007 as the Real Deal Inclusive Sports Adventure. The annual event includes mountain biking, river rafting, climbing and other challenging physical activities. NBC Sports’ Jeep World of Adventure Sports featured the 2008 event.
In August, 2009, World T.E.A.M. Sports hosted the Coastal Team Challenge, an eight day adventure from the organization’s Military Initiative which brought together American and Canadian injured veterans in the Pacific Northwest. The participating soldiers traveled 82 nautical miles by sea kayaks from Anacortes, Washington through Puget Sound to Vancouver, British Columbia.
World T.E.A.M. Sports sponsored two events in 2010 for young athletes. With Massachusetts’ Unified Sports Program and the Boston Bruins National Hockey League club, World T.E.A.M. Sports provided support for a sled hockey event for children with disabilities in Boston. This event was held again in February, 2011, at Boston’s TD Garden. In late September 2010, World T.E.A.M. Sports helped sponsor a three day Adventure TEAM Challenge for teenagers age 15 to 19 at Frost Valley, in New York’s Catskill Mountains. The Frost Valley event successfully returned in June, 2011 and 2012.
The Sea to Shining Sea debuted in 2010, and features a cross-country bike ride from San Francisco, California to Virginia Beach, Virginia. In 2010, participants rode 3,687 miles over 64 days through 14 states on their journey across America, visiting large cities and small towns. Like the 1987 Ride Across America, the Sea to Shining Sea ride brought disabled and able-bodied athletes together to overcome obstacles in pursuit of a team goal – crossing the North American continent. A documentary about the ride and the participants by veteran director and cinematographer Austin Smithard, Two Shining Seas, was released in 2012.
In October 2010, World T.E.A.M. Sports directed the inspiring Soldiers to the Summit climb, a part of the organization’s ongoing Military Initiative. The expedition brought together a team of disabled and able-bodied climbers who ascended to the summit of 20,075 foot Lobuche East, a rugged ice-covered peak in Nepal near Everest Base Camp. Overcoming obstacles along their trek, the team successfully summited Lobuche and returned safely to the United States. The expedition generated two documentaries, Conquering the Climb, on the Pentagon Channel that debuted in March, 2011, and a theatrical release, “High Ground,” by Stone Circle Pictures and Serac Adventure Films, which debuted at the Boulder International Film Festival in February, 2012.
In 2011, two new events on the World T.E.A.M. Sports schedule debuted – the Adventure Teen Challenge in August and the Family Day Out in November, both in Washington, DC. The Adventure Teen Challenge brought together teenaged disabled and able-bodied athletes for a day of outdoor recreational sports, including hiking, bicycling and canoeing. The Family Day Out was an afternoon of cycling for wounded veterans and their families in Washington, an opportunity for recreation away from the veterans hospitals. World T.E.A.M. Sports athletes also participated in several triathlons and in the Warrior 100K, an invitational mountain biking event in western Texas in April 2011 and in 2012, hosted by former President George W. Bush.
In late February 2012, World T.E.A.M. Sports hosted the second Soldiers to the Summit event at the Snowbird Resort in Utah. This World T.E.A.M. Sports Military Initiative event provided an opportunity for wounded warriors to learn and experience winter snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding. The Soldiers to the Summit series continues the organization’s long history with disabled veterans.
The summer of 2012 also saw the return of the Sea to Shining Sea cross-country bicycle ride with wounded warriors from our nation’s military. Sponsored by State Farm, the May 28-July 28 ride traveled from San Francisco to Virginia Beach, a distance of nearly 4,000 miles.
The April, 2013 Face of America event was the largest in the last decade, with more than 100 injured veterans riding with more than 400 able-bodied participants. Included in the ride was a team from Canada’s Soldier On organization.
In the coming years, additional events will be added to the World T.E.A.M. Sports schedule.
About Van Brinson
As Chief Operations Officer of World T.E.A.M. Sports, Van Brinson is responsible for the overall operations of the organization.
Van enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1986 and was selected for a commissioning program in 1988. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1992 after graduation from North Carolina State University. During his service in the Marine Corps, Major Brinson served as a Communications Officer for three years prior to being selected for training as a Naval Aviator. He received his wings in 1997 and was stationed in El Toro and Miramar, California and Quantico, Virginia.
Van participated in humanitarian assistance operations in East Timor, the evacuation of the crew of the USS Cole, and flew in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon his return from Iraq, Major Brinson was selected for duty with the Presidential Helicopter Squadron, HMX-1 where he served for four years. He was assigned to the Operations Department at the Marine Corps Air Facility in Quantico, Virginia. In September, 2010, Van retired from the Marine Corps.
Van first became associated with World T.E.A.M. Sports during the inaugural Face of America ride in 2000. Having seen the difference that athletics made in the lives of wounded service members, he became more actively involved with the organization, participating in Face of America rides and directing the 2011 and 2012 rides. In 2010, he participated in World T.E.A.M. Sports‘ Sea to Shining Sea Bike Ride.
Van and his wife Allyson live in Raleigh, North Carolina and have two children.
For More Info and to Help:
Director of Communications
World T.E.A.M. Sports
855-987-8326 x 4
Changing Lives through Sports