Alexandra Dwek's and my charity, Friends with Causes, has been helping a couple of Marine programs. Friends with Causes does not give to large groups. We like to find an individual with a dream and support them. We'd heard of a retired Marine named Dennis Flores who was collecting money on his own to put together boxes of toiletries and supplies for Afghanistan. Friends with Causes had an evening and raised enough money for 500 soldiers to receive these boxes in Afghanistan.
The premise of the charity is to take the money women would spend on "Girls Night Out" and instead have a pot luck dinner at Alexandra's. The money we would have spent goes to the charity. And most importantly, we have a representative of the charity speak to us. Is is the personalized giving that is so moving. We recently had Lance Corporal Christine Sepulveda speak to us about the Single Marine Program. Sixty-two percent of all Marines are single, and they are lonely and looking for activites. Marines have come up with a program whereby these single Marines can go read to the elderly (for example of one of the services they do), and they can also have their own events to foster communication.
|Lance Corporal Christine Sepulveda and Ellen Olivier|
|Gunnary Sergeant Edwin Vazquez and Margaret Preissman who just started her own Friends with Causes Chapter---OUR FIRST CHILD!|
|Katy Sweet, Despina Gianpoulous Landers, Barbara Jaynes, Dagny Dubelko|
|Vanessa Sandin and Donna Antebi|
Because of our work for the Marines, Alexandra and I were invited to go to Camp Pendelton for John Wayne Day and really find out what their life is like. We climbed in tanks, we toured jeeps, helicopters, fire engines. We learned how EACH SOLDIER carries between 100 and 180 pounds of equipment when deployed.
There are 40,000 Marines stationed at Camp Pendelton, and behind its guarded gates is a real city with a Coffee Bean, movie theatres, a bowling alley, banks, etc. etc.
Pictures tell the true story ......
|Dennis Flores, Alexandra, Dee, and yours truly in flak jackets on the shooting range|
|Alexandra and I are on a large tank|
Take a really good look at the shot below. Alexandra and I
are on the shooting range in our flak jackets and helmets. We are shooting the same pistols the soldiers shoot in Afghanistan! We both hit the targets....a lot.
Self-explanatory Marlon Brando moment.....
|Alexandra in killer jeep|
|Alexandra loved her "personal" grenade launcher|
|Alexandra was a "star" on the obstacle course. She really went for it and attacked each obstacle.|
|I, on the other hand, was NOT a star. I could lift a leg over a three-foot-high hurdle. ONLY|
|Doing a complete flip|
|These packets are the food the soldiers eat on active duty. They are full meals with drinks, condiments and dessert.|
|This is a large robot that is sent in to detect mines so our soldiers are saved.|