Celebrities Supporting The Troops


Al Norris
April 13, 2003, 02:00 AM
Folks, one of our own has made it into the papers! Suz, a former Gun Store owner and part of the TAC (http://www.thearmedcitizen.net/forums/index.php?s=) staff and a coordinator for Mothers Arms (http://www.mothersarms.org/coordinators/idaho.htm) has her own way of supporting our guys!

From the Spokesman Review (Spokane, Wash):

Mom's personal war effort (http://www.spokesmanreview.com/news-story.asp?date=041203&ID=s1334960&cat=section.idaho)

On the home front
Susan Drumheller
Staff writer

CLARK FORK, Idaho _ Sue Frederiksen held her plastic dog food container by its handle and walked down the streets of Clark Fork Friday, on a one-woman mission to support the troops.

"Luckily Clark Fork is a small area, so I don't have to walk too far," she chuckled.

Through a gate and up to the doorstep she went. A youngish man with a ballcap answered her knock and his cocker spaniel ran out to sniff the stranger up and down.

Frederiksen explained her business, that she's collecting money for Operation Uplink, a Veterans of Foreign Wars program that purchases phone cards for soldiers overseas.

"I don't think I have any cash," he said apologetically. "All I have is a debit card."

No problem, Frederiksen told him. "I have a can sitting down at the Cabinet Mountain Cafe where you can make a donation."

Frederiksen moved on to the next house, undeterred.

Soon she met Jane and Paul McGregor, who happen to know Frederiksen's mother, Clark Fork's Avon lady. McGregor is a veteran who earned two Purple Heart medals in the Vietnam War.

"One of the hardest things to do was to wash his clothes and bed sheets when he left," Jane McGregor recalled. "Because there's this smell that goes with your man."

The McGregors donated $25, and by the end of the day Frederiksen was more than $400 on her way to her goal of $2,500 for Operation Uplink.

Frederiksen stumbled onto the VFW program while looking for something she could do that would help all the troops. With her son in the Persian Gulf on the Navy aircraft carrier USS Constellation, Frederiksen has found herself glued to CNN the past few weeks.

"I couldn't wait to hear the report from the Constellation, so I would know it was still there," she said.

Frederiksen's petite mother, Dorie Stine, said it was downright dangerous to be in the living room while CNN reporter Frank Buckley was embedded with the USS Constellation's crew.

"Steen (Frederiksen, Sue's husband) would say `Frank Buckley's on,' and if you were in the way, Boom! You'd get knocked down," Stine said.

Frederiksen admits that she has been obsessed with war coverage; "I got to where I try not to turn it on when I get up. When I do, I don't get anything done."

She also savors every e-mail from her son, Petty Officer John Gabbard, an aviations electronics technician and air warfare specialist on the Constellation. Gabbard, 26, has been deployed since early November.

Frederiksen only has gotten three phone calls from her son, although he e-mails her almost every day. But for some reason, perhaps it's because she can hear his voice, the phone calls are more special than the e-mails.

"When my son called me at Christmas, we talked for a couple of minutes and I smiled for days," she said.

That call, it turns out, was paid for by Operation Uplink. At first, Frederiksen assumed it was just a holiday program. Then she learned that the VFW has been buying phone cards for soldiers since 1996. They also provide the cards to veterans who are in veterans hospitals. More than 2 million cards have been distributed since 1996.

"I know how much that phone call meant to me," Frederiksen said. "I decided that's where I'm going to concert my efforts."

So she put a can out at the cafe and carries her dog food container with her everywhere she goes. Both carry some information about her son, and the significant events he's missing in his young family's life.

He missed Thanksgiving, Christmas, his wife's birthday, their anniversary, the surgery for one of his daughters, his youngest daughter's birthday and the birth of his third child, among other holidays and family events.

"I'm not complaining," Frederiksen explains. "My son is only one of several hundred thousand troops deployed around the world. They are all missing similar events."

A quick phone call, Frederiksen learned, can do more to dissolve the distance than anything other than a homecoming.

"The mothers of the ground troops, they don't have e-mail," she said. "They have to rely on old snail-mail. I would be a basket case."

Frederiksen returned to the Cabinet Mountain Cafe and was chatting with a friend when the man in the ballcap hurried up to her.

"He said, `Remember me? You stopped at my house and I didn't have any money. I have some money for you,"' Frederiksen said. She opened her container, and he dropped in five $1 bills.

Frederiksen is pleased with the response she's gotten so far.

"That's pretty cool that they're chasing me down," she said later.

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Al Norris
April 13, 2003, 02:02 AM
Ok, that was a shameless plug for Operation Uplink. So find your nearest VFW and drop a nickel or dime!

April 14, 2003, 12:57 PM
Kewl article :) I missed seeing it when I was skimming the online paper this weekend, thanks for posting it.

Al Norris
April 14, 2003, 02:46 PM
You're welcome Jean.

I just wanted to spread the word about this great way to help our guys, wherever they might be overseas.

April 14, 2003, 02:49 PM
I'd be like, "I don't have any cash, I spent it all on college and guns."

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