Our Local Soldiers
To Our Amazing American Heroes
We are truly indebted to each and every one of you…..our soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen for your tremendous sacrifices and commitment to defend our country, protect our freedom, and ensure our safety.
Our Gratitude……..well, it just can’t be expressed adequately in words, nor will we ever be able to do enough to let you know how much we appreciate, admire, love, and care about each one of you.
Our hope is that our care packages and our other attempts to express what is in our hearts will be at least a small token of our appreciation.
We pray for God’s peace and protection for you and your loved ones, and for your safe return home to us soon.
Glenn Schmidt, Major, USAF, Retired
In May, 2011, one of our Support 4 Soldiers volunteers had the great honor of meeting Glenn Schmidt at Bayside Church in Folsom, CA. A brief glimpse into his past service to our country made it very clear that the rest of the S4S team would likewise be honored to meet this very inspiring, humble, and kind gentleman.
Glenn generously accepted our invitation to be the guest speaker at a team meeting shortly thereafter. He was accompanied by his wife, Jan, to whom he has been married for six years. That night, during a very distressing step back into history, Glenn Schmidt, Major, USAF, (Ret.), shared with us many of the difficult circumstances he and his fellow soldiers experienced in World War II. For Glenn, this included captivity as a P.O.W., followed by 24 years of service to our country.
Since learning some of the details about the sacrifices Glenn and so many other courageous men and women have made for our country, we have been fortunate to have Glenn join us as an “honorary member” of our S4S team!
We all celebrated our warm friendship at a “Breakfast Celebration” at the Veteran’s Hall in Folsom, CA on March 25, 2012. A delicious meal prepared by veterans of the American Legion was served. Glenn was presented with a commemorative plaque, custom banner, and gift basket by members of our team. Commander Ron Hawn of the American Legion also presented Glenn with a commemorative coin.
A wonderful letter written by Glenn to our troops can be found below. We’ve been placing a copy of his letter in each care package we have sent since July, 2011; words of encouragement from a gentleman who truly understands the meaning of the words: “sacrifice” and “faith.”
“Dear Buddies Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen:
During WWII as a combat Infantryman with the 42nd Rainbow Division my regiment was defending more than 4000 yards along the Rhine River. Hitler had ordered German General Von Runsted to retake the city of Strasbourg, France. The 21st and 25th SS Panzer Divisions were transferred from the Russian / Finnish border after experiencing harsh winter conditions for more than two years. They were now well equipped with the Mark VI Tiger tanks with flame throwers and long range .88mm cannons.
After being attacked by mortars, artillery and the flame throwing tanks we held out for over 52 hours (Presidential Unit Citation). We suffered heavy casualties; one soldier being killed less than 3 feet from me. Being told to “Hold the line at all cost” we were forced to surrender after the steel door of our Maginot Line pilbox was blown in by a panzerfaust. Our Company Commander was severally wounded and with others of us tried to voice our dissent.
As over 100 of us were on our trek to Stallag IXB I discovered the SS had missed my wedding ring, pocket knife and New Testament. I brought these home months after later dropping to 92 pounds at liberation. The Testament was well used as I endeavored to read, pray aloud and sing during these days and nights of captivity. Several stories of our action and prisoner experience are available in book form to include one soldier’s narrative how he accepted the Lord because of my faithfulness in this time of trouble.
My only reason for writing this short narrative is to assure of God’s continual keeping power during your trials in today’s conflicts. My father led me to the Lord when I was 15. his last letter to me in combat quoted Psalm 91:7. My commitment to living for Jesus Christ has kept me through these years. I will see 88 years when you read this note. My wife and I hold you in our prayers. I look forward to seeing you all in the eternal home He has created for us as you surrender your life to Him.Sincerely, Glenn Schmidt (then PFC, USA) Major, USAF Retired”
Keith McCune, PFC, U.S. Army
In his own words………
Hello. My name is Keith McCune and I am a senior at Sheldon High School in Elk Grove. As a senior I am required to complete a senior project to satisfy my graduation requirements. This project is to have us stretch and to challenge us.
After considering several different personal projects, I chose to do a project that would do more than just benefit myself. That is why I chose Support 4 Soldiers. I am going to join the military when I graduate and thought how much I would appreciate knowing that the people back home still remember and care about us. I have friends who just graduated and are headed off to Afghanistan and I jut wanted to do something that would show how much I appreciate not only their patriotism and sacrifice, but all those who serve.
I have begun my project by attending a Support 4 Soldiers meeting, which I was nervous about. That only lasted a few minutes, because I was welcome by a group of people who jumped right in to let me learn from them. At school I have talked to several teachers, and they have agreed to let me speak to their classes about my project and what the organization does. The student body will learn what they can do to support the soldiers through my project. I will also be having a card signing day, along with an ongoing charity drive to collect goods for the troops.
I appreciate the opportunity to work with Support 4 Soldiers and will work hard to make my project a success.Thank you, Keith McCune
The Support 4 Soldiers team received the above letter from Keith in late 2010. Since then, Keith has become a very important part of our S4S family. As the youngest member of our team, he followed through with his Senior Project and successfully met all his goals. In May, 2011, the tangible outcome of Keith’s efforts culminated in a large supply of greeting cards, donations, and a flag filled with encouraging notes to our troops from the student body at Sheldon High.
But Keith’s project provided intangible results too, including a display of patriotism and an increase in awareness by the student body at Sheldon High School about the sacrifices and accomplishments of our military forces. In addition, one of Keith’s teachers is now a member of our S4S team, and his mom has continued volunteering with us too!
Perhaps this effort also reinforced Keith’s decision to join the U.S. Army. Keith enlisted in September, 2011; and after completing his training, Keith has been deployed to serve in Korea as of April, 2012.
I joined the USAF in 1992 and was Honorably Discharged in 1997. I was stationed in England, Turkey, and California. I have also completed tours of duty in Saudi Arabia and Germany. I was assigned to work as a Military Working Dog Handler and worked with Patrol dogs, Bomb dogs, and Drug dogs over the course of my enlistment. My time with Support 4 Soldiers as a volunteer has been rewarding. I believe that our troops deserve respect and to be remembered, especially while serving in a War Zone.
Sergeant John D’Arcy
John was born and raised in Folsom. (March 21, 1988). His mother and grandparents are also Folsom natives. He attended Folsom Hills Elementary School, Folsom Middle School and then graduated from Folsom High School in 2006. John is the youngest of five children. He decided he wanted to join the Army shortly after graduating. He went to basic training and MP training on February 14, 2007. His dad, Steve, is retired law enforcement and John had a great interest in law enforcement. After graduating from there, he was assigned to the 217th MP Company attached to the 101st Airborne stationed at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.
John served a year in Iraq in 2009/2010. When he came home to Ft. Campbell, he was selected to serve for the CID (Criminal Investigation Division) for one year. He left for South Korea in October 2011 to serve as an MP there and was recently promoted to Sergeant. He will finish six years in February 2013, and at this point is planning on coming home and attending CSUS.
PFC Jack D’Ottavio is the oldest of three sons born to Gina D’Ottavio of Folsom, California. He graduated from Folsom High School with the Class of 2009, and then attended Utah State University in Logan, Utah for one year. He is a wonderful role model for his younger brothers as well as to the community.
While at Utah State University, Jack received an award for his outstanding writing ability and did have some of his work published. After completing his first year of College, Jack decided that serving his country was something he needed to do, so he then joined the United States Army for a term of 3 1/2 years.
In honor of Veteran’s Day, Jack was part of a group of about 20 young men and women who were publicly sworn in at Arco Arena during half time at a Sacramento King’s game. There were approximately 40,000 people in attendance, who gave them a standing ovation.
Jack was deployed to Afghanistan in October, 2011 where he has served on a Quick Reaction Unit. He will spend his 21st birthday in Afghanistan on June 13th.
Jack will return to Ft. Bliss, Texas in August 2012, where he will prepare with his unit to deploy again to Afghanistan next July, 2013.
Jack will continue his education at Utah State University, majoring in psychology, upon completion of his military career. He is also hopeful that he will be trying out for and obtaining a position on the Utah State Aggies Football Team.
After graduating from Utah State, Jack will most likely be returning to the Sacramento Area to attend Law School. As an attorney, he will be dedicated to the legal representation of children.
Brendan Wright was born and raised in East Sacramento. He attended Christian Brothers High School and graduated in May of 2006. He then attended college at the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY and graduated in May of 2010.
Brendan then began his Infantry Officer Basic Course in Fort Benning, Georgia. After graduating, he went on to Ranger School, also in Fort Benning, Georgia. He graduated from Ranger school on April 29, 2011.
Brendan was then assigned to his first duty station at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Fort Lewis, Washington. He began training as an infantry platoon leader until his unit deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Southern Afghanistan. He is currently deployed to Afghanistan and is expected to return in November of 2012.