Veteran Spotlight -- Randy McElwee

This month for our spotlight, we would like to recognize Randy McElwee.  Not only did he serve his country via his military service, he is still giving back to his community by offering training in various ways. 

"I joined the Army in Nov 1983 and served in the United States Army for 23 years. I spent the majority of my military experience in service with 3rd Ranger Batallion and with 5TH Special Forces Group.

As a young man from a small West Virginia town I joined the Army because I wanted to challenge myself and see the world. It turned out to be a life changing experience and a decision I've never regretted. 

I retired in 2005 after serving my last assignment at the University of Georgia Military Science Dept. Since retiring I am the owner / director of American Black Belt Academy in Athens and serve as the Director of the Special Operations Combative Arts Association."

Randy has almost twenty years Special Operations experience. Awarded the Legion of Merit for service that included action as the senior NCO responsible for the planning, direction, and execution of a Joint Chief of Staff directed special category classified project. He has been training and teaching Martial Arts for 17 years. His unique instructional experience includes; appearing as a featured author in Black Belt Magazine and featured Instructor in the Special Operations Combatives Instructional Video / DVD Series.

Randy is also the creator of SAFE, a women's self defense class that teaches women to Resist, Escape and Defend.  He first thought of designing a course for women's self defense when he was teaching self-defense based martial arts at the University of Georgia. One of his female students told him that a technique she learned in class saved her from assault, and he was inspired to pass on his vast knowledge of self defense to more women.

Randy McElwee

Director

American Black Belt Academy www.athensjiujitsu.com

(706) 549-1671

 

Interest Meeting Recap

Thanks to everyone who came out to our interest meeting on Saturday, November 12th!  We had a great time crafting poppies and talking about the future of our organization.  I wanted to give all who could not make it a synopsis of what we talked about and invite your input.

In the new year, we want to start with monthly volunteer opportunities so we can grow as a group and help the veterans in our community.  We are looking for any ideas that you may have on ways we can volunteer, but do ask that they be free or nearly free as all our funds are currently going to purchase the all terrain wheelchair.

As you may know, we are currently partnered with the Georgia World War I Centennial Commission, a group sanctioned by the Governor to organize commemoration ceremonies, etc. to remember Georgia’s involvement in World War I.  They will be including Moina Michael in their celebrations and want our involvement.  As of right now, the Department of Transportation will be planting poppies from Athens to Monroe in 2018!  This is a great opportunity for us to help help educate our community on Ms. Michael’s legacy and how the Moina Michael Poppy Project is continuing her work.  We welcome any ideas on how we can participate in this exciting moment in time.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Emily

Veteran Spotlight -- Alexandra Melick

This month, in honor of Veteran's Day, we are turning the spotlight on a very important aspect of our supporter base -- Veterans.

Allow me to introduce you to Alexandra Melick.  Here is a bit about her and her service:

My name is 1Lt Alexandra Melick and I am currently serving as the Assistant Officer in Charge of the 357th Aircraft Maintenance Unit at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona.

I started my journey towards becoming an officer by joining Air Force ROTC at Valdosta State University in South, Georgia, while accomplishing my master's degree in 2010. I commissioned in May of 2013 and went active duty May of 2014. My first duty station was Royal Air For Lakenheath in the United Kingdom which was an amazing experience working with foreign nationals and the mighty F-15 Strike Eagle. I PCS'd to my second duty station here in Tucson in May of 2016 and currently oversea 220 maintenance professionals and 30 A-10's as the only active duty A-10 training squadron on this base. I have always been extremely patriotic but had never seriously considered the military as an option until I made friends with several Cadets going through ROTC and it made me think that this could be a possibility for me. Once I headed down this path I never looked back. This is the best possible choice I could have made for my life and I love coming to work everyday and serving alongside the best of the best. We recently returned from Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, where we took 14 A-10's and 133 Maintenance Professionals to help give our new pilots a taste of combat experience. We provided them opportunities to experience close air support by participating in simulated combat scenarios with the Army, as well as, supporting the Weapons School. All in All, it was an amazing experience and we had 12 Superior Performers coined by the Green Flag Commander on our final day. This is just a small part of what I get to experience on a regular basis and it is one of the many things I love about my job.

One thing I think the Air Force does better than most is that we recognize the importance of our people and we take care of them while in the service! Always striving to abide by the great motto "People First, Mission Always"! 

Unfortunately once they leave the service, we are not as great about caring for their needs! I greatly appreciate organizations, like yours, that work with veterans to help make their lives better. I am proud to serve along side the men and women of the United States Air Force and I am honored to serve alongside the dedicated workers of the Moina Michael Poppy Project.

-Alex

Moina Michael Poppy Project Interest Meeting

Hi There!  

Its Emily.  I just wanted to let you all know about an upcoming interest meeting that has been planned for November 12, 2pm - 4pm at the Good Hope City Hall.  We’ve handed out fliers at the Good Hope Poppy Festival to all those that might be interested in joining the Moina Michael Poppy Project.  We’ll be talking a bit about what we do, how we go started, and where we are going in the future.  This will also be a “crafting party” so please bring your glue guns, sequins, and felt!  

I hope that in the coming year we can take part in a few volunteer activities that would help our local veterans in the Athens area and will help build a sense of comradery amongst our group.  And it would let me see your smiling faces that I’ve missed since I moved to McDonough!  

I hope all can come and greet any new folks that come to join us on November 12!  Bring ideas about volunteer opportunities with you!

See you then,

Emily

Moina Michael Birthday Bash 2016

Hello everyone and Happy Summer!

As you probably noticed, the Moina Michael Poppy Project took a hiatus during Spring as many of our members were busy with life obligations. It’s summer now and we are back in full swing and look forward to many new and exciting opportunities coming our way.  

The biggest thing we have coming up is the 2nd Annual Moina Michael Birthday Bash on August 20 from 11am to 2pm at VFW Post 2872 (835 Sunset Drive, Athens, GA 30606).  We have lots planned for this event: cake, storytime and crafts for the kids, information booths from our supporters and fellow Moina Michael enthusiast and the list just goes on.  Did I mention there will be cake?!  

We encourage all that are willing to donate to our Moina Michael Birthday Bash 2016 Crowdrise. All funds donated through this link will go directly towards our purchase of an all-terrain wheelchair for a Georgia veteran.  Over the last three years, we have been working closely with The Independence Fund through whom we will purchase this wheel chair.  These all terrain wheelchairs will give a paralyzed veteran a chance to be independent again, enabling them to traverse the type of terrain a regular wheelchair would  would not withstand.  

Please help us honor Ms. Michael on what would have been her 147th birthday by attending our party and by donating to the Moina Michael Birthday Bash 2016 Crowdrise.  We look forward to seeing you on August 20th!

Emily

Partner Spotlight -- Revival Yarns

This month we are focusing a very important part of our supporter base:  Partners!

We have forged a very meaningful partnership with a local business, Revival Yarns.

Revival Yarns is a welcoming place in Athens, Georgia where knitters and crocheters can gather, be creative, hone their crafts, and buy their favorite yarns. Revival Yarns was founded in 2014 by co-owners Lindsay and Cara. Lindsay and Cara met in their neighborhood knitting group. It was during these knit nights that the need for an in-town Athens yarn shop became clear, and the idea for Revival Yarns was born.

"Here at Revival Yarns we offer quality products and services at reasonable prices, but customer service is what’s most important to us. We strive to make Revival Yarns a comfortable, welcoming space for fiber artists of all genders, ages, and skill levels.

The whole reason we are here is because we love this stuff, and we want you to too!

Revival Yarns is honored to partner with the Moina Michael Poppy Project (MMPP)! The MMPP is run by women with huge hearts, who not only want to preserve the memory of a local hero, but to continue her legacy. Helping disabled veterans via the Independence Fund is just one of the ways the MMPP hopes to help veterans. We can’t wait to see how this group grows as the love and generosity they spread becomes contagious. We are honored to support them in any way we can… plus we love those knit and crochet poppies! ;)"

If you are out and about and get a chance, stop by and see them!  The shop is so cozy and the Lindsay and Cara will take good care of you! 

A very warm THANK YOU goes out to Revival Yarns for their support!

Info:  297 Prince Avenue, Suite 17 | Athens, GA 30601 | phone: 706.850.1354 | email: info@revivalyarnsathens.com

If you are interested in becoming a partner with us, click here to find out more info. 

You can also find out more about our past spotlights here.

Gift Certificates!

Still struggling with what to give that person who has everything for Christmas?  Consider giving a donation to the Moina Michael Poppy Project in their honor!  They will feel great knowing that  your gift  has gone to veterans in need and helped MMPP reach its goal of buying an all-terrain wheelchair for a disabled veteran.

Visit our Take Action page or contact us today to find out how!

Happy Holidays,

Emily, Marie & Tina

Veteran Spotlight -- Rebecca Scott

This month, in honor of Veteran's Day, we are turning the spotlight on a very important aspect of our supporter base -- Veterans.

Allow me to introduce you to Rebecca Scott.  Becca is an all-around amazing person and is always there to lend a smile or a helping hand.  Please take a moment to read a few of her words below:

"I joined the military at age 25, later than most. I am the fifth generation of my family to join and I still recall the pride on my father's face at my graduation. I have been asked before why I signed up. Was it a sense of duty? Was it for benefits? Was it patriotism? I think the answer is all of the above and more. My grandfather served in WWII. He taught me to fold a flag, to respect it, and not just the one for our own country because it wasn't the only one we should respect. I did not join the military to hurt anyone. I joined to protect people, to protect ideals worth fighting for when the cause is right. If the cause isn't right, then I was there to protect the boys and girls sent out to fight anyway. I served my country for 10 years total. Afterward, I found joy and purpose in helping civilians instead and I spend my time these days volunteering around my neighborhood, being involved in community building, and doing small acts of kindness for perfect strangers. I think we all could use a reminder sometimes that there is as much light in the world as there is dark; it's just that we all need to take turns holding up the candle."

 

 

Support Moina Michael Poppy Project with Kroger Community Rewards!

Hey everyone!  We have some pretty exciting news!  This week we were approved for the Kroger Community Rewards Program!

What is the Kroger Community Rewards Program?  I'm glad you asked:

Did you know you can support nonprofit organizations in your community just by shopping at Kroger? It's easy when you enroll in Kroger Community Rewards®! To get started, sign up with your Plus Card, and select a local organization you wish to support. Once you're enrolled, you'll earn rewards for your chosen organization every time you shop and use your Plus Card!

Kroger is committed to helping our communities grow and prosper. Year after year, local schools, churches and other nonprofit organizations will earn millions of dollars through Kroger Community Rewards®. This program was designed to make fund-raising the easiest in town…all you have to do is shop at Kroger and swipe your Plus Card!

Enroll now for the Kroger Community Rewards Program. And remember…all participants must re-enroll each year to continue earning rewards for their chosen organization.

We would love it if you would take a few moments and add us.  This costs you nothing extra and all it takes is a swipe of your card!  Instructions are included below and it only takes a few moments to make a difference:

The Moina Michael Poppy Project NPO Number is:  66418.

  • Register online at krogercommunityrewards.com
  • Be sure to have your Kroger Plus card handy and register your card with your organization after you sign up.
  • If a member does not yet have a Kroger Plus card, please let them know that they are available at the customer service desk at any Kroger.
  • Click on Sign In/Register
  • Most participants are new online customers, so they must click on SIGN UP TODAY in the ‘New Customer?’ box.
  • Sign up for a Kroger Rewards Account by entering zip code, clicking on favorite store, entering your email address and creating a password, agreeing to the terms and conditions
  • You will then get a message to check your email inbox and click on the link within the body of the email.
  • Click on My Account and use your email address and password to proceed to the next step.
  • Click on Edit Kroger Community Rewards information and input your Kroger Plus card number.
  • Update or confirm your information.
  • Enter NPO number or name of organization, select organization from list and click on confirm.
  • To verify you are enrolled correctly, you will see your organization’s name on the right side of your information page.
  • REMEMBER, purchases will not count for your group until after your member(s) register their card(s).
  • Do you use your phone number at the register?  Call 800-576-4377, select option 4 to get your Kroger Plus card number.
  • Members must swipe their registered Kroger Plus card or use the phone number that is related to their registered Kroger Plus card when shopping for each purchase to count.

 

Donor Spotlight -- Ellie Lanier

This month our spotlight is shining brightly on another element of our support group that is very important to us:  Donors.

We are very thankful to our donors for all of their very important financial support!  This month's honoree is Miss Ellie Lanier.  Ellie is a part of the UGA Law family and is the managing attorney of Georgia Law's Mediation Practicum.

Not only do we appreciate her assistance but also her enthusiasm.  Please take a moment to read a few of her words below:

"I am delighted to support the work of my colleagues who founded and are working to grow the Moina Michael Poppy Project. I am awed by the fact that they were inspired by Moina Michael's efforts and decided to continue her work on behalf of veterans and their families. Turning inspiration into concrete action is not only laudable, but sorely needed in and by this world. 

These strong, determined and creative women personify Margaret Mead's famous quote: 'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.'

I am honored to play a role in furthering their cause by giving financially and proudly wearing my Moina Michael Poppy pin."

Thanks Ellie, from all of us at the Moina Michael Poppy Project!

All the best,

Emily, Marie & Tina