BALD EA­GLE

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeff Mitchell

“Serv­ing He­roes” Oper­a­tion Bald Ea­gle was some­thing that came to fruition in June 2009. I had al­ways been geared to­wards ser­vice to­wards com­mu­nity and coun­try. I had served in law en­force­ment and on sev­eral mil­i­tary char­i­ties over the years. I de­cided that I wanted to do some­thing my­self in 2009 to give back to those who pro­tected our com­mu­ni­ties and our coun­try.

Oper­a­tion Bald Ea­gle was cho­sen be­cause when I had thought of all the dif­fer­ent char­i­ties and ser­vice. The bald ea­gle was the most pa­tri­otic sym­bol ab­sent our flag and it seemed to roll off the tongue well too. I chose the three gold stars to rep­re­sent the fallen mil­i­tary (largest star cen­tered) and the law en­force­ment and fire from left to right re­spec­tively.

When I started the or­ga­ni­za­tion it was about serv­ing fallen fam­i­lies and care pack­ages to the troops in Iraq/Afghanistan. But as our first year pro­gressed I be­gan to re­al­ize what we en­tered into was much big­ger. We wanted to give back in a much larger fash­ion just as those who we were serv­ing. I poured my life sav­ings into what has turned out to be the most re­ward­ing event of my life.

Now serv­ing in ca­pac­i­ties of gain­ing sup­plies through­out the year for mil­i­tary fam­i­lies through pro­grams such as: “Pic­nic for Pa­tri­ots” (4th of July sup­plies), “Back­packs for He­roes” (School Sup­plies), Thanks­giv­ing Din­ners & Toys for Troops for fallen and mil­i­tary fam­i­lies at Christ­mas. The hard­est part of my day is when I have to deny a re­quest that we aren’t able to ful­fill. The fam­i­lies that we deal with are some of the most ap­pre­cia­tive and sac­ri­fic­ing that I have ever met.

From the fire­fighter and wife I met on Oc­to­ber 31st, 2009 who lost their 20 year old son who we helped pay for their burial. To the Christ­mas re­cip­i­ent fam­i­lies that ac­cepted our toys. To the fa­ther of a 4th gen­er­a­tion Ma­rine who said that un­til the day he met me he was think­ing of swal­low­ing a bul­let be­cause the loss of his son was so dif­fi­cult to deal with un­til he found that he could do some­thing in his son’s name that he would have wanted. I came to re­al­ize that we all have tough days but these fam­i­lies go through depths I can’t ever imag­ine and they are the most coura­geous people you will meet.

It’s what drives me to do what I do. I was con­duct­ing a fundraiser for a 26 year old Ma­rine dy­ing from brain cancer who had just re­turned from Iraq. He had a two year old daugh­ter and just found out that his wife was preg­nant with their next child. He was just told he had six months left to live. One lady asked me: “Why do you do this? If a garbage man died would you care about him?” I replied: “Ma’am all life is pre­cious. But this young man could have done any­thing. But he de­cided that he wanted to serve his coun­try and put his life in harms way so that you and I can en­joy the free­doms we do ev­ery day. Like go­ing to a restau­rant, movie or many of the other things we take for granted ev­ery day. And this young man now will have less than six months left to live. Do you get why I think he de­serves a lit­tle more now?” She re­sponded: “I get it. Thank you.”

Let us never for­get those who put on the shield or uni­form to en­sure our com­mu­ni­ties and coun­tries safety.

Con­tact Jeff at (385) 282-5221 and visit www.op­er­a­tionbaldea­gle.org.

Pro­vided by Jef­frey Mitchell

Jef­frey Mitchell At Wal­ter Reed Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Mary­land in May 2013 with Eric Hunter, his wife Kenna and Miss Pa­cific Is­lan­der Whit­ney Matagi.

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