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Red Robin supports America's troops

support our troops red robin box for donationsSometimes people hear about our organization, do some research, and then get right to work for the troops.

This happened recently with Nicole Jones, a Regional Operations Director at Red Robin. She heard about Support Our Troops®, decided the organization was to her liking, and wanted to get involved. What happened next, however, was truly surprising. support our troops donation box nicoleA Red Robin employee poses with donations collected at a Red Robin."Our division really wanted to help make a difference in our community," Nicole said. "We are such a large organization and we thought we could get all of our restaurants involved in something that was important to many." Nicole got 42 restaurants involved with collecting donations.

"We had each restaurant get a large box that they decked out with fun decorations (i.e. camouflage paper, Armed Force medallions, American flags etc). They put out the large boxes for both guest and team members to donate," she said. "We added a list of items needed that we found on the website.

 After that we just talked to people about what we were doing and why. It took little effort and brought back so much more."

So how much was collected? Stay tuned to our blog to find out!

Meet Your Military: Soldier Finds New Ways to Take Flight

support our troops us army chief warrant officer trains for defense warrior gamesArmy Chief Warrant Officer 3 Timothy Sifuentes talks with Army Staff Sgt. Monica Martinez at Fort Belvoir, Va., before cycling training for the 2015 Department Of Defense Warrior Games, June 14, 2015. Sifuentes and Martinez are two of more than 40 active duty and veteran athletes training at Fort Belvoir. Sifuentes will represent Team Army in the field, swimming and cycling competitions, and Martinez will compete in the cycling, field ,sitting volleyball, swimming ,track and archery competitions during the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Va., June 19-28, 2015. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Christophe PaulFORT BELVOIR, Virginia: Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Timothy Sifuentes has flown more than 2,300 hours and completed nearly 1,000 combat missions in an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter. Flying is a part of who he is. So when injuries to his back and knee and a tear in his right glute forced him out of the cockpit, he had to find a new way to soar.

Sifuentes is preparing to compete in the Department of Defense Warrior Games at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, June 19-28. “What do I think I’ll get out of the Warrior Games experience? A new challenge -- a new me, if you will,” said Sifuentes, a Glendive, Montana, native, and a former Fort Riley Warrior Transition Battalion soldier, now with the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. “Yeah, I know I’ll never be 100 percent where I was prior to my injuries,” he added, “but I can establish a new baseline.”

Sifuentes, a former runner, was able to use cycling to recover from injuries, thanks to the adaptive reconditioning program offered through the Warrior Transition Battalion. He will compete in cycling, swimming and field events at the Warrior Games. Different, But Therapeutic “Once I couldn’t compete in [running] any more and I started the recovery process, I thought, ‘Let me give cycling a chance,’” he said.

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Cutting "Troopons" for the troops

Special needs adults cutting troopons. Photo courtesy of center.Special needs adults cutting troopons. Photo courtesy of center.There are a multitude of ways to help the troops, and one of the easiest is by sending them troopons. Recently, a group of special needs adults at Building Blocks Ministries did just that.

As part of a health and wellness class at the center, the adults learned about cutting coupons and saving money on the various items they needed to purchase. They noticed a surplus of coupons, and came up with an idea: troopons!

The adults loved the idea of helping others and decided to use some of their time in class to cut and sort extra coupons and send them to us! We're happy to receive the hard work of these classmates and share them with the troops.

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Meet Your Military: Marine Recruiter Saves Troubled Man's Life

support our troops us marine corps sgt rescues man hanging from treeMarine Corps Sgt. Cody Leifheit, a recruiter based in Lewiston, Idaho, responded to a 19-year-old man hanging himself from a tree outside his house June 7, 2015. Leifheit, 28, climbed 25 feet up the tree to assist the man, who survived. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Reece LodderLEWISTON, Idaho: Screaming startled him awake. Marine Corps Sgt. Cody Leifheit checked the time: 2 a.m. Sunday, June 7, 2015. Probably people filtering in from the bars, he thought. After moving into an apartment here only a week earlier, Leifheit wasn’t yet familiar with the neighborhood. But the hysterical, incoherent screaming continued. Was it a cry for help?

Running down the street, the 28-year-old recruiter found a cluster of silhouettes milling beneath a tree, desperate and terrified. Their friend, 19-year-old Travis Kent, was hanging from a branch 25 feet above them. No one had a knife to cut Kent down, so Leifheit ran home for one and sprinted back to the tree. The stocky Marine jumped up, grabbed a branch and strong-armed his way upward, recounted Austin Tow, Kent’s roommate. Tow had scaled the tree in an attempt to save him.

‘Like Hercules Climbing the Tree’ “Sergeant Leifheit was like Hercules climbing the tree,” recalled Tow, adding that Leifheit reacted without hesitation and ascended the tree “as easily as if he were climbing stairs.” Tow said he and Kent’s 14-year-old brother, Dartanian, “saw warning signs.” Kent’s life hadn’t been easy. When Kent was a child, his father committed suicide after losing a son to cancer. His mother was a drug addict. At 19 years old, Kent had a legal dependent in his brother Dartanian. Kent had talked about killing himself, Tow said, but they didn’t think he would actually do it. Perched on a branch above his friend, Tow panicked. Worried that Kent had a spinal injury, Tow didn’t want to cut him loose and send him falling to the ground. As Tow wrestled with his options, a “completely calm” Leifheit climbed up to him. “I’m sure it was just another day for him,” said Marine Corps Cpl. Jeff Decker, who served under Leifheit from 2012-2015. He described Leifheit as a respected leader devoted to caring for and training his Marines. “If we gave 100 percent, he gave us 110 percent back,” Decker said of Leifheit. Leifheit’s proficiency in combat lifesaver training enabled his men to build confidence with casualty care, Decker said. He described Leifheit as “the guy for the job.”

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Meet Your Military: Navy Chief Fights PTSD With Family's Help

support our troops us navy training camp navy chief stretchesIda Malone helps her husband, Navy Chief Petty Officer Averill Malone, stretch before cycling during the Navy’s training camp for the 2015 DoD Warrior Games at Ventura County Naval Station Port Hueneme in Oxnard, Calif., June 3, 2015. DoD photo by EJ HersomVENTURA, California: As the nightmares took control of him, the sailor’s wife wrapped her arms around him and told him he was safe, comforting him until he calmed down and went back to sleep.

Navy Chief Petty Officer Averill Malone, a logistics specialist, has been married to his wife, Ida, for eight years, and he said the support he receives from his wife as a spouse and caregiver helps him with his post-traumatic stress symptoms. “She tells me I’m safe, especially on those nights when I’m waking up screaming and jumping from nightmares,” he said. “When I get depressed or the anxiety starts kicking in, she says, ‘Baby, you’re safe.’ I love her for loving me through this.”

Military Service Malone joined the Navy right out of high school and loved being in logistics during his 22 years of service, making sure equipment and mail got to and from the ships. While he was deployed to Camp Victory in Iraq from 2007 to 2008, he was on a night patrol when he heard bombs, rockets and mortars land all around him. “I was really scared for my life,” Malone said. “I thought to myself, ‘If it’s my time, it’s my time.’ I just walked and prayed and sang songs.”

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Meet Your Military: Army Chaplain Meets 'Monster Island' Challenge

support our troops us army animal planet bow huntArmy Capt. Stacy Beasley, a chaplain for the 5th Engineer Battalion, 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, appeared on a recent Animal Planet docudrama, titled, “Monster Island.” Beasley and his team used their bow hunting skills in an attempt to cull an invasive colony of boars infected by a highly contagious and deadly microbe on Mona Island, Puerto Rico. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mark PattonFORT LEONARD WOOD, Montana: A white cross memorial juts from the rugged terrain as a group of bow hunters start their trek into the heart of a 7-by-4-mile island surrounded by some of the Caribbean’s roughest waters.

“It’s a reality check that this island has taken people’s lives,” recalled Army Capt. Stacy Beasley, the chaplain for the Fort Leonard Wood-based 5th Engineer Battalion, 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. Beasley was speaking about Mona Island, Puerto Rico, an area billed as one of the most hostile environments known to man. It’s an island that, except for seasonal rangers, remains uninhabited by humans. What the island does offer is scorching heat, venomous centipedes, poisonous plants, sinkholes, razor sharp coral and a disorienting cactus maze.

Avid Outdoorsman For Beasley, a native of Carthage, Missouri, this island became his temporary home late last year. It also became the site of the avid outdoorsman’s television debut. Three other bow hunters joined Beasley on Mona Island as their efforts to cull an invasive colony of boars infected by the highly contagious and deadly Brucellosis microbe were documented for an “Animal Planet” television show. By hunting the feral hogs, the team hoped to reduce the spread of disease on the island and prevent it from being carried to the mainland by illegal migrants. Mona Island is also home to endangered animals, including an endemic iguana subspecies, and Beasley said their hunt aimed to reduce the disturbance of the ecosystem.

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