July 4, 2010:Â At the request of members of the Maryland National Guard, SupportOurTroops.Org on July 4th, 2010 contributed $1000 toward the cost of funeral arrangements for Maryland National Guard PVT. Wilkins.
The Maryland National Guard
We thank him for his service.Â We pray that God grant peace to his family, friends Â and survivors. We know that God holds him in a special place.
The SOT Team
[caption id="attachment_3816" align="alignleft" width="300"] Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, receives a tour of a Stryker combat vehicle from Army Sgt. Jed Glover while visiting with troops from the 2nd Infantry Division's, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team on Camp Victory, Iraq, July 4, 2010. DoD photo by Elaine Wilson[/caption]
WASHINGTON I spent a good bit of time in the U.S. Embassy while in Iraq last weekend with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, which I wrote about earlier this week in "My Independence Day Weekend in Iraq With Dr. Biden."
In a rare moment of downtime, I joined Dr. Biden and her staff in the Embassy gift shop.In a quest for souvenirs for my children, I purchased one of the only items for kids:Â a stuffed duck with a T-shirt that said "Duck and Cover."
And that's exactly what I had done the night before, three times, while in my room at the embassy. I was typing a story on my computer when the call came over the loudspeaker: "duck and cover." There was a threat of indirect fire, the voice said, and people were supposed to either rush to a room without windows or, if walking outside, duck into one of several bunkers along the sidewalk.
At the first warning, I ran into a windowless room, slightly panicked, and waited it out until the all clear sounded. Although I didn't hear anything, mortar explosions had been heard, according to later news reports. I took a slower pace at the second warning and by the third, at 4:45 a.m., I was so exhausted I ducked under a blanket rather than back into the windowless room.
That day, elsewhere in Iraq, there was a deadly suicide bomber attack and another that wounded two Iraqi police officers.
These incidents served as another reminder of the fact that our troops, and many civilians, are under the threat of attack each day in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whether in combat or not, all put themselves in harm's way just by serving there.
Upon my return, my kids were thrilled to get the stuffed ducks that had traveled all the way from Iraq, but are still too young to catch the tongue-in-cheek humor of the "Duck and Cover" on those little black T-shirts.
I went to sleep last night in my own bed, without the concern of incoming attacks or a "duck and cover" sounding over a loudspeaker. But I'll never be able to look at those stuffed ducks, perched now on my children's desks, without remembering that night and the sacrifice our military members and civilian employees make each day on behalf of all Americans.
July 8, 2010: By Elaine Wilson-American Forces Press Service
Goodyear is showing its continued support for the men and women of the United Stated Armed Forces by auctioning "Support Our Troops®" co-branded tires raced by NASCAR leading drivers in the Last Daytona Sprint Cup race.
Join Goodyear and Support Our Troops in showing our gratitude and recognizing our troops service to our country by raising funds to benefit them and their families through the Support Our Troops® chritable organization.
Bid now through July 17th on authentic race-used, special-edition Goodyear Support Our Troops® tires from the July 3 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway signed by your favorite drivers!
Click on the banner below to choose your favorite driver's tires and place your bid on this piece of history.
Thursday, July 1, 12:00 Noon EST, Press Conference Room in the Media Center, Daytona International Speedway, 1801 W. International Speedway Blvd.,Â Daytona Beach, FL 32114Â Stu Grant, Goodyear® General Manager, Global Race Tires
Thank you Kris.Â A little bit of history I think is worthwhile, we originally started this whole program, this whole concept ofÂ logo-ing a Goodyear tire with Support Our Troops® as our way of saying thank you to the men and women in the military that are fighting for our freedom around the world. It would seem to be very appropriate for us to use this as a platform to say thank you. And obviously we have that in place, but as we looked at it and thought about it and discussed it in more detail we decided, you know, it's a great opportunity to use this as a platform to raise money for the Support Our Troops® organization. As Kris mentioned, it's a great organization, provides a lot of support for military families in the form of care packages, support to the families at home, as well as those on the front line. So what were going to do this were going to take one of these tire, have it autographed by each of the 43 drivers in Saturday's Sprint Cup event here and were gonna' make those tires available to the Nascar community and the larger community in general as an auction item for a to get a autographed Goodyear Nascar eagle with a Support Our Troops logo on it and autographed by a racecar driver.It'll be an online auction, you can go to Goodyear.com. there'll be an icon that'll take you to that site. A 100% of the money that is raised in that program is going to go to the Support Our Troops organization. That online auction kicks ofÂ Saturday July 3rd. It'll last through the17th of July. We hope that it provides some additional support for the organization. We are going to see the initial auctioning with a $20,000 dollar donation to the company. So were excited about our involvement, were pleased to support the Support Our Troops organization, and happy to be parted up with Nascar at this race here in Daytona. I'll turn it over to Mike.
Mike Helton, President of Nascar®.
Thanks, Stew and this is one we have several of , but this is one of the really, really fun moments that we get to participate in this sport, and it's a bit humbling as well. When Stew first came to Nascar and said ya know, Goodyear'd like to take a look in doin' this, it started off maybe a little slower, but as it sunk in it became one of those elements that made us very proud of our relationships that we had in this sport.Â Goodyear's relationships with Nascar goes back to day one, but ya know, here an Akron Ohio based manufacturer that's using its relationshipÂ in Nascar to support an incredibly great cause, and I don't think anybody and any age level or any part of this country has not been touched by the military element, whether it's a father, a grandfather, a son, or a daughter, we all are directly have been effected by military troops members, but we all generally as citizens of this country are, I think obligated to be respectful and mindful of the men and women, who, for generations through today don that military uniform and fight for causes that gave us the opportunity to do things that we do. And this is a neat opportunity for Nascar via Goodyear and this program to echo support. I think one of the things that Nascar certainly hopes is part of its legacy and heritage is the incredible respect and pride that we have for the military. It goes back to Bill Senior. It played a roll in there bein' a fourth of July event here in Daytona, and we work very diligently to maintain that respect and promote that respect quite frankly among all of our ranks.Â So thanks to Goodyear and to your organization for coming up to this.Â It makes us very proud, and thank you very much.
Martin C. Boire, Chairman, Support Our Troops®The troops tell me everyday how much it means to them when the folks here at home stand up for them the way they stand up for all of us. And I want to thank Goodyear and NASCAR for stepping up for the troops in a major way.Â Â Like most of you I've never been in the military.Â But I've been in some pretty tough spots in this world, and I can tell you that what the troops do for us each day,,, is an awesome miracle. In fact, the red in the flag stands for them and they're giving their all to America, not asking what she'll do for them.Â So I ask you,,,Â isn't it time to show how much we care? And Goodyear and NASCAR have stepped up to help you and I do just that with a really fun and great program at Goodyear.com.Â Â You wanna do something simple and fun to help the troops?Â Â This is easy.Â Â Just go to Goodyear.com, click on the SOT icon and get in on the action.Â And keep checking back because new things are being added every day.
So I say let's all get together and make the troops as proud of us as we are of them.Â And now here is Ryan Newman one of the great men who is going to help you and I do the troops proud by actually driving the launch of this great program on these Goodyear Support Our Troops tires this weekend.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver, Ryan Newman
Thank you, Martin, I've always said people have asked me, and it comes every week, what does it mean to you to represent what the army, and the one word that always comes to mind is honor, and its an honor to represent the men and women that, past present and future, fight, that have fought and always will fight for our freedom, to have Goodyear work together with Support Our Troops®, and to drive a race car that has red, white, and blue on the tires, is really cool, so put our hands over our hearts and enjoy the great weekend.Â There will be a lot of fireworks and some great racing but ultimately we need to sit down and think for a minute about the people that give us what we've got here and I really look forward to it.Â I'm a little partial and hoping that the soldiers are pushing down on my tires and gripping my car a little more.Â I'm kind of representing the US Army and what Support Our Troops and Goodyear have done in conjunction with Nascar to be able to put together a cool program like this is the first time I have been able to be a part of something that is this special with respect to what the soldiers and the great country that we live in is a part of so thank you very much.
Questions Stu is this the first time that Goodyear has done labeling of this sort on a race tire?
I can tell you for sure that this is the first time.Â Your question is that this is the first time that Goodyear EVER loaded a tire with something other than Goodyear or Eagle? Yeah. It is the first time we've ever done that and I was telling Mike and Martin earlier how difficult it was to get the approval to do something like this. It was a great concept and a great idea we ended up going to the Chairman of the company to get authorization to put the name of another organization on the sidewall of our product.Â So, yeah it s a big deal as Chris mentioned earlier and it's a first.
Stu, will this be the only weekend that you have these branded tires or will they be at some other races at some other point?
This is the only race that we are going to do this, it seemed appropriate that it be the 4th of July weekend to do something like this, it just all fit together. Yes, its just a one race effort.Â The program online to raise funds and so on will go on for the next several weeks but as far as the racing operation and the look of the tires its just this event only.
Stu is there any history or any way to gauge how much this tire set will bring and has anyone done anything similar to this to give you an idea of how much money will be generated at this auction?
You wan to bid? We can start bidding now if you like.Â You know what,Â I don't know, maybe Martin could answer that.Â We have no clue how much money we could raise.Â We're just going to throw this out and see what happens and like I mentioned Goodyear is going to put an initial seed of $20,000.00 but I'm not sure how big this is going to get, I don't really know how much money we can raise.Â I hope we can raise a lot.
Obviously you brought enough tires to last the weekend, if your not going to do this program anymore what is going to happen to the extra tires that are branded. Are you going to sell them off or.
People are fighting over the used tires and the new tires that are not mounted.Â Honestly the Goodyear marketing program Nascar Marketing have a lot of outlets for these.Â There's no shortage of people saying that I can do "x" with this tire and so and so.Â There's a lot of programs that are providing outlets for these tires.Â Kris (Goodyear marketing) if you want to expandÂ Â Yeah, as Stu was talking about we have some other uses for the tires.Â As you go back and visit the site you'll see some other uses.Â Also we are sending tires out to Military Bases and uses like that.Â We are going to be spreading them far and wide and I think Martin is even working on sending some to Troops overseas.Â Sowe are working on a lot of differentÂ uses for the tires.
Martin Boire.Â I can tell you that one has already been spoken for by an eight year old boy that we passed on our way in.Â Who informed his farther that he expects that tire to be purchased.Â Â If an eight year old kid gets it I'm sure that real Americans that you find behind Nascar and Goodyear tire find out about this we're going to do well.