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Fallen heroes’ wives, daughters and mother are recognized as “Honorary Miss Americas” at the 2012 Miss America pageant; VIP itinerary includes day spa, shows, VIP seating at Miss America Finals, visits with celebrities

Las Vegas, NV—The Third Annual Project Gratitude brings twenty-two wives, daughters and one mother of fallen heroes to the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas. The highlight of their VIP visit will be a ceremony Friday evening January 13th when each will be “pinned” by former Miss Americas with a crown pin, symbolizing their status as the newest honorary Miss Americas.

The guests will travel from around the country into Las Vegas on Wednesday, courtesy of American Airlines. They will be guests of Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, and attend the Blue Man Group, CSI Experience, and will be royally pampered at the Canyon Ranch Spa on Saturday just in time to watch the Miss America Finals “live” (6 PM PST on ABC) from their VIP seats.

“We started Project Gratitude out of a deep, heartfelt sense of gratitude and highest respect for the ultimate sacrifice that was made by our nation’s fallen heroes and their families,” explains Sharlene Hawkes, former Miss America and President of Remember My Service Productions. “By recognizing each of the women and their daughters as honorary Miss Americas–and giving them the VIP experience that Miss Americas have received over the years–it is just our way of doing what we can to pay tribute to these great Americans.”

The chairman of Project Gratitude is Kathleen Gagg, Co-Founder of Camp Better America and Executive Director of the Got Your Back Network, who has organized a broad group of volunteers and sponsors to support the tribute (see below for more information about the sponsors) each year.” We are so honored and humbled to do our part in helping return the salute to these incredible families who have paid the ultimate sacrifice”, stated Kathleen Gagg.

Art McMaster, CEO of the Miss America Organization stated, “We are extremely proud to help bring together families who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country for a truly memorable weekend. During Miss America week, many experiences are shared, friendships are gained and memories are made with these amazing families that will forever become a part of this Miss America family. We are so honored and feel privileged to have them join us for the pageant this month.”

Project Gratitude Thanks These Generous Sponsors:

American Airlines

Air Compassion for Veterans
“Air Compassion for Veterans partnered with the American Airlines Veteran’s Initiative is proud to be able to provide the air transportation for the mothers and children of Project Gratitude to be present at the famous Miss America pageant in Las Vegas.  Our mission and purpose are to provide travel for healing and rehabilitation for wounded warriors and their adversely affected family members.  Binding up wounds and uniting America is the goal.  Thanks for letting us participate.”  Contact: Ed Boyer  757-271-2286

Planet Hollywood

Miss America Organization

Warrior Gateway

“Warrior Gateway is honored to be a part of Project Gratitude in supporting the widows and daughters of our fallen military members.  Initiatives such as Project Gratitude show how communities across the nation can step up to work together and support the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Alongside Got Your Back Network and The Miss America Organization as well as other partners, we are honored to join these families of our fallen in Las Vegas for the Miss America pageant.” said Devin B. Holmes, CEO of Warrior Gateway. “Warrior Gateway remains committed to supporting all members of the military community as they return home and seek out their new normal life.” Contact: Devin Holmes (202) 695-3668

Got Your Back Network
“Got Your Back Network is pleased to partner with the Miss America organization to provide a very unique and “once in a lifetime” experience for surviving wives and their daughters. Shared experiences are the highlight of memories and we are happy to be able to plan, organize and implement the Project Gratitude event. We thank all the volunteers, contributors and organizations that have made Project Gratitude possible. “ Contact: Roy E. Baldwin, President 973-670-3940

CSI Experience
“On behalf of CSI: The Experience we are honored to have the widows and daughters of fallen military members visit our interactive experience as part of the initiative called Project Gratitude.  Obviously, words cannot begin to express the debt we owe to our service men and women who give their lives in defense of our country.  We only hope that we can give these families an enjoyable experience as our way of showing them a portion of the appreciation that they deserve.”
Contact: Ava Bahnam Wideen 702.742.6814

Chilton Hospital : contact Anna Scalora 973-831-5496

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This January, bereaved widows and daughters of fallen military members will attend the Miss America Finals courtesy of an initiative called Project Gratitude. This will bring together families that have suffered similar losses for a weekend of fun and bonding. During this time many experiences are shared, friendships are gained and memories are made.

We are currently seeking gift bag or monetary donations for this 3rd annual event. Please visit our sponsor page to learn more about the wonderful sponsors who have already generously donated to this event! Show how important these families are by contacting shana@gotyourbacknetwork.org for information. Thank you so much for your support, we all appreciate it!

Getting ready for Miss America

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“Got Your Back Network” (GYBN), www.gotyourbacknetwork.org, is the primary charity of the ZOOMA run event in Colorado Springs, CO on July 17th, 2011. Executives from ZOOMA expect to have thousands of runners participating in the event on Sunday. Among the runners will be several widows of fallen soldiers who will be participating in the event.

GYBN is reaching out to runners, military organizations, NGOs and defense companies to ask people to register to participate at the ZOOMA run event in Colorado Springs, CO on July 16 and 17th, 2011. You can register at www.gotyourbacknetwork.org by clicking on the ZOOMA icon. On June 16th there is pre-race registration, race packet pickup and marketplace expo at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort. The running event is on Sunday, July 17th with running distances of 10 K and a half marathon. The ZOOMA after-party expo will be held at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort after the runs. Please check the www.zoomarun.com website for more information.

If you have any questions please contact me at rebaldwin1@verizon.net or calling me at 717-305-0159.

Air travel arrangements made exclusively for “Got Your Back Network” by American Airlines. We thank them for their generosity and support.

Thanks, Roy

President

GYBN

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“Got Your Back Network” (GYBN), www.gotyourbacknetwork.org, is the primary charity of the ZOOMA run event in Annapolis, MD. Executives from ZOOMA expect to have 4000 runners participating in the event on Sunday. Among the runners will be several widows of fallen soldiers who will participating in the event. Dr. Vivianne Wersel, a widow from the DC Metro area, will be running on Sunday. She has had help in training for the event through her training “buddy”, Cori Koch, who works for Under Armour in Baltimore, MD.GYBN is reaching out to military organizations, NGOs and defense companies to ask for volunteers to help out with the ZOOMA run event in Annapolis, MD on June 4 and 5th, 2011. On June 4th there is pre-race registration, race packet pickup and marketplace expo at the Sheraton, Annapolis, 173 Jennifer Road, Annapolis, MD 21401. The running event is on Sunday, June 5th with running distances of 1.5 miles, 10 K and a half marathon. The ZOOMA after-party expo will be held at the End Zone of the Navy-Marine Corp Memorial Stadium after the runs. Please check the www.zoomarun.com website for more information.

Below is a short contribution from Meghan Shepard, another widow of a fallen soldier who will be running on Sunday:

“On Sunday, you can find me somewhere in between the winner of the race and the sag wagon. I won’t be alone though. I’ll be running side-by-side with my mom and many other inspirational women. No matter what, I know that someone has “got my back”. This organization allows us to celebrate the lives of our heroes, which is pivotal to our healing journey. The journey, too, is analogous to the miles we put on the pavement- some easy and others not so much- as we train for and complete the Zooma race.  I’ve been training for the half marathon this year with an expectation to have fun! The hard work is behind me (18 miles last Saturday!) and the heat is in front of me. My main goal is to own the Naval Academy Bridge and to embrace the challenges that accompany each mile. I hope to encourage others to keep running, just as they will encourage me.  It might not be pretty, but I will finish. This week is a time to celebrate our hard work.  I’ll be participating in Zooma’s Girls Night Out and Got Your Back Network’s pre-party. If you see me at either event, then please, let’s celebrate and give a “cheers” to the men and women who serve our great country.”

If you have any questions please contact me at rebaldwin1@verizon.net or calling me at 717-305-0159.

Thanks, Roy
President
GYBN

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The Martinis and Makeover Event is a wonderful evening to relax, have fun and honor the widows of many of our fallen heroes. The night will be filled with pampering by Saks Fifth Avenue, Georgetown Cupcake, music, a silent auction and of course with some special signature Martinis sponsored by Patrons Ultimat Vodka!

All proceeds from the Martinis and Makeover Event supports programs and events for the families of our fallen soldiers,hosted by The Got Your Back Network, a 501(c)(3) organization.

We’re counting on your support, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Thank you in advance for your willingness to support the efforts of The Got Your Back Network and make a difference in the lives of our families of our fallen.

If you are a spouse of our fallen please reach out to kathleen@gotyourbacknetwork.org for VIP tickets.

Please view our Facebook invitation.

www.gotyourbacknetwork.org

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AMERICAN FREEDOM FOUNDATION PARTNERS WITH GOT YOUR BACK NETWORK
FOR AMERICAN FREEDOM FESTIVAL SAN DIEGO

LCDR ANDREW BALDWIN’S GOT YOUR BACK NETWORK WILL HONOR
MILITARY FAMILIES OF THE FALLEN AT ANNUAL FUNDRAISER

SAN DIEGO, CA – The American Freedom Foundation announces a new partnership with LCDR Andrew Baldwin’s Got Your Back Network at the 2ND  annual American Freedom Festival San Diego presented by SKYDEX to be held on May 28 at 7:30 p.m. aboard the USS Midway Museum.  The annual fundraising event  features Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Kenny Loggins with special guest, the U.S. Army’s own, Rena Marie Cunningham.  In support of their mission, AFF and Got Your Back Network will recognize and acknowledge 10 families who have lost loved ones while serving our country. A very special ceremony is planned to take place during the evening.

For more information, please call (619) 398-8241 www.midway.org/freedom or  www.americanfreedomfoundation.org

If you are a spouse of our fallen please reach out to shanaksmith@yahoo.com for VIP tickets.

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Registration is now open for ZOOMA Annapolis & ZOOMA Colorado Half Marathon & 10K! The ZOOMA Annapolis, MD and Colorado Springs runs are open to men and women over the age of twelve. Got Your Back Network has partnered with ZOOMA as the primary charity partner. Come on out to run, have fun and support GYBN!

The Annapolis, MD race is on Sunday, June 05, 2011 @ 7:00 AM, REGISTER NOW to take advantage of early bird fees through March 12th, 2011.

The Colorado Springs race is on Sunday, July 17, 2011 @ 7:00 AM, REGISTER NOW to take advantage of early bird fees through April 23rd, 2011.

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Twenty bereaved widows and daughters of fallen military members will attend the Miss America Finals weekend courtesy of an initiative called Project Gratitude. This will be the Second Annual Project Gratitude Event.

The ladies will travel from around the country courtesy of American Airlines to take part in pageant festivities at Planet Hollywood as well the Venetian and a number of special events planned specifically for the women.

The event was the idea of Sharlene Hawkes, ‘Remember My Service’ president and a former Miss America. With the assistance of Darci Hansen, Founder/Editor-In-Chief of Elan Woman magazine, the friends created ‘Project Gratitude.’ 

“This is all about remembering the great service and ultimately, the great sacrifice that so many families make to preserve our way of life, and defend our liberties. Giving these women a royal weekend is the very least we can do for America’s greatest treasures and I am so thrilled that we are continuing this tradition.” said Hawkes.

The Project Gratitude organizers reached out to Got Your Back Network knowing our military survivors would benefit from a weekend of bonding and sharing a healthy, fun experience. Executive Director of Got Your Back Network, Kathleen Gagg will be spearheading this year’s event.

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It’s with great excitement that we announce the official launch of the GYBN vehicle donation program via National Charity Services. In short, any car, truck, RV, boat, motorcycle, etc. whats my ip . donated in our name will be auctioned off and we will receive a check for the full sale price of the item. This has the potential to be a valuable and consistent source of steady income for GYBN.