Local Sacramento Troop Support

defenders of freedom

In past blog post, I’ve written about the wonderful work of the Maine Troop Greeters out of Bangor Maine who greet all of our troops as the leave or return from the conflicts in the Middle East.  I just recently learned about a group closer to my home in the Sacramento area who are doing similar work.  They are called the Defenders of Freedom.  Their main main goals are to send support to our troops, organize care packages to mail abroad, provide resources and volunteer opportunities, and be supportive for all the troops and veterans around the world!  Here is the information from their “about us” section of their website:

Defenders of Freedom in California is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in Dallas, Texas with the purpose of raising money to support our troops who are currently deployed around the world.

Defenders of Freedom in California supports our troops in these ways:


We wish to invite mothers, fathers, friends and family members who have loved ones in the armed services to join our efforts as we support the men and women who serve our country.
If you would like to join us, please contact us.

Please visit the Defenders of Freedom website if you would like to receive more information about joining their organization or donating to their cause.

Sam’s Progress: 

sam_valentines day kiss from erin_caremeridian_feb_2010Sam has been taking a drug called chlonipin which was prescribed to help with his right hand and fingers that constantly shake. This is fairly common with brain injuries.  The cholnipin did work, but it was just making Sam to sleepy to the point where his vision therapist was ready to give up on him.  You really can’t do much vision therapy when the patient has his eyes closed most of the time!  About three weeks ago, they started slowly taking Sam off the cholnipin and he has really started to perk up again.  Most notably,  his speech has improved quite a bit and he is even starting to add some inflection into his voice when he speaks.  The vision therapist has been jumping for joy because Sam is now able to really participate in his therapy and make improvements.  The decision was made by Sam’s doctor to do his vision therapy on site at the CareMaridian facility which enables the therapist to be more creative with the exercises they can use to improve Sam’s eyes.  They are also combining his physical therapy at the same time, which also enables both the physical therapist and vision therapist to work together putting Sam into various positions in the standing frame or on the therapy mat. 

sam_outside_caremeridian_Feb_2010 There have been a couple of new patients at Sam’s CareMeridian facility in the past month.  Both are young men about Sam’s age.  Interesting, that when Erin talks to the other male patients (Sam’s room mate in particular), Sam gets very territorial.  He doesn’t say anything…but…lets just say that the roommate gets some interesting salutes from Sam when he gets to close to Erin.  

Sam and Erin wanted to say thank you to the students at Park Elementary School in Alhambra.  On Valentine’s Day, Sam received a box full of valentines day cards for the students.  He and Erin shared them with the other patients and displayed the cards in the main living room area for all to enjoy. 


10 Responses to Local Sacramento Troop Support

  1. Jenni says:

    My hubby was on the same med and I noticed an improvement after he stopped it too. He acted sort of robotic when he was taking it. He took it for anxiety, however.


  2. Bena Fabian says:

    Our students in 7th grade at Park School in Alhambra will be thrilled to read the thanks for the Valentines cards. They were so moved by Sam’s story and really connected with him. Even tho we are a public school, there is quite a bit of “religiosity” going on with the students as you might have noticed in their writings. God bless you all and it’s just so wonderful to see Sam’s incremental improvement.

  3. Debbie Bickford says:

    Thank you for mentioning the “Maine Troop Greeters” We are pretty proud of what we do, we are soon to have welocmed 1,000,000 troops.
    I have followed Sam’s progress for quite some time now, and always enjoy hearing about the improvements.
    Erin, you are the biggest part in his recovery, you are truly and Angel. Sam, you have so many people cheering you on. We have a special section on the Website for our Hero’s like Sam. I would love to be able to have Sam added to this if we could have your permission.
    Keep up the great work Sam.
    Debbie in Maine
    Maine Troop Greeters

  4. For the latest research on vision and traumatic brain injury go to http://www.MainosMemos.blogspot.com and type in “traumatic brain injury” in the search box.
    Dominick M. Maino, OD, MEd, FAAO, FCOVD-A

  5. Kris Abbruzzi says:

    Hey there Sam, Erin & Families –

    Stopping by to let you all know that as always you’re in my thoughts and my prayers. I hope that you’re feeling well these days Sam, and have continued to kick serious butt!! I don’t blame you for being territorial over Erin, she is an angel straight from heaven!! She’s a keeper!! 😀

    God bless you Sam, Erin, and the Nichols and Neria families. You are all such an incredible source of inspiration for me each day and I thank you all.

    – Kris, a Soldiers’ Angel from RI

  6. Erin nichols says:

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! Thanks to the 7th graders at Park School in Alhambra,Ca we have lots if green cards to decorate with. Thanks for your artistry, inspiring words and dedication toward Sam. We love reading your cards and looking at your artwork. Some of you could make a living as an inspirational speaker. Sam is doing great. Sam says “thanks” and your cards make him feel “super”.

  7. Erin nichols says:

    Thank you Cindy McG for yet another holiday surprise. We always look forward to your cards/packages. We’re wearing our Irish buttons in the pic I just posted. Since Sam has almost no short-term memory,I get to tell him all about you and Gavin each holiday. Great job DC chapter. Thanks for supporting the troops and their families.

  8. Cindy says:

    You’re so welcome! You guys probably don’t realize how much are in my thoughts. The other day I went into the drug store with my mom, and saw the most adorable chocolate Easter bunnies. They made me think immediately of you two. I just had to send them. However, since the change in the weather, they had a little problem with the ride to the post office. When I checked on them, they needed a little refreshing in the frig. I will get them off tomorrow. I just hope they keep their form until you see them. I just had to let you know you’re never far from my thoughts even when I go to the store.

    If they don’t make it thru the mail well, don’t let Sam see them. I don’t want to make him sad. I just want him to know what an increditable loving couple you are, and the impact you have on others even in small ways.

    Have a wonderful Easter with your family. Give them all my best.

    PS This is the first time I went into this response site. I was so surprised to see a comment addressed to me. You have no idea how computer illiterate
    I am. I don’t know if this will get to you, but I’ll press on the submit icon and hope for the best.

  9. Kris Abbruzzi says:

    Hi all,

    Just wanted to let you know that as always you’re all in my thoughts and my prayers. Each and every single day. LOVE the new pics – especially Sam showing off his big guns!! Awesome. Just awesome. With each and every picture, one can see more of Sam.

    Hope that you are all doing well and had a very Blessed and Happy Easter. God bless you all, and please know that thoughts, prayers, support and loads of extra special Angel Hugs are always on their way to you all.

    – Kris, a Soldiers’ Angel from RI

  10. Tom Hapka says:

    I’m a TBI survivor as well. If it hadn’t been for natural medicine, I wouldn’t be here now. I’d be happy to try and connect these folks with any resources I can. – tomfromwisconsin@hotmail.com

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