Matt was killed in action, April 9, 2013, while serving our country in the Pachir Wa Agam district, Afghanistan, when his AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed. Also killed was Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jarett M. Yoder, 26, of Mohnton, PA. Matt was awarded the bronze star (posthumously) for his actions of saving a ground unit that had come under fire and was awarded the Aviation Mission Survivability Officer Award for 2013 by the AAAA for his life saving mission planning. Matthew served a total of 16 years, the last 7 as an Apache Pilot and also as an instructor pilot at the 1st Bn., 104th Avn. Regt., 28th CAB. He excelled at sports, was a talented guitarist, and was a graduate of Indiana University Pennsylvania with a BA in Criminology. All gave some, some gave all.
I love this Ruffner family, and every day is Memorial Day for them, and all Gold star families like them. Always remember their sacrifice and comfort those families every day
Our friends at First Nation Group have been a part of our mission locally and also a part of the Fisher Houses across the U.S. They will be celebrating brunch with our families. Be like First Nation Group- bless a random stranger, the blessings you receive will be great too!
“We are staying in room #7 and grateful for all that the Fisher House provides for us. From a safe, warm, comfortable room to great food, well supplied in the freezer and pantry, Judy, Robert, and Don are so warm loving and welcome us with open arms. Here for a few days and grateful for all they do to provide us with a place to stay while getting tests and pre-op appointments. Thanks!”
When Michael Jakab phoned us to say he was bringing an ROTC class here for spring break and wanted to incorporate some community service, we said YES, YES, YES! We love that this group of future leaders were able to enjoy the Emerald Coast and do a little TLC at our Fisher House. What’s your super power?
Local restaurant owner and community leader Tom Rice has been recognized with one of the nation’s highest volunteer awards. David Goetsch, vice president emeritus of Northwest Florida State College, surprised Rice during last Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony with the announcement that he had received the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award.
Created in 2003, the President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes people whose service positively impacts their communities and inspires those around them to take action. The award has several levels of recognition, depending on the number of volunteer hours served. The Lifetime Achievement Award that Rice received requires documentation of more than 4,000 hours.
“This is the highest level, and not that many people reach that level,” Goetsch said. “But for Tom it was easy; he’s probably done 40,000 hours.”
It was a fitting venue to honor Rice, a retired Army first sergeant who has served as master of ceremonies for the city’s Memorial Day services for about a decade. With 27 years of active and reserve duty, veterans issues are near and dear to his heart. Rice was a founding board member of the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast, a 12-suite residential facility opened in 2010 near Eglin Hospital where military service members can stay with their families while awaiting, receiving or recovering from medical care.
He also served on the board of directors and helped raise money for the Emerald Coast Honor Flight, a program that flew local World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the nation’s World War II memorials.
Rice also is president of the Veterans Tribute Tower Committee, which led the community-wide effort to raise $300,000 for the 30-foot clock and bell tower that stands at the front of Beal Memorial Cemetery. Rice also serves as chair of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, helping the organization with it Christmas Red Kettle campaign and the Empty Stocking Fund, and is secretary of Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida.
“Each of those groups is doing a lot of good in the community,” he said. “Things that would be difficult for me to do personally, but there are things that I can help them do.”
It’s National Selfie Day and Robert our House Manager is at our lovely Fisher House on Eglin this morning welcoming military and veteran families coming to stay with us for hope and healing during a medical event. #loveisgoodmedicine today and every day!
We have one big community of giving, organizations and people working TOGETHER to bless others. VITAS Healthcare is a sponsor of our Fisher House at Eglin, Brieanne rom Vitas is a VOLUNTEER for Fisher House and I am a VOLUNTEER for Vitas making memory bears for Marla. See how we are all connected? Today our friends at Bluewater Fitness (Nora supports Fisher House – yay) and Vitas are hosting an event to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s and caregivers. I will spin a little today for my friends, for my mom who passed away from Alzheimer’s and for my new friend Liz, whom I met last week who is the sole caregiver of a 90 year old veteran with Alzheimers. See how we are all connected?
All American Thursdays happen every week with a Vintage Flyover, hero salute, live entertainment, free beer/seltzer tastings and fireworks ending the night at 9pm. Meet our hero for June 9, Staff Sergeant Nathaniel Johns.
Staff Sergeant Nathaniel S. Johns is the NCOIC of Supply for the 96th Security Forces Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. He is tasked to maintain accountability of all Security Forces equipment with a total cost of $1 million. He is responsible for issuing gear, and controls the Government Processing Card for the unit to sustain the Units supplies to maintain readiness for all members.
We work closely with the 96th SFS who volunteer for events in the community and also keep our installation and PEOPLE safe at the gate! We appreciate the 1 percent of our population who voluntarily serve our nation in the armed services.
We were with the VFW in Milton on Saturday when they made a $500 donation to our Fisher House at Eglin. The Military Order of the Cooties PT 59 are faithful supporters of our house at Eglin and give faithfully. They are veterans, helping veterans and their families. #winning