RED Friday-Worthy Americans!

Before we read lawngren’s Red Friday Hero round up, we need to take a few minutes to honor two more fallen heroes, both of which were killed Wednesday in Afghanistan.

Master Sgt. Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, and Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez, 35 were both Special Forces Soldiers from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.  They were killed during combat operations in north west Afghanistan near the border with Turkmenistan.

Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez was from California and joined the 7th Group’s 1st Battalion in 2014.  Master Sgt. Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa was from Massachusetts, and had served more than 13 years in the Army with six career deployments.

Not much is known about Master Sgt. Gonzalez due to his family’s desire (understandably so) for privacy. Master Sgt. DeLeon-Figueroa however had awards, decorations and tabs including Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal with valor device, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 2 Campaign stars, Iraq Campaign Medal with one star and a NATO Medal.  He had the Special Forces and Ranger Tabs, Combat Infantryman, Expert Infantryman, Military Free Fall Jumpmaster, Parachutist and Air Assault Badges.

My heart goes out to their families, friends and team mates, while my gratitude can never be enough for their’s and their family’s ultimate sacrifice.  Our prayers and thoughts are for all who’ve given it all for Freedom.

Remember them.
And Remember Everyone Deployed- get your RED on.


It’s not just us. It’s not just those of us at the Heartbeat who love, respect, and desire to honor our military. “Half of Americans believe that all U.S. service members are heroes regardless of their roles or experience“:

Some lucky kids are getting to know their military heroes: Girl Scouts getting to know their military:

Some Americans give back:

Budweiser Folds of Honor:

Hire Heroes USA:
When heroes get hired, companies prosper and America grows stronger … Hire Heroes USA provides free job search assistance to U.S. military members, veterans and military spouses, and we help companies connect with opportunities to hire them“:

Hiring Our Heroes’ Corporate Fellowship Program: A US Chamber of Commerce program: In 2018, CFP fellows reported a 90% job offer rate and earned an average salary of $88,000.”

From NuVison Credit Union comesMilitary Appreciation Month: Ten ways you can show your support for our military heroes“, and folks, these are useful suggestions:

The giving and helping works both ways. As a group or as individuals, our military personnel are heroes off the battlefield too:

Marine Corps Toys for Tots:

Since 2001 ranked as one of the top rated charities by “Philanthropy 400”
Unmodified opinions on Audited Financial Statements (1994-2017)
Average Program to Support Service expense ratio: (2000-2017) 97:3
Continues to meet all 20 standards established by the Better Business Bureau WiseGiving Alliance
Earned Charity Navigators Four Star Rating”

Regarding that last point, those of us who were in the political wars learned to depend on Charity Navigators. Move over, Santa! Let the Marines show you how it’s done:

The Army is in the action too: “187th Medical Battalion donates more than $10,000 worth of school supplies”:

Heroes off the battlefield, too:
As [Pfc] Ranson approached the scene, he observed a woman, later identified as Passion “Monea” Burtraw, lying on the ground appearing unconscious in a pool of blood … no one was helping her,” said Ranson.”

” ‘I just kept praying, ‘God please don’t take this child from me, please, somebody hear me,’ she told FOX17.”

No matter where they are. In South Korea, in this instance: “All of the sudden a dog got loose and that’s how it started,” [Spc. Jonathan Roman Rios] said “… there was this little girl with her grandma. I didn’t want the little girl to get bit by this big, white, husky-like dog, so I got in the middle of the situation.”

“Stealth heroes”: those who, after their tours of duty, quietly go back to being “just” good citizens, but their honor and character strengthens America even then:

BRADFORD, Pa. – George A. Gigliotti, 94, of 5 Miller Ave., Bradford, passed away Sunday (Aug. 18, 2019) at Olean (N.Y.) General Hospital … On July 6, 1943 [DURING his senior year of high school] he enlisted into the United States Army Air Force, served with the 96th Combat Bombardment Wing, in World War II … awarded the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal … six Bronze Stars. He was honorably discharged on Sept. 19, 1945.” Married 60 years to the same woman, three children, self-employed owner of a construction company for 60 years plus other business interests, church member … You could not find a better example of an American citizen.

Service also defines [Patrick Feilmeier’s] civilian role as a registered nurse and paramedic who works with UnityPoint in Fort Dodge and Storm Lake … During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Feilmeier managed the movement of Combat Logistics Patrols (CLP) … more than 128 Combat Logistics Patrols, resulting in 145,341 tons of cargo being transported over 2.363 million miles … the cargo was delivered with 100 percent accuracy from multiple locations between Iraq and Kuwait, with zero casualties.”

It’s tempting to say, “Yeah, but those guys are different. Born leaders. Highly intelligent. Your average grunt, he’s, ah, umm, well, kind of … ordinary. A good citizen? Most of the time … maybe …”

I invite everyone who feels that way to read the following full article by a Marine infantryman. It applies to the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy also. Any service member who’s “just a grunt”. From my family history, which I am very proud of, and reading I have done about America, from its founding to right now, I can state with certainty that if not for the versatile, highly intelligent, skilled, creative, innovative, determined “grunts” of America, the “leaders” would never have looked as good as they do. And this nation would never have been born, nor would it continue to exist. Read all that Anthony DeLauro, Sergeant of Marines at U.S. Marine Corps (2007-present) has to say at the above link. He rocks it like it is! Some of the comments are excellent too.

Kipling was wrong when he wrote, “Nobody loves a soldier until the enemy’s at the gate.” He was right about a lot of things, but wrong about that.

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