The website of Florida Veterans Programs and Projects, Inc.

The website of Florida Veterans Programs and Projects, Inc.

Coquina Crossing Soldier Support - News

January 16, 2010

Holiday Greetings


I just read this, having somehow overlooked it in my inbox. Thanks for the chuckle, and a very Merry Christmas (sorry belated) to you and yours also. Our boys are back in Afghanistan, and darn the luck, again in a very isolated post. There are 6 mortarmen, but one has already had to be medivac'd out due to a medical (non injury) situation. Just wanted you to know that I tell all who will listen about the "wonderful lady in Florida" and the good things you've done. Know the boys will miss your care packages, I am doing my best to get one out to them every 2 or 3 weeks, but as usual they are only getting two meals a day so may have to step it up. Justin asked for "just some kind of food" yesterday. They are hungry! Sounds like they are going out on more patrols this time around, which frightens me greatly, but what can a mother do?

I hope your grandson (it is grandson, right) is doing well.

Have a wonderfully blessed day.


Hi Vicki,

Happy New year.  So nice to hear from you and I have good news.  We had some food donated a while back that hasnt been sent out yet.  It was a great assortment - soups, cereal bars, etc.  All stuff that I'm sure they can use.  It was 5 boxes and I used sample stuff and magazines to help fill in the spaces.  If you will send me a mailing address I'll get the labels and customs forms done and we'll get them right out to them.  Also, could you tell us a little more about them?  I can see from your letter that they are probably in a very isolated place.  Does everything have to be choppered in?  Are they part of an FOB?  What branch of the military is the main unit and how many soldiers are in it altogether and for how long?  Any females?  Thanks for whatever info you can give us as people want to know - it just makes it more personal for them.

Let me have an address right away.     



Hi Patty,

Was Nice to hear from you! You are just the most amazing woman.....we would love to have the boxes sent to them. I promise I was not fishing for that when I wrote to you.....had no idea that you were still doing that at all. Should have known your angel wings were still firmly in place. :) They would so very much appreciate that. I can tell you from the little we have been able to chat that they are cold, hungry and wishing for more mail and excitement. Personally, as a mother, I am glad to hear words like "boring". I will do my best to answer your questions, but there were some last minute changes so I am not familiar with everything.

The boys:

Justin Randolph (my son) is 32, from Colorado (orig TX) and likes to Rodeo, enjoys camping, hiking, treasure hunting, fishing, football and studies both the Civil War and the Vietnam War (has since he was about 8). He loves military and paranormal movies, old country music, drawing and reading. His favorite companion is his Blue Heeler dog whom he misses very much.

Jon King is 20, from California and enjoys dirtbikes, snowboarding, wakeboarding, football and baseball. He likes military movies, reading and traveling.

Adrian Valeriano is 20 and from New Mexico....sorry I don't know much about him yet.

James Ritchie is 27, married, with a little girl,  and from Blue Ridge, GA. He enjoys soccer, rugby, traveling and Great Danes. He likes crime movies, Rockabilly, old country and punk music.

Cole Pinson is 23, and from Oregon. He likes snowboarding, motorcycles, word puzzles and tattoos.

Josh Wieringa is 23, married and interested in criminal justice.

They are all ARMY, Airborne Infantry and a mortar team. The are associated with FOB Airborne and stationed at COP Blackhawk.

Six total, they are a group of their own basically. They reside in a heated tent (when on post) in temperatures  that have been in the single digits and teens for the last few weeks. They are surrounded by beautiful snowy mountains which look much like our terrain here in Colorado. Justin says if he pretends really hard, it is much like stomping around in the mountains here. I do know that there are two very dangerous roads going in to the base, it is an area known for ied's. I know that many of their supplies are choppered in because Justin said they all get a little rush when they hear the sounds of the choppers, hoping that they are bringing food or mail. Several nights this last week they had to eat local food, including Menudo, which i understand was pig intestines.....I don't think it was very well received.. Unfortunately, Justin has not been able to tell me how many total are on the base, as I said, the 6 mortarmen are something of their own group. I will try to attach a few of the pictures they have managed to send, and some of my own.

Patty, again, I just can't tell you what an incredible woman you are. I have enjoyed making your friendship and look forward to your emails.  Thank you again for everything you do.



A request for assistance

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//

Patty could you kindly send some boxes to this address? I got a pen pal, her name is Bridget and she is a corpsman, my job equivalent but Navy, and I told her that you were the best at sending love in a box. :)

Her address is

HTND Bridget Shanahan



Unit# 73962

FPO AE 09509-3963

Thanks Patty. I already got in touch with the new unit your POC will be CPT Benz, yeah like Mercedes Benz, As soon as they get settled he will send you a nice e-mail introducing himself. I told him that if he get me his e-mail I could send it to you and you would write him. I am letting him think it over and then we will go with my idea. That is what NCOs do best run the little details. Sorry Rambling! TTYL ;)


Ardys J. Favaro





Comments from Patty -

I had hoped we could just concentrate on the 3 units in Afghanistan as its much easier to keep track of for me.  Now this.  It seems we are growing whether we want to or not!  We have to keep up our fund raising efforts in order to continue.  I just wanted to give you all a heads up on this correspondence, etc so you will know whats going on.
Geoff (the community manager) told me he's going to purchase the sand for the luminarias again this year.  I'm hoping for a good income from it as Hannakuh and Christmas are right together this year.  Hannakuh starts on Dec 22 which would be the first night of 3 to light the luminaria.  I will start working on that right away.  I have some candles and bags here from last year which I need to count and will order whatever more we need after I get all the orders.
Belk Dept Store manager gave me a big wad of various size travel bags.  They were part of toiletry promotions and are of good quality.  I plan to take them to the Veteran's Day todo at Francis Field and offer them to those who donate $10 and up. 
Mary Schulz is working on a "Penny Social" (sort of like a silent auction) as a fundraiser set for Feb 28th at the VFW Post 2391.  They are letting us have the hall for free and we will need lots of help for this function - set up tables, carry items from Coquina to there, ticket sales, cupcake bakers, etc.  I will be back with you all on that as time nears.
Cyndi Halstead (VA Clinic Adminstrator) has donated two large bags of toys to be sent over.
Dr Octovek donated two HUGE boxes of kit bags which they use to give to cataract surgery patients as well as a big bunch of eye drops.  I used them to make up really nice "ditty bags" for our boys and they were put in the care packages that we did Sunday (125 in all with 41 to be sent to Craig hospital in Bagram for the wounded).  I have enough of those kit bags left over here to use the next time we pack.
Frans Knitting Boutique contacted Lion Brand yarns and got 20 skeins donated to us.  All I have to do is go there and pick it up.
We are now also taking in pop cans.  Geoff is letting us have a trash can and a can crusher for that purpose.  Will let you know where the can will be located as soon as he decides where to put it (at the clubhouse).
We may not pack again til next fall depending on funds and storage space.  What we did Sunday can go out a few at a time.  Actually, Camp Lowell and FOB Bostick cant take more than that as it goes up in a sling.  These are all individual care packages with no perishables so they can go anytime of the year.  I take care of unit packages (stuff that the contact can hand out or use at their discretion) as appropriate items come in such as foods, magazines, batteries, toys, etc.  These things can be packed here at home and sent out as funds are available.
Thanks to all for your help and support for this wonderful effort.  There was an interview just this morning on FOX news with 4 women over in Iraq.  One of them, a Lt Col, made a point of thanking the American public for the care packages, etc, that they receive and said it means a lot to them for their morale.

Hospital in Afghanistan Rewards St Augustine Area Care Package Effort

Coquina Crossing Soldier Support as well as residents and veterans throughout the St Augustine area have received a wonderful surprise.
On September 22, a package arrived containing a flag and a certificate from Afghanistan. The certificate reads as follows:
These Stars and Stripes were proudly flown on the 11th day of September 2008, over the Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan at the request of TSgt Traci Wilmoth in recognition of your dedication to supporting our Wounded Warriors, Local Nationals & Children of Afghanistan.
It represents the American resolve following the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and bears witness to the destruction of terrorist forces threatening the freedom of the United States of America and the world.
It was signed by the Command Sergeant Major and the Commander of the USAF Joint Task Force MED.
The flag and certificate will be framed separately and will then be proudly displayed in the library at the Coquina Crossing clubhouse in Elkton.  Coquina Crossing Soldier Support has been sending, and will continue sending, packages to the hospital ICW unit.