Day 94 – Sacramento, CA

September 8, 2010

Yesterday Tom and I scoped out the parking possibilities for the Beast near the capitol. We had talked to the city and highway police and were coming up empty when we discovered some 10 hour parking meters. It was decided that we would try and get into the city very early in the morning and take a couple for the day. I had also scheduled a TV interview with Good Say Sacramento at 7am so the plan was to have them meet us downtown. We left Roseville at 630am hoping to execute the plan. However about 15 other folks had that plan and all of those parking spaces were full. We ended up in a 2 hour spot but you cant feed the meters so we were stuck. Also there was a hostage event this morning and the news crew had to cover it.  So we missed on that for today as well. Yesterday we did run into a meter maid who gave us a phone number for the city parking office and Tom went over and actually talked them into two all day parking passes. (This usually takes 48-72 hours) Our parking worries were over.

At 1030 I had a scheduled meeting with the Secretary of Veteran Affairs, I was very warmly received as Mr Brautigan was well aware of the campaign since last year. He offered his full support and I know he will be influential in any CA legislation. The legislature is out of session right now and it was difficult to find anyone around to meet with. I did make contact with several officials and will plan to meet the Lt Governor later in the week. Also there was a rare moment when I almost had the opportunity to meet the Governor, but due to budget meetings that opportunity dissapeared.

The most important portion of the day was the planned 3pm ceremony at the “All Wars Memorial” in Capitol park. With a combined effort from Terrie, Deborah, The PGR, American Legion and Jeff Denhams office we were able to pull this event together. Approx 30 or so were in attendance including many Gold Star families from the area. It was my distinct honor to share my message here today and with so many who share the pain of loss and understand the mission. Also today as representatives of all CA families and enabling me to explain my benevolent goal, I presented a personalized flag to Tony and Marlynn Gonzales. Their son Cpl. Tony “TJ” Gonzales, U.S. Army, KIA, Sadr City, Iraq, 12/28/08. Tony Sr and I had been sharing emails and had much in common with our sons. It was indeed my honor today.

I try to explain as I meet so many other families, that we are continuously fundraising and working to find sponsors so that everyone may receive a flag. This takes time and goes slow, and I am reaching the immediate families of every generation, so the universe is very large. I hope that everyone will be patient as we move forward, and that those in every state who are willing,  consider donating to bless the gold star families around them. Helping us to fulfill our mission. To be placed on the list to receive a flag please fill out the “personalized flag request form” at this link.

After the ceremony there was an amazing PGR escort arranged and about 30 bikes led the RV to Roseville for a hot dog social; with all of the families and guests from Capitol Park . We headed to the Veterans hall and were met by the Roseville Motorcycle Police and they joined the escort blocking the street traffic and honoring our journey to the Hall. It was an amazing ride and the smoothest I have ever seen, through miles of traffic and all very humbling as we rolled to this next event. Thanks to all involved especially the PGR and RPD, you guys are dear to my heart.

There was a few minutes of sharing but mostly we wanted everyone to relax and eat! Our time was short and I wish I had had the opportunity to speak longer with each family there.  Albeit short the opportunity to meet and enlarge the family is so important to all of our healing.

Believe it, the night wasn’t over as we headed to Sacramento where the Gold Star families were invited to a River Rats baseball game. By the time we arrived it was pouring rain and most everyone left.. Ha, well at least I got to meet Gold Star dad Mike Anderson, who I have been speaking with about a year. Always a great opportunity to meet people you become friends with over the phone. Thanks so much to Deborah Getz for her care of me over the last few days. Besides opening up her home she worked to be sure information was out and every event went smoothly. Thanks To Terrie Hobson for getting the ball rolling and continuing to arrange my time through California.

Tomorrow: Morning interview and then 9 hours to Lompoc.

Blessings, George