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WWE Champ, Leaders to Troops: America Supports You
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2004 — Three-time World Wrestling Entertainment champion Mick Foley joined the Pentagon brass at a Dec. 9 holiday gala dinner for wounded U.S. troops and their families to thank them for their service and share with them the message of DoD's new program, "America Supports You."
During the dinner, Foley visited with the troops and presented their children copies of his newly released children's book, "Tales From Wrescal Lane."
He also shared his excitement about his upcoming WWE visit to Iraq, which begins Dec. 14. Foley said he expects the visit, during which he and about 18 fellow WWE wrestlers will entertain the troops, to be "a five-day adrenaline rush." He said he looks forward to "spending some time with the troops who have done so much for us."
Foley, a staunch supporter of America's troops, regularly visits wounded service members at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He said he started making the monthly visits about a year ago to help cheer up young men and women who had been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan — but found that he was the one who gained the most.
"To see the determination they have is very inspiring," he said. "Knowing them has made me a better person."
Foley said it's important to ensure these troops "who really love their country know that their country loves them back." During his visit, he taped a public service announcement, to be aired on the Pentagon Channel as part of the America Supports You program.
Wearing commemorative America Supports You dogtags, obtainable at the program's Web site, Foley said during the announcement taping that he'll be thinking of the men and women on the front lines during the upcoming holiday season and beyond. "God bless you, and keep up the great work," he said. "America supports you."
Foley's words echoed those expressed during the dinner by leaders from throughout the Defense Department, including Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as Joyce Rumsfeld, wife of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Wolfowitz told the troops about the new DoD America Supports You Web site, which he told them President Bush talked about during his Dec. 7 visit to Camp Pendleton, Calif.
The deputy secretary said the Web site offers a valuable resource "where visitors can find different ways to help our men and women in uniform, including our wounded soldiers." He said the dogtags, which include the words "America Supports You," are an example of the program's materials "that help Americans get involved and show their support."
Myers, too, reminded the troops that he finds widespread support for them wherever he travels. Regardless of different viewpoints on other issues, "they all agree on one thing, and that is that your service to our country is absolutely extraordinary and remarkable and everybody appreciates it," he said.
Joyce Rumsfeld, who attended last night's dinner reception, called the America Supports You program an "excellent" way for people to show their support and appreciation for the troops. "From Sept. 11 on, everyone wants to do something to help our men and women in uniform, but it's hard to know what to do," she said.
She called the many examples of grassroots support for deployed troops depicted on the America Supports You Web site "an exciting" example of American ingenuity and compassion. "That's what's so great about our country," she said.
She called the opportunity to thank wounded service members and their families personally for their contributions and sacrifice at the holiday dinner "a privilege beyond all else."
Wounded troops and their families at the dinner said they enjoy hearing that their efforts are appreciated and that their country is behind them.
"It's good to hear somebody say we're rooting for you and care about you," said Army Pfc. Jeremiah Holler, a member of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team from Korea, who received back injuries in Kuwait. "It feels good."
Rosemary Brumfeld said hearing words of thanks helps keep her husband, Army Sgt. Rufus Brumfeld, going during his treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for neck injuries. "When we go somewhere and he hears people express appreciation for what he's done for his country, it just makes his day," she said.