The Strength Behind the Strong website. Proudly supporting our friends and family in the U.S. military, including Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

WHY WE CARE SO MUCH ABOUT OUR TROOPS (AKA OUR FIRST POST)

The Strength Behind The Strong was founded by Christine Hofmann-Bourque, who is proud to have a husband in the Army, three brothers in the Navy and Army, and a sister-in-law in the Army. Christine is also a professional journalist. Read our first post to find out why this website is so close to her heart. More >>

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Sunday
May222011

Battling TBI and PTSD One Step at a Time: The Boston Red Sox “Run to Home Base” 9K

Congratulations to all the runners who crossed home plate at Boston’s Fenway Park today to finish the 2nd annual Run to Home Base 9K — and helped raise more than $2 million to treat soldiers who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress (PTS) or traumatic brain injury (TBI). My husband, Kyle, ran this year, and the event was as inspirational as it was last year when I ran (ahem, ran/walked). Sitting in the stands with so many supporters of our military was terrific. Many people wore T-shirts in remembrance of those who are now serving and those who have fallen. My favorite shirt had a yellow ribbon and said Until they come home ... and after. 

And they're off! More than 2,000 runners finished the Run to Home Base 9K, which starts and finishes at Boston's Fenway Park.

One young soldier who suffered a TBI told the crowd the Home Base Program helped him get his life back. I can’t think of a better endorsement of a program than that.

Kyle's finishing time today was a super-fast 39:40.

Learn more about the Home Base Program — and get help if you need it — at homebaseprogram.org. To find out how to participate in next years run, visit runtohomebase.org. See you next May at Fenway!

Tuesday
Apr262011

Show some blog love! Voting for the Milbloggies is open

The 5th annual Milbloggie Awards will be announced this weekend — but first comes the voting! The Milbloggies recognize the best in military-related blogs. This year, we’re super excited that our friend’s blog Red Bull Rising has been nominated in the Best U.S. Military Veteran category, and my husband and I have put two votes toward this blog from Iowa, where we lived for five years. Click here to see a list of nominees, find some fantastic new blogs to follow — and to vote! Voting is simple: Just click your favorites and you’re done. There’s no sign up required or logging in. Voting closes Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m. ET. Best of luck to Red Bull Rising

Sunday
Apr172011

Jessica’s parents ask our military community: Will you send this Army wife a card for her Easter Basket of Cheer?

If you need a reminder about the healing power of a kind word — or the many caring people who support our military families — look no further than the blog of Jessica, who writes at {Mis}Adventures of an Army Spouse. Hundreds of military spouses, friends, and strangers left notes of support this week for Jessica, who posted her suicide note this past Monday. Thankfully, Jessica is alive and getting treatment. Yesterday, all of us who left comments for Jessica on her blog received an email from her parents. They’re rallying the community to send old-fashioned snail mail to Jessica for Easter. Here is their email: 

Tom and I want to thank all of you for the kind words you have posted on Jessica’s blog.  Jessica is currently in the hospital for an unknown length of stay and will require continued therapy afterwards.  I was able to visit with her for about 1 1/2 hours on Thursday, 14 April, and she is starting to realize her actions last week as well as the events that led to her depression and suicide attempt.  I did print out all your comments from her blog and was able to give her a hardcopy.
 
One of Jessica’s friends had a great idea that Tom and I are following up on....an Easter Basket filled with notes and cards of encouragement, empathy, stories, understanding or good ole humor!  If we could be so bold to the virtual community, we would like to ask you to send your thoughts, notes, cards, etc. to the P.O. Box below that we have now established:
 
Jessica
P.O. Box 292138
Columbia, SC  29229
 
I will gather them into an Easter Basket of Cheer for Jessica this week to continue to let her know she is not alone nor are the events she experienced isolated to just her. 
 
Please do not send gifts or money....just your words of encouragement and prayers.
 
Please let the word spread.....
 
Thanks again to all you,
 
 --  From the parents of Jessica....Tom in NM and now Sue in SC

While you’re helping the Easter Bunny get ready for his big day this Sunday, keep a good thought for Jessica and her family. Please forward this posting to spread the word. 

 

 

Tuesday
Apr122011

Just for Fun: Have you wondered what you *look* like online?

What does your online self look like to a computer? To find out, pop over to Aaron Zinman’s Personas project, which was part of an exhibit held at the MIT Museum in Massachusetts. Type in your name and the free program will comb the Internet looking for related data, then use it to create a color-coded bar that visually represents who you appear to be online. It’s an interesting idea and a fun way to spend five minutes — and the colorful output reminds me of ribbons on a military uniform. 

Click to enlarge.

Of course, the computer can’t differentiate between people with the same name online, which can skew the results. And although my last name is unique (I don’t know of any other Hofmann-Bourques out there), the fact is that as a writer I have a number of articles posted online on a lot of different topics, and they don’t necessarily reflect who I am as a person. My ribbonabove, includes some odd categories, such as aggression. I find it amusing that while “military” shows up as one of my biggest categories, my husband, Kyle — who’s actually in the Army — doesn’t have anything military associated with his name, below. Then again, he has a uniform pinned with real ribbons, so he wins.

Click to enlarge.

Check it out for yourself and please share: What does your “ribbon” look like? 

Monday
Apr112011

Thinking of Jessica: A milspouse needs your prayers

Today our thoughts and prayers are with Jessica, a military spouse who blogs at {Mis}Adventures of an Army Wife. I’ve been following her blog for months, and today’s post was a shocker. It is titled “A Final Goodbye” — and it is her suicide note. Several bloggers and fellow milspouses contacted authorities soon after the post went up. According to commenters, Jessica is alive and getting treatment. We wish her all the best as she makes her way back to emotional and physical health. 

If you or someone you know is going through a difficult time, check out the free counseling offered to military families by Give an Hour. The program is available to extended family members, which means grandmothers, cousins, brothers, mothers, and fiancées of someone in the military can speak with licensed counselors at no charge.

Monday
Mar212011

Back from Iraq! Our adopted soldiers from the 108th MP Company arrive home safely

Here is some news that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face: Just before midnight last Thursday, all the soldiers from the 108th Military Police (MP) Company (Airborne) arrived home in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, after a year-long deployment to Iraq. We are so glad they are back in the USA, safe and sound. 

This homecoming is especially meaningful to the volunteers in our Adopt an MP program. These fantastic Americans (plus one outstanding Australian) ‘adopted’ 38 unmarried soldiers from the 108th MP Company, sending letters and care packages month after month. Their creativity was impressive. One person sent multiple shipments of boxed macaroni and cheese at the request of her soldier, while another sent water balloon toys. And one family sent Duck tape, reasoning that “ ... it’s something you can never have too much of ... ” We hope the little bits of home we sent overseas gave these young men and women something to smile about too. 

Although they didn’t do it for glory or recognition, we’d like to give a big Hooah! to the Adopt an MP volunteers. There aren’t a lot of people who would do what they did: spend time and money over the course of an entire year to make sure a stranger feels honored and remembered. A million thank yous to these fine folks:

Becky, Gayla, Franni, Clesha, Sandy, Connie, Michele, Suzanne, Mari, Jennifer, Jodi, Sue, Chris, Jody, Sarah, Deborah, Elizabeth, Ellena, Sheila, Bette, Julianne, Judi, Max, Joni, Tom, Joleigh, Kristene, Charmaine, Ron, Anna, Frank, Jordan, Wendy, and Debbie.

Goodbye, Iraq! Welcome home, soldiers of the 108th MP Company! This banner from Jackson and Abigail was just one of many items that made their way to deployed soldiers as part of our Adopt an MP program.

Monday
Mar142011

On the 1st anniversary of Cpl. Porto’s death, tell his young widow her family isn’t forgotten

Today, March 14, is the one-year anniversary of the death of Corporal Jonathan Porto, a Marine who was killed in Afghanistan. His young widow, Rachel, keeps his memory alive — and talks about making her way in the world without him — on her inspirational, emotional blog, A Little Pink in a World of Camo. “I am a ‘war widow’ but I hate that term,” she writes. “I prefer married to an angel.” This month will bring a series of sad anniversaries for Rachel, including the day she went to Dover Air Force Base to receive her husband’s body. If you have a few minutes this week, head over to Rachel’s blog and leave a comment to let her know we all remember and honor the sacrifices made by her husband and family.

Wednesday
Mar022011

LIFT Up Your Voice: Help nominate the military family for TIME magazine’s 2011 Person of the Year

Military spouse Kristen Tsetsi thinks big: She recently launched a grassroots effort to get the editors of TIME magazine to consider the military family for its 2011 Person of the Year. Kristen’s LIFT project — short for “Like” It for TIME — aims to harness the power of social media by accumulating thousands of Facebook fans and Twitter followers, thereby grabbing the attention of TIME.  

Why the military family? The LIFT website explains:

Since TIME Magazine’s first issue in 1927, through all the wars, the military family has never been Person of the Year. After a decade of wars in the Middle East, it’s TIME.

Rudy Giuliani was chosen for Person of the Year following the September 11 attacks because he “embodied what was really most important, what we learned about ourselves, which was that we could recover,” a TIME editor explained.

The military family embodies what is most important, what we learned about ourselves, after a decade of war and multiple deployments: undeniable resilience and dogged support through year after year of painful, and sometimes permanent, family separations.

There are several ways you can support the LIFT campaign: 

  1. On Facebook, ‘Like’ the page “Like” It for TIME
  2. On Twitter, follow “Like” It for TIME.
  3. On Friday, March 4 (that’s in two days), participate in a letter-writing campaign to TIME magazine. Write and snail mail your own letter explaining why the military family should be considered, or download this form letter to jump-start your prose. 

For all the details on the LIFT campaign, visit likeitfortime.wordpress.com

Wednesday
Feb232011

Be One of the Few, the Proud, the Marine Corps Marathon Runners!

Need a training goal to get you up off the couch? Registration opens today for the 36th Marine Corps Marathon, which will be run on Sunday, October 30, 2011. For supporters of our military men and women, the Marine Corps Marathon is an inspiring event. Don’t wait to sign up: In 2010, the race reached its capacity in just six days.

Monday
Jan102011

Show and Tell: A gift from Iraq

Sure, it’s better to give than receive, but being on the receiving is great once in a while. Check out this awesome present! It’s our website logo painted on glass by an Iraqi, who was hired by my brother Matthew during his recent deployment. My next task is figuring out how to frame it so it can hang in my office’s window. Does anyone have any not-too-expensive ideas?

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