Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Walking For Troops

 USMC 1st Lt. Kristoffer "Turf" McCullough

By RaeLynn - The Dalles Chronicle

Army veteran Kyle McCullough, 28, a gorge resident, is literally walking his talk about supporting U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan.

By the end of the first week in May, McCullough, a former Army Special Forces operative, will set off on a 198-mile journey from Wasco County to Seaside on the Oregon Coast.

On Monday, he began visiting businesses in The Dalles and Hood River and asking them to support his venture by donating to the Gorge Heroes Club, a local troop support group.

"I don't care if someone gives me $5 or $10,000, whatever they have works," he said. "I know a lot of business owners in both of these communities so I don't think that I'll have any problem getting help from them."

All proceeds raised by McCullough will be donated to the heroes club, which is currently sending care packages to troops from the Mid-Columbia region, including his brother, USMC 1st Lt. Kristoffer "Turf" McCullough, 26, also a native of the gorge, who is currently serving in Afghanistan.

"I wanted to do a walk and I was thinking about what organization I could do that for. I know the Gorge Heroes Club can use the funding and I want people to be more aware of what's going on over there so this was the right choice," he said.

McCullough was swayed toward doing something for troop support after his brother asked in a recent telephone conversation from the combat zone, "Do people really remember that we are over here?"

"I think about him every day and I know that is a huge morale booster to get packages that show the folks back home still care," said Kyle. "It means a lot when people say thanks and sending boxes is a tangible way to do that."

McCullough said there is a lot of ribbing that goes on between brothers when one is in the Army and the other a Marine. However, he said, all jesting aside, he is very proud of Turf and the responsibility he carries as the company commander of a Marine unit in Helmand Province.

"He might be a Marine, which makes him a little misguided, but I respect what he's doing," he said.

Donations made to the heroes club in support of McCullough's walk are tax deductible and can be left at the Hood River News, 419 State Street, The Dalles Chronicle, 315 Federal Street or the Y102 Studio of Haystack Broadcasting, 620 E. 3rd Street in The Dalles. Contributions can also be deposited in the heroes club account at CenterPointe Bank in Hood River, 2500 Cascade Ave., and The Dalles, 1100 West 6th Street.

McCullough, a former staff sergeant in the unit known as Green Berets because of their distinctive headgear, is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom with more than eight years of military service. He and his fellow soldiers were tasked with missions that often required them to live rough and do without amenities the American people take for granted.

"It was a huge cultural shock when I got home because the world had moved on and I was basically a year behind in everything going on," he said.

McCullough said America showed strong support for the troops after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and during the build-up to the war in Afghanistan and the months after ground operations began. He said a decade later, many people don't spare a thought in the course of a busy day for those still in harm's way.

"Military families are the ones supporting the troops but not the general populace and I think that needs to change," he said. "We shouldn't have only people with some connection to the military doing things for our troops; these families are already making a sacrifice."

His departure date next week is based upon the level of activity at the cherry orchard where he is now working, said McCullough.

He has given himself 10 days to make the journey but intends to do it in seven if nothing unforeseen happens. He has not yet decided whether to walk forest roads over the south side of Mount Hood or follow the Columbia River to Portland and then journey on main arterials.

On Monday, McCullough was leaning toward time in the wilderness and planning to travel light, with a water filtration system for hydration and protein bars, nuts and other high-energy foods.

He views the adventure as a new life challenge and training for a return to military life since he is in the process of re-enlisting.

Although McCullough has the training for many career options in the civilian world, he is returning to Special Forces because being a warrior is the best way for him to give back to the country he loves.

"Being a soldier is not just what I do, it is part of who I am," he said.

The Gorge Heroes Club plans to post updates about McCullough's progress on its Facebook page and The nonprofit email

Monday, April 23, 2012

Former Green Beret Warrior "Ready To Stride" For His Deployed Brother

Kyle McCullough, Former Green Beret

While we are all adjusting to the work week today, Kyle McCullough, a former Green Beret who is in the process of re-enlisting, is visiting businesses in The Dalles and Hood River to gain donations for his walk to the coast next week on behalf of the Gorge Heroes Club. McCullough, 28, is the brother of USMC 1st Lt. Turf McCullough, 26, who is currently serving in Afghanistan and one of the Heroes we support.

The elder brother decided to help GHC out before going back into the military because he thinks the work we are doing is important to the morale of the troops. During a recent phone call, he was asked by Turf, "Do people really remember that we're over here," and that statement made us the choice for beneficiary in this challenge that he had been thinking to take on.

GHC is working to get Kyle as much publicity as possible because this 198-mile hike should be as prosperous as possible. We are hoping to be able to get regular updates from him after sets off next week and makes progress on what he expects to be a seven to 10-day journey.

A Hero helping Heroes, doesn't get any better than that!

Please check back tomorrow to this site for a full story on this amazing journey!

Friday, April 20, 2012

GHC'S The Dalles Chapter Collecting Donated Items For Community Sale

The members of the The Dalles Chapter of GHC is currently collecting items for their upcoming Community Rummage Sale to be held at the Oregon National Guard Armory in The Dalles, Oregon on Saturday, May 19th.  Two drop off points have been set up in The Dalles.  Please contact us for drop off information/locations. 

GHC is a non-profit organization, so all your donations are tax deductible.  We have an entire Armory to fill, so your donations are greatly appreciated.  All proceeds will go towards GHC's Troop Support Programs.

We thank you and our Warrior's THANK YOU!