Thursday, May 31, 2012

GHC Receives "Thanks" From 1-143rd Infantry Regiment - Rhode Island National Guard

Hello from Afghanistan!

My name is Jeremy Aucoin, and I am a US Army First Lieutenant, currently stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan. My platoon just received your much needed care packages, and wanted to thank Kyle McCullough and the rest of the Gorge Heroes Club.

The platoon I lead is part of C Company, 1-143d Infantry Regiment, Rhode Island Army National Guard. We were recently were assigned to the Oregon National Guard 1186th MPs here in Kabul...just in case you were wondering why a bunch of Yankees got their hands on your care packages! Our mission here is to advise and mentor local police in the capital.

We really appreciate your dedication and support. The packages were a definite morale booster, not only because of the great snacks, but also because of the story behind them. Please pass along our gratitude to the club, and all that were involved.


Jeremy Aucoin, 1LT

1LT Aucoin,

It is our honor to be able to support you during your deployment.  We will forward your "thanks" onto Kyle McCullough.  He is an incredible Warrior - just as you and your entire unit are.  Please continue to know that we support your efforts to defend our freedoms 110% and please also convey our "thanks" to everyone in your unit.

Hugs from home!



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

GHC Receives "Thanks" From Oregon National Guard 1186 MP

Gorge Heroes Club,

Thank you very much for the packages you sent us. Some of the non-perishable food goes on our trucks for missions when we cannot get to a chow hall. I especially wanted to say thank you to Kyle McCullough. I read the article and I appreciate his huge effort.

Thank you for all you do.  I would like to have you at our final formation if possible.


Jack Gillentine
William "Jack" Gillentine Jr
1186 Military Police Company
Oregon Army National Guard
Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan


Dear MAJ Gillentine,

The members of the Gorge Heroes Club take great pride in being able to support you and the members of the Oregon National Guard 1186MP Unit during your deployment.  We are sending to you our deepest appreciation for all your dedication and commitment in preserving our freedoms. 

We will be honored to be present at your final formation.


Terri Hansen, VP GHC

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bob Stone Freeway Autocenter Donates to GHC

Support our Troops Sale
Bob Stone Freeway Autocenter - The Dalles, Oregon

Subaru Memorial Day Weekend Sale-Abration!

Bob Stone will donate $100 to the Gorge Heroes-Club for every vehicle sold during this event!



Monday, May 21, 2012

Not On Our Watch - America's Mighty Warrior's Joins Efforts Against Motel 6

The Gorge Heroes Club received the following letter of support from America's Mighty Warriors Organization in response to the horrible treatment Warrior Kyle McCullough received from Motel 6 in Troutdale, Oregon during his mission to support his deployed Marine brother and his unit.  Please read on.....

Dear Gorge Heroes Club,
One of our missions at America's Mighty Warriors is to defend our defenders when there is an injustice. I take it very personally when our troops are dishonored and this one hits closer to home as Kyle is from where I raised my children and he was actually fighting in Ramadi when Marc died.

"We'll leave the light on for you" is a warm welcome that didn't apply to Army veteran Kyle McCullough, 28, when he arrived at Motel 6 in Troutdale, Ore., on May 8 after walking 75 out of 200-miles to raise public awareness about the need to boost troop morale in Afghanistan. He showed up at the motel on feet made sore by 10 blisters and the beginning of shin splints.

His room reservations for the night had been made by the Gorge Heroes Club, a pro-troop group serving the Mid-Columbia region. Kyle gave the manager his confirmation number but ended up being turned away after she refused to allow him to register without GHC faxing over a copy of their Visa debit card and the signature of the organization's president. That requirement was not stated when financial information was taken by the reservation center, nor was it listed in the confirmation email.

Instead of offering the former Green Beret, who is in the process of re-enlisting, a chair and making a phone call to GHC to get the matter resolved, the manager became rude so Kyle left the premises because he was exhausted and didn't want to get into an argument. He had tried to explain that the trip from Dufur to the Oregon Coast was to honor his brother, USMC 1st. Lt. Kristoffer "Turf" McCullough, 26, who is currently serving as a company commander in Afghanistan and other troops in harm's way. The manager was not interested in what he had to say and defensive about her actions when called by GHC President RaeLynn Ricarte later that night.

Arrangements were made over the telephone (the same as with Motel 6) at Comfort Suites that night and Kyle had to backtrack one-half mile on his sore feet to arrive there but was treated like a king. Despite adverse treatment by Motel 6, his spirits remained high. and he achieved his mission by arriving in Seaside about 6 p.m. on May 14.

Numerous phone calls by Raelynn of Gorge Heroes Club and myself have been made to Motel 6 and they have been given a chance to make this right and the last correspondence was "we will investigate and get back to you in 15 days." They weren't apologetic, remorseful and they just don't get it!

I need you to bombard them with phone calls and emails and share this email with all you know. Our men and women in the military are willing to give their lives fighting in the battlefields, willing to give their lives for you and I, and then they come home and are treated this way. NOT ON MY WATCH!!!!! Please I need your help to stand for Kyle.

Accor International (owns Motel 6 chain): (972) 360-9000

Tammy Horsley

Senior manager, customer care


Chief executive

Olivier Poirot


and the regional office, which oversees the Troutdale motel, is (469)-521-3000. The motel itself can be reached at (503) 665-2254.

On the positive front, please email Camp 18 at to thank them for providing a free dinner, dessert and ice pack for Kyle's ankles with the greatest of all possible attitudes.

Comfort Suites in Troutdale should also be thanked for taking such good care of Kyle after he was turned away from Motel 6 and can be reached at (503) 669-6500.

It is important that we let all parties know what we think about their support of our Hero or lack thereof.

Standing strong for our troops,

Debbie Lee

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Warrior Kyle Arrives At The Oregon Beach

By RaeLynn Ricarte, The Dalles Chronicle

Army veteran Kyle McCullough arrived in Seaside May 14, completing a 200-mile journey that was filled with pain from blisters and shin splints but also a surprising amount of kindness from complete strangers.

McCullough, 28, set out on May 5 on a walk that began in Dufur and was intended to public awareness about the need to support deployed troops and provide funding for the Gorge Heroes Club. The local group sends monthly care packages to members of the armed forces from the Mid-Columbia region, including Kyle’s brother, USMC 1st Lt. Kristoffer “Turf” McCullough, company commander of a combat unit in Afghanistan.

Although McCullough brought in about $3,500 for the cause, he said the trek became something of an ambassadorship.

“When I first came up with this idea, I did not know it would transform into something so big,” he said. “It went from being a small and local event to something that people across the state – and even the troops in Afghanistan – have taken note of. I’ve been able to see and experience things on this walk that I would never have encountered if I had driven.”

During his travels, McCullough received daily texts, emails and phone calls of encouragement from military families, including soldiers and Marines serving in Afghanistan. He was also provided with motivational messages from Marines in Okinawa, Japan, where his brother is stationed.

He was surprised by the number of motorists who honked to boost his morale and by the offers of help when he passed through or stopped in populated areas.

“I’ve seen the good in people as they waved when they noticed the flag in my pack, asked why I was walking and listened to my story. Sometimes they thought I was homeless and offered me rides, food and money,” he said.

On May 9, McCullough took time from his walk to meet with Monica McNeal, mother of USMC Lcpl. Eric Ward, 19, who died from an IED explosion on Feb. 21, 2010, in Afghanistan. McNeal, who resides in Redmond, Wash., was in Portland on a business trip and wanted to thank the soldier for also walking to help people remember the fallen. He agreed to wear a black reminder band that listed the date of her son’s birth and death during the remaining 100 miles of the trip.

McCullough carried the heroes club Homefront “Homey” Gnome on the walk and said many people approached him just to ask about the mystical creature and what it represented.

“I did this for so many reasons but it’s everyone who chose to notice what I was doing that made the difference. Oregon is really a remarkable place and when I go back to the Army, leaving this area and people will be something I’ll hate doing,” he said.

Elks Lodge 1748 in Seaside organized a celebration for McCullough near the marker for the end of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He then went to rest – and shower – in a condominium donated by Mark and Shari Freeman of Mosier but will return Thursday to The Dalles to help heroes club members pack boxes at 7 p.m. Thursday in The Dalles Armory, 713 Webber Street.

McCullough’s mother, Kim, said driving the route her son had taken to deliver supplies made her realize the depth of his determination and endurance.

“The drive made me tired, I can’t imagine walking it,” she said. “I am so proud of him! What a great ‘mom’ moment.”

McCullough, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, is returning to military life in the near future and said the walk was good training for the Special Forces way of life.

“To achieve anything great you have to be willing to put something out there a little,” he said. “So, a little physical discomfort is nothing.”