Online Telethon Launched to Support Our Troops
The "new media," celebrities, radio talk titans, American heroes, and others are working the Web in an effort to show U.S. troops that folks at home love and support them.
Move America Forward, the nation's largest nonprofit, grassroots, pro-troops organization, aims to send the largest shipment of care packages ever to American troops overseas. The effort will culminate in a historic "new media" production to raise support for the shipment.
The California-based group on Thursday is hosting "From the Front Lines," an eight-hour Internet telethon fashioned after Jerry Lewis's famous telethons, but with a high-tech twist. The June 26 event (which runs from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific time) will feature U.S. troops on the front lines, families of those who gave their lives in the War on Terror, top radio talkers, high-ranking military officials, celebrities, journalists, and musical talent.
"I have been in war zones. I have spoken with our troops. And I know that this overwhelming show of support and love from Americans means the world to them as they fight for our country's security and freedom," Morgan said.
The sometimes-competitive world of talk radio will become a unified front, as the kings and queens of talk radio unite for this effort. The roster of radio hosts signed up for shifts on the telethon include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Mike Gallagher, Monica Crowley, Melanie Morgan, Roger Hedgecock, Michael Graham, Mark Williams, Brian Sussman, Martha Zoller, and Andrea Shea-King. They'll be joined by NBC's designated "America's Favorite Mom" Patti Patton-Bader, mother of two sons in the military including one stationed in Iraq right now.
Former first lady Nancy Reagan has endorsed the effort and will participate. Lt. Col. Oliver North, comedian Jackie Mason, Miss Florida 2007, and Five for Fighting's John Ondrasik are among the many other stars, dignitaries, and heroes joining the historic push.
Also participating will be an array of military bloggers and a special report from the office of Gen. David Petraeus, the architect of "the surge" which has helped stabilize Iraq. Marcus Luttrell, a Navy SEAL who survived a mission in Afghanistan that led to the largest loss of life in SEAL history, will appear on the webcast. Luttrell wrote about the mission in the national bestseller Lone Survivor.
"We are deeply honored that so many busy people are donating their time and efforts to send packages to our troops," Morgan said. "A giant database of names and addresses of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is being built -- so that the packages can reach our military men and women in time for the 4th of July holiday."
The Fairfield, CA-based Jelly Belly Co., which makes the gourmet Jelly Belly beans made famous by President Ronald Reagan, has donated 100,000 bags of their gourmet jelly beans that will be included in the care packages to assist in the effort.
"This effort has struck a nerve with people from across the nation and here in Sacramento," Morgan said. "I am personally ecstatic about the love the American people have for our troops."
Families of troops have already sent thankful notes to MAF, explaining how the men and women on the front lines of the war against radical Islam appreciate every note, every package from home.
"Thanks so much for the support," Jeff Via Sr. wrote in a note to MAF. "[My son] graduated from college and decided that the military was what he wanted to do. He didn't even go in to be an officer. He decided instead to be enlisted first so that, if and when he decides to go be an officer, he will know what it was like to be enlisted."
"I know from experience how much it means to the troops," Via Sr. added.
"We love all of them and we want them to know that the American people are behind them all the way," Morgan said.
For more information on the telethon or to sponsor care packages for our troops, go to www.MoveAmericaForward.org.