Veteran of the Year Awarded to Lt. Colonel Tom Lasser

Revered by many to be a man of great integrity and worth, Lt. Colonel Tom Lasser was recently named “Veteran of the Year” by Assembly member Ted Lieu at the 3rd annual Veteran of the Year ceremony.

Our own Debbie Gregory is a long time friend of Lasser and was happy to hear the news of his award, citing his deserving of it because of his “24/7” work ethic and all around good will. Lasser’s 7 years of active duty service and 33 years spent with the California National Guard might speak for themselves, but after 40 years of veteran service, this award is a long time coming.

Lasser is a Vietnam veteran who earned his Army aviator wings upon completion of the Army Aviation Warrant Officer Aviator Flight Course. He is a brightly decorated war vet, earning the Purple Heart award, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 35 Oak Leaf clusters, the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medals and many other awards and commendations. He is a master Army aviator with more than 1000 Vietnam helicopter missions and over 6000 total flying hours.

It is no wonder why someone with such impressive experience and impenetrable devotion to his country would be recognized with an award of this nature. Lasser is truly a role model for American veterans.

Lasser has resided in Redondo Beach with his wife for 20 years. They have a daughter, Ami’ Collette, who works in the fashion industry in Hollywood.

Runners Gear Up for Fisher House Marathon

As the event date creeps ever nearer, participants of Team Fisher House close in on their goals for the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon, taking place October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Virginia.

Runners have been training all year long for the event, which raises both funds and awareness for wounded warriors and marines across the nation. This is the 35th year for the marathon, which continues to obtain some 30,000 runner spots every year. Talk about some serious civilian support. Millions of dollars are raised each year to provide services and support to marines and other military service members who have been injured and wounded while serving the United States.

Team Fisher House has been a large supporter of the marathon and continues to raise funds and awareness for injured marines and soldiers alike. is proud to be an official sponsor of the Fisher House team, providing support and encouragement to their volunteer runners.

The Team Fisher House fundraising minimum deadline is August 1, 2010, by which runners must meet the required $500 to reserve a spot in the marathon, so there’s still time! Plus, runners’ campaign pages will be open until December 31, 2010 so there will be plenty of opportunity to raise funds for this great cause.

For more information, visit the Team Fisher House website and sign up for their newsletter.

As always, thanks for reading and keep checking back for more updates on the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon!

Katy Cryns

Reaching Out for Vets Benefit Education

When it comes to our veterans, the most important aspect of their post-service lives is their right to a thorough understanding of their benefits. Unfortunately, many veterans find it difficult to understand the sometimes complex benefit information provided to them by the Department of Veterans Affairs. That is why we at MilitaryConnection are heavily supporting the California Department of Veterans Affairs’ veterans benefit workshop/meeting, properly titled, “All Hands.”

The meeting is free for all veterans of the United States and will strive to better educated them on the benefits they’ve worked so hard for. The meeting will take place on Thursday, June 24th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm at Liberty Theatre (Building 6), 4411 Yorktown Avenue, Joint Forces Training Base, Los Alamitos, CA 90720. This event is free to all vets and the Cal Vet is encouraging all veterans in the area to attend. commends the Veterans Affairs department for reaching out to our vets in this way. Too often, the men and women who serve so diligently, honestly and with the greatest integrity are left with questions and concerns regarding their benefits. It is one mission of Military Connection to stall and reverse this as soon as possible.

As such, we will endorse any town hall that encourages this kind of meeting. Town halls that organize events such as this will gain our full support and appreciation. It’s time we start reaching out to those who reach out for us.

Know of a Town Hall Meeting by you supporting the education of veterans’ benefits? Send us an email with the information to [email protected]. We’ll post it on our site!

Thanks for reading!

Katy Cryns

Letters from Hollywood – Tom Wilson

Tom has enjoyed a successful career as an actor, writer and comedian for over 20 years.he is probably best known for playing bully Biff Tannen in “Back to the Future”.He has more than 50 films, television shows and comedy specials to his credit,and has appeared on talk shows with everyone from Johnny Carson to Jay Leno and David Letterman. As a voice-over actor, he has worked in dozens of animated series, including many episodes of Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants”. Actor, comedian, writer, musician, and artist – Tom Wilson has transcended the limitations of pop-cultural celebrity to become an artist of honesty, gravity and grace. Tom supports those who serve.

Dear Troops,

I had to say “dear troops” because I hope that my note to you goes far and wide to reach men and women in the armed forces around the world, but the fact is, I’m talking to YOU, the person reading this letter, and I’m talking from my heart.

My name is Tom Wilson. I’m an actor and comedian. I’ve performed lots of voices on the cartoon “SpongeBob Squarepants.” That’s right, I’m Reg, the bouncer at the Salty Spitoon Bar. Imagine a growling tough guy who’s a fish … “Welcome to da Salty Spitoon…How tough are ya?” yeah, that’s me. I’ve been in lots of movies and T.V. shows, lots of people recognize me as the gym teacher from the show “Freaks and Geeks,” and I’ve been a stand up comedian on the Tonight Show, and David Letterman and lots of shows like that. But okay …Time to bring out the big guns …I played Biff, and Griff, and gunslinger Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen in all the “Back To The Future” movies. Yep, that’s me.

What are you lookin’ at, BUTTHEAD?
Why don’t you make like a tree …and get outta here.

Thank you…Thanks …Oh, please stay seated, standing ovations have always kind of embarrassed me, but yes, I played the bad guy in those movies, which I’m sure you’ve probably seen or heard about.

You’ve been watching me on T.V. and movies for a long time, but I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that I’ve been watching you, too. I’ve watched you working when I’ve performed shows on bases and even on the U.S.S. John Stennis (I did one of those landings on the deck where we stopped super fast and my spleen popped out my eye socket) I watch you in training when I drive by the bases of Southern California, I watch you in rough video footage on the internet and on news programs, working hard to protect not only our country, but grateful people from around the world. I watch you walking through the airports headed home to family, or headed in the opposite direction, away from your loved ones and on the way to a difficult and dangerous mission. I watch you in my heart, as I pray for you, your safety, and your family, and I thank God for raising up so many thousands of heroes like you.

I just wanted to say thank you for all you do for me and my family.

My son is thirteen. He plays baseball. He’s a big side of beef and likes to swim in the ocean and eat pizza. He wears a size thirteen shoe. He’s growing fast.

Thank you for protecting him.

I have three beautiful daughters. One is a musician, one a dancer, and one a “Hippie” artist who paints colorful pictures and wears tie dyed jeans.

Thank you for protecting them.

My wife is a music teacher. She teaches little kids to sing beautiful songs about how beautiful the world is, and how we should love each other.

Thank you for protecting her.

My Mom lives in Philadelphia. She can’t get out of the house much anymore, but she watches you on T.V., and probably like a lot of your Moms, worries about you and prays for your safety.

Thank you for protecting her.

I’m a Husband and a Dad. Like all Dads, I run around trying to take care of things, looking in the sofa cushions for spare change to buy another pizza, and hanging onto this crazy life, grateful to God for family and friends.

And grateful to God for you.

Thank you for protecting me.

I pray for you, I thank you, and I love you. That’s right. YOU.

God bless you,
Tom Wilson