Soldiers return from Iraq

Alpha, Bravo, Charlie – Military Families Have A Language All Their Own

Celebrating and supporting military families is part of our mission at Gratitude Initiative, and November’s Military Family Appreciation Month gives us a great opportunity to highlight the unique qualities of the folks we serve. Military families have a language all their own. It’s an alphabet soup of terminology that few civilians understand, but military families master their ABC’s very quickly.

They know what Active Duty means, and understand what it means to Aim High or become Army Strong. For military families, Arlington is not a city, it’s a sacred destination. Brave, bold, and beautiful inside and out, military “brats” wear the moniker proudly. All military families can tell the difference between a BX and PX, and if they get the blues, it’s likely a uniform. A military family can navigate the chow hall, the chapel, or the commissary. They’ve trouped through castles, Chinooks, and the chain of command. Every military child knows what to do when the colors are posted or called, hand over heart, facing the flag. A military family comprehends the wrath of the DI, the draft, and the duty roster. They can point out the DMZ on a map, conduct a DITY move, and prepare for deployment in record time. Advocates for the underserved, they embrace the EFMP, a program to assist exceptional families with exceptional needs. They know a fort is not a pile of sticks, File 13 holds the trash, and the Fisher House offers a safe place to land. They understand phrases like First to Fight or The Few, The Proud.

Gratitude Initiative salutes and celebrates all that our military families give, and give, and give. They know how to say goodbye only too well. They’ve lived in Grafenwoehr, Garmisch, and Greenland. A Global Force for Good is their benchmark; honor their hallmark. Before they lose all their baby teeth, military kids know what an ID card is and where to use it. They ride in jeeps and jets and know what a jarhead is. They’ve eaten k-rations and love kids. In a military family, leadership is spelled LDRSHIP: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. They can share an MRE or call an MP. Never give up is their mantra, along with Oorah, or some version of the same.

Military families lead the Pledge of Allegiance; their kids know the difference between a Pentagon and a Purple Heart. They can use a P-38, especially during a PCS. PT is their formula for fitness. They’ve gone to school in Quonset huts and taken quinine tablets. Every military family member knows the difference between retreat and reveille. They salute the Stars and Stripes, have eaten their fair share of Spam, know how to stand down, stand up, and stand to. Semper Paratus, they’re always prepared. They know the sandbox is someplace in the Middle East, and a stairwell is just one more type of military housing.

Military families can navigate Tricare and handle TDY; most have seen the inside of a tank or a TOC. For military families, transition has always been a verb. They know their Uncle Sam, and use the USO in USAREUR. Veterans of modern wars, foreign wars, Cold Wars, and spiritual warfare, military families crave victory and repel defeat. Wounded warriors too numerous to name are surrounded by military families who will not withdraw or give up.

At Gratitude Initiative, we celebrate the military families we serve. Their workday never ends, their service is never complete, they simply finish their alphabet in a way few others understand…X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

About the author:
Robin Overby Cox is part of a military family comprised of her husband, MAJ (USA, Ret, Dec) Carlisle B. Cox III, her father, COL (USA, Ret, Dec) Lauren Overby, her brothers, LTC (USA, Ret) Stacy and Todd Overby, her father-in-law COL (USA, Ret, Dec) Carlisle B. Cox Jr., her son-in-law, MAJ (USA) Jeffrey Ryan Petty and numerous extended family members.  A librarian and writer, she authored Steel Will, Baker Publishing Group, 2014,with wounded warrior, SSG (USA, Ret) Shilo Harris. She’s lived on Army posts from Okinawa, Japan to Hohenfels, Germany, to everyplace in between and now calls College Station, TX her home. She’s committed to Gratitude Initiative because she knows first-hand about the support the children of our military and veteran families need and deserve. 


Gallagher Book Sales Already Supporting Gratitude Initiative

Frank Gallagher celebrated the launch of his book “The Bremer Detail: Protecting the Most Threatened Man in the World” at a Washington D.C. event last week with hundreds of friends and dignitaries. All guests received a signed copy of his book in exchange for a donation to Gratitude Initiative (GI).

Gallagher collected $18,000 dollars that evening for GI, paving the way for the kids of active duty military and veterans to receive educational support, career counseling and college scholarships. Amyntor Group alone donated $10,000.

Immediately upon learning about what GI does for military and veteran children, Gallagher let GI know that he plans to support GI by donating a portion of the proceeds from his book to the new non-profit.

“I cannot say enough about Frank’s and The Amyntor Group’s support of GI,” said GI Founder Lee Sechrist. “I was speechless when I received Frank’s call. There I was attempting to find the right words to express my gratitude to Frank and all he wants to do is thank GI for what we are doing for our military and veteran families!“

Gallagher is a career professional who has dedicated his life to serving our country. In May 2003, President George W. Bush appointed Paul Bremer as the Presidential Envoy to Iraq. Bremer immediately banned the Ba’ath party and dismantled the Iraqi Army making him the prime target for dozens of insurgent and terrorist groups. Gallagher and a team of former Marines, SEALs and other security professionals were assigned to protect Bremer during his grueling sixteen-hour days.

When they arrived, Baghdad was set to explode. As the insurgency gathered strength, Bremer and the men who guarded him faced death daily. They weren’t in the military, but Gallagher and his team were on the front lines of the Iraq War. His fascinating memoir takes the reader deep behind the scenes of a highly dangerous profession.

To learn more about the book and order your copy, visit





GI Partners with the Texas A&M University Veteran Resource & Support Center to Serve Military Kids

Texas A&M University has long honored and celebrated the contributions of the United States military, preparing thousands of exceptionally trained men and women to honorably serve our nation. It’s fitting then, that Texas A&M is the first university to partner with Gratitude Initiative to ensure that the children of service men and women are equally well prepared for academic success and for life.

Gratitude Initiative and Texas A&M University Veteran Resource & Support Center have entered into an agreement that will leverage each organization’s resources in order to provide a clear pathway to higher education for the children of active duty military and veterans.

The Gratitude Initiative (GI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that works with kids and parents of America’s military and veteran families at no cost to them, providing programs and tools that are proven to put young people on the path to educational and career success. GI programs include college and career counseling, test preparation for college admissions, tutoring and homework help for middle school and high school math, science, writing and other subjects.

Texas A&M Veteran Resource & Support Center honors the Aggie military legacy by identifying, developing and providing uniquely tailored programs to students who are veterans, active duty, reserve or National Guard, or military dependents, survivors and families.

“The resources that GI is bringing to this relationship are invaluable to families whose selfless service to our country so often takes them away from their duties at home,” explains Center Director Colonel Gerald L. Smith, USMC, (Ret.). “GI’s programs provide a hand up to military kids so they have the best opportunity to achieve success academically and in life. That’s serving well those who have served.”

Working together, GI and Texas A&M Veteran Resource & Support Center will provide a pathway to Texas A&M for military kids. Starting with academic support programs as early as the 8th grade, then bringing high school students to Texas A&M summer camps, and continuing with college level programming and services as youth transition to life as successful adults.

Lee Sechrist, GI founder and executive director, is a veteran and a former student of Texas A&M.

“One percent of our population serves to protect the liberties of our entire nation. As citizens, we have a duty to come alongside our military and veteran families to serve well those who have sacrificed so much,” Sechrist explains. “GI enables every American to give back supporting essential educational support services designed to meet the unique needs of military and veteran families, leaving a legacy of education that changes not just one life but generations.”

This new program will also be enhanced by the creation of a new student organization at Texas A&M. The Aggie GI Student Chapter is under development and will be the first of its kind anywhere in the country.

To learn more about GI programs and to get involved, check out all the ways you can support us.

3rd Battalion 2d Marine Regiment Homecoming

GI Receives 501c3 Designation

Gratitude Initiative received official designation as a 501c3 non-profit organization today, setting the stage for a broad range of fundraising activities aimed at providing needed educational support programs to America’s military families. Gratitude Initiative will seek corporate and foundation gifts as well as private donations and will conduct fundraising events all in an effort to ensure that America’s military kids are prepared to succeed in college and in life. To learn more about GI’s fundraising activities or to make a donation, click here.