The wonderful people of Microsoft helped by sponsoring a Patriotic Pony so, we arranged to bring one for them to decorate for the eastern tour.
Our contact Elizabeth Floyd was there to greet us, but was feeling ill and left shortly after our arrival, leaving us in the capable hands of Holly!
We talked about Hero’s Rock and the Patriotic Pony Pledge and afterwards we covered them with paint, as they laid their hands of support on another rocker.
It was so nice to meet everyone and they graciously provided an amazing lunch! I would love to give a shoot out to the restaurant Café Rio, because ………..IT WAS SOOOOOOOO GOOD!
Thank you all for having us! And special thanks to Holly for stepping up in Elizabeth’s absence and to Elizabeth for making this day happen! The pony turned out adorable! Feel better…..you owe me a hug!
Presentation of SSG Gary L Woods Jr’s Patriotic Pony to the Aurora, Colorado Fisher House…………
Escorted by Jim Herstein and the Colorado Patriot Guard Riders, the old hippies backed in to the Aurora Fisher house with a familiar face waiting on us……LeeSandra Thibodeau was there to greet us! If you are not aware, LeeSandra was the inspiration for the Patriotic Ponies!
Army Staff Sgt. Gary L. Woods Jr., 24 years of age, of Lebanon Junction, Ky.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died April 10,2009 in Mosul, Iraq, when his vehicle was struck by a suicide bomber.
SSG Woods was known by his middle name “Lee”. Throughout his life, he strived to do the best at any challenge given to him. He was a talented musician who sang and played many instruments, he loved drawing, fishing and camping. He graduated from Bullitt Central High School in 2002.
Although Gary’s mother Becky Manning Woods was unable to attend, friends, staff and the Patriot Guard stood in as Hero’s Rock presented Tessa Levy, Manager of the Fisher House with Gary’s rocker.
Thanks Tessa for a lovely luncheon and special thanks to the Colorado Patriot Guard who got us there safely! You made it so special! Thanks again!
Hero’s Rock is proud to present the Hines, Illinois Fisher House with the Patriotic Pony honoring Army Spc. Michelle Witmer, Wisconsin National Guards first female killed in Combat in Iraq on 4-9-04.
Escorted by the Illinois Patriot Guard Riders, Hero’s Rock rolled into the Hines Fisher House. The presentation of Army National Guard Spc. Michelle Witmer’s rocker was done inside the Fisher House, in the dining area with the Patriot Guard Riders standing as flag bearers. Scott choked up several times as he began to tell the story of the Patriotic Pony rocking horses and about Michelle Witmer.
Unfortunately the Witmer family were unable to attend, but the residents, staff and PGR stood in. Hines VA Hospital Intern Director Marc Magill and Holly Wright (Fisher House Manager & our contact) graciously accepted the rocker and the Heroes book and presented us with a Fisher House coin and a home made quilt in appreciation! (tears)
We all enjoyed a lovely buffet by our hosts and spent the time sharing stories. Holly told us several stories of Fisher House residents who came to know Fisher House as a home away from home. The home and staff are so warm and welcoming, it truly is a special place! Just as we were getting ready to leave, one of the residents that thought they were going home found out they were going to have to stay a while longer. Holly was right there to comfort them………so humbling! (tears)
The sun came out as we began to unload. Army SSG David Nowaczyk’s family who attended the Hines presentation, so Scott brought his rocker out so the family could see it! David’s mom Patti wrote a message on the bottom of the rocker on behalf of the family.
Everyone’s hearts melted as we watched the family look over the rocker that pays tribute to their son. The smiles say it all!
We enjoyed several more stories with the Nowaczyk family and the PG riders. Everyone left with a bigger family! As the hugs, thank you’s and hand shakes ended……….it felt so very incredible to be a part of all of this!
Thank you ALL for helping making this happen!!!! God Bless you, our military, their families and especially our Gold Star Families!
There is A LOT OF GOOD in the world! We just don’t get to see it all!
Hugs & Love
The Old Hippies of Hero’s Rock!
So proud to call Mantua, Ohio our hometown! Being from a small town has so many advantages, but we never could have imagined this!
Today is a day we will remember…..ALWAYS!!!!!
We are so very proud to call Mantua our home! Such a wonderful send off! Seeing this much love and support ………….is truly OVERWHELMING!!!!! Needless to say, we left town a bit choked up and wiping tears from our eyes!
To our military, their families, our fallen and our gold star families….this is ALL FOR YOU!!!!
From the bottom of our hearts….THANK YOU!!!!
LOVE YOU ALL!!!
Scott & Trish (the old Hippies)
The Patriotic Pony mission has patiently waited its turn. From the day our first hero CW2 Christopher Thibodeau’s wife LeeSandra told us what a Fisher House was and how she wanted to “pay it forward” and wished the Fisher House at Dover could have one of our rockers, we have tried to find a way to fulfill her wish.
When we realized how many Fisher Houses there were, we decided to expand her wish and build custom rockers for any Fisher House that wanted one. Turns out there are 64 Fisher Houses across the country and 27 asked for a rocking horse for the children who visited them!
With that large of a project, we knew we had to get as many people involved as possible. And decided the rockers should be painted white with hand prints of red and blue of people from all across the country, showing love and support of our military and their families.
Just when we had worked out all the details our woodshop collapsed! With love and support of so many, we were able to rebuild, bigger and better than before, but the Patriotic Pony mission had a set back of over a year!
We made a promise and we intended to keep it! Once we were up and running, we jump started the Hero’s Rock Thank You Tour and hoped funding would follow.
With less than 2 months before our deliveries were scheduled to start, we had barely gathered 20% of our goal. It was enough to get wood for the horses and rockers, but was no where near where we needed to be.
The Patriotic Pony mission has been rocked with delays; from the woodshop collapse to my injury. Unable to even walk the distance to the woodshop, I cannot help set up for shows, let alone work the shows! The Old Hippie would have had to do it all………if it wasn’t for so many who jumped in to help! From the Gold Star father, Bob Thibodeau who has been here nearly every weekend and more…..to so many others; The Thibodeau Family, the entire Adam Hamilton family, the Logsdon family, Charlene “Charlie” Mann (who has been my arms and legs), Joe Leonard, Liz Eustace, Bob Maclearie, our own boys; Cody Snyder and Joshua Snyder-Hill and so many, many more! It is truly amazing!!!
Still time was running short, as good of toy makers that we are….we are not that good at fundraising! Hero’s Rock is so very unique and so very hard to explain, but you know in an instant when someone truly gets what we do……by the tears in their eyes!
Just as panic was setting in…….a miracle happened! We received a call from Joe Leonard asking us if we had heard about the 50/50 Queen of Hearts Raffle SkyLane Bowling was holding in Garrettsville, Ohio. We had no clue what it was, as he went on to tell us that he had gotten Hero’s Rocks name added to the charities list. Shortly thereafter, we were put in contact with Aaron King of SkyLane Bowling, who explained Hero’s Rock would be the charity to receive the 50/50 funds from their upcoming drawing Sunday, 7/24/2016.
So, when we say, “We have ANGELS watching over us”, we definitely mean it! They often have a warped sense of humor (much like us – lol) and love to torture us every chance they get! But somehow, someway……things just miraculously work out!
On July 24th, the raffle hit an all time high of over $17,000! Netting $8844 for Hero’s Rock…..ensuring the gas money for the delivery of 18 of the Patriotic Ponies across 21 states, over 7,500 miles….just as scheduled!!!
From the bottom of these two Old Hippies’ hearts…………….
THANK YOU ALL SO VERY, VERY MUCH!!!!
Scott & Trish Snyder
God bless our Gold Star Families and all who serve and protect!
Want to see a biker with a tear in his eye? Talk about our fallen soldiers!
The perception of bikers as the rough, tough, bone crushers….who would rather put their fist in your face rather than look at you, has lightened a bit. Some are even policemen or business men escaping the stress of the week.
We were afforded the honor of setting up our tent at Bone Daddy’s in Painesville this week for Friday Night Bike Night! A weekly event with free food and a live band. This weeks band was LoudMouth! They were soooooooo GOOD!!!!
If you have seen the Old Hippies all wooden motorcycle rocker, Chace the Chopper, you probably have guessed that the Old Hippie has a fondness for bikes! The running joke is; he came home and told me he wanted a motorcycle and of course my response was, “If you want a bike, you are going to have to whittle it out of wood!” So…………..he did! hahahaha
As the beautiful bikes rolled in, you could see the drool start! Luckily, we were there for a purpose, to talk about the Patriotic Ponies and get some hand prints to decorate them.
Now, I wish I could read minds….because I’m sure there were a few furrowed brows when they saw two Old Hippies with a bunch of rocking horses??? Kids toys??? Wt…..well you know???!!! hahahaha
With little effort, we filled two rocking horses with the hand prints of bikers and band members. We told our story of our upcoming trip and mission to honor these 18 fallen heroes by delivering these custom rocking horses to Fisher Houses across the western portion of the country. Within minutes they were laughing like children and stretching out there hands to be painted red or blue or both! We all had a blast as we listened to the music and painted the ponies!
Patriotism isn’t dead, it comes in all shapes and sizes!
Thank you Bone Daddy’s for letting us get more people involved in our mission!
You guys rock! LoudMouth rocks! and BIKERS ROCK!
Thanks again for a wonderful evening!
Scott, Trish and Charlie
The Hero’s Rock Thank You Tour is all about bringing people together to show their appreciation to the military and their families. What better way than kids caring about kids!
Hero’s Rock made a surprise visit to Crestwood Middle School in Mantua, Ohio last Wednesday. As the teens and pre-teens were heading down to lunch, a group at a time were diverted outside, where two Old Hippies and 4 Patriotic Ponies were waiting. As we explained the Patriotic Pony program and asked for their assistance in decorating these rocking horses for children of wounded warriors, excitement ensued! They each extended a hand to be painted red or blue and laid them gently in place on the rocking horse as symbols of love and support.
Hero’s Rock also brought the completed Patriotic Pony which honored Crestwood and Kent student Spc. Adam Hamilton who was killed in action in Afghanistan nearly five years ago 5-28-2011. Most of the students either knew, or knew of Adam through his brother Nick who attends Crestwood Middle School. Along with helping decorate a pony on Wednesday, Nick and his family have helped decorate a couple of Patriotic Ponies, included his brother’s horse.
Hero’s Rock is currently working on Phase One of the Patriotic Pony Pledge and is feverishly building 19 Patriotic Pony rocking horses to be placed in Fisher Houses (which provide free housing for families of a injured soldier) across the western side of the country. Each rocking horse is decorated red, white and blue with hand prints symbolizing this nation’s love and support of or military and their families. Each honors a fallen soldier with a laser portrait and will be delivered with a Thank You card which tells the story of each hero’s life. A reminder of this nation’s promise to never forget!
On August 31, Hero’s Rock will set out on a 7,500 mile tour, crossing 21 states to deliver these rockers and hold Thank You Rallies along the way to show our countries appreciation for our military and their families.
When you see the realization of what we are doing in the innocent faces of children, you realize the importance of including them in the healing process. To see the expression in their eyes was simply amazing!
Thank you all for taking part in this special project! Special thanks to Lynn Morrison and Principal Julie Schmidt for allowing Hero’s Rock to come and share the Patriotic Pony experience!
Crestwood Middle School YOU ROCK!
You can still take part in this program by becoming a sponsor of the Hero’s Rock Thank You Tour. Email us at email@example.com, phone 650-ROCKERS (762-5377) or message us on Facebook. Any donation is appreciated!
Follow Hero’s Rock on Facebook to watch the project’s progress and the journey across the country.
Scott and Trish Snyder
In every interview we have done, the question, “Why do you do what you do?” comes up. It seems so simple to us….because they do what they do!
Of the thousands of careers a person can choose, only a few puts your life in peril on a daily basis. Whether it is a Police, Fire Fighter or an Armed Forces uniform, these people choose to serve and protect the freedoms we all enjoy daily. It is not a job that just anyone can do, but in the time of need…those are the people we all rely on.
With 9/11 Patriotism was revitalized, but with time it starts to wane. It is way to easy to say they chose this job, or they get paid for what they do. Ask a Gold Star family whether the pay is equivalent to the loss!
When we started Hero’s Rock, we did not have an active military member in our family. Both of our fathers served; Scott’s father served in World War II, My father served in the Korean War and my brother served in Vietnam. We now have a son-in-law who serves and our dear neighbors children both serve. Even if you don’t have someone in your immediate family serving, you know some one who does.
The men and women of our military are not our neighbors children…..they are OUR COUNTRY’S CHILDREN! When a soldier serves, the family serves! Enduring long periods of separation, often waiting to celebrate holidays and birthdays when their loved one returns. They experience a roller coaster of emotions as the nightly news tells of tragic events, frantically waiting to hear of their loved ones. Sadly the news too often tells us of loss. The risk is always implied, but when it happens it is a horrific shock. It is a nightmare no family should endure.
As civilians, our hearts break for these families often wishing there was something we could do. The same is true for us! On May 26, 2011 we heard the story of an American Apache Pilot, CW2 Christopher Thibodeau, who was killed in action in Afghanistan one week after learning he was to become a father. The news of loss seemed to be coming way too often lately, but this story stopped us in our tracks. The thought that this baby would never get to met his father because he was killed fighting for our freedoms was overwhelming.
How do you say, “I’m sorry for your loss to a child?” We both realized that maybe the gifts we had recently found were given to us for a reason. Maybe a special gift would bring the child some joy in a time of sorrow and would remind him of who his father was and what he stood for, showing others cared about his loss. We set out to build an Apache helicopter rocking horse that included a laser portrait of his hero along with his service title engraved into the bottom.
We were just two people who wanted to do something! People from across the country donated money to helps us make this happen. We shared photos on Facebook as we set out to make this rocker, inviting all who donated, family and friends to watch as it progressed. When it came time to be painted and apply the final touches, we used a military term “blackout”.
We stopped showing pictures and invited friends and family to share stories of Chris’ life. It was a beautiful and touching period which made us feel even closer to this family. At one point, Chris’ mother Doreen Thibodeau shared with us that in the week that Chris knew he was to become a father, he said he wanted to build his baby a rocking horse. Tears filled our eyes as we realized we had fulfilled this father’s wish!
With that first delivery, we realized we were doing what we were meant to do! But, it would be years before we realized just how much the entire journey meant to the whole family! What was even more amazing was the outpouring of appreciation from other military families, so touched to hear that civilians cared!
As we go about our busy daily lives, it is easy to over look how lucky we are to have such an amazing military family taking care of us. Our military families are spread out across the country. We hope this “Thank You” Tour will show our military families that we are all thankful for their service and sacrifice and hope to spread love as we deliver these Patriotic Pony rocking horses to Fisher Houses across the Western United States!
Join us on this amazing journey as we all come together to show our appreciation. Sometimes a simple thank you can mean so much!
They have our backs every day…..let’s show them we have theirs!
Scott & Trish Snyder
Can we ever say thank you enough?
The Old Hippie and I have so much to be thankful for, that we decided to take our message on tour.
We made a promise over a year ago, before our work shop collapse, to build special tribute rockers called “Patriotic Ponies” for Fisher Houses across the country. Fisher Houses are much like Ronald McDonald Houses, they provide free housing for military families. Making it possible for families to be near their loved ones as they recover and rehab in medical facilities.
We designed the hand made Patriotic Ponies, decorated in red, white and blue and adorned with hand prints of support and hearts of love. Each include a laser portrait of a fallen hero. It is our hope to bring comfort to families going through a rough time with a reminder that people across the country are keeping them in their thoughts and prayers, while also keeping our promise to never forget!
Starting September 1st, 2016, we will begin our 60 day tour. Traveling over 7,500 miles, across 21 states to personally thank our armed forces and their families for their service and sacrifice as we make these very special deliveries to Fisher Houses across the country! Stopping along the way for “Thank You” rallies.
Help us keep our promise! Make your donation on our “Gofundmepage” https://www.gofundme.com/drt9kc6s or contact us to become a sponsor.
Thank you for your help to spread love and support with
a simple “Thank You!” Something we don’t do nearly enough!
Scott & Trish Snyder
We are two simple people who wanted to do something to ease the pain of children losing an integral part of their lives. We had no idea what we were doing, we just knew we had to do it. It was our hope that we could bring some joy to a child who surely has no concept of the tragedy they are caught up in. And hoped in the future they would see that many people across the nation truly cared about their loved one and the sacrifice their family endured.
This journey was a delicate dance, our sole purpose was to honor their hero. It was important to learn everything we could so that we could not only honor their service but everything that was important to them and celebrate their life.
As we posted the first pictures and began to see the support and comments we were in awe. When the family began interacting we were thrilled beyond belief. The stories of Chris’ childhood antics brought us even closer to understanding this young man we were trying to honor.
The delivery of Apache One was so humbling. Would the months of diligent work meet their expectations? As Scott said his first speech, you could hear a pin drop as he uncovered Apache One. The soft sighs and tear filled eyes said it all! What an amazing journey…..
Looking back now, we were so very naive. It was nearly two years later, at the delivery of another tribute rocker when Mike Thibodeau, the brother of our first hero spoke. He told us that we didn’t just bring joy to a child, that we were the light at the end of a dark tunnel……….(tears). We had no clue the impact Hero’s Rock would have, but it was far beyond our wildest dreams!
We had no idea what we were doing, and yet it felt as angels guided us. We have worked hard over the past few years to explain what Hero’s Rock was all about and now with the collapse of our woodshop…..amazingly we discovered how many others understand! It is so heartwarming to know others care about what we do. We often say, we are merely the hands, it is the wonderful caring people across this nation that make Hero’s Rock happen!
We have no doubt we have angels watching over us! And we are so blessed to have so many people who care enough to help us get rebuilt! There are no words to express our gratitude!! We thank you all so very much….from the bottom of our hearts! You are ALL our heroes!