Camp Pendleton II

Sue Cameron and I were invited for a very special day to participate in Marine Corps activities at CAMP PENDLETON. This included participating in training exercises,  shooting live ammo with saw machine guns, M16’s and photo squad Auto M249’s to name a few -  ride tanks, run & climb obstacle courses (or try to! ) Meet and talk to marines, their sergeants and even a  General. It was an amazing and unforgettable day.  

Several months later, we were able to host another dinner for CAMP PENDLETON. This time it was for a program called THE SINGLE MARINE PROGRAM. We raised money to offset a once in a lifetime outing such as river water rafting and a trip to San Francisco for a group of young enlisted marines who cannot afford to do this on their own. We also raised enough money to buy a new gaming system for the recreational center. Lance Corporal Christine Sepulveda was our guest, lovely, sweet and a talented artist too.

The Children's Institute

Our guest speaker from THE CHILDREN’S INSTITUTE was Nina Revoyr. Nina is the executive vice president of CII and she is the author of four novels. CII has helped over 28,000 abused and neglected children in Los Angeles through their many programs.  One of their smaller programs I was drawn to was the PROJECT FATHERHOOD / Father Daughter Valentine Tea.  This is an opportunity where fathers and daughters spend a very special afternoon together with lots of fun activities for the girls. It is an emotional day for the fathers who are able to show their daughter the love they have for them. Nina is a brilliant and captivating speaker.

Camp Pendleton

My only connection to CAMP PENDLETON had been when I drove by it on the way to the San Diego Zoo with my children.  A friend of mine, Georgia Spogli, introduced me to Marine Denis Flores. He told me about the marines at Camp Pendleton who were raising money to send essentials to our service men and women in Afghanistan. A Typical package might be deodorant, toothpaste a toothbrush, soap or even peanut butter and jelly.  The Government does not pay for this; in fact, they do not even pay for the postage. Marines who have often returned from a tour know how important and meaningful it can be to receive a care package from home so they go out and buy what is needed, box them up and mail them themselves. 

When Gunnery Sergeant Edwin Vasquez came to our dinner, he was an immediate hit – charming, personable and a quiet hero. He served three tours, where he sustained multiple injuries. When he heard his best friend, who was about to be married, was being sent overseas he volunteered to go in his place for his fourth tour.  

He will always have a special place in our hearts. Not only was everyone vying to sit beside him, but that night FWC surpassed all our expectations and was officially launched. Several weeks later, we received photographs of the packages being boxed up and sent to Afghanistan – over 500 boxes arrived. A very proud moment for all of us who made this possible.

Camp Pendleton liked the FWC model so much that they asked me if they could start their own Friends with Causes – Camp Pendleton. So, our first FWC Chapter was born!

The Good New Girls

A dear friend of ours, Wendy Burch, Los Angeles’ own KTLA’s news anchor, founded THE GOOD NEW GIRLS. Her organization includes a group of Los Angles news reporters who identify deserving small charities as they cover the news in Los Angeles. Together, they raise money to give to the charities that are most in need. Her concept is genius and it seamlessly melds showbiz with philanthropy… in Wendy’s words it is “Funlanthropy.” Wendy is always entertaining, warm and the life of the party. It was an evening of close friends, great food and plenty of laughter.

Guide Dogs of the Desert

GUIDE DOGS OF THE DESERT are a lovely organization with the most gentle and caring staff. They offer safe mobility, loving companionship and the “miracle of independence” through the use of a guide dog.  It was fascinating to learn so much about what goes into the training and care of a guide dog. It is an enormous undertaking and process for the trainer, the dog and the worthwhile recipient.  We were all moved to learn about these extraordinary animals.

Respect And Understanding

We considered our first dinner as our “Guinea pig” as we contemplated on how many guests to invite, whether we had enough food and if people would like our concept. Though our minds were filled with concerns, we were confident and enthusiastic about the organization we were supporting. Sue Cameron‘s friend Darlene Duncan and her son, Brian, founded RESPECT AND UNDERSTANDING, where they bring live music into senior living facilities. Funds were desperately needed to buy a new karaoke machine to keep going. FWC to the rescue!  Although our first dinner was small, we achieved our first goal. Thank you to our “guinea pigs” for their support.