In Honor of all Servicemen and Servicewomen
Past, Present, Future
Cost of Freedom, Inc.
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2023 President's Message
A Message from our President
It is both an honor and a privilege to have served as President of Cost of Freedom, Inc. for the past 17 years. Our mission remains to honor our servicemen and servicewomen, those that defend our borders and protect our nation’s greatest treasure – freedom. As our theme last year was “A Higher Calling,” we are continually reminded of all those that serve their fellow man – military, first responders, clergy, teachers, law enforcement, volunteers, all those that put others before self. The purpose of each year’s theme is to imprint a special message upon our hearts, enabling us to move forward, fight the daily battles we face, and be encouraged to move toward a higher ground. This year’s theme was “Rope Team Matters.”
Our Cost of Freedom weekend, which included the Army-Navy game at Lincoln Field, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was represented by the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, SEALs, Special Forces, and other organizations that love our Veterans – a family of patriots that formed our “rope team” for not only the weekend, but for days to come. We came away with enjoying the support people in our lives; and being that support person for someone else. Navy SEALs call it Swim Buddies – Airborne has its Band of Brothers – Cost of Freedom has it’s “Rope Team.”
We were honored to have several special guests this year who exemplified and shared with us how their “rope team” mattered in their lives: LCpl Mattias Ferreira, USMC (Ret), Sgt Adam Kieselewski, USMC (Ret), Maj Dan Runion, USA, Special Forces, Green Beret, Airborne Ranger (Ret), and Cdr Jon Macaskill, Navy SEAL (Ret), all shared their journey, giving us a greater appreciation of how to overcome adversity with the help of others.
CSM Gretchen Evans, USA (Ret), recent recipient of the ESPY Pat Tillman Award for Service, and a member of the Military Hall of Fame, head of her team Unbroken, with service dog Rusty is the epitome of “rope team” mattering.
Major General Jeanette Edmunds, USA (Ret) brought the rope team matters theme to a conclusive end with three words we need to think about – acknowledge, accept, and act.
In addition to celebrating with over 100 Servicemen and women in Philadelphia, including 18 children, the Cost of Freedom team again engaged in a reach out program to Veterans in need, coordinated by Deanna Filosa.
Cost of Freedom has also sponsored a total of 12 puppies with a purpose through America’s VetDogs in memory of or in honor of those that have served their country or have made an impact on the lives of others. This year we sponsored two puppies, Dinky in memory of Robert Stecher, a USNA ’72 classmate, and Mac, in memory of Jim McNamara, who served his country in Korea and the police department, and whose three sons have been instrumental in allowing Cost of Freedom to continually honor our Veterans in very special ways.
2022 marked the 15th year our Gold Star family, Marianna Winchester, Kristina, RJ, Anthony, and Brian, have joined us to ensure “we must never forget” those that have given all. 1st Lt Ron Winchester, USMC (KIA) remains a part of our lives, so long as he is not forgotten. Part of our mission is to never forget and to carry forward the ideals and values that Ronnie lived by – honor, courage, and commitment.
Thank you for your continued support of those that serve – it is our turn to serve them.
Our Board of Directors
Bob Madden, Co-Founder and President
Ron Stowell, Co-Found and Treasurer
Paul Huck, Secretary
Bob Zimmerman, Military Liaison
COF Board Member, Deanna Filosa, was awarded a $25,000 Community Service Award by MassMutual.