Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The History of Thank A Soldier

In April 1994 I was involved in a stabbing attack by three guys and severly injured.  Two off duty 
firefighters thankfully were driving by and saw me on the sidewalk and not only saved my left leg from 
being amputated but saved my life.  For years after that I would on random occasions drop of Tim Hortons 
coffee to firehalls just to show my gratitude.

April 2007
I had heard that a Tim Hortons had opened for Canadian soldiers in Kandahar, Afghanistan 
and that they were paying for coffee.  Even though all funds from that location went back in to programs 
for our soldiers Tim Hortons for our Troops group on face book launched, for sending Tim Hortons coffee 
to soldiers in Afghanistan, In the nearly four years that it was open we sent over 50,000 in free coffee 
certificates with messages of support on the back.

September 2007 
Operation Pen Pal launched on Face Book, purpose matching soldiers and civilians from members of the Coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and soldiers around the world. To date we have matched over 9000 soldiers and civilians at no cost to anyone.  Note : This group does not exist as it has just been merged with our current Facebook page an addresses are provided when they become available.

October 2007 
Group created called Petition to Canada Petition To Canada Post For A Support Our Troops Stamp
Purpose: A petition to Canada post to issue a stamp honouring the sacrifice of Canadian Heroes it 
received 6600+ signatures and and letters were sent to the stamp committee and this stamp honouring 
veterans and current soldiers which was released in  October of 2009

December 2008 
my website had been hacked and shut down by a group of people in a foreign region claiming they found security faults in my website. I was devastated when I had seen this. Almost two 
years of work, photos from soldiers, guest book messages, all gone, I was almost ready to quit. I talked 
to a mother of a fallen soldier and she told me the things I do for the soldiers and their families mean 
too much and that I had to think about the soldiers who lose their friends while serving. They don’t 
quit, they get up the next day and have to soldier on and that is what I did. I was determined to get it 
back in some way.

April 2008
 Support For Military families and Injured Soldiers group was created on face book
Purpose: A Networking site for connecting families of soldiers, and Injured soldiers to each other
I have met so many amazing family members of soldiers through this group and injured soldiers and its 
making a big difference as these people are meeting each other.  Note : this group has also merged with 
our current Facebook page

May 2008 
created an application on face book called “Military Gifts” just a fun application for the military 
community to send photos to each other on face book, weapons, memorials, jets, ships, base logos, all in 
small photos that go on each others profile when you send them.

March 2009 
I joined Twitter after hearing that a show in the USA called "Red Eye" was making fun of Canadian 
soldiers who were ending their combat role in 2011. they said they were going to be "Taking a Break" and 
"Doing artwork" and basically making a mokery of our soldiers.  This was on a day when we had lost four 
soldiers in Afghanistan and I joined to give them a piece of my mind, hahah little did I know I would 
meet some amazing people and military related folks through the page.

December 2009
the Thank a soldier cause was launched as I wanted to merge all my groups in to one Facebook page and at the time this was the best way to do that.  In three years it grew to over 4.1 million members 

March 2010 
The Gratitude Project Launched : I asked group members to send in photos holding thank you 
signs and was expecting enough to make one video of people holding these signs scrolling.  We received
enough photos to make 10 ten minute long YouTube videos and the resposne was amazing.  Even celebreties like Gene Simmons, Shannon Tweed, Trooper, Julian Austin, Jason McCoy got involved and sent in photos for this amazing project.

January 2010 - Gene Simmons & Shannon Tweed send photo for The Gratitude Project, post to their twitter page and websites.  This was probably one of the biggest things to ever happen to our page as the number of people participating and joining the page started to grow like wildfire.

May 2010 - A powerful YouTube video was launched called "The Battle Of The Mind " to promote PTSD awareness, it received over 50,000 views on youtube and some pretty powerful comments and has actually helped soldiers going through the same thing meet each other.

January 2011 - The "Thank A Soldier Monthly" was launched, a newspaper style blog where group members can submit stories and write ups with whatever is on their mind.  We have posted over 100 articles in the one year of existence and allows me to update more frequently about our projects and other groups doing great things.

October 2011 - The Wall of Gratitude idea was posted and will be launching in the next month.

November 2011 - Attended the Grey Cup with a member of the Canadian Forces and his father in Vancouver and also his wife came along for the trip.  His wife had nominated him for an "All Star Dad" contest via Facebook for a trip for him and his family to go and after they had won they invited me along.  We got to meet Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed at the game too which is something I will never forget

December 2011 - "Thank A Soldier" Facebook page is launched.   Even though the "CAUSES" application had been amazing in the past three years a lot of members were not interacting and the numbers were slowing.  I had sent out a member survey and people said they wanted a page where they didn't have to leave Facebook as an app to access our page so thus the creation of the "Fan Page" format.  In one month its grown to over 40,000 members and is by far the most interactive effort to date.

There are a lot of things I didn't post in this timeline and some things I cherish and keep to myself, alot of the military community have met through our website and pages.  Alot of civilians have become friends with soldiers via pen pals and family members of fallen soldiers have helped each other grieve.  I hope this post has helped you better understand that what we do is not a charity or a non profit its a movement.  A place for people to share whatever they like in the common theme of showing gratitude for our men and women in uniform.

Thank you all for being a part of the last nearly 4.5 years and to those just finding out about our site, thanks for checking it out and looking forward to what the next four years bring.


  1. wow. Cool summery. And good job :)

  2. Awesome job you do!! Thanx for the time you put in!! Its very much appreciated--Keeps our Troops in the forefront where they belong---n the everyday person gets to learn about our Heroes!!!! Its very exciting!!! :)

  3. Thank you very much for sharing all this, & the great job your doing xxx

  4. this is so appreciated,thanks for sharing..thanks to all our heroes