Third Annual KIA Thunder Run, Military-Vehicle Show, and Swap Meet to Take Place in California on Labor Day Weekend

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This free event in northern California's north Monterey Bay area will have an hour and a half ceremony at midday to honor our nation's killed in action and others who died while serving. The Saturday, September 1, 2007, event from 9AM to 6PM will also have a military-vehicle show and swap meet.

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honored the event as our first keynote speaker

The USA KIA/DOW Family Foundation (USAKIA), in conjunction with J&S Surplus & Outdoor Store, a division of Eagle Emblems, and America Remembers KIA, will hold its Third Annual KIA Thunder Run, Military-Vehicle Show, and Swap Meet on Saturday, September 1. The Labor Day Weekend event in northern California's Monterey Bay Area will again be next to J&S Surplus & Outdoor Store. Major participants include Rolling Thunder and the American Legion Family. The event will be free and open to the public.

The store and site are located at the intersection of N. Struve Road and Highway 1 in Moss Landing. For 2007, the group plans food and merchandise sales, as well as music. Jim Gilbertson, a J&S Surplus & Outdoor owner, says, "Just look for the flags" to find the landmark surplus, paint-ball, and outdoor-supply store.

USAKIA benefits families of those in the U.S. military who are killed in combat. Sponsors again want to honor U.S. killed in action (KIA), died of wounds (DOW), and any member of the U.S. military, civilians, or public safety who die in the line of duty or by a terrorist act.

The event will take place on a Saturday on Labor Day Weekend for the third straight year, and the California Military Vehicle Collectors Association (MVCC) will put on a military-vehicle show for the second year in a row. Vendors will also put on a swap meet like last year besides, as well as sell food. There will be music all day and an hour and a half ceremony beginning at noon. For the third straight year, Ms. Gabby Cribland will sing the National Anthem, and for the second straight year, Big Rain will provide live music.

Last year the California National Guard had a color guard, and about 300 people attended the ceremony. They will again provide a color guard for 2007, and motorcycle groups such as Rolling Thunder and the American Legion Riders will also participate, with the California National Guard raising the U.S. and KIA flags with the Gold Star Mother, and Rolling Thunder Raising the POW*MIA flag. California chapter president of Rolling Thunder, Chaplain Joy Jeannette, will also speak. Other American Legion Family representatives will include Paul Rodriguez, past California detachment commander of the Sons of the American Legion. He is also the current chaplain for the detachment.

Keynote speaker for the Third Annual KIA Thunder Run will be Gold Star Mother Nadia McCaffrey. Her son, Sergeant Patrick Ryan McCaffrey, was KIA in Iraq in June of 2004. Patrick was a member of the California National Guard. She also founded the Sergeant Patrick Ryan McCaffrey Foundation in his honor to benefit fellow veterans. It has a project called Veterans Village at http://www.veteransvillage.org.

Last year, USAKIA had Pat Wiscowiche, Gold Star Mother of William "Willie" Wiscowiche, as the keynote speaker. For 2005, the first KIA Thunder Run, Amalia Gonzalez, Gold Star Mother of Victor Gonzalez, "honored the event as our first keynote speaker" according to Vincent Bartning, president and assistant Webmaster of USAKIA.

Other organizations and government agencies will also participate. The Marine Corp League plans to provide a table, and Congressman Farr's office has also been invited again. Organizers expect more event-goers this year.

USAKIA plans a raffle to raise funds, and tax-deductible donations can also be made at the nonprofit's Website, http://www.usakia.org. Its activities include events, a free flag program, and a project for children of those who die in combat which the nonprofit began with a donation of tickets to Paramount's Great America from the PGA. It also plans other activities to benefit KIA and DOW families.

About the USA KIA/DOW Family Foundation:
The USA KIA/DOW Family Foundation (USAKIA), based in San Jose, California, is an IRS-approved, tax-deductible and tax-exempt nonprofit. KIA families incorporated the 501(c)(3) organization in the fall of 2003 to benefit families of those killed in action and died of wounds while in the U.S. armed forces. Current services include memorial events, membership, and a free-flag program for KIA and DOW families.

The public-benefit corporation has had a group approach it for a California Medal of Honor Project (CAMOHP) and another one for a free tutoring program for K-12. It also plans to provide scholarships. New programs will include: 1) an active-duty U.S. Marine helping kids write thank-you letters to families of KIA, and 2) providing free tickets to children of combat dead to San Francisco and Monterey Bay Area attractions such as Paramount's Great America.

USAKIA also has products honoring U.S. KIA. America Remembers KIA allows USAKIA the use of its trademarked KIA flag and symbol. See the organization's Web site for further information or to make a tax-deductible donation.

USAKIA opened two blogs in early 2006, Your Shield on Blogger at http://usakia.blogspot.com and USAKIA's Blog on Yahoo at http://blog.360.yahoo.com/usakiadowff . The not-for-profit corporation also began an eBay blog in late 2006, Fallen Heroes' Remembrance, at http://blogs.ebay.com/usakia , and a Newsvine column in April at http://usakia.newsvine.com .

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Patriotic BikersThe military-vehicle show complemented motorcycles with patriotic themes from Rolling Thunder, American Legion Riders, and other groups.2007 KIA Thunder Run, Military-Vehicle Show, and Swap Meet FlyerHere's the latest flyer for the event in PDF format. It includes a map.Ms.Gabby Cribland Sings the National AnthemRed KIA Flag on Motorcycle, 2006 KIA Thunder Run, Military Vehicle Show, and Swap MeetA motorcycle flies a large KIA flag at the Second Annual KIA Thunder Run, Military-Vehicle Show, and Swap Meet.Big Rain Plays in 2006MVCC Tank from 30sAn old tank was at the event in 2006.Swap Meet at the Event in 20062006 was the first year with a military-vehicle show and swap meet.Military JeepHere's another military vehicle on display in 2006.Alec Arago - Congressman Farr's OfficeAlec Arago speaks at the event for California's 17th Congressional District. Congressman Farr's office also presented USAKIA and J&S Surplus & Outdoor Store with Certificates of Special Congressional Recognition.Raised U.S. FlagThe midday ceremony had a flag-raising ceremony with the National Anthem. Here we see the U.S. flag raised.KIA LogoKIA flags look a lot like this.USAKIA and Rolling Thunder PresidentsCalifornia chapter president of Rolling Thunder, Chaplain Joy Jeannette, receives a Certificate of Appreciation from USAKIA for their participation in 2006. Joy also spoke about a family member KIA in Vietnam.USAKIA Presents Certificate of AppreciationJim Gilbertson receives a Certificate of Appreciation for J&S Surplus & Outdoor Store from USAKIA's Vincent Bartning.California National Guard Color Guard2006's event also had a color guard from the California National Guard.Participants for 2006Participants show their Certificates of Appreciation from USAKIA: L-R, Joe Wiscowiche, father of William "Willie" Wiscowiche, Alec Arago of Congressman Sam Farr's office, Jim Gilbertson, owner of J&S Surplus & Outdoor Store, and Gold Star Mother Pat Wiscowiche, keynote speaker for 2006. Vincent Bartning (your far right) presents cetificates for USAKIA.Vendors at the 2005 EventThe first KIA Thunder Run was in 2005. Here we see some vendors.Gold Star Mother in 2005Keynote speaker for 2005 was Amalia Gonzalez, Gold Star Mother of Victor Gonzalez, KIA in 2004.Kids at Event in 2006The event has many families attend.