Last year at this very time, I received a phone call from my new inherited friend,(Ret). Marine Chief Warrant Officer III, Mr Ozzy Ramos. In his Professional diction, which is a mixture of New York and Puerto Rican moxy with a sprinkle of gentle persuasion, he stated that his organization was going to honor my fallen Marine son at the 3rd Annual Veterans Ball in Fredericksburg Va on November 11, 2017. He also stated he would be honored if I would accept the invitation of being their “Key Note Speaker” at this event. Such a privilege I thought to be apart of a wonderful tribute to my son, our Veterans and having the opportunity in meeting hundreds of like minded fellow Americans in attendance for this celebration of past, present and future leaders.

As Ozzy talked further about the 2017 Ball, I recalled a series of conversations I had with my late marine son almost twenty years earlier and his friendship with Officer Ramos. I recognized something special and unique about Ozzy Ramos, the element of energy, passion, empathy and understanding, the very ingredients that mold the minds of future mentors and heroes. Although we had never formally met in person, I have bonded with him through my son and remember the time frame he instilled that small mustard seed within our heroes thinking process, who in turn,through the years, inspired hundreds of other men and women serving in the Marine Corps.

Love is like a mustard seed; planted by God and
watered by men. Muda Saint Michael

I asked Ozzy, “Where does such desire and inspiration to mentor our youth come from, in both worlds of military and civilian life?” He proceeded to elaborate about how it all starts with the choices he made in his early life, a life of survival against the odds, he was determined not to become a statistic, yet to be a teacher to children, guiding them to a more positive direction in life. He lived it and knew he was a victim of his own environment being a young boy growing up in the ghetto of Brooklyn New York, Bushwick-Bedford-Stuyvesant. Ozzy fought his first wars on these streets, he knew he had to leave this toxic environment filled with the criminals made up of drug dealers, murders, thieves, gangs and others who did not contribute to the highest interests of humanity.

One of his greatest attributes and biggest influences stemmed from a father-son relationship he had with a gentle giant, Mr John Davis, who was both a blessing and a contradiction to this broken down neighborhood. This stately and life educated man all of 6 ft 6in, blonde hair, blue eyed Caucasian, cared about ALL children, no matter what color they were. It wasn’t typical for this light colored man to care about minorities as he defied the political realms that try to separate and segregate, man, woman and child, yet Mr John Davis was a force to be reckoned with. He was a man on a mission, and God sent him to the streets of that broken Brooklyn NY neighborhood to rescue the minds of the young and transform their choices. If kids were roaming the streets and not in school, there came a knock on the front door as he would confront them and talk sense into them by investing his time and unconditional love into the unstructured lives of so many children victimized by their upbringing. Mr John Davis taught Ozzy “the art of planting mustard seeds” which transformed his thinking and when Ozzy was eighteen years old, he enrolled into the U.S.Marine Corps, molding him into the man he grew into today.

My son and Ozzy’s professional world intersected while Aaron worked at Officer Candidate School in Administration, and was also the Commanding Colonel, George J Flynn’s driver. Officer Ramos and Aaron worked in separate companies, yet, worked together, processing various administrative paperwork, Aaron, taking advantage of this opportunity in feeding off the positive filled energy by the man who became like family, as his, mentor, confidant and an important component in forming my sons professional demeanor. Aaron who was very family oriented himself, was nurtured by Marine marathon runs, social events, BBQ’s and other adventures Officer Ramos provided as he shared our family traditions and the like.

I am grateful for the opportunity of inheriting so many soul moving relationships that my son built through his time here on earth and through his service and brotherhood of the United States Marine Corps. Meeting and collaborating with the hearts and minds of men and women who not only stand tall in the call of adversity, for the security of our great nation, yet, are a complete blend of strong and gentle peace makers and bridge builders for humanity on all levels. I am overwhelmed with pride and looking forward to meeting Mr Ozzy Ramos in person and others who knew my son, and knowing that our world grows stronger and deeper by planting mustard seeds in the minds of our children, as we never know who are children will grow to become!

I extend this invitation to you, whether you are military or nonmilitary, Veteran, Gold Star family, or other, to attend this very special tribute on Saturday, November 11, 2017, celebrating the lives of past, present and future mentors, leaders and heroes. Ticket information is included in these details.

The goal of the AVB is to CONNECT our PAST and PRESENT military veterans to our nation’s next generation and FUTURE leaders of America while keeping them TRUE to the Red, White, & Blue. It will also serve and provide veterans of “ALL” the Armed Forces the opportunity to participate in a customary annual event comparable to those of our active service components. The most common denominator that the AVB Founders discovered was that once service members’ transitioned out of their respective branches of service, they experienced a disconnection to these types of traditional comradeship events. Yet, despite of this disconnection many find themselves living out the core values and way of life, as “civilians”, post their active service contribution. We believe that an event such as the AVB, not only fosters a way to contribute towards youth development and communities, but also creates that pathway to reignite, connect with, and maintain our patriotism with our fellow brothers and sisters through this unique event for years to come. Please join us in celebration in Saluting our past, present, and future Veterans. This event is open to ALL veterans, guest, civilian supporting arms, and the general public. Secure your tickets NOW! A minimum pledge of $75.00 is requested to attend. Table of 10 priced at $1500, and sponsorship levels range from $2,500 to $10,000. Pledge your commitment NOW and support our patriotic effort!

For Further Insight:
Visit: http://americanveteransball.org/

The AVB is requesting to all those that attending and interested in our great event this year to start securing your tickets online at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/american-veterans-ball-avb-va-…. We thank you for your time, consideration, and we look forward to seeing all of you at our most prestigious event. We have a great program, lineup, prizes, music, and dance ready for you. On Veterans Day – 11 November 2017 at the Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center.

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Susan Price is a National Gold Star Mother and resides in the Suburban Western New York area. The daughter of a Marine, and Army Veteran, She is also the Mother of a Fallen American Hero, Gunnery Sgt, Aaron Michael Kenefick a highly decorated and stellar Marine of over twelve years. The tragic loss of Susan’s son and his Marine Embedded Training Team, raised more questions than answers. It was through a Mother’s undying love, that Susan transformed into an Investigative Researcher, and through her countless hours, days, weeks and years connecting the dots, factual documentation, eyewitness accounts and more, emerged a back story to the crimes that took place on the battlefield that fateful day of September 8th 2009.

Susan is also known as a Veterans Advocate and a National voice. She has appeared on 60 Minutes, and other national media as well as and Patriot radio. Having worked with various Congressmen concerning our Military and Veterans, she has been sought out by many as the “the Gold Star Mother with a voice” – and “go to person”.