January 21, 2013
Dear Marines and Families of MarineParents.com,
Changes happen in our lives whether we invite them in or not. Being able to adapt and embrace uninvited change is a necessary but often difficult part of being an emotionally healthy person. Finding a place to connect and share® with others who have to adapt to the same life change offers immeasurable and significant help.
Ten years ago if someone had told me Iíd be running a million-dollar nonprofit organization in 2013, I would never have believed it. That wasnít in my game plan and, after all, I was in charge of my life.
I didnít sign up for the Marine Corps, but I knewófrom the time he was four years oldóthat my son would be a Marine. However, I had no idea that the contract he would sign with the USMC in 2001 would be a life-changer for me, too. Iím betting most military parents donít realize it either.
On 9/11 my son had been in boot camp for two weeks. If I could have gotten a flight out to San Diego I would have dragged him home by his ear. It wasnít a pretty image. It was on that day I had to start letting go; after all, I was not in charge of my sonís life. I prayed for God to help me let go and He mistook that and led me down a path that was not in my plan. At times He pulled me by the ear, but, for the most part, it was a gentle persuasion. Fourteen months later the doors opened in front of me to create this place called MarineParents.com.
When I tell the story of MarineParents.com and get to the part where I didnít have a plan and didnít intend to create an organization, itís hard for folks to believe. How can success, after all, come without a plan? But that is the real storyóit wasn't MY plan. Itís at this point I have to clarify things and say this was not me, but, rather, Godís hand through me that made all of this happen. And thatís the real story, too. I could never have done this standing alone.
From the inception and registration of a domain name on January 21, 2003 (originally MarineMoms.us) the organization has grown exponentially every year. Though I put the foundation out there, itís been the work of thousands of volunteers through the years, and thousands of people in communities around the US, that has turned MarineParents.com into a vibrant community of supporters and those seeking support who have built and mastered our mission of informing, connecting and sharing. At every turn of the organization, there is another moment of Godís leadership that gives me the right direction and sends the right people to me.
MarineParents.com was originally for families to have a place to connect and share® but rapidly turned into a support entity for our beloved Marinesóboth uniformed and Veteransóand now, military personnel in all branches of the service. The growth would make any small business green with envy, but itís given us the ability to do more and more each month with support for our troops. The pride I have is huge, but the thanks that I give to thousands that make this happen, is more enormous than I can begin to describe.
Thank you all, each of you, the readers, the posters, the members, the volunteers, the directorsópast , present and futureófor giving yourselves in support of one another and our troops. You are the backbone of a truly unique organization with a foundation to serve its people for years to come.
Happy Anniversary to all of us. May we keep God with us and may the next ten years bring as much faith, love and support as the first ten.
God Bless and Semper Fi,
Tracy Della Vecchia
Founder and Executive Director