Comrade & Hero – Inspiration for Baby Shower in Honor of SFC Jared C. Monti



Courtney Faith Vera of Lake Elsinore has been associated with the United States Armed Forces her entire life, first as a Marine Corp “brat” and now as a California Army National Guard spouse with children. She is currently the Family Readiness Group Leader for the 79th Brigade Special Troops Battalion and Bravo Company, 79th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, and works to bring awareness to the public about military service men and women and their families. She joined our board in February of this year. Her husband Raymond says she’s a bundle of energy with a passion for helping troops and veterans.

She asked if we would be willing to hold a baby shower in SFC Monti’s life because of his love for children annually and when you read the story below you’ll know why were happy to oblige.

You should know that Faith knew Jared Monti and had met him right out of high school. He was friends with her friend stationed with the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, NC. She hadn’t thought about Monti in a long time when a soldier from Monti’s Team was now in her husband’s command and the MPOC (Military Point of Contact) for the company. She states, “He had a lot of hair when I knew him, these photos of him with a receding hair line and looking like he’s six foot tall are funny.” Jared wasn’t much taller than she is and she measures in at 5’2.

She fondly refers to SFC Jared C. Monti as “Robin Hood for Children” and if you ever are fortunate enough to speak with anyone that served with him or knew him, the explanation is self-explanatory and quite humorous. Courtney Faith Vera tells her story about SFC Jared C. Monti below in her words. The article can be found on the Lake Elsinore Patch Column that she writes as well.

Sergeant Garner from Bravo Company, 79th Brigade Special Troops Battalion and his Baby-to-Be’s mother headed to a Southern California hospital earlier this month for the birth of their first child, a son with a special name: Jack Monti Garner. Jack is special because he is named after Staff Sergeant Jared Monti, who lost his life while desperately trying to save a fellow soldier who lay wounded and helpless.

Staff Sergeant Monti’s legacy will live on forever. Not just through family and friends but through his namesake, Jack Monti Garner. Little Jack is the 4th namesake of SFC Jared C. Monti.

The tie between Sergeant Monti and Sergeant Garner, who is based in Escondido, can be traced back, but June 21, 2006 — a dreadful day on a mountain in Afghanistan — is what stands out.

Recalling that day, Sergeant Garner has said bullets and rockets whizzed by so close they ripped his weapon out of his hand. He used his body to shield radioman Sergeant Chris Grzecki as he called in air support.

Sergeant Garner and Sergeant Grzecki were two of 16 soldiers from the 3rd Squadron, 71st Calvary Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division who were supporting a much larger group 2,600 feet below them.

Suddenly, the 16 soldiers heard enemy fire lighting up trees above the ridge they were holding. Mortars were raining down and there was no visibility.

When the smoke began to clear, one could see Private First Class James lying on his stomach. He was seriously wounded.

Staff Sergeant Patrick Lybert was already dead.

An RPG had torn through Private Bradbury’s arm.

Sergeant Monti wasn’t giving up and he wasn’t going to allow his soldiers to either. He called in artillery and airstrikes, but Bradbury’s cries were getting weaker. His man was slipping away.

“That’s my guy. I am going to get him.”

He would not make it back. On his third attempt to save his soldier, Sergeant Monti fell into a hellacious storm of RPGs and bullets just feet away from Private First Class Bradbury.

Sergeant Monti’s last words: “I’ve made my peace with God. Tell my family that I love them.”

Finally, the remaining soldiers heard air support arrive and the Taliban force begin to retreat.

Staff Sergeant Cunningham and Private First Class Smith accounted for the soldiers, including Private First Class Bradbury. He was seriously wounded but alive and able to communicate. He was going to make it.

When the medical helicopter finally arrived, a stretcher was lowered down. With Staff Sergeant Heathe Craig, a medic, by his side, Private First Class James was placed on the stretcher and hoisted into the air to the helicopter.

Staff Sergeant Craig came back down for Private First Class Bradbury, who was going to survive and live the legacy of the heroic efforts of Staff Sergeant Monti on that mountain.

The two were being hoisted into the air, but what happened next was horrendous and unthinkable. There was a loud thump: The hoist on the stretcher snapped.

Staff Sergeant Craig and Private First Class Bradbury fell to their deaths.

There is no happy ending to this story. In September, President Barack Obama contacted Jared Monti’s father, Paul, to let him know his son was being posthumously promoted to Sergeant First Class and would receive a Medal of Honor.

Sergeant First Class Monti was the sixth man to receive the Medal of Honor in the War on Terror and the first in Afghanistan. All were posthumous, until recently, but there is no comfort.

Paul Monti said, “I’d much rather have him than any medal.”

I know there are no words to express the gratitude to the Monti family, but they can take pride in knowing that a comrade thought so highly of their son that he named his first-born after him.

Learn more about Sergeant First Class Monti and the scholarship in his name at

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Babychix Donates 40% of Camo Sales to OSOA

Babychix Provides Great Products, Helping Military Expectant Families

Babychix launched by a veteran of the fashion industry is helping military expectant families, while at the same time producing top-of-the-line gift items for baby showers and other special events.


PRLog (Press Release)Mar 02, 2011 – A new online venture launched by a veteran of the fashion industry is helping children in need, while at the same time producing top-of-the-line gift items for baby showers and other special events.

The company, called babychix, offers a unique line of products made specifically with the gift-giving and giggles that capture the “oohs” and “ahhs” at any baby shower. And, every time a customer places an order, a portion of the proceeds is donated to benefit children all over the United States through the company’s h.o.p.e. program.

“Helping children have better lives is not simply a nice gesture for us, but rather it is part of our business plan,” said Rochelle Drumm, founder of babychix. “As we grow and thrive as a company, so too will thousands of children who are in need of our help.”

Drumm has recently partnered with Operation Showers of Appreciation, an organization which hosts baby showers for expecting military moms. OSOA was featured in People Magazine in 2010 for their tireless efforts to make these moms feel special.

Courtney Faith Vera, Donations Coordinator, stated, “A soldier recently told me, “We are all we have.” Truer words have never been spoken. He learned that on a mountain in Afghanistan. If we don’t help our soldiers and their families who will?” As a Family Readiness Group Leader for the 79th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, Bravo Company, 79th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, columnist for the Lake Elsinore Wildomar Patch with AOL, …, wife of a National Guard Company Commander, mother of 2, and full time employee with Borowitz & Clark, LLP one begs to question how she manages it all.

When you ask her why she does it she says, “Someone has to help our soldiers and their families. The volunteers and contributors like babychix make it possible to assist these families. We have a baby shower every single month of the year right now.”

Babychix features a wide selection of great items that are perfect for baby showers and other special occasions. Its signature product is the ceramic keepsake diaper, which is available in three sizes and is great for floral arrangements, tabletop settings and for use as a holder for baby product containers on changing tables.

“So far, the babychix ceramic diaper has been making its rounds through the baby shower circuit with great success,” Drumm said. “We are thrilled about the buzz that we have already generated, and know that this is only the beginning.”

Babychix was born out of Drumm’s desire to build an organization from the ground up and make a positive contribution to the world at large. The company allows her to help kids and create products that celebrate a baby’s entry into the world.

The company will be donating 40% of proceeds on any camouflage purchase back to OSOA so they can continue to build a national organization and make a difference in moms lives and their families. For more information, visit or or

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Girl Scout Troop 32271 with Operation Showers of Appreciation

Operation Showers of Appreciation (OSOA) will host its first Northern California-based baby shower for 11 military families on March 5, 2011 at St. Joseph Catholic Church Hall in Fremont, CA.

Girl Scout Troop 32271

Girl Scout Troop 32271 will co-host the event that shows appreciation for service members and their families as well as providing emotional support during difficult times.

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2 April 2011 – Annual Lake Elsinore Baby Shower in Memory and Honor of SFC Jared C. Monti

First Annual Baby Shower in memory and honor of SFC Jared C. Monti in Lake Elsinore, CA at the Elsinore Woman’s Club.

SFC Jared C. Monti
September 20, 1975 – June 21, 2006


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Past Events and News
August 2010

People Magazine recognizes Operation Showers of Appreciation.
Heroes Among Us

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People Magazine Recognizes OSOA – Heroes Among Us

She Throws Showers for Military Babies

By Lorenzo Benet

Click to enlarge


Oceanside, Calif.

Felshaw was in desperate need of solace in March 2006 after the death of 3-week-old Allysa-born with a terminal condition-when a joyful memory came back: The baby shower their church had thrown for Felshaw and husband Josh, a Marine sergeant. “That perfect strangers would help was overwhelming,” says Felshaw, a former Marine. Through her Operation Showers of Appreciation, she’s thrown 25 showers and provided $250,000 in baby clothes and gear to 500 military families. Marine Lance Cpl. Alyssa Iwanski, 20, expecting her first child with husband Micheal, wept at the sight of a stroller, diaper bag and stuffed animals. “Babies are expensive, and this was a great help,” she says. “Kim’s amazing.”

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The 2010 Military Motherhood Award Ballot

Our very own Kimberly Felshaw has been nominated for The 2010 Military Motherhood Award sponsored by Operation Homefront and Lockheed Martin. Please click on the link to cast your vote. Voting will be open until April 7th and the top 5 nominees will be announced. A winner will be selected from the top 5 to receive a $5000 award and visit Washington D.C. for a special ceremony.

The 2010 Military Motherhood Award Ballot

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OSOA Assisted 6 Local Military Families During the 2009 Holiday Season!

Operation Showers of Appreciation, with the help of several other local non-profits and individual community members, was able to add a little Christmas cheer to 6 local military families during the holidays. Christmas dinners, stocking stuffers, and various gifts were also provided to more than 30 additional local military and their families.

A very special “Thank You” to everyone that had a hand in making this holiday season extra special for these families.

We are proud to announce we will be making this a permanent program with OSOA every Holiday Season. We look forward to your support to these very deserving families in the new year and years to come.

Our thoughts and prayers are with our military and their families during the Holiday Season! Thank you for your sacrifices!

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2009 Gift of Sight

OneSight, Oakley, Walking Shield, Sons of American Legion, and OSOA with the help of the North Coast Church were able to assist nearly 800 military families in need of prescription eyeglasses at our 2009 Camp Pendleton Clinic.

The event took place February 16-20 at the North Coast Church in Vista.  Oakley donated nearly $1million worth of frames for this event to honor our local military and their families and OneSight provided the prescription lenses.

A very special thank you to all those families that were able to participate in the clinic this year.  It’s because of your service projects like this are done for our military.

All glasses that were not picked up during the clinic will be available Saturday April 4th from 10-2 at the Abbie Reinke Community Center on Camp Pendleton.  Please look for the Oakely vehicke in the parking lot.

If you have any questions, please contact Kimberly Felshaw at (949) 547-7780.

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16 May Operation Showers of Appreciation will be hosting a baby shower aboard MCAGCC 29 Palms for 50 new and expecting families. The shower will be held at the Protestant Chapel located on the base.

23 May Operation Showers of Appreciation and the Huntington Beach Elk’s Lodge No. 1925 will host a baby shower for 15 expecting military moms from Southern California.

Many of these families have a spouse that is currently deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan and will not be home for the birth of their new baby. Our support is greatly needed for these families.

Operation Showers of Appreciation is a volunteer and donation based organization working to assist our local military and their families. OSOA assists military families who have recently had babies and those that are expecting with the support of our local community.

We are currently seeking donations for our upcoming Baby Showers in May to assist these military families. Any donation will be a blessing to these families as most of them are far from their families and homes.

If you are interested in sponsoring one of our families or making a donation, please contact Kimberly Felshaw at (949) 547-7780 or email Kimberly.

Please view our website for a list of common items needed for our Baby Showers.

Thank you for your support.

Operation Showers of Appreciation Staff

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