The COSF launched its “Campaign 99” (addressing the 99% of Americans who benefit from the service and sacrifice of the 1%) with an impressive 9-day Patriots & Heroes Pacific-to-Potomac Relay carrying the Code of Support in a special scroll capsule from the beaches outside of Camp Pendleton, CA, across eleven states covering a total of 3240 miles, ending on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 at the Air Force Memorial in DC, overlooking the Pentagon.
At the conclusion of the relay, the Code of Support scroll was personally presented to ADM Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a special ceremony at the Pentagon. In addition to the scroll, ADM Mullen was presented with the dog tags of Sgt. Ronald D. Coffelt on behalf of his Gold Star widow, Debbie Coffelt, to honor all of America’s heroes who have given the last full measure of devotion. Debbie continues her own service as a member of the reserves. She and three of her five children rode with the relay across New Mexico.
Our principal partner in executing this dramatic event was the Patriot Guard Riders organization, who escorted the capsule along the entire route, handing it off from ride captain to ride captain at each of the state borders. Another major partner in the relay was the Red Cross, which, along with American Legion and VFW posts, organized over 25 rallies and pledge-signing events in all of the states, netting over 10,000 signatures for the Code of Support. The relay team also presented some 100 “Home Town Hero” awards to locally selected volunteers, service and family members and veterans along the route.
“We were blown away by the reception given to the Code,” said Kristy Kaufmann, COSF Executive Director. “It was not just welcomed, but treated with great respect and reverence,” she added.
MG Alan Salisbury, COSF Chair & CEO, commented, “The American people, especially in middle-America, are eager to respond when they are asked to get involved in supporting our troops and their families. They just need some direction, and the COSF is providing that.”
The relay was given wide coverage by local media, both in print and on TV. CNN featured it on a retrospective special, with both Kaufmann and Salisbury interviewed live from Ground Zero in New York City on 9/12.