Hiking in the Cold North

I set a personal record for a winter hike yesterday! It was a cold day but not bitter like it had been for a while (seemed like months actually). It was a long ways from those hikes in Panama, Nevada, Florida, Virginia, Texas and other warm places that the Air Force sent us. Much closer to Iceland, Illinois and Washington state in many circumstances like the wind chill (about zero during the hike), the snow covered surface and cloud cover. Maybe I should explain why I hike outside in the wintertime?

I think they forgot to plow us today!
First, I like a challenge!  Yep, it is a challenge to get the mental energy up for putting on the right clothes, boots and safety equipment (reflective belt, wrist band, water and cellphone).   Then suck in your breath and face the first snowy wind gust and you are off!  The clamp cleats that strap on to my boots dig into the snow and ice and keep me upright most of the time but I still have slipped and fell once or twice ( a totally different blog in the future).  I like to layer with clothes such as long underwear, two sets of socks, pullovers, sweaters, face pullover/mask, a wool stocking cap and a water proof jacket with warm gloves in the pockets.

Express Scripts and Tricare on Twitter and other social media

Yikes, a week of a much needed medication on hand and the refill is disapproved by Express Scripts/Tricare!  What next?  

We have been a beneficiary of the military medical system for almost 43 years and have found it to be caring, responsive and helpful in most cases but last week we ran into an illogical response to a refill request for a non-formulary medication.  I did find a new way to reach out when we needed help quicker than "you can appeal, provide documentation and fill out the paperwork", etc, etc when you have a week's worth of medication left.  Our family doctor had tried to explain but received a flat disapproved with a list of requirements.  Remember:  This was a refill request.  I hope this helps even just one other military person dealing with this bureaucracy. 

Express Scripts and Tricare are on the social media and it appears they respond quicker to twitter comments than the phone calls from our doctor's office.  After first being approved and then denied the scripts that both Deb and I need and had used for a number of years I pursued the issue on twitter and the response was fantastic! By the way the @justinamash is our congressman.

I would like to commend Maria who called me and took the time to explain the appeal process (while I was hiking on our local nature trail on a beautiful Fall day).  Several others called and spoke to me during the next 48 hours while we worked out the details of the scripts.  First, they did approve the scripts with no appeal required and for that I was thankful as it did sound a bit daunting with an 8 year history of cancer to explain and two patients in need of meds quickly.  Second, do not give up, if someone says no, someone else may say, yes and they do have supervisors available to take your call. 


Here is the twitter story that resulted in our scripts arriving in record time!

Initial Contact


Thank You

Dale Kissinger, ie. “Col K” is a co-founder of MilitaryAvenue.com and retired Air Force pilot who served with the best of the military community from the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force. He flew combat rescue and special operations helicopters, fixed wing trainers, special operations airlift and retired while flying the C-17 as the Vice Wing Commander of the 62nd Airlift Wing at McChord AFB. He served his country during conflicts in Bosnia, Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

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Our Flag and Memories of 9/11

It was a simple act this morning: lowering the flag to half staff to remember 9/11/2001.  It was a cool and wet morning and at first, I hesitated.  Why should I head out within a week of chemotherapy, etc.  I could find all kinds of reasons to sit in my comfortable chair and sip coffee...

I was still on active duty; in fact, my crew had landed from an overseas mission in the middle of the night and headed home for some well deserved rest that was not to be.  Half asleep and time zoned from a trip half way around the world, I was surprised to see and hear the command post line light up barely 5 hours later.  The wing commander asked me to head to the command post right away.  Had I seen the TV?  "No".  "Be right there".

An Introduction: "Do You Have a Frog in your Pocket?"

Last week we published a blog in our Marketing to Military resource and the business owner was so military friendly we thought that we should share it today in our Military Family blog as well.  It is a smooth read but what she says about the military community says a lot about her business. We like what she said about us too!  So, read and enjoy!  PS:  If you know a military family owned, veteran owned or military friendly business share the blog with them too! 

"Do You Have a Frog in your Pocket?"

Something caught my eye, increased the focus, sped up the senses a bit, made me look twice, liked what what I saw, turned to look, clicked on it, read, read more, smiled, connected the dots and they got my attention. 

Recently, we had an innovative, military friendly online small business, Frog in My Pocket,  place several First Class Package ads on MilitaryAvenue and I asked the owner if she could answer a few questions about her business and specifically the company's marketing strategy.  Penny readily agreed to tell us more about Frog in My Pocket and her efforts to support the military community. 

How do you spread the word about Frog in My Pocket? What is most effective, efficient? How about social media, twitter, pinterest, Facebook?

Frog in my Pocket takes advantage of a combination of social media, paid online advertising, and organic search term targeting, as well as focusing on offering a robust, attractive website. We have found that traditional magazine and paper advertising is not as effective in terms of cost and conversions.

Why did you post ads on MilitaryAvenue.com? 

We appreciate everything that our military families do for all of us, and we wanted a place where we could help in return with a permanent discount that is available only to military families. MilitaryAvenue.com is one of the easiest and most attractive websites available for military families. Not only are there great resources for military discounts that are easily searchable, but there are also tons of resources and great information about relocation, education, travel, and even an “Answers” area where anyone can post a question relating to military life and find the answers they need from members of the military community. We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of that.

Is a military discount effective in reaching out to the military community? Do you have a large military audience? Do you anticipate a military page?

That's why we're here. We are excited about the opportunity to offer this discount to your families. Military families have some unique challenges, which can include both a limited budget and a limited ability to travel far enough to find what they need. Frog in My Box offers quality clothing, shoes and books at great value – delivered right to the door wherever possible. We will be adding military resource pages to our site, and would appreciate the opportunity to link to some of your resources.

Stomping Out Sarcoma 5K Fun Run/Walk > Wordless Wednesday

#FASTSOS #CureSarcoma #SarcomaAwarenessMonth

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Dale Kissinger, ie. “Col K” is a co-founder of MilitaryAvenue.com and retired Air Force pilot who served with the best of the military community from the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force. He flew combat rescue and special operations helicopters, fixed wing trainers, special operations airlift and retired while flying the C-17 as the Vice Wing Commander of the 62nd Airlift Wing at McChord AFB. He served his country during conflicts in Bosnia, Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

Stomping Out Sarcoma > A Warrior's Way

"The hills are getting tougher at times..."

 A Fun Run/Walk, A Bike Ride Fundraiser, A Physical Fitness Plan, A Facebook Support Group, An "Awareness Month": What do they have in common? For this warrior, they mean fighting Sarcoma Cancer through new awareness and research, survivor support and fitness for the many battles ahead.

So "what is sarcoma?" is often the first question this warrior often hears. "You look healthy?" is often the second one (at least until my hair fell out during chemo). Sarcoma in this pilot's parlance or from the perspective of someone with boots on the ground, is a soft tissue (think muscle, fat, nerves) or bone cancer. It is rare in the adult population (less than 1% of all cancers) but unfortunately hits children much harder. It is often neglected in the research dollar efforts when compared to other cancers such as breast cancer. Many forms frequently spread to the lungs, liver, bone or brain with no effective chemotherapy medications available.

Happy to be Home! DoDLive Blogger Roundtable

Photo Credit:  Real Warrior Campaign
"Happy to be Home"

Normally you start a blog with the beginning and work your way to the end; today, I started with the closing comments of Master Sergeant Aaron Tippett, US Army.  The Blogger Roundtable had the opportunity to interview and listen to the comments of an American hero and how he dealt with the challenges of PTSD.  Listen up military spouses!  He responded to his spouse after she saw the cumulative effects of multiple deployments.  Stay in touch with your spouse!  His advise for spouses was, "be there, listen, be supportive," but don't push it, each soldier is different.  After his wife encouraged him to seek help ("you need to get help") for his symptoms, he responded to her attention and caring. 

Birds and Military Kids - the Split S Acrobatics and "Winged Adventures"

"... the tiny bird executed a perfect "Split S" acrobatic maneuver and dove between the railing posts."

Our military kids are located all over this great nation thanks to their parents service in the National Guard, Reserves or Recruiting Services. Some have parents that are retired with 20+ years of service or are disabled medical retirees that settled down in a new area for employment or returned to their roots.  Others have a parent or parents that are deployed and they headed out to be near grandparents, etc.

They come in all sizes and shapes; backgrounds and dispositions but all know when they are loved.  Military kids are so vulnerable and yet so tough!  They deserve support and appreciation from all of us and many organizations do just that with special programs for the military community!

Many organizations have discounted or free access to entertainment, educational or other types of programs.  So when I saw that Michigan State University was offering a "Winged Adventures" for military kids, I had to share with military folks who live near our retirement residence.  Maybe it will highlight other programs or inspire another to take root in your community? 

Red Breasted Nuthatch  See Below for Credits
As I sat reading on our front deck I saw a fellow "airman" land on one of our bird feeders.  The nuthatch is just like military kids > very flexible and can be found anywhere in the world.  The red breasted nuthatch that is in our area tends to eat upside down for some crazy reason. Maybe they show a bit of our military community's genetic material that often is challenged by the upside down world we live in.

Earth Moving Moments

In order to get from here to there….



Plans and Plants

In order to meet and greet people life requires one to step out from themselves. Out of the house you go! Step into life, and when it greets you back: smile. It’s a good thing. One walks around with history, purpose and pride. Your history is where you have been… as you go forward. Can’t change it, it is there like a shadow or like a mantle. As long as the sun is going to shine on a new day, you have your history and heritage to walk with you. Now, step up to someone and welcome them into your life with a smile, a handshake and a kind word… like salve on a wound it is healing. We all get lonely and at times bitter or dismayed… take charge and change that. Get that mouth a’moving into the “Hi! How are you?” And then…. Listen.

"... Upholding the Traditions We Have in America"

"The appreciation and kind thoughts will last much longer than the vegetables and my health will continue to be refreshed by all three!"   

Row Markers

Americans are famous worldwide for helping our neighbors out.  Find a tsunami, earthquake or a camp for the victims of war and you will usually find American personnel, supplies or donated equipment; sometimes all three.  We give through our churches, the Red Cross and many other non profits and our military forces are usually at the forefront of overseas efforts.  At home, neighbors and families can be seen doing the weekend projects that often end in refreshments or even a barbecue at this time of the year. 
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