Fox Sports San Diego TV interview on April 17th
Receiving the Above & Beyond Award
Presented on April 15th at the Vets 360 Breaking Silence VIP Gala in Rancho Santa Fe
I would like to nominate my husband, Randy Wells, for the Veterans Movement Above and Beyond Award. He is a 1st Class Petty Officer and has served in the US Navy for nine years.
His current position is a hull technician and welding inspector and he plans on achieving 20 years of service in the Navy.
When Randy first joined the Navy, he signed up to be a bone marrow donor. In 2011 he was matched with a woman name Ujjala who lived in New York. He committed to doing the bone marrow surgery, enduring one of the most painful medical procedures… all to help someone he’s never met.
The first five days were full of injections… and on the fifth day he went through five hours of dialysis. He was in full recovery for three weeks.
Randy felt grateful to help extend the life of Ujjala, who is a mother to two sons and grandmother of four. Today… Ujjala is 70 years old and teaches health and fitness to her peers.
Randy has, and always will, continue to support his country and his community. He has participated in several beach clean-ups, charity 5K runs, donated to Toys-for-Tots and helped tutor high school students in various subjects. He makes a difference in this world and goes above and beyond every day of his life. We need more men like him in this world and I would love for him to be appreciated and acknowledged for everything he’s done.
I am nominating my brother, Army Captain and Airborne Ranger Ben Brown… He is a Purple Heart recipient.
He was deployed to Iraq for 15 months.
One day while leading his patrol unit in South East Baghdad to clear roadside bombs his unit came under fire.
He was wounded but still rescued his gunnery sergeant, and later cradled his fellow solider in his last moments.
This sacrifice has taken a great toll…. however, Ben is a survivor in more ways than one. He is fully dedicated to whatever he does.
Today, Ben works full time as a physical trainer, giving confidence to others that positive change is possible. Ben has found his kindred spirit in Chondra, who affirms his worth…… and together their blended family thrives… They will welcome their fifth child this September.
Ben makes time to coach all four children's soccer, basketball, and lacrosse teams. Chondra and Ben participate at school so often that a classmate asked, "How long have you worked at our school?" Ben just beamed, knowing he has his priorities in place.
The joyful jingle of Ben's PTSD service dog's bell collar can be heard everywhere he goes, followed by Ben's hearty laughter, and a group of kids ready to throw a football.
Ben was raised the old-fashioned way of having grandparents in the same house, and he lives on five acres with his extended family of 13.
Ben recognizes the blessings that God has given him and says, "Life has become the best it has ever been, and I have discovered who I am." - Ben Brown
Receiving the Above & Beyond Award
Presented on June 11th at KSON's Country Fest in Oceanside
Submitted by: Cecil and Alexander Manthe & their parents
We would like to nominate our basketball coach Toran Gaal for the Above & Beyond Award. Toran was a HS basketball star who chose service for his country over college basketball.
During his third combat tour, in Afghanistan, Seargant Gaal was severely injured when he stepped on an IED, losing both of his legs and suffering a brain injury.
After several years recovering and retired from the Marine Corps met and fell in love with a wonderful woman and her young daughter. Despite much hesitation, Toran bravely agreed to return to the basketball court to coach a ragtag group of 8 year olds.
All of the kids were really curious about our coach with no legs and Coach Toran humbly explained how he was injured.
From that moment on he has simply been Coach. As we got to know Toran we heard of his Cross Fit competition, his surfing and his hand cycle marathons.
Then Toran told us his plans to ride a hand cycle/bicycle across the US to raise money for the Semper Fi fund, a journey he completed solo last summer, with just a support van driving behind him.
Toran has become a good friend to our family and serves as an inspiration daily and a reminder of what it means to be a true American Hero. Although he has been recognized often for his service and sacrifice, I can think of no one more deserving of this award and continued thanks for his service to our country and all that he does today.
Chris Cano, Tony Dias, Randy Wells, Erika Wells at the Award presentation at the 2016 Joggin For Frogmen 5K Race
The Veterans Movement
Above & Beyond Award San Diego