It's an honor to be recognized by Human Events -not just for myself, but all the hard working folks at Move America Forward and all the guests who helped us make Troopathon a success this year.
Read this article by Ben Smithwick.
"...As an uptick in insurgent violence rippled through Iraq in 2005, the narrative from the mainstream media was nearly synonymous with that of the anti-war left. The military mission was continuously undermined by media reports claiming that American troops were killers and that the war on terror was all but lost.
Frustrated with the lies and exaggerations perpetuated by the media, Melanie Morgan decided to fight back.
So Morgan joined forces with political strategists Sal Russo and Howard Kaloogian to create Move America Forward, a pro-troop nonprofit organization that hosts Troopathon, a yearly web telethon fundraiser that raises money to send care packages to send troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.
Since the first Troopathon was held three years ago, the organization has raised over $2 million. The third annual Troopathon just held July 1 brought in over $500,000.
"We needed to affirmatively support our fighting forces," Morgan said in a recent interview with Human Events. "We had to acknowledge that there was service going on and sacrifice taking place so that is why I created this web broadcast. It was designed as a way for us to communicate these really heroic efforts of our military." said Morgan.
Troopathon is similar in structure to the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon which has been broadcast annually since 1966. Over the course of the eight-hour webcast, stories of heroism and sacrifice are highlighted. The first Troopathon, held in 2008, brought in $1.7 million, a total that surprised even the web telethon's creator.
"I literally burst into tears," Morgan said, recalling when the donation total was announced on the air. "I really, truly did not expect, given the extreme anti-military animus that we had seen in this country, that we were going to be able to be that successful," Morgan said.
The latest Troopathon, hosted by Morgan alongside Andrew Breitbart and Mark Williams, featured a number of celebrity participants. Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R.-Minn.), and Mark Levin were just a few of the guests who were appeared on the telethon through a satellite connection.
"It gives us exposure that we would never be able to afford on our own," said Morgan, who has an extensive background in radio and broadcasting. "They all have websites or blogs or talk shows. Just talking about the effort is what ensures that we are successful at what we are doing."
A staunch defender of the war on terror, Melanie Morgan's work with Move America Forward and Troopathon has brought her to the front lines. She and her team had the opportunity to broadcast from Iraq and report on what was happening on the ground without the filter of what she calls "hotel-pack journalists." The goal then was to increase public awareness of the efforts of the military, something that Morgan says is currently lacking.
"Tragically, the people who are reminded of this every day are only the military families and people who are friends and family of military men and women who are serving. But as for the general public, it is not on their mind anymore," Morgan said, noting that cutbacks in the news industry has led to reduced war coverage.
For Morgan, Troopathon is a way to remind Americans of the sacrifices U.S. troops make every day and to encourage them to express their appreciation. She described the reaction of troops receiving care packages as a type of "surprise and shock" at the fact that complete strangers would take the time to send packages along with personal notes and letters of gratitude.
Included in the care packages are bags of premium roasted coffee, cookies and Jelly Belly candies in bags with Arabic messages. Also included are personal care items such as suntan lotion, small fans and wet wipes, a popular item for troops serving in desert conditions.
"It wasn't so much the things and items in the care packages, although they certainly enjoyed all of the goodies," Morgan said. "It really was the fact that we were taking the time out of our busy lives to acknowledge what they had done and what they were doing on a daily basis for us."
Morgan revealed earlier this year that she had been diagnosed with cancer. Though she insists that she is doing well, she was forced to leave her job at The Washington Times in February to address her health. Despite this, Morgan still was able to produce and co-host this year’s Troopathon, sharing her passion for the U.S. military with hundreds of thousands of viewers worldwide. Plans for future Troopathons are already in the works.
"We are going to continue our care package program," Morgan said. "We encourage Americans to donate a little bit every month to make sure that care packages continue going out year-round."
For information on Troopathon and how to send packages to troops overseas, visit www.troopathon.org."