One Flight At A Time

Pat is inspired by Ida Gondalez, featured in our homepage video today "A Mother's Journey To Light," to tell us the moving story of a local grassroots organization in her hometown of Portsmouth, New Hampshire that honors and acknowledges America's military men and women.

Serving America's Heroes, One Flight at a Time

Today’s video about Gold Star mother Ida Gonzalez, and the way she honors the memory of her beloved son Michael, is a poignant reminder of all the sacrifices made by our fellow Americans in the military and their families -- and how important it is to acknowledge them.

My hometown of Portsmouth, NH, is home to an exceptional grassroots organization that does so on a regular basis, having now met over 450 flights of soldiers heading to, or returning from, overseas areas of conflict.

The “Pease Greeters” – whose motto is “Serving America's Heroes, One Flight at a Time” -- converge upon the Portsmouth International Airport at the former Pease Air Force Base at all hours of the day and night, often with little notice, to act as “America's surrogate family” offering the troops a final goodbye on U.S. soil or a first welcome home when their chartered planes touch down to refuel or change crews.

The Greeters, whom I’ve seen number as few as 75 for a 1:30 a.m. flight in the middle of a snowstorm or as many as 400 on a balmy weekend day, never know beforehand which branch of the service is coming through the doors or where they’re headed. And the soldiers have no idea how many people are waiting to greet them. It’s not unusual to see a man or woman in uniform brush away a few tears when they find out.

As the solders enter the corridors packed with “Pease Greeters” cheering, clapping and reaching out to shake their hands, they may stop to enjoy long-denied simple pleasure of interacting with a baby. Or they may pat one of the dogs in the crowd, enjoying the experience without fear of rabies or that the animals were trained to attack them.

The soldiers do not know they are filing in beneath the first U.S. flag to fly over Guadalcanal in 1942, or about the bounty of donated food, drink, free phones and gifts awaiting them in another area of the terminal.

The outgoing flights have a slightly different feel, but instead of saying “welcome home,” the Greeters offer a “we'll see you when you get back” or “be safe.” All the troops hear “thank you for your service” no matter what their destination.

Photos are taken throughout the time they are in Portsmouth, often no longer than an hour, and include a group shot to be added to the “Hall of Heroes” gallery of photographs from every flight. Sadly, these pictures might be the final ones taken of a departing soldier and later become a sad memento for his survivors.

The Greeters travel from across New Hampshire, as well as Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont. Although there a good number are retired military in hats and clothing reflecting their service, anyone can part of this extraordinary experience. Launched in 2005 with a small group of retired Marines and airport workers, the Pease Greeters have mushroomed to an alert list of well over 2,000 and are supported by business, civic and veteran’s organizations.

The program extends far beyond clapping or offering food. For example, there are hundreds of women who knit and crochet hats for every soldier who passes through Pease en route overseas because it gets cold in the desert and the hats can be worn under their helmets. Every soldier receives an embroidered star cut from a retired flag that’s accompanied by a poem telling them they are not forgotten. There’s also a care package program that sends hundreds of pounds of donated snacks, toiletries and fun items monthly to soldiers overseas.

Each airport event ends with a ceremony with a presentation of the colors, the Star-Spangled Banner, a prayer, and a “we the old warriors support you, the young warriors” salute between veterans and the troops. The ranking officer on each flight is presented with a sweatshirt signed by the Greeters because “we'd give you the shirt off our backs in thanks.” The soldiers re-board the plane to find the knit hats, stars and chocolates. As the plane departs, a “Fence Force” of Greeters goes to the end of the runway to wave flags and signs, no matter the time or weather.

I’ve had the privilege of participating in a few of these events and each time it makes me grateful for our men and women in uniform, and also the generosity and kindness of those who support them in this and every way.


Celebrating Birthdays for Hospitalized Kids

** Our first of OGTV's "GOOD STORIES" for the week is about a couple of friends who are making sure that a hospitalized child's birthday gets all the bells and whistles they deserve! **

Kids rarely get to celebrate when they are in the hospital and having a birthday there is not the ideal situation. After seeing her godson spend some time in the hospital, surrounded by kids who were having their birthdays without the laughter and joy that comes with their special day, Stefanie Grimm had an idea. Even if you are hospitalized, there is no reason that you shouldn't have a birthday party! This generous thought was the seed that grew into The Confetti Foundation.

Keep reading... Show less

Live A Better Life - Life Organized With Barbara Reich (Trailer)

Are you frustrated with the effort it takes to keep control over all the "things" in your life? Worry no more! Professional Organizer, Barbara Reich, helps her clients reduce clutter and streamline their lives for greater enjoyment. Watch Barbara and our other "how to" gurus share their tips on cooking, cleaning, and organizing!

Keep reading... Show less

Everyday Heroes Deliver Delight - The Hero In You (S1:E1)

Welcome to The Hero In You – an original series from OnlyGood TV and our Playlist of The Week. It will inspire, touch your heart, and show you that you can be a Hero too! Hosted by Marysol Castro, The Hero In You highlights individuals and organizations that prove that with a little heart and soul, anything is possible. Sometimes a helping hand or a sympathetic ear are the only super powers you'll ever need.

Keep reading... Show less
Series - Beauty Redefined

From Bail Bondsman to Calendar Model - Beauty Redefined (E1)

** OGTV celebrates National Photography Day with a story about a bail bondsman / dudeoir who became a surprising calendar model sensation thanks to the creative vision of his photographer. **

Joshua Varozza is a bail bondsman by day and a male model by night, but not the typical male model. Joshua is a dudeoir (dude + boudoir) model; basically he mimics sexy poses in his underwear.

Keep reading... Show less

This Veteran Is Spreading Patriotism Through American Flag Art

** OGTV celebrates our heroes on Flag Day with this story about a business, owned and staffed by veterans, who express their patriotism, and heal, through the art they create. **

In October 2015, Brian Steorts created Flags of Valor, a veteran owned and operated business that creates wooden American flag artwork. Having all served in combat, Brian and his team (many of which were injured in combat although Brian had a non combat injury) are creating these flags with a different perspective on what it means to be American.

Keep reading... Show less

Finding The Hero In You - Trailer

The Hero In You, an OGTV original series hosted by Marysol Castro, highlights individuals and organizations that prove that with a little heart and soul, anything is possible. Watch and discover the many heroes all around us at:

Welcome to! - It's a Positivity Movement.

We at OnlyGood TV believe that positivity will change lives for the better. We strive to be the hopeful voice that recognizes people are good & out there doing good things for their communities and society at large. We tell the stories of the individuals and organizations that inspire and motivate us, and fuel the Positivity Movement.

Watch an exclusive collection of stories featuring PETS, FAMILY, WELLNESS, and COMMUNITY, including unique series and Live Specials that shine a spotlight on everyday people, making the world a better place. #theheroinyou #everydaypeople #heroes #OGTV

Visit us at:

Like us on the OnlyGood TV - Hooplaha Facebook Page:

Follow us on Instagram:

Follow us on Twitter:

Tim Tebow's Night To Shine

** OGTV is celebrating National DJ Month with this story about an aspiring young DJ who took to the dance floor to make a his first high school prom a "night to shine". **

A Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience for people with special needs ages 14 and older. Collaborating with STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way, a Night to Shine which is sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, is held at the spectacular Grace Community Church in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Keep reading... Show less

Metro The Painting Racehorse

** OGTV's final GOOD STORY of the week is about a thoroughbred racehorse who was rescued after a knee injury and has since taken up a new occupation - painting! **

Many animals are very smart. Like the dog who opens doors, or a monkey who can play chess... But one very special horse has captivated our attention for his unbelievable talent.

After retiring from being a racehorse, Metro seemed to be nearing the end of his life. Born with a knee a problem that was the cause of his career's end, he could have been put to sleep. Luckily, Ron Krajewski, an artist from Gettysburg, PA, and his wife, Wendy, adopted him.

Keep reading... Show less


* OGTV Top Videos *

Watch and Subscribe
It's a Positivity Movement
OnlyGood TV on YouTube


Get your Only Good TV Newsletter