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Gerardo Mena

Guest Book

Felicia Garland said on Aug 28, 2013 5:28 PM

Just read your recent blog in the NYTimes. It made my day and I am no where near fighting in a war. And thank you for you service.

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J.K.Torrisi said on Aug 25, 2013 4:17 AM

Something everyone should know about Tony, he is the nicest, most humble and unassuming character that will find a way to put a smile on your face and warmth in your heart! I was ever so fortunate to have worked with Tony many moons ago and forever will call him Recon Brother. Thank you for imparting wisdom and kindness beyond your years in me, Tony. Semper Fortis / Semper Fidelis, Jeremy PS I'll never be dumb enough to get on the mat with you again!

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Claudia Guthrie said on Aug 24, 2013 10:29 PM

Hello! I'm Claudia Guthrie and I'm a writer for The Maneater, the student-run newspaper of the University of Missouri. I'd love to do an article about you- your experiences in the military, your recent essay in the New York Times, etc. The deadline is Tuesday, so if you could get back to me at [email protected] sometime this weekend so we can set up an interview time that would be much appreciated. Thank you!

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Rika Kaestle said on Aug 24, 2013 4:24 PM

I just read your piece in the NYTs about being thanked for your military service and treated to Starbucks coffee by a young Starbucks employee after she noticed your Iraqi Freedom Vet hat. In your piece you mention your negative experiences with young liberal students in college towns who are so quick to criticize/protest, in particular American military actions and their veterans, and you refer specifically to a student in an anthropology course you were forced to take. As a liberal anthropology professor, I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate the service and sacrifices made by veterans like yourself and those currently serving in our military, as well as their families and friends. Without your service, I would not have the freedom to be a liberal anthropology professor, and I am deeply grateful. I also take every opportunity to say exactly that in my classrooms, for example heading in to Memorial and Veterans Days. I also want to thank you for your service as a high school teacher, another very important job that has too little pay and not enough respect. I just wanted you to know that you and your fellow veterans and active service members are heroes to this liberal college professor.

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Phyllis Finkelstein said on Aug 22, 2013 7:50 PM

I just finished your Starbucks article. Much reminded me of my husband's thoughts and feelings when he returned from Viet Nam. One day he was wearing his Viet Nam Vet hat with his 98th Medical Detachment patch. He was spotted by a former Screaming Eagle at a local electronics store. When the guy spotted his hat, he emotionally thanked him. My husband responded with his heartfelt for the guy's service. There are not enough thank you's shared with the brave men and women who give up so much that we can live as we do. We thank you.

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Jim Ritchie said on Aug 21, 2013 11:54 PM

Re:Starbucks Latte My first "Thank you" came thirty years after my war, while prepping for the third surgery to repair combat injuries. The Nurse Practitioner held my hand, and said "Thank you for all your service, I'm so sorry for ALL your wounds." And she meant it. 1st Force Recon, Viet Nam

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finn rudd said on Aug 21, 2013 8:08 PM

Re:A Much Needed Treat and a Welcome Surprise. Sir. Thanks for your service and congratulations on your new life,career,and family,and website. I retired from USDA's FAS Foreign Service where I spent 13 years overseas. I now work in a supermarket near Naval Med/Walter Reed which is now in Bethesda. Md. We often have customers on first post-rehab outings with spouse, kids, girlfriends, and / or Moms.. Some of these guys are displaying 1-4 prosthetic devices, depending on how many limbs they've given up for our nation. By the time they get to my register I am always in tears over how their courage and vigor of youth has been stolen from them in an instant far from home. I always express my choked thanks and struggle to recover. Thank you all. Finn Rudd

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Laura Wilcox said on Aug 21, 2013 7:42 PM

Read your piece in the NY Times today - don't typically respond to articles but your story touched deeply. Nice to read about the power of everyday kindnesses that stop us in the middle of our hectic lives and cause us to reflect on bigger issues... Thank you for your service to our country in both the military and in education. Will have to take time later to read your poetry!

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Claudia Errington said on Jul 29, 2013 10:46 PM

I love your work Tony and this page is lovely. Talent galore. And such a sweet and kind person. Feel proud to know you.

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Derek Bishop said on Sep 10, 2012 0:40 AM

I enjoy your work and have heard about you through other veterans that go to MU. I was wondering if you would be interested in attending our Marine Corps ball put on by the MU NROTC which includes Midshipmen both Navy and Marine option as well as active duty. I would be honored as would everyone there. Please contact me if you are interested. I could not find any other way to contact you.

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J.R. Solonche said on Jul 20, 2012 2:57 AM

s a Professor Emeritus of English -- and a widely published poet -- I know what I'm talking about. The poem is just as powerful, intelligent and beautifully crafted as any by Wilfred Owen (World War I) or James Dickey (World War II).

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------rebeka lee *struckbell* said on Jun 22, 2012 10:19 AM

I just came across your Iraq poem on YouTube-I look forward to reading more of your work...I was moved and wanted to thank you for sharing your experience. I am so happy for you and proud of you for choosing such a positive and healing path. Blessings:)

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Calliope said on Apr 30, 2012 7:11 AM

I'm thankful that there are still people like you in the world that are capable of creating so much beauty from so much darkness.

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Da'Shawn Mosley said on Mar 26, 2012 11:38 AM

Just read "So I Was a Coffin." There's no doubt in my mind, that was the best poem I encountered in Best New Poets 2011. Thank you for serving our country, and thank you for being brave enough to speak about those moments in poetry, a medium that requires its participants to often relive the darkest moments of their lives or risk sounding false on the page. Once again, thank you. This kid is definitely a fan.

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Chaplain (COL) Larry Harrelson, Army National Guard, Ret. said on Mar 14, 2012 3:46 AM

I learned of you in the Spring issue of Mizzou. (Earned an MA @ MU, 1970 - following 3 yrs. enlisted service, Army.) Thank you for your service and for verbalizing so creatively the myriad emotions and challenges of combat, loss, and life then and now. May God bless you and yours and bring healing in all ways. May your writing and music be agents of catharsis and healing for many combat veterans and the people who love them.

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Kathleen Sullivan said on Nov 2, 2011 0:06 AM

Hey there- My name's Kathleen Sullivan - I'm a drama teacher from Toronto (Canada). I think your poem is incredibly beautiful (and potently real) and would like to use it as a part of a collective performance that I'm doing with grade 11 students. The perforamnce is about the soldier as an individual and what some of their ongoing experiences may be (guilt, difficulty integrating with civilians once again, etc). The show will include poetry, scenes written by the kids, media, mask work and movement/dance pieces. I don't know if this is the best avenue through which to contact you, but I respect you as an artist and thought you should know that we (my class and I) respect your work and therefore will ask your permission before using it. Yours in poetry, Kathleen Sullivan

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Daniel Hartman said on Aug 28, 2011 2:07 AM

Pleasure meeting you and your wife today at the BBQ... power stuff here. Keep up the good work.

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Combat Poetry said on Jul 12, 2011 7:59 PM

Your writing is moving and amazing. Thank you for your sacrifices and service! God Bless.

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Ashley Carroll said on Jun 28, 2011 8:05 AM

We watched your poetry videos in my honors english class in Branson. My teacher met you and was inspired by your works, as a class assignment we wrote war poetry. I was so inspired by your stories of the war and i wrote a poem called "Amor Venme a Buscar" meaning "Tell That To My Heart". I wish that you could read it. You are the voice to all of those that cannot speak of their experience in the war. You are a blessing. Thank you for your service.

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Michael Weber said on Jun 19, 2011 4:57 AM

Dear Toni, I was a sergeant in the 5.PzGren.Btl. 561 Munich / Germany, 1985 -88. There I was an Instructor. Respect and admiration for your commitment and your songs. Every soldier deserves consideration. And must not be forgotten. Sorry for my English. I learn something new every day. Best Regards from Germany. Michael

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LCDR John M. Richardson, Jr., USNR(ret.) said on May 26, 2011 7:33 PM

Mega Bravo Zulu, to you, my friend. I honor your selfless service. Like you, Ienlisted in '62 after flunking out of college.

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LCDR John M. Richardson, Jr., USNR(ret.) said on May 26, 2011 6:51 PM

Mega "Bravo Zulu" to you, my friend. By God's grace, I was never in harm's way, except a few times when I was a duty driver for an admiral on the DC Beltway!!! I strongly endorse Tom Rash's comments, above. After being released from active duty after 4+ years, I affiliated with the Reserves and ultimately got a direct appointment ommission as an Intel Officer. Because I lived near D.C., I was able to join an intel unit that provided direct support to the CNO in intel analysis. So I continued to serve in a meaningful way (I was a weekend watchstander in the CNO's Navy Intel Plot). I was voluntarily recalled a few times during a crisis. At the same time, I worked for the Navy as a civilian. I finally retired in '83, and now get a USN pension which started when I turned 60. GO NAVY!!!

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Cora Frazier said on May 26, 2011 5:09 PM

You are an inspiration to many and I as a Proud Navy Mom want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your Service to Our Great Country..Please join many Navy Families on www.navydads.com. It is a great website started by a Navy Dad back in 2008 and has grown since to over 3000 members which include myself, other Navy Moms, Dads, Veterans ..Please join and share your story and make even more new lasting Friendships..It is Free so no charge to join.So glad i was directed to your site through togetherweserved..have a blessed life!

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roger good said on May 26, 2011 3:15 AM

Gerardo -- I was moved by your story on "we served". I was in the Navy in 1954-58. I served on the USS Los Angeles and the Naval Hospital San Diego. I mustered out as an HM3. i am now 75 yrs. old and look back on my navy time with pride. Thank you for your service! Thank you for continuing to serve! Roger

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Martin K Keene, SCPO, U.S. Navy (RET) said on May 25, 2011 11:45 PM

BRAVO ZULU Shipmate! I wish you fair winds and following seas.

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Ted Beauchamp said on May 25, 2011 10:21 PM

Came to your site thru "togetherweserved.com". I am a Vietnam vet and a Senior Ride Captain with the Patriot Guard Riders and was honored to be at Gary Johnston's funeral. Thank you for your service and I hope you find peace in the way you helped your fellow heroes. God Bless.

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Armando Castaneda CWO4 USN Ret. said on May 25, 2011 9:26 PM

Gerardo, BZ, don't stop now. Saludos

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Dan Jacobs, MU2, Vietnam 1064 said on May 25, 2011 11:59 AM

My experiences were not as dramatic as yours, and my poetry is not as good as yours, but I share your dedication to competence in all that you do. I commend you for this!

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Stan Skonieczki MD said on May 25, 2011 1:43 AM

Tony baby, found your site thru Togetherweserved. Seems like you have seen and done some shit. Thank you for your service and for taking such good care of your fellow sailors and marines. Many moons ago I was also a corpsman, '79-'83, last 2 years with 2nd Med Bn. Got a BA in chemistry and off to med school. Did the Naval Reserve thing as got out as a LCDR. I have been a practicing emergeny physician for 16 years now, I use things I learned in the Navy everyday. Sounds like you are now off on your civilian career, and we need good teachers, but have you thought about a career in medicine. Was a big jump for me as I never planned on going to college, but now I realize it was the right thing to do. I hate to see you waste all your medical training. Good luck on your career and if you ever want to talk about pursuing the MD thing let me know. SEMPER FI. Doc Ski.

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CPO LB Johnson (Ret) said on May 24, 2011 2:17 AM

You make America Proud! Gods Speed my fellow shipmate.

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Halley said on May 24, 2011 2:11 AM

What a wonderful site to stumble into. :)

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Steven Cummings said on May 23, 2011 10:16 PM

Thank you Tony for your service to our country and our fellow members in uniform...from a Nam Era Corpsman...

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Tom Rash - USNR (Ret) said on May 15, 2011 9:30 AM

Thanks for your service! Trust you, your MU colleagues, et al, will discover the Navy Reserve... www.navyreserve.com ... also, www.navyreserveintelligence.com Research the Direct Commission Program and stay 'till you reach 60!

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James E. Clark Jr. said on May 13, 2011 3:24 AM

Tony, thank you for your service to our great country. Few people understand what you and your fellow Marines/Sailors do and have done for our country. Your story is one I will share with my children who have both served in Iraq (2006-2007) with the USA. I'm proud to say I'm a retired Navy Chief and I have gotten to know your story via togetherweserved. Good luck in your endeavors.

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tom dimitry said on May 4, 2011 6:13 PM

Semper Fi. ou are an outstanding individual and I know you will be a role model for your students. former VN Combat Corpsman 3/7 1 MarDiv

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Rachel Lee said on Apr 15, 2011 9:46 AM

Hello Tony, God Bless you and all the Heroes... Words are difficult, but I want to say "Thank You". In Memory of Our Son Cpl Dustin Lee www.remembercpldustinlee.blogspot.com

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Bambi Lawson said on Apr 15, 2011 0:55 AM

Thank you Tony for sharing your story with us. Thank you also for your service to our country. My son is US Marine and he is currently deployed in Afghanistan, but with the grace of God he should be home in just a couple of more months. I look forward to sharing your story with my son. Thank you again for your bravery. God Bless you, Bambi

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Nina Lipe said on Mar 19, 2011 7:28 PM

Hi Tony, Remember me? I am your Aunt Linda's sister in Tulsa. Linda sent me your webpage and I am so impressed, touched and excited to hear and read more. All my best to you, Nina

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Aunt Linda said on Mar 19, 2011 8:02 AM

Tony, I am so proud of how you have taken such a positive spin on what could have been a continuing black cloud over you. Good for you. Your songs and poetry are sometime hard for me to read or hear, but they cut to the bone. They are great.

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sandy said on Jan 27, 2011 4:47 AM

I ended up on your page as a link from my so9n's, Zach Burgart. I love your music. All the best as your career proceeds!!

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Nubbin said on Jan 21, 2011 3:00 AM

Awesome website, Tony. Keep up the good work

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Randy Orr said on Dec 30, 2010 3:03 AM

Hey Tone! I miss you cousin. Great website - keep on working towards your goals. How do you like my artistic spelling of your name??????? Maybe I should stick to accounting.

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Linda Dahm said on Dec 20, 2010 9:27 PM

Tony, I am truly moved by depth of your inspiring poetry and music. Thank you for having the courage to share your inner-most thoughts, fears and rage. You have touched my heart and helped me keep my priorities in order. Warmest wishes to you and family for a blessed holiday season. I salute you.

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Cheryl & Cameron Graham said on Dec 9, 2010 4:16 AM

The website is great, very easy to navigate! I'm glad your getting your words out there, and congratulations on the award.

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Grant P. Wideman said on Dec 9, 2010 2:34 AM

Tony's the only man that has ever moved me to tears with his music and poetry. I feel luck just to know him and honored to be called his friend.

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TJ Edwards said on Dec 5, 2010 0:48 AM

I am Staff Sergeant TJ Edwards and I was one of the Marines that Tony saved on our deployment after I was burned on 45% of my body from a roadside bomb on December 9th of 2006 in Iraq. I would be six feet in the ground right now if Tony hadn't used his medical training to save me. Not only am I thankful but I am also proud and honored to call Tony as one of my friends since that tragic day. Once upon a time I thought that men who wrote out their feelings on a piece of paper in the form of poetry were weak. However, I was a fool because after experiencing what I did at the burn ward and living each day with the survivors guilt like Tony has. I came to the conclusion that being brave enough to put your thoughts and feelings on paper and giving the world an opportunity to poke and make fun at your paper isn't weak. In fact, it takes a strong person to subject themselves to that potential scrutiny. The best part about Tony sharing his experience with all of us, is that many returning combat Veterans coming back from this war, think that they're the only one going through negative emotions and they feel like they're the black sheep. Well Tony probably saved a life or two after a service member read his poetry and said to themselves "Hey, I am not the only one who is thinking like this, maybe what I am going through is normal". And so those individuals are more prone to asking for help where as before they wouldn't of. I will end this extended comment on that note. Tony saved my life so I am entitled to let the world know he isn't your typical poet nor man.

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Gabriel Bedingfield said on Dec 3, 2010 6:15 AM

Looks good man!

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Jane said on Dec 3, 2010 5:09 AM

Hi Tony, I'm completely objective - even if we are related! :) Well done!

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Lyndsey Nelson said on Dec 3, 2010 3:56 AM

Great website Tony!

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Lee Henson said on Dec 2, 2010 10:19 PM

Excellent site! Thanks for sharing.

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