From Kevin & Joyce Lucey, in memory of Jeffrey Lucey
To Charley and Nancy, who in 2004 gave us the courage and strength to speak out against the war and to advocate for veterans’ health care reform. You walked with us and made us smile in spite of our loss. We hold you both in our hearts now and forever.
Kevin and Joyce Lucey are the proud parents of Cpl. Jeffrey Michael Lucey, who served in Iraq during the invasion and later took his life as a result of PTSD.
From J. Stephen Cleghorn:
A Google search for Military Families Speak Out runs at least 69 pages with story after story of the difference you have made, Charley. It is a difference that makes peace for so many in profound ways…that will play out long after we are all gone, on the national stage, in private living rooms, and dare I say, in loving eulogies for so many MFSO members whose lives became dedicated to peace…inspired by you. Put simply, Charley, you have made history, albeit history that the powers that be do not presently wish to acknowledge. (Click to read more.)
From Steve and Michelle DeFord (son David W. Johnson KIA in Bagdad, Iraq on 9/25/04)
During the long ten days between the time our son was killed and the day his body came home from Dover, we somehow found Charley and Nancy. Their compassion, kindness, and steadfast courage helped us to find our voice to speak out about these senseless criminal wars. I will never ever forget their hugs, their warmth and kindness to two grieving parents in Oregon that were so lost in a sea of rage and despair. We are so proud to know you and be a part of MFSO.
From Amy Quinn:
Charley and Nancy’s commitment to creating a more peaceful and beautiful world was a major inspiration to my own work for peace and justice. The voices of military families that Charley and Nancy help to amplify are an inspiration. I wish you strength, hope, and eternal peace, Charley! Thank you for the important legacy of MFSO.
From Sarah Fuhro, whose son served with the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan:
Nancy and Charley have stood next to me in these terrible years of my son’s deployment first to Iraq and then to Afghanistan. They taught me how to use my anger and terror to speak out against wars I knew from the first day were wrong, tragic and endless. They provided an organization, a community for those of us who have felt so isolated during these long eight years. They have heard all our stories and hugged our aching hearts, and helped us to share our experience and insight with those who have watched these wars from the sidelines.
From Jim and Holly Clemans:
Dear Charley – We send you our tribute with hearts full of love and hope. You and Nancy have given so much of yourselves to help end these wars and to help others in so many ways, and we are ever thankful. You truly have made a difference in the world, and in homes all across the country. We want to help support the vital MFSO work as it goes forward. Please know that you are the most wonderful husband and soulmate for my sister, and THE most FUN uncle on the planet! With all our love, Holly and Jim…
From Celeste Zappala:
We offer a tribute to Charley and Nancy. We met them in the darkest hour, when my son had been deployed and was then killed in Iraq. They gave us all encouragement, support, and stood with us as we stood against the war. My family has been blessed by their spirits, we have learned from their organizing skill, and I do believe that they have lovingly bent the World in a direction of nonviolence. Teachers and friends both, I send love and acknowledge their heroic lives and struggles- I am so proud to call them my friends!
From Lisa Leitz, wife of a US Naval aviator currently serving in the war in Afghanistan:
It is only due to the hard work, dedication and organizing skills of Charley and Nancy that MFSO has grown to become the largest organization of military families to oppose ongoing wars in the history of the United States. Personally, Charley and Nancy have also sustained me and many other members while our loved ones are at war. I urge everyone out there to join me in this tribute to Charley. We owe it to Charley to see that MFSO endures to bring our troops home and take care of them when they get here.
From Kara Hollingsworth, wife of a soldier who served two tours of duty in Iraq:
MFSO gives me a voice for my opposition to the war in Iraq, while remaining proud of my families’ tradition of military service. It is the one place where I do not have to choose any side except for the truth.
From Larry and Judy Syverson, parents of four sons who served in the military:
When our two Army sons were sent to Iraq in 2003, we were disheartened. We were proud of our sons, but we were against the war. We felt isolated and torn. Searching the Internet, we found MFSO. Suddenly, we weren’t alone. MFSO allowed us to show we could be a patriotic military family AND be against the war. More importantly, MFSO gave us a forum to speak out against the war. MFSO has helped us survive five tours to Iraq and a current Afghanistan tour. (Click to read more.)
When Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) began in November, 2002, co-founders Charley Richardson and Nancy Lessin’s son was being deployed to Iraq. They shared with other military families a deep fear and worry about those who would be in harm’s way for no good reason. They also share your deep commitment to bringing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to an end.
With their leadership, vision and hard work, combined with the support and involvement of a growing number of military families, MFSO grew to a powerful organization of more than 4,000 members, speaking out to end the wars in Iraq and now Afghanistan. It is the largest organization of military families speaking out against wars in the history of the country. MFSO helped to change the definition of what it meant to "support the troops," as MFSO’s mantra "Support Our Troops – Bring Them Home NOW!" caught on across the country.
MFSO co-founders Charley Richardson and Nancy Lessin now face a very personal struggle. Charley has been battling an advanced, aggressive cancer and the prognosis is poor.
After working tirelessly to amplify the voices of military families in the larger movement to end the wars, this tragic personal situation is curtailing their continued leadership in the organization. Their need to pull back, combined with the economic recession, has put Military Families Speak Out in financial jeopardy.
In Charley's honor, MFSO is establishing the Charley Richardson Legacy Fund. And we need your help to make it a success. We have a donor who has committed to matching contributions dollar for dollar, up to $15,000.
This Fund will celebrate the work that he and Nancy have contributed to MFSO and will provide the core support for MFSO to continue building a movement to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The voice of military families opposing these wars makes a difference. Support Military Families Speak Out and build a legacy to honor Charley.