December Newsletter 2016


Dear Americans,

It has been two and half years since the dedication of the SS American Memorial building and only 7 months since the advent of the SS American Memorial Foundation 501c non-profit status.  I find it amazing in the love that is shown out here on a continuous basis for love of God, Family, and Country.  The thousands of Americans that have participated with volunteerism and warriors in therapy, coming together as one to help each other is truly remarkable.

Unfortunately this unique location also illustrates the needs of our service men and women returning from our nations longest war.  It offers a open window into the daily struggles that our nations finest have when they return to an environment that is truly foreign to them with the transition from warrior to civilian.

As we enter in to this special season that celebrates our savior’s birth, let each of us take a moment to remember the sacrifices of our military men and women and how difficult it must be for them to be separated from their families and loved ones.

The SS American Memorial Foundation strives to provide a safe space as our warriors return and heal. Each of you is a cog in the wheel of life and working together we can continue this ongoing battle in helping our warriors.  In 2016 your generous donations provided Christmas money to a single parent active duty mother, building materials for veteran hurricane victims, rent payments, gas, insurance, food, and on-premises lodging for wounded warriors, and grounds maintenance with 100% of proceeds going to the cause.

I ask nothing more than to share our message so that it may reach as many Americans as possible.

In God’s Grace,

Craig G Russell


Building a TEAM ……

We go into 2017 with many transitions for the facilities and grounds. To help manage this growth a volunteer team has developed that will bring a new dimension to the SS American Memorial. The TEAM gathered for a Christmas dinner evening that included members of our board of directors, Wounded Warriors, civilians, and veterans from all branches of service.
I want to personally thank them all for offering their continued volunteer time to the mission at hand – there is no way we could continue what we do if not for them!

God bless you all for your dedication and commitment.

Paving the way for the future….. Eric Zielinski (USMC) Program Director VA Fisher House San Antonio and Craig Russell Founder SS American Memorial Foundation join forces.

2017 will bring in a new year and a new meaning for the Lazy U Ranch with the Russell family permanently moving off premises, donating full use of the ranch lodge to  be used as an R&R overnight stay retreat facilities for Fisher House families.

The lodge will also be used for future PTSD overnight stay therapy retreats that will be coming online in 2017.

SS American Memorial sponsored travel arrangements with volunteers participating in the annual Christmas Party event for the Alamo Honor Flight group in San Antonio, TX.  This group of WWII veterans is one of the nation’s largest gatherings left of our GREATEST GENERATION.
What an honor to be amongst them,

Craig G Russell

SS American Memorial Foundation helped sponsor Commander Dina Dillon and the Guadalupe County Young Marines on the trip to Pearl Harbor.  They participated in the Pearl Harbor day parade, visited the Arizona Memorial and Submarine Museum.  A big thank you to my shipmate retired Master Chief Steve “Soupy” Campbell for lining up a once in a life time tour for these Young Marines on the USS Columbia SSN 771 Nuclear Fast Attack submarine.  It has been a privilege watching these young men grow up as they participated as the Color Guard in our 4th July Memorial services over the past years.


Nancy, Savanna, and I close out the year-end with a special thank you to all of you who have inspired our lives, ending the year hosting our largest military event this month with over 350 Reserve Army and families of the 302 Eng Bn Family Readiness Group from Camp Bullis.

Merry Christmas to all of you and a safe holidays.

The Russell’s

Throughout history there have been many men who have been fashioned into gods.  Caesars, Chinese Emperors, Buddha, to name a few.  Hirohito even began his reign on December 25!  One could add to this list of notables the likes of Hitler, Osama Bin Laden or even Jim Jones, or the many others who have attempted to fill the role of gods with respect to their followers.  We know too well how these stories end.  Too often these days it is our brave young men and women who end up making the sacrifices necessary to rid the world of these would be gods.

Christmas is important because it reminds us that there is only one God who has actually become human.  God himself was born in poverty in order to prove something.  His birth is evidence that we don’t need all the self-importance that humanity heaps on its leaders.  Instead of ruling over us like another megalomaniac, he came to show us what love is.  He was born to bring us forgiveness and give us hope.  His birth was God’s gift of grace to all of us.

John 1:14   And  the Word  became flesh and  dwelt among us,  and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of  grace and  truth.

Rev. Tom Masterson
Pastor, Hope Church San Antonio
Chaplain, SS American Memorial

Scroll to Top