Monday, February 23, 2009

The legacy lives on

What an incredible trip!

Thinking back on this entire experience, I am blown away by all the opportunities, experiences, and miracles that have taken place. I am positive that God's hand has been on this trip from the very beginning.
The legacy of A.J. Malone is an incredible one, and I feel so honored and blessed to have taken part in such a legacy. I speak for my class when I say that we are so grateful for the Malone's family graciousness and hospitality through this whole experience, and on last week's trip itself.
Thanks to all of our host families from the New Haven Vineyard. Your kindness has NOT gone unnoticed! Enjoy that Idaho candy!
Thank you Sara Elander for all you did for our class. Your hospitality, joy, and smiles brought warmth where there might have been stress.
Thank you Congressman Walt Minnick for your incredible donation of 300,000 air miles, and more importantly, your investment in the lives of others.
Thank you United and US Airways for working with the air miles, and for great flights to and from Connecticut. :D
Finally, thank you Mr. Mansfield for EVERYTHING. You've shown this class that given enough prayer, sweat, and blood anything is possible. We have learned so much, and it wouldn't have been possible without you.
I'm sure there are others who deserve thanking, and indeed my class does thank everyone who contributed in any way to this trip!

Below you will find all the video pieces that were done about this journey. Thanks to NBC 7 (Idaho) NBC 30 (Connecticut) CBS 2 (Idaho) and Connecticut Channel 8.

On behalf of the VCHSC Junior Class

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Landed safely in chicago. Bad weather, doesnt look bad enough for delay tho. Check
Oh, btw our plane leaves today at about 5 today. Just to keep ya in the loop :)

West Point, etc.

Went to bed at about 3am last night. Great day yesterday!

This morning we split into three groups. Kevin and Brian Egizi along with myself and my dad went to visit USMA at West Poin, the college Brian and I would like to attend. Another group went into New Haven to check out Yale, while a third group decided it would be in their best interest/health to sleep in.
West Point was awesome; hopefully I'll be able to get some pics on later.

More updates to come on


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Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday In Its Entirety

Wow! What an amazing day! And so jam packed!
The day started with quick showers all around, then off to Middletown. Our good friend, Sara Elander tagged along all through today as well. Once in Middletown, we ate at the Athenian II diner for some fantastic breakfast. Letting my food digest, I plugged in the coordinates to our much awaited and planned for destination: the house of AJ Malone.

The anticipation hung in the air like a thick fog; everyone knew the importance of today.
As we pulled up to the Malone house (easily identified by the 15 cars parked out front) I immeadiatly noticed the local Nbc affiliate, channel 30 truck parked out front; to top it off, a cameraman got footage of us rolling up.

The proceedings went amazing, better then planned. Mrs. Malone was so very kind and gracious, and her family was extraordinary! Our class brought various gifts... Gold, frankensens, and myrh... Ok just kidding! Mr. Mansfield,my dad, had portraits made of the helmet that we presented to the Malone family. Also, our class presented Bibles which each of us had signed. Finally, the time had come.
With much enthusiasm, Mr. Mansfield reached into the bag behind him, and brought forth the item of most interest: AJ Malone's helmet. The cameras flashed, the film whirled, and the faces grinned. Speaking on behalf of my class, the moment was everything we could have hoped for and more. Mr. Mansfield handed the helmet to Mrs. Malone, and with a few more words the procession was over. We stayed at the house for about another hour and a half in community with the family and friends of the Malone's, as well as doing a few press interviews.
After the main event, our class was given the honor of visiting Mr. Malone's grave site with his daughter, Lorraine Decker. Truly a touching experience. My dad said a few words, and Austin prayed.

Then, it was off to New York!
Realize that originally, we hadn't planned on going to NY. It wasn't until Boston, yesterday, that Shalom suggested it. Great idea!

Anyways, we started our NY tour by hitting up the ferry. Once on there, we were able to take pics of the Statue of Liberty. Very fun!
From the ferry we went to ground zero (pic on below post) then we were off to Grand Central Station (pic below as well). After eating at GCS, we headed back to our cars, did a quick drive by of time square, then started the 2 hour process of getting home.

Now, as I sit here blogging from my dads iPhone, I look back on today with skepticism. Is it really possible we did all this in one day? The answer is yes, and my tired feet remind me of that fact.

Who knows what tomorrow holds before we head home at 5ish!


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Grand Central Station

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Ground Zero

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From The Grave Of AJ Malone

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Mrs. Malone With Helmet. Specs. Later

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At the malones house right now. Amazing experience. Check For pics

NBC Spot

Pictures- we're at a diner right now might as well use the time wisely

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Our Dinner Today. :)

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Workin On Our East Coast Accents

'ey! 'ow you doin? All us been workin on our east coast asents today. Ey! You listenin'? I'm talkin' here!

Boston's been amazing today! We're on our two hour drive home now, and still sopping wet from walking around in the rain. Looking forward to warm clothes back home :)


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We Should Be A Band

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Atlantic Ocean!

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Plymouth Rock!

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Interview For Later Piece

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NBC Morning Show

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Headed To Boston

Finished with NBC gig. Will embed morning show piece later tonight. Other story pieces set to air tonight and tomorrow- I'll keep ya updated there too. In the meantime check out for up-to-date updates :)

Colin and the team

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On The Way To Nbc Ct

Just finished up eating at Duncan donuts. Didn't know what a mocha was LOL. Ppl on west coast are far more specific with coffee for sure. Headed to NBC affiliate channel 30 in west Hartford. Interviewing drewbie :D.
Check for updates.
Check for pics.


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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Traveling Recap

As this first day of our trip comes to a close, I thought a recap of our traveling experiences would be in order. First off: today was Brian, Drew, and Hannah's first flight! They did an exceptional job (no puking!)

Our day started by everyone meeting at the Boise airport at 5:15am. Half asleep, zombies walking in the world of the living, we boarded our first plain headed to Chicago. Inside the plane, I was given the opportunity to announce our trip over the intercom to let the other passangers know what we were up to. Very cool experience.
Once in Chicago, we had an hour to eat lunch, and get ready for the the final leg of our trip.
Interesting fun fact: we had a nice dose of culture shock at the McDonalds in Chicago. To put it simply: the employees were straight up rude! They hardly listened to our order, were slow, and disrespectful (as far as employee-customer respect goes.) It was interesting because it took us completely off guard- and partially prepped us for the "east coast attitude."
After lunch, we boarded our second and last plain headed for Hartford, CT. This flight went fine- nothing much to report. When we landed in Hartford, we had a few things to get worked out. Firstly, the wheel to Hannah's wheelchair had been bent during travel. Luckily, Mr. Egizi (Brian's dad) is amazing and was able to completely fix it! From the airport in Hartford we rented a couple 7-seater vans, and were off to our next part of the adventure.

Our contact in Connecticut is Sara Elander, a former Vineyard Boise VCOM student. Before the trip we coordinated with her some of the specifics about our trip, chief of which was room and board. She was able to find a couple host families from the New Haven Vineyard to put our group up for the nights we would be staying in Connecticut. Jesus has really showed his provision in every aspect of this trip!

After getting a delicious and authentic Connecticut east-coast pizza dinner, we went to our appropriate host houses. The family I'm staying with, the Shaws, are amazing! They are cool with pretty much everything, and have an amazing boxer named Scout!
That about does it for today! Tomorrow will be spent with the Connecticut NBC affiliate in the morning, followed by a day trip to Boston, MA! Please continue to follow the trip via this blog, as well as

Thanks for all your support!
Colin + the guys

Driving in CT

Sorry for the lack of bloggage from chicago. Wi fi should be free. More to come on a bit

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On plane #1. Will be putting some pics on when we land in chicago. :) Will be keeping ya updated

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

High Schoolers, a helmet, and a U.S. Army Medic

Welcome to the blog.

In 1971, Dennis Mansfield was given a Christmas present: an old WWII helmet. At the time, it was a sort of "inside joke" or "gag gift" from his dad, William Mansfield. Little did he know that this one simple "joke" would go on to move people's hearts, and create a trip that a group of High Schoolers would remember for ever.

"A.J. Malone, Co 'H' 16th med. Reg't, Ford Devens, Mass."
When I read this line for the first time, my heart skipped a beat.

My name is Colin Mansfield, and I am one of the 14 students involved in the helmet project. My dad teaches 20th Century World History at the school I attend, VCHSC. When he brought the helmet into our class, I thought it would simply be a kind of 'show and tell.' It was, of a sort, because this helmet went on to show me much.
As it turns out my dad had a different idea about the helmet. It was ludicrous, insane, impossible! The thought of our class being challenged to find the man whose name was written inside the helmet was simply unfeasible. A needle in a haystack came to my mind instantly. And yet, the idea compelled me. It compelled our class, I could tell from the energy in the room. And yet hesitancy prevailed. How on earth could we hope to find this "A.J. Malone"? But, partly because of curiosity, and partly because our grades depended on it, my 11th grade class embarked on this journey of a lifetime.

We spent about three to four weeks researching. Firstly, you should know that my school is different from most other schools. It has a unique title: "homeschool co-op." Basically, everyone goes to school on Tuesday and Thursday, and is homeschooled on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Kind of a cool system, if I do say so myself.
In any case, this format allowed for prolonged research at home. Mary Zimmerman was the first to finally make a breakthrough: she found A.J.'s army record through Google! Using the information found here as a springboard, we were able to delve further into Anthony's (for that is his name) past; find out about the man, the mission, and the mandate.

And so our research took off! Opportunities began to open up, and things happened right before our eyes! Jared Mercer and myself were able to locate the late A.J. Malone's family (he passed in 2000) and began making plans for the exchange of the helmet. At first we thought it would be nice if the family were to fly to Boise, but due to logistics decided it would be best if we were to travel there. At about this time the press began doing pieces on our story: first the Idaho Statesman, then Idaho News Channel 7. Suddenly our small semester helmet project was known by hundreds of people around our state.
From here, things were like a whirlwind. We continued our communication with the Malone family, and continued planning. The economy how it is, our class decided the best course of action to take this trip would be to seek donations from people willing to help. Ironically enough, Congressman Walt Minnick took it upond himself, after seeing our news pieces, to donate 300,000 frequent flyer miles to our cause, paying for nearly all of the tickets needed to travel the Malone's home state of Connecticut. From this, our story went national, being picked up by the Associated Press.
And so, here we are. It is now the night before the departure, and I can feel the tension building. Not in a bad way, mind you, but in a suspensful way. All the work our class has put in to the last 3 months is about to be put to the final test. All our planning, hoping, and praying is about to be taste tested, and the proof will be in the pudding.

Please join us on this blog for the next four days. My class will be posting pictures, tweets, text, and videos of our experiences while in Middletown, CT and the surrounding area. Thanks to everyone who has given their support, and God bless.

Colin Mansfield