They’re Still There

While many of us celebrated our freedoms this past Fourth of July, our troops were busy defending the very freedoms we often take for granted! It was a blessing and honor to spend this past fourth of July weekend with one of my dearest friends and fellow church members, Donna D packing various treats and goodies as well as my first special request for Tajin to send to our deployed troops. Tajin is a Hispanic spice with the perfect blend of salty, spicy, and tangy flavors. “It makes the food tastes better,” stated my new friend and contact, Veronica.

I stand amazed at the fingerprints of God with every new request, but this request pulled on my heartstrings and touched my heart in ways I never expected. Without a doubt the reason this Army wife and mother of three reached out to the Military Ministry, wasn’t just about sending Packages of Hope to our deployed troops, it was evident God used this particular deployment to orchestrate a special relationship between this family, these troops, and our church to stand in the gap and pray expectantly for a miracle.

Thank you to everyone who donated to this project and thank you to everyone who has and are continuing to  pray for this family and these troops.

Just a portion of the outpouring love that went into this project.

As we continue to go about our daily lives, let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people (Galatians 6:9-10) and let us not become so preoccupied with our own problems that we forget we live among giants, our brave warriors fighting for our freedoms. They’re still there.

May we always strive to be kind, extend grace, patience, and mercy to all those we meet because everyone we meet is fighting a battle we know nothing about.

With heartfelt gratitude for your continued support of this ministry and standing in the gap to pray for this family and our troops,

Lisa Marie Barrett, Director

A Special thank you to Sunshine Elementary for the colored heart artwork
Some like it hot

From Christmas Cheer to Springtime Goodies

Sunshine Elementary School’s love and support for our military reaches deployed troops across the globe; from undisclosed locations in Asia and the Middle East to Germany.

It is quite evident that the students, staff, and Bostic community love our troops! Over the past couple of years, they have made it a priority during Veteran’s Week (Week of Veteran’s Day) to take up donations for our deployed troops. Their love and support afforded us the opportunity to send dozens of care packages: Packages of Hope, to our deployed troops.

This past Christmas we were able to send over 20 Packages of Hope followed by over a dozen recent springtime packages. In fact, the drive was so great, we still have enough non perishable items to send 5-7 additional boxes which will be sent later this spring.

These packages were filled with goodies from Christmas cheer (games, candy, artwork from the students, Carmex, cookies, nuts, protein bars, personal hygiene items, cards and letters of encouragement) to springtime goodies, Girl Scout Cookies donated by Caldwell Construction. These packages mean so much to our troops. They bring hope and remind them they are not forgotten, they are not alone.

In addition to the items collected, enough cash donations were gathered to cover the cost of shipping for five  boxes. In addition to the support from Veteran’s Week, support from our church  covered the remaining cost of shipping, supplied branch specific military bibles and some much needed hand and feet warmers for our troops deployed to Germany.

Packages of Hope is an ongoing ministry at Father’s Vineyard. You can support this ministry by giving online (be sure to say YES to designation and designate for the military ministry). All donations go directly into the military ministry fund to support our troops.

If you know anyone currently serving, whether they are deployed, stateside, or training, please let us know. It would be an honor to send them a letter of encouragement or a Package of Hope,  so please reach out to us!

Come back in May to see updates for the upcoming historic Blue Ridge Honor Flight due to take off April 29th.

A heartfelt THANK YOU to Sunshine Elementary School and to all the behind the scenes people who wish to remain anonymous that made it possible to send these Packages of Hope.

Lisa Marie Barrett, Director


Local Army Reservist, Elizabeth McArthur deployed to undisclosed location



Honoring Our Veterans – Honor Flight Oct 1, 2022

Blue Ridge Honor Flight Bus in front of the WWII Memorial 10/01/22 (contributed photo from BRHF)

After Hurricane Ian pummeled the Florida coast then headed towards the Carolinas, I couldn’t help but be concerned.  Would our flight be grounded? It didn’t look promising and my faith began to waiver slightly so I reached out to my friends and prayer warriors. I prayed! They prayed! God answered!

The Blue Ridge Honor Flight Team always has their veteran’s safety at the forefront of all they do, so their decision to fly was not taken lightly.  After carefully assessing the situation and many prayers, the team deemed Honor Flight 10/1 safe to fly.

I reached out to my veterans to let them know our flight was still a go and that I would pick them up at 1400 hours. It rained, but not as the forecast had predicted, so in spite of the fact I became so engrossed in their conversations and missed our turn, the trek to Asheville was pleasant. Although I missed our turn and ended up on the forbidden I-26,  God was merciful….. No traffic! His hand and provisions were all over this memorable journey with my veterans.

Thanks to an unexpected generous donation, I was able to put my veterans up in a hotel room the night before the flight. It was an incredible blessing because that meant we wouldn’t have to get up at 0300 hours to drive to the airport Saturday morning.

Another unexpected blessing came from one of my colleagues, affording me the opportunity to take my veterans to a dinner of their choosing. They chose Longhorn Steak House. It was delicious! I enjoyed listening to my veterans, Jimmy Johnson and Jim Huffstickler recount their stories during Vietnam. I felt privileged as I listened to them recount many stories. They quickly became like family and I felt like I had known them my entire life.

After dinner, God did something amazing; through the clouds and rain He sent a rainbow! I know that was Him saying, “I got this!” His beautiful promise, the rainbow, was affirmation this trip was going to be amazing and amazing it was!

Our promise from God. Rainbow outside Longhorn 09/30/22.

Thank you to everyone who supported me on this trip! I could not have been their Guardian without the love, support and prayers of my church family and friends! Being their Guardian was an absolute privilege and honor! I also want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who gave of their time to write each of these veterans!

As Veteran’s Day 2022 quickly approaches, please consider ways you can bring honor to those who’ve serve and who are currently serving. Be observant! Seek them out! Thank them! Buy them a meal! Pay for their groceries! Shake their hand! We owe so much to each of them for their sacrifices, their bravery, their love for country and fellow man. Our veterans are our national treasures!

Thank YOU veterans for YOUR SERVICE! If you have served in WWII, Korea, or Vietnam, please consider going on a flight with us. Blue Ridge Honor Flight wants to honor you, fly you to Washington D.C., to visit your memorials then bring you home for the long overdue WELCOME HOME you deserved!  Please contact me for more information or click here for an application. There is NO COST for you to fly. Honor Flight trips are a way we give back to you!

If you’re interested in being a Guardian, click here. If you would like to donate towards future flights,  you can give through the church. Be sure to indicate Honor Flight on the memo line of your check or click here to give online. If giving online, be sure to indicate designated gift, Honor Flight.

Vietnam Army Veterans Jimmy Johnson (left) and Jim Huffstickler in front of the Reflection Pool at the bottom of the Lincoln Memorial.
Jim Huffstickler, Director Lisa Marie Barrett and Jimmy Johnson in front of the fountain at the WWII Memorial.


Blue Ridge Honor Flight Set For October 1st, 2022

The next Blue Ridge Honor Flight has been set for Saturday, October 1st.


To transport America’s Veterans to Washington, DC [at no cost to the veteran] to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends.


It started as a dream in 2005.  Within months, HonorAir was born and became a nationally recognized model for transporting veterans to their memorials in Washington, DC.  To date, HonorAir and the National Honor Flight programs have been responsible for flying over 170,000 WWII, Korean and Vietnam veterans to our nation’s capitol to experience their memorials.  On September 24, 2016, HonorAir became Blue Ridge Honor Flight and began the next phase of its mission to bring all veterans to their own memorials in Washington DC.


Vietnam Veteran, Bob Smith, USAF; Guardian: Lisa Marie Barrett; Vietnam Veteran Tom Ruppe, US Army

  • If you are a veteran or know a veteran who would like to fly with us, please click here for an application. There is NO COST for veterans to fly.
  • If you would like to become a Guardian (adopting a veteran for a day and escorting him/her to DC, please click here for an application. The cost for a Guardian is $500. This covers the cost of your flight as well as helps provide for all the extras such as snacks, water, etc.
  • If you would like to become a volunteer, please click here.
  • If you would like more information on the Blue Ridge Honor Flight, please click here.

Blue Ridge Honor Flight is a 501(c)3 non profit governed by a dedicated, volunteer board of directors.

PTSD Awareness month

Help Raise PTSD Awareness

Currently nearly 8 million people in the United States struggle with PTSD.

*Even though PTSD treatments work, most people who have PTSD don’t get the help they need. June is PTSD Awareness Month. Help us spread the word that effective PTSD treatments are available. Everyone with PTSD—whether they are Veterans or civilian survivors of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events—needs to know that treatments really do work and can lead to a better quality of life. (*All information was directly taken from the link noted below.)

The help raise awareness click here. June 27th is National PTSD Awareness Day.

If you would for us to mail you free ribbon to wear and help raise awareness please email us before June 19th.


Blue Ridge Honor Flight May 21, 2022

It was such an incredible honor to  be part of Blue Ridge Honor Flight’s May 21st, 2022 flight to DC as an official Guardian to my veterans Tom Ruppe (US Army), AKA Top, and Bob Smith, USAF. Gabriel Garcia, Chaplain at VA in Oteen was also in our group as a Guardian. He was an incredible blessing! I could not have completed this journey with my two veterans without his willing heart, kind spirit and strength. Both of my veterans were completely mobile but to make this journey more special for them, we gave them first class treatment and pushed them in wheelchairs, gave them personal fans and held the umbrella over them to shade them from the sweltering heat.

Unfortunately, my buddy Terry Anders was called home before I could take him on the trip with us, but I made a promise to him and his family; I would take him with us once Honor Flights resumed post Covid.  On May 21st, I was able to fulfill that promise made nearly two years ago. Flights finally resumed and I brought with me some of Terry’s home going flowers that I had kept from his celebration of life ceremony July 3rd, 2020. I also  made a photo button of Terry in his Army service uniform that I proudly wore throughout the day. It was an honor to carry his memory with us.

Although Guardian training prepared the guardians for the flight, no one could  truly prepare us for the journey we took – the raw emotions; the experience itself, indescribable! The entire staff and volunteers were very professional and thought of everything, from the water cannon salutes, to the welcoming committee and especially the welcome home celebration in Asheville, to the countless snacks, water, and food throughout the day, right down to the honor ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial. The Honor Flight program is a “well oiled machine!” Nothing was left to chance.

The day was spent honoring these heroes and recognizing them for their sacrifices. 92 Vietnam Veterans, 2 WWII Veterans,  1 Korean War Veteran, 2 doctors, 3 EMTs, Honor Flight support staff and guardians all boarded the aircraft headed for BWI at 7:30 a.m., and returned to Asheville at 8:45 p.m. It was a long but most incredible day! Getting to hear the different stories, being witness to new friendships being forged, witnessing the countless displays of honor and respect not only given these veterans by the Honor Flight program, but also by complete strangers, young and old. Priceless! I spent the day choking back tears as well as letting them roll down my cheeks as I watched these brave warriors finally get the respect, honor, and long overdue “welcome home” they all deserved.

Even though the entire day was very memorable and there were countless displays of honor and respect I could share, I will say that the most humbling moment was during the changing of the guard at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. The ceremony itself has always pulled at my heart strings, but this day was different. It was more special, with an added display of respect. Since the guards cannot break ceremony and speak with our veterans, they let them know they were glad they were there and they gave them an indescribable “Thank you for your service.” You see, during the ceremony, if you knew what to listen for, you could hear the scrape of a shoe during the ceremony. A respect only given to Honor Flight veterans. As I stood over Top with an umbrella, shading him from the blazing heat, I heard the scrape; a lump welled in my throat, then tears began to fall. What an incredible moment of honor and respect.  I can’t help but wonder how deeply this was felt by our veterans.  I recorded the video and have played it over a dozen times; chokes me up every time.

For more information on Blue Ridge Honor Flight, to apply as a veteran (free of costs), or a guardian, click here.

Tom “Top” Ruppe, Lisa Marie Barrett, Gabriel Garcia, Bob Smith
Special Honor Ceremony at Lincoln Memorial for our group: 54 Army Veterans, 15 Air Force Veterans , 13 Marine Veterans, 12 Navy Veterans and 1 Red Cross Veteran
Top, Lisa Marie and Bob in front of reflection pool at the Lincoln Memorial


Selfie with Terry; getting ready to board.
Driving through Arlington (US Army veteran, Tom “Top” Ruppe
Becky Anders being embraced by one of our veterans that was on the flight. This veteran spotted Becky in the welcoming committee holding Terry’s folded flag and his photo. He embraced her with love.


God Loves a Cheerful Giver

I am so humbled  by the overwhelming response from our church, our community and our county! In the past several months snack items, toiletries, and monetary donations for postage came pouring in! So much so that we had enough to fill and send nearly 75 packages of hope to our national treasures, our troops deployed around the globe.

Some of these donations went to undisclosed locations in Europe where the American Red Cross helped to distribute  packages of hope to many Soldiers, while others went to undisclosed locations in the Middle East and Asia and some even ended up on the USS Harry S Truman!

It is such an incredible blessing to serve our military by sending these packages of hope. To everyone who gave, THANK YOU!!! This would not be possible without your giving hearts, your compassion and your love for our military.

A very special thank you to my Father’s Vineyard church family, Rutherford Pilot Club, Montford Cove Baptist Church youth group, and Green Hill Baptist Church’s youth group and to all the people behind the scenes who would like to remain anonymous……. THANK YOU!!!

Photos below are a few of the boxes recently sent to Middle East & Asia.

With a grateful heart,

Lisa Marie Barrett, Director



Support Our Troops: donations needed to send Packages of Hope to deployed troops

We are currently taking donations to send Packages of Hope  to American troops deployed in separate units across the globe. To make a monetary donation, please visit the contribute tab; be sure to indicate what your donation is for.  The average cost to mail each box is $22.00 per box.

Please see the list below for items needed, above all: please pray for our troops and their families. If you are purchasing items, please purchase individually packaged items only and remember to check the expiration dates before you purchase.  Keep in mind it can take several weeks before each unit receives their packages.

Donations can be dropped off at the church office or brought to the church on Wednesday evenings between 6:00-7:00 p.m. or Sunday mornings before or during worship service. Service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Donations for this project will be taken up throughout the month of March. If you have a loved one that is deployed or a veteran that needs encouragement, please contact us at 828-287-2868. It would be an honor to reach out to the them.

Items needed:

  • LETTERS/CARDS of encouragement
  • Carmex or Vaseline in tube
  • Lance individually packaged cookies
  • Beef Jerky/Slim Jim’s
  • Antiperspirant
  • Travel size lotion (unscented)
  • Travel size sunscreen
  • Trail mix/nuts individually packaged
  • Combos
  • Hard candy
  • Vitamin C Drops
  • Cough Drops
  • Powerbars/Kind Bars
  • Powdered water flavor packets such as Propel (individually packaged)

So let your light shine, let His light shine through you as you give and bring light and hope into the darkness our troops face on a daily basis; be His hands and Feet as you support our troops through giving and praying. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

Thank you in advance for your support!

Lisa Marie Barrett, Director