Steve Newton founded and maintains LEEP, the Law Enforcement Equipment Program, and serves as a connection between those with used law enforcement equipment and the Iraqi and Afghanistan Police Force, who has little to no equipment. For more information visit: www.lawenforcementequipmentprogram.org
The Star Families of America
Steve Newton wanted to make a difference in the lives of wounded service members and Veterans. He founded The Silver Star Families of America to carry out that wish and designed Silver Star Banners to be presented to those wounded within the warzone from ALL wars. Form information visit: www.silverstarfamilies.org
Clever man honored for public service
Rachel Leake for the Headliner News 07/28/2004
Steven J. Newton first began public service as a Marine in the 1970s. Thirty-five years later he's still at it. Newton has turned his retirement from law enforcement into a full-time volunteer public relations career with the military. And, has garnered recognition from Missouri's Sen. Kit Bond.
Earlier this month, Bond awarded Newton the Department of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service. The award recognized Newton for his labor of love-a Web site, Newton's Best of the Best
It is here that Newton bridges the miles and the time that keep loved ones separated during their military service. He provides a much needed connection.
According to the Web site, Newton feels that his goal in life is to promote the morale of all people in uniform, from members of the Armed Forces to Emergency Services.
He is a 25-year law enforcement veteran and a former Marine/Navy veteran. He served with the 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division. He joined the Naval reserve in 1988. It seemed safe enough and almost guaranteed he wouldn't actually be called to duty. But then came Desert Storm.
In January 1991 Newton was shipped off to Kuwait to fight in Desert Storm as a Master of Arms. His job was to support the American Legion by supplying protection as well as writing articles and newsletters.
When his tour ended, Newton moved from Springfield to Clever, and retired.
However, retirement didn't last long and Newton ended up taking on the role of Police Chief in Clever. He did this for three years until he was affected with Parkinson's Disease.
The disease however, has not stopped Newton from doing what he does best-sharing information with the military community.
"I spend about 150 hours per month online and probably 150 hours a month off-line," Newton said. All of this time is spent writing for about 10 or 11 different organizations including "Soldier Moms." This is a wonderful organization for mothers who's child or children are fighting over seas. As well mother's who have previously had children in war.
"Their kids started sending me (pictures and letters) of their own," he said. Newton writes countless articles for this organization as well as prayers. He has given permission for numerous churches to use his prayers.
The "Soldier Moms" wrote about 30 letters of recommendation, in hopes of getting this award to the man who, they say, truly deserves it. His wife, Diane, worked just as hard in sending the recommendations, as well as other countless documents. Bond sent the public service award to Diane "for presentation."
"She just hit me over the head with it and said 'Here's your award,'" Newton said laughing. Now he is working to parlay his acknowledgment into a ticket to Iraq. He wants a chance to visit all of his "kids," (the children of the "Soldier Mom's"). So far he hasn't realized that dream.
"We'll see about that," Newton said. "I don't give up very easily."
Newton said he plans to go out there and shake hands with all of the troops serving from Missouri and then search for the sons and daughters of his "Soldier Moms."
Newton is very humble about the work he does, and had to be urged to speak numerous times by his wife.
"Time for you to toot your own horn," Diane urged. "Stop being so humble."
Newton was quick to acknowledge that without his family's support, he couldn't give any to those soldiers serving abroad.
"I couldn't do any of this stuff without Diane, and my kids," he said.
Diane edits all of his work. His son Joe does the technical editing and the security for the Web site. They have to be very careful about the information put on the Web site. There are rules and regulations for the soldiers safety that Newton follows closely. Sharon, his daughter, does the "artistic editing," making everything look good.
And even though, Newton faces medical challenges, he's making good on his commitment to the men and women in uniform.
©Ozarks Newsstand 2004
CO-FOUNDER DIANA CREED-NEWTON
Diana Creed-Newton is Co-Founder and Treasurer of The Silver Star Families of America and a full-time supporter of our wounded service members. She has volunteered for many organizations that support the Armed Forces of the United States, including the Law Enforcement Equipment Program, The Purple Hearts and the Silver Star Families of America. She is a graduate of Southwest Missouri State University majoring in geography. Her volunteer efforts have been recognized with awards consisting of the Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award, Daily Point of Light Award, Conspicuous Service Medal, and was nominated by SSFOA members for the Above and Beyond Award for her care of our wounded. Diana has also been nominated for the CNN Hero of the Year.
Diana is an SSFOA Representative for the VAVS board and works diligently to offer helpful resources on VA issues.
Along with the hundreds of Banner packages she has shipped, Diana has personally presented many Silver Star Banners to wounded from all wars, including a presentation to a Purple Hearts Chapter in Missouri. Diana was instrumental and participated in the signing ceremony at her state’s capital with Governor Blunt which gave endorsement to the Silver Star Flag as the Official symbol for the wounded of Missouri. In addition, she actively supports veterans by delivering books and supplies to Veteran Homes and V.A. Hospitals and Clinics. She also oversees the Christmas project that reaches a VA in all 50 states, Landsthul and a point in Iraq. Diana spearheaded the Silver Star Day event at Hammons Ball Park which treated the Veterans of Mt. Vernon Home with free tickets to the Springfield Cardinals game.
Diana has a family background of United States supporters. Her father was a Navy veteran and her brother is an Air Force/Army veteran. She welcomes you to join with her as she honors and assist the wounded of our country.
Diana Creed Newton, Co-Founder of the Silver Star Families of America, has been awarded the Conspicuous Service Medal from Governor Blunt of Missouri on the recommendation of the Adjutant General of the Missouri National Guard, MG General Sidwell.
“This medal is awarded by the Governor, on the recommendation of the Adjutant General, to an individual, unit or organization that has performed distinguished and conspicuous service with reflects honorably and creditably on the state of Missouri.”
The medal is the highest award issued to civilians by the Missouri National Guard.
The citation party read: Ms. Newton’s talented, enthusiastic support of currently serving and retired service members and their families is motivating to all. Her selfless service, sense of duty, dedication to military support, and exemplary assistance to the citizens of Missouri reflect great credit upon herself and the State of Missouri.
Newton said, “I am honored and humbled by this award and I dedicate it to all the wounded and ill of our armed forces.”
“I also want to thank our membership across the country who has worked so hard for this state and this nation. May God bless the United States and may we never forget those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.”