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THANK YOU Participants, Presenters, Donors and Volunteers!

THANK YOU to all of our wonderful speakers, donors, and volunteers!
Your participation, generosity, and expertise shared, helped to create another successful Camp Independence that was enjoyed by all attending.

Congratulations to Angela Sander,
winner of the Infinity Solutions Pistol Class.

Remembering Larry J. Chisausky

Larry J. Chisausky
1-23-1947  - 4-12-2019

Live Free has lost, Larry Chisausky, a dear friend and dedicated member of our Board Of Directors.

A memorial visitation will be held at the
Fedde-Helfrich-Cross Funeral Home, on Saturday, April 20th.  A Memorial Mass,  Committal Services and Military honors at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery April 22nd.

Profession & background: Degrees in Finance, MIS, and Communications.

Larry’s vocation has been an IT Professional Consultant, Systems Analyst and Designer, Project Manager, Tech jock, and Business Systems Analyst for the last 30+ years.

His avocation can be summarized …… As family and friends say, “Larry was awarded a full scholarship (by our Uncle Sam) to the University of South Vietnam, College of Warfare, and majored in Outdoor Survival.” He was a tried and true Patriot veteran and proud to be an American! He has been an avid outdoors adventurer, wilderness trip planner, leader, and environmentalist since the late 60's.

Larry shared his energy, enthusiasm, skills, respect, and love of the outdoors with youth, Scouting families, self-reliance, and Emergency- Preparedness seekers. Larry was an active Boy Scout leader, trainer, and counselor for the Boy Scouts of America and these merit badges: 1st Aid, CPR & AED, Emergency Preparedness, Wilderness Survival, Canoeing, Camping, Kayaking, Cooking, Orienteering, Computers, Communications, Leave No Trace, and Wilderness 1st Aid.

Other volunteer commitments include American Legion Post 392 Officer; LiveFree,USA Board of Directors, Medical Team Director & Survival trainer; Lifetime Rotary Intl. Paul Harris Fellow; Member of VFW Post 1493; Charter Organization representative for Cub Scout Pack 315; Outdoor Leader Trainer for Rainbow Council in Morris, Il.; and Dedicated Member of the Project Michelangelo Foundation.

Specialty: Beyond the above-stated activities Larry taught youth and families that Character Does Count, to Do Your Best at every task, to have Confidence, be willing to work for TEAM Goals, and Trust that the Lord will guide you.

Philosophy in life: Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” One must believe in Prayer for it to work!

2019 Annual Business Meeting Report

Live Free, USA begins 2019 with New Leadership!
Congratulations and Welcome to our new Board Members.

Annual Business Meeting Report:
On Saturday, March 30, 2019, the Live Free, USA Board of Directors and interested members convened at Cabela’s in Hammond, Indiana for the 51st Annual Business Meeting.  Retiring President, Jim Jones provided a detailed ‘State Of Live Free’ powerpoint report that included the 2018 Financial Report, followed by elections to elect Officers and fill Board vacancies.

The 2019 Live Free, USA Board of Directors are:

President: Mark Smith
Vice-President: Ray Duensing
Treasurer: Marie Jones
Recording Secretary: Beth Duensing
Membership Secretary: Zach Garza
Director 1: Will Garza
Director 2: Jeff Agan
Director 3: Larry Chisausky
Director 4: Michelle Augustyn
Director 5: Nick Carlson

James C. Jones was appointed to the position of Founding Director by a unanimous vote.

One additional Director will be elected to the Board in 2020 and again in 2021, for three-year terms.  The new leadership is energetic and enthused working together on exciting new plans for this year's Camp Independence.

Now is the time to join or renew your membership.  Get involved, join our mission to promote and support self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and self-protection within your community.

Respectfully Submitted,
Beth Duensing
Live Free, USA Recording Secretary


More Back Issues of American Survivor Added

We have added some missing issues of American Survivor to the Members Only publications access American Survivor section. Members can now download not only the most recent issue of American Survivor, but 46 back issues.  For your $20.00 membership you get over 500 pages of survival information there alone.  A lot of the materials in past editions is now in demand for publication in national magazines and books.  So you get it (or got it) first and cheapest.  Lots more great stuff to come that you will not find in any other publications or blogs.

10 Weeds that Heal

I discovered a great article on healing "weeds" right in our own backyard. Thanks to Patsy Clark I have been motivated to learn more about what we can use, other than "traditional medicines". I hope you are able to learn something new from this article!


This might come as a surprise, but many of you just might have a medicine cabinet right in your own backyard and you aren’t even aware of it. Yes, that is correct. As a Certified Master Herbalist I wanted to share with you some basic “weeds” that are known to have a profound impact on you or someone that you love health. Okay here we go!



Purslane– Is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Purslane is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids for vegans, vegetarians, and other people who do not or cannot eat fish. In fact, purslane is said to be the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids among cultivated green leafy vegetables. However, some wild-growing greens, such as molokhia and stamnagathi, have been reported to contain omega-3 fatty acids in amounts comparable to those found in purslane.


How to reap the health benefits of summer purslane

Purslane starts to lose its nutritional qualities immediately after harvest. Therefore, the best way to maximize the health benefits of purslane is to grow your purslane and harvest it as needed. If you don’t have a big garden or if you fear that planting purslane will take over your entire vegetable garden (after all, purslane is a weed), consider growing purslane indoors as a microgreen. All you need is an empty container, some potting soil, organic purslane seed, and a sunny window sill. Simply sow the seeds, keep the soil moist (but avoid over-watering), and watch your micro-purslane grow!

Dandelions– Are rich in potassium which is often lost through excess urination. Dandelions are exceptionally high in vitamin A, vitamin, C and iron with more iron and calcium than spinach.

Almost all the parts of dandelion herb are  in various traditional as well in modern medicine. The principle compounds in the herb have laxative and diuretic functions. The plant parts have been used as herbal remedy for liver and gall bladder complaints. The herb is also a good tonic, appetite stimulant and is a good remedy for dyspeptic complaints. The inside surface of the flower stems used as a smoothing agent for burns and stings (for example in stinging nettle allergy).

Here are some serving tips:

* Young tender shoots, raw or blanched, used in salads and sandwiches either alone or in combination with other greens like lettuce, kale, cabbage, chives, etc.
* Fresh greens may also used in soups, stews, juices, and as cooked vegetable.
* Dried leaves as well as flower parts used to make tonic drinks and herbal dandelion teas.
* Dandelion flowers used in the preparation of wines, schnapps, pancakes; and are favored in Arab baking.
* Lightly roasted and grounded roots used to make wonderfully flavorful dandelion coffee.

Chickweed-Is rich in nutrients that nourish the lymph and glandular systems. Chickweed is best known for it’s ability to cool inflammation and speed healing for internal or external flare-ups. Chickweed tea is an old remedy for obesity. Herbalists like myself drink teas of fresh chickweed as one of the classic spring tonics to cleanse the blood. Chickweed poultices are useful for cooling and soothing minor burns, skin irritations, and rashes particularly when associated with dryness and itching. Chickweed is taken by mouth to treat stomach problems, intestinal complaints such as constipation, disorders of the blood, arthritis, lung diseases including asthma, kidney disorders, inflammatory conditions of the urinary tract, rabies, and scurvy or vitamin C deficiency. It is also used to relieve extreme exhaustion. Chickweed is applied on the skin relieve various skin conditions such as skin wounds, ulcers, burns, arthritis pain and symptoms of eczema.

How to Enjoy Chickweed

Chickweed leaves can be steamed or added raw to salads. You can also make a tea from the leaves by steeping them in a cup of boiling water for ten minutes.

Rosemary-Reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease due to it carnosic acid.

Health Benefits of Rosemary:

The wonderful smell of rosemary is often associated with good food and great times, but it could just as easily be associated with good health. Rosemary contains substances that are useful for stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation, and improving digestion. Rosemary also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may make it useful for reducing the severity of asthma attacks.

Rosemary is used for digestion problems, including heartburn, intestinal gas (flatulence), liver and gallbladder complaints, and loss of appetite. It is also used for gout, cough, headache, high blood pressure, and reducing age-related memory loss. In addition, rosemary has been shown to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration. So, the next time you enhance the flavor of some special dish with rosemary, congratulate yourself for a wise as well as delicious choice. Some women use rosemary for increasing menstrual flow. If you’re pregnant please take care with consuming or eating Rosemary because it is also know to cause miscarriages.

Rosemary is used topically (applied to the skin) for preventing and treating baldness; and treating circulation problems, toothache, a skin condition called eczema, and joint or muscle pain such as myalgia, sciatica, and intercostal neuralgia. It is also used for wound healing, in bath therapy (balneotherapy), and as an insect repellent.


Milk Weed-Milkweed is useful for kidney problems, dropsy, scrofula, conditions of the bladder, water retention, asthma, stomach ailments, and gallstones, female disorders, arthritis, and bronchitis. It causes increase in perspiration, thus reducing fever. Some Native Americans rubbed the (latex) juice on warts, moles, ringworms; others drank an infusion of the rootstock to produce temporary sterility or as a laxative. A folk cancer remedy. Some milkweed species are highly poisonous.

White Clover
White Clover– has useful compounds to treat bronchitis & respiratory disorders. Herbalists revere red clover for several purported health benefits, including detoxification, decongestion and reducing inflammation. Red clover is also considered a rich source of isoflavones, an antioxidant associated in some studies with combating certain types of cancer, including breast cancer and prostate cancer. The isoflavones in red clover have also been found beneficial in reducing bone loss and menopausal symptoms in healthy women. White clover has not been found to possess the same constituents or health benefits. Remember that no herbs have been FDA-approved for medical use and you should always consult with your doctor before taking red clover tea for any health-related purpose. All clovers, including white, possess some amount of vitamins A, E, C, B-2, and B-3, calcium, chromium, lecithin, magnesium, potassium and silicium. Among other things, clover is a blood purifier, is antispasmodic, and an expectorant. The tea is good for asthma and bronchitis.

For medicinal wash or internal use of Clover:

Steep tea (This can be any part of the clover plant.) in water for 30 minutes, then take 1-2 oz. frequently or 4-6 cups daily.

Nettles– Are useful in arthritis, gout, asthma, hay fever, and Alzheimer’s disease and soft tissue conditions such as fibromyalgia and tendonitis. Patients with Lupus and other auto-immune disorders suffering from joint pain experience relief from drinking a cup of nettle tea or eating stewed nettle leaves daily. Nettle is high in iron making it excellent for combating anemia and fatigue. It supports the liver. Urinary tract support. A great herb for treating bladder and urinary tract function. Nettle aids in digestive issues as well. Nettle leaf is effective at reducing symptoms of the digestive tract ranging from acid reflux, excess gas, nausea, colitis and Celiac disease.

Lavender-Has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Both the flowers and the leaves of the lavender plant are used in herbal medicine, usually in the form of an oil or as a tea. The compound linalool, found in lavender oil, is known to have an anti-anxiety, calming effect. Lavender oil is often used as a relaxant during massages, added to lotions for babies, children and adults, and used in soap. Lavender has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain killing) attributes.


Lavender health benefits are many: Lavender Reduces anxiety and emotional stress, heals burns and wounds, improves sleep, restores skin complexion and reduces acne, slows aging with powerful antioxidants, improves eczema and psoriasis, and alleviates headaches.

Preparation Methods & Dosage: Lavender tea can be made from the fresh or dried flowers. Lavender essential oil should only be used externally, and can be used in massage oils, baths and aroma lamps.

Lavender Side Effects: The volatile oils in lavender can be very hard on the liver and kidneys of cats and dogs so no internal use of the herb is suggested for our animal friends.

Burdock-May reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. Besides its culinary uses, burdock root has long been praised for its healing properties. The rest of this article is dedicated to shedding light on the numerous nutritional and health benefits of burdock root (or gobo, as the Japanese call it). Burdock root contains insulin, a type of beneficial fiber with numerous positive health effects. Most of these health benefits are linked to the ability of insulin fiber to promote the growth of bifidobacteria in the large intestine. Bifidobacteria are health promoting microbes that are naturally present in the gut. These bacteria have been found to destroy harmful bacteria in the intestines, promote easy bowel movement, and improve the immune system. Some studies also suggest that bifidobacteria may be able to reduce the levels of certain colonic enzymes that convert pro-carcinogenic molecules into carcinogens (cancer-causing molecules).

Preparation Methods:

You can add it to soups and saute it in a stir fry with carrots and sesame seeds, yum! You can also throw it in some coleslaw, or even just add it to your normal everyday salads. Burdock can also be juiced for a delicious and refreshing healing beverage. I have also discovered that traditional Chinese medicine also has used burdock synergistic-ally with other herbs to treat cold symptoms and sore throats.

Sow Thistle-is useful for treating inflammation and digestive upsets. Nutritional info about sow thistles. Sow thistle leaves are said to be a good source of vitamins A and C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. Young sow thistle leaves are wonderful in salad, adding substance and depth to the flavor of other greens. They have a slight bitter edge (just like some lettuces do), but they’re less bitter than dandelion leaves. The flowers are also delicious in salads.

I hope you really enjoyed reading up “backyard weeds” and their health potentials.

Disclaimer: Information contained on this website is for general information purposes only and must not be used to treat or diagnose dental/medical conditions. The products and statements on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended as dental advice. Should you have any health concerns please check with your medical doctor before self-administering any natural remedy.

Baby Totin’ Busy Hand Drills

While the probability of us encountering a situation where we need to get our gun out WHILE we’re carrying our children is extremely low, it is worth thinking about how our gun handling would need to change and what we should practice. Since my son is too young to follow directions to run and hide and can’t understand how to use code words to enact a plan, I have to have repetitions of gun manipulations while handling him. This post isn’t about tactics, but just the mechanics of getting a gun into play while toting a small child.  I’ll lay out several practice methods and some props that will help you get more proficient.

Read More →

Enhanced Optics for Survival

Two Binoculars and a Monoculare

Two Binoculars and a Monoculare

Multiplying Your Survival Choices with Binoculars in Your Pack

One item that is often left out of the survival pack is optical enhancement (binoculars or monocular). Fortunately, today there is a full range of reasonably priced, durable and functional optics. Many years ago the only good binoculars were large, bulks and delicate. On my very limited budget, I had a cheap pair of toy binoculars in my pack. Sure they were junk, but still much better than my one-power eyeballs. I am not an expert on binoculars, but unless you have unlimited fund, buying a pair of Zeiss Terra EDs at $500.00 seems excessive when you can get the same level of magnification and field for less than $100.00 and use the other $400.00 for other survival needs.
I do have a large pair of binoculars at home that I bought in the 1960s. These 20x50 optics are good for home situations (not to mention astronomy), but too bulky for the pack. In compliance with my own “not what you have, but what you have with you” rule I have a small pair of 10x25 binoculars that I carry in my truck (along with my Emergency Response Guidebook) for road situations. I carry a slightly larger pair of 16x32 Bushnell’s that I keep with my pack in their belt pouch. When traveling light I have a small 8x21 monocular. This cheap, lightweight monocular actually is faster to use and spot with than the larger binoculars. I took the Bushnell’s on a recent trip to Alaska. It’s a good idea to see a grizzly bear 16-times sooner than he sees you!
My point is that enhanced optics provides you with an advantage that fully justifies the allocation of funds, weight and space. Knowing what’s around you at a distance gives you choices that you may not have when you get closer. “I didn’t see that coming” can be your last words! For example:

• On the road you can see roadblocks, violence, hazardous materials, washouts and other hazards well before you encounter them. You can chose how to avoid or deal with these issues

• In camp or at home you can identify friend or foe, approaching looters, etc. before you are seen. Then you can prepare to defended or retreat as necessary.

• You can spot safe routs, safe camp sites, useful supplies, game, water sources and other needs many times further out than with the unaided eye.
These are significant advantages! Unless you like to miss opportunities and you like surprises, you need to include enhanced optics as part of your survival equipment.

Binoculars were a must have in Alaska

Binoculars were a must have in Alaska


Survival Shovels

Very small folding shovel for survival packs.

Very small folding shovel for survival packs.



A shovel is one of the items that is often left out of the bug-out-bag, but should be included if at all possible.

When I was a kid just after World War Two every kid in the neighborhood had an “Army Shovel”.  These were childproof and child sized digging tools.  The result was that every vacant lot was a warren of trenches and underground tunnels. Unfortunately a few kids did get killed in cave-ins.

The shovel of the static trench warfare of World War One was the M-1910.  This was just a small “T” handled spade.   World War Two was a more mobile operation requiring the soldier to dig quickly in any kind of soil and then move and dig again.  The M1943 folding shovel was strong enough to dig in frozen and rocky soil and included a pick to chop and pry. It was a bit heavy, but troops were generally trucked for long distances. This was the shovel that somehow came home after the war and fell into the hands of the baby-boomer children.  The very similar M-1951 served through the Korean War and Vietnam.  There were and still are a wide variety of commercially made imitations of this well designed tool.  The tri-folding shovel with its triangular grip handle came into use late in the Vietnam conflict.  It is a much more compact and lightweight tool than the M-1951, but a bit less capable.

Shovels have somewhat limited use in urban areas where an axe or pry bar may be of more help, but they are a must once the brick and concrete are left behind.  Uses include: digging shelters, digging fire pits, burying waste, drainage trenching, building defensive positions, and making animal traps. There may be the need to clear ground and shovel snow for cold weather camps as well.

There are a variety of small “camp shovels” on the market.  Your choice depends on how much weight you can add to your survival pack.  The two main designs are miniaturized version of the old M-1951 and the current tri-fold designs.  If you are really pressed for space and weight, a good quality garden trowel gives you at least some digging capacity.  Of course you may want a bigger shovel in your vehicle or survival cache.