Sunday, December 7, 2014

How To Volunteer With Solider's Angels

In honor of the Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

A handful of years back I was sitting in my cubicle hoping for a little speck of peace, but knowing I wouldn't get that as a new batch of Fraud Investigators from a training class I just taught would be hitting the floor with tons of questions. I was quickly skimming the CNN website to see what was going on in the world. 

What caught my eye was an article about the high suicide rate among Service Men and Woman who had served multiple deployments. I was so heartbroken to read some of the examples. I am an former military wife myself. I was married during Desert Storm...many moons ago, and my former hubby was attached to MiraMar Base. I worked on the base in the Civilian Personal Department during that time. My grandfather was killed in battle during WWII and is buried in Epinal, France. My father served during the Vietnam War in Korea. I have strong emotional ties to this community.

This article spoke about  Their motto is "May no Solider Go Unloved."

You register and adopt a service person that they randomly assign you. This person's name is usually submitted without their knowledge, and its by their CO, or someone that maybe notices that they don't get a lot of mail, or don't have family, or maybe that they are even struggling. 

You commit to writing three letters a week and sending two care packages a month. 

I signed right up! Pretty soon I got the news that I was assigned to Staff Sargent Josh (I'll keep his last name private) and that he had eight months left on his deployment. 

I struggled with how to introduce myself. I saw this company in the literature I received that made cakes that withstood the heat. It was pricey at $75.00 bucks..but I thought why not and how freakin fun! I imagined the look that might be on his face at getting a fancy cake in Afghanistan. I ordered the cake...then a few days laster thought holy Mcgregor I need to get a letter of introduction on the way as they said sometimes the mail takes weeks. It took me about 4 days to properly craft this letter (I was also working about 50-60 hours a week at the time) I wanted it to be upbeat, kind and caring. I sent it off.

I just about fell over when I received a reply from him 2 weeks later and I'll never forget what he said. 

He told me he got the cake a day before my letter arrived. He said he just sat there for a whole day just staring at it completely bowled over that a stranger would send him a cake. He said everyone was bugging him like crazy to bust it open and eat it. He just wouldn't let them till the second day. He was just awesome that he was so touched at that gesture so I was completely thrilled. He was very appreciative and told me about himself that he was married with 3 kids, and he was on his 3rd deployment and current serving in Afghanistan. He said that he didn't receive a lot of letters, and was looking forward to taking leave in a few months. We had a very nice and friendly correspondence and I was thrilled when he did get to go home for a visit as he and his wife renewed their wedding vows...very sweet!  We corresponded weekly for the eight months and I sent two care packages. I knew that were he was stationed was incredibly hot. I went to Costco and stocked up on tons of body wash, towelettes, those flavor packets that you can add to bottle water and some little soft nerf balls..just for fun. He said, funnily enough they enjoyed those balls and had a great day tearing up their office throwing them at each other! Ha-Ha! 

I'm glad he felt cared about and that he completed his tour and went home nice and safe to his wife and kids!  

I wholeheartedly recommend this organization! Here are some details:

Soldiers' Angels provides aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, their families, and a growing veteran population.

"May No Soldier Go Unloved," encapsulates the motivation behind Soldiers' Angels. The volunteers of Soldiers' Angels work tirelessly to demonstrate active care and concern for veterans, the wounded, deployed service members and their families.

To date, our volunteers have sent hundreds of thousands of care packages and letters to "adopted" deployed service members; we have supplied the wounded with over 25,000 of our First Response Backpacks directly at the Combat Support Hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan and the major military hospital in Germany, as well as provided care and comfort to those in stateside military and VA facilities; we have provided emergency aid to military families in need; we have partnered with the Department of Defense to provide voice-controlled/adaptive laptops to over 6,000 severely-wounded service members, as well as other technology that supports rehabilitation; we have provided flights to soldiers on leave or in emergency situations, and to their families wanting to be with them upon return from overseas; we provided Level III KEVLAR armored blankets to give personnel extra protection in their vehicles when it was needed early in the Iraq war; and we help to honor and uphold the families whose loved ones have paid the ultimate price for our freedom and safety. With the assistance of our generous supporters, the many volunteers of Soldiers' Angels have accomplished this and much, much more on behalf of the grateful citizens of the United States of America.
To see more about how Soldiers' Angels supports the troops and their families, click on the site menu or the link under "Teams and Projects - How to Help" on the homepage.

Help a service Man or Woman out! Thank you so much for reading this blog post! 

Thank you for your generous hearts!

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