Friday, November 19, 2010

Do Something Meaningful for the Holidays (Guest Post)

Jim isn't feeling very well, so he is letting me post something on his behalf. This is Kathi, his lovely wife. Okay, I added the lovely part myself without asking him.

You know that Jim is big on wearing red on Fridays in support of our troops. We wear red because they bleed red, is their motto. He is constant in showing his support simply by doing this. In fact, if he wore pajamas, he'd wear red ones on Friday, no matter what! (Lucky for me, he doesn't wear them. TMI? Sorry)

My passion for showing support is to have adopted a deployed soldier.

Adopting a deployed soldier is my suggestion if you are someone who looks for a service project for your family or your office or your church to do at this time of the year, as many do. Or, even if you normally wouldn't have considered it, please read this and think about becoming involved? Your small effort can mean so much. Read on. . .

Soldiers' Angels is a volunteer run organization, and their motto is "May No Soldier Go Unloved."
Jim and I adopted a deployed soldier shortly after the funeral for his nephew Grant, who was wounded in the war in Afghanistan last spring.

When we adopted our soldier, there were about 750 soldiers awaiting adoption. I see that there are 1,363 at this very moment. (There is a little graphic of heroes waiting to be adopted right on the top of the Web site.)

It is so easy to adopt a soldier, and it has been our experience that it means very much to the adoptee. Because their work is so intense and so isolating, it is hard for them to even think that what they are doing means anything to us at home in the United States. We need to let them know the depth of our gratitude, let them know we are thinking of them, and that we support them in spirit.

The first time we heard from our soldier, he sent us an email. Here are just a few things he said:
"I was lucky enough to celebrate my 21st birthday with 4 rocket attacks, 2 of which hit pretty close." Think back to what you were doing on YOUR 21st birthday. My 21st birthday was a long time ago, and I have no idea how I spent it. BUT I know mine was very different than experiencing rocket attacks.

He wrote that he is looking forward to getting back home, and said: "It will be nice to be a normal 21 year old who is not getting shot at."

He closed that first email by thanking us for the letters and packages, and said, "It's nice to know that some people still think of us."

To me, that said that the soldiers think we DON'T think of them and what they are doing, and I hope that he is not right about that. Please help me to not forget them and their service.

Adopting a soldier is not a forever commitment, though Jim and I hope to be in touch with our soldier throughout his life. The "official" term of adoption is as long as the soldier is deployed, which is usually about 6 months, maybe a little less or maybe a little more, depending on the deployment.

All you need to do is send one letter a week and one care package a month. Basically, this poor kid has had to "listen" to me tell stories about my family -- even the one where my sister Kristi and I got kicked out of Woolworths for trying on wigs and making jokes about smelling mothball -- bad jokes (see the bottom of this post), and all about our dog Nugget, including photos. Still, he doesn't seem to mind!

We have sent him a variety of things, mostly of the edible or readable variety. The soldiers don't have much access to food or snack foods, so he seems to like the things we have sent, such as canned Chef Boyardee raviolis, M&M's (his favorite), and we even sent him some cookies and milk (Horizon Organics shelf-stable individual servings, white and chocolate).

It has been such fun putting the boxes together, and it is great when we get one full and out the door. Even more fun to hear when it arrives!

It's not too late to adopt a soldier for the holidays!

These men and women will be spending the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve & Day in danger and far from home and their families. Show them that we at home do think of them, and that we do care, and that what they are doing is not unappreciated or unnoticed.

And if adopting a soldier is too much of a commitment for you right now, you can still help. You could email sacorporate@soldiersangels.org and request a name for a one-time package. Do it now and it will be there in time for Christmas!

Do you have a couple more minutes? View this video about how much your support can mean to someone. Please?

There. Did you watch it? I hope so! NOW you can see that even something little can mean a lot.

(If you didn't, go ahead and do it now -- we'll wait for you to get back.)

Okay, thanks for hanging in there with me. Now I will share with you one of my favorite jokes, one I shared in one of my letters to our soldier.

Q. How do you catch a polar bear?

A. You dig a big hole in the ice. Then you take some peas and line them up all around the edge. Then you wait. And when the polar bear comes up to take a pea, you kick him in the ice hole.

I know you can do way better for YOUR soldier. Please consider adopting one now? Just visit the Soldiers' Angels Web site at http://soldiersangels.org and learn more about the organization about the variety of ways you can help.

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