Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In Gratitude

As I've mentioned before, my oldest nephew, Anthony, served in Iraq while in the Army. With heartfelt gratitude to God, I can say that while he still struggles to cope with the psychological effects of having lived in a war zone and seeing his friends maimed or killed, he's adjusting and slowly finding peace. He's working, in college, a new dad to a cute puppy, and a proud new homeowner. It's with that gratitude in mind that I decided to reach out and try to help - even in a miniscule way - other soldiers still in harms way.

While Anthony was in Iraq, I used to send him regular letters and care packages with little comforts from home and words of encouragement and love to keep his spirits up. Unfortunately, not all soldiers are lucky enough to have that support system, so I searched online for organizations offering help to our troops and found and the Care Package Project.

With the help of individual donations and volunteers across the country, they ship over 1200 care packages four times a year. To date they have sent nearly 28,000 packages to 20,000 Marines who might not be receiving mail or packages from home. The list of needed items includes such basic items as baby wipes for personal hygiene, sunblock, liquid hand sanitizer, deodorant, as well as snack items such as gum, nuts, power bars, etc.

Not surprisingly one of the items on the "most requested list" is letters of support, so in addition to the above items, I also wrote a couple of letters letting each soldier know how much their service means to me.

So, whether you have a loved one that served in the Armed Forces or is currently serving, whether you're for or against our troops being in Iraq or Afghanistan, remember above all else that these are young American men and women, far from home and family, risking their very lives to serve their country, who need nothing more than a kind word and a little encouragement to see them through the days of darkness until they can, God willingly, return to the loving arms of their friends and family. In short, make a donation or, even better, simply write a letter and touch someone's life.