I labeled and packed 120 candy welcome bags with music DVD’s (there are no movie DVD’s) phone cards and candy (that we shipped, that was a nice feeling).
1 box of Nathan’s shipment of jackets arrived today; maybe the other will arrive tomorrow. We had to unpack them at the post office since the box was too large for the car. Then one of the chaplains’ assistants helped us get them into the hospital. The reaction from the office was “WOW, you guys buy NICE stuff.” Don’t you know I was proud as could be? I gave them an address to a GySgt in the Balkans who has 300 marines looking for items that we have available; so that shipment will go out very soon.
Someone asked me a long time ago, “Why don’t we pack ready made backpacks or gym bags?” So if you ever want to know why we don’t pack our backpacks or gym bags ready to go with little shampoos, toothpaste, toothbrushes, boxers, t-shirts etc., it is because I just spent the entire afternoon unpacking these items from groups that spent their time packing this way. The reason we don’t pack this way is that the troops come in looking for just shampoo or just boxers, or the group will pack med briefs with an x-large tee, so it all gets unpacked here. Some of the guys are going back down range and don’t have the room for all the extras in these prepared bags. OK just had to get that out of my system.
I meet some very wonderful guys today. One particular young man happened to receive a package of boxers that we shipped. When he saw the tag he said something about it and I said that was a group that I was part of in the States. After he realized that we honor Fallen Heroes, he asked if we could honor two friends of his, SPC Carter and SGT Ruth of Eco. 1-15 INF BN 3 BD 3ID. I have no other information as of now, but I’m sure we can find them on the net. He was in need of sweats, guess what – the shirt was ours!! He began to tear up. He said that he had come back to the States during a mid-tour break and had been spit at. He thought that there would be more of a welcome than there was. He was surprised at the support that this group gave. (I believe the shirt was from Kathy’s family and the boxers were from Sherry’s family). He told me that he wished there were more like me that supported the troops in the States and I told him, “Honey, there are!!” and I gave him a hug. After clothing this young man from head to toe and making sure to take into account his injuries, we said goodbye. He asked if he could come back tomorrow to maybe pick out some books. The reply is, “Of course.” So my request to you now is to show this young man that he is truly supported. If you send me a PRIVATE email I will give it to him if he does come back tomorrow or next week. His name is XXXX. Please do not mention injuries or the incident on his mid-tour break, just that we support him 100%.
Other items of interest. Please forgive me I don’t remember names; but I saw sponsors from IN, CA, and KY go out today. I do know that these sponsors went out to day also: Kathy, Dad, Sherry, Lehn, Stafford American Legion, and Civitan Club. They have some of our sweats from our Jan shipment that are just now going out.
They are in need of WOMENS SMALL sweats.
I’m really tired right now and can’t think of anything else to let you know.
Today (Saturday) I had not planned on going into the hospital to work, but after getting an email from the office that they were very busy, I jumped in the shower and went right over. Our sweat suits may have not all gone out last winter, but they sure are going out now. I don’t even look at the sponsor labels any more, because most of them on the shelves are ours.
I do have to tell you a funny situation that happened today. We had about 3 guys in the clothing closet and they were picking out their items. One of the guys kept looking at me and looking at the package of boxers in his hands. I went and asked him if he needed help. Some of them are on some strong meds and get a little distracted. He said, “No, but why is your name on my boxers.” It took me a minute to realize he had one of our packages and I was the sponsor and he was looking at my Red Cross name tag. So I told him about our project. Both of us thought that was very cool.
The weather here is cool but sunny, but these girls and guys are freezing when they come in. So I’m glad we sent the jackets when we did and there is another group that sent wind breakers that some of the guys are taking. They are red and not going over so well, but soon it will be too cold for them and they will have to be stored anyways.
I’m still not sleeping through the night. That is it for now.
I meet a man today who received the Purple Heart. He joined the U.S. Army because his friend died on Sept 11 at the towers. He is giving 6 years of his life to honor his friend. He told me about the friends that he has made and lost in this war. He has my email address if he wishes for us to honor any of them.
I meet a young man who was wheelchair bound. It is amazing the determination to overcome these young people have. After being in a chair after my foot surgery, I know how difficult it can be to maneuver on the ground, but he would not allow us to help him.
For the American Legion people here, I met two gentlemen from American Legion Post 1. They had come in to help pack boxes, but just as with anyone, they have to go through the Red Cross Orientation, Training, Occupation Health Check, and I forget what the other office was called. Then you get to start.
For those of you that are local to my area and have seen my POW/MIA jacket, WOW, I have never had so many comments about a jacket before. I will be walking down the sidewalk and get this hand gesture from someone I have seen earlier in the day. You know the one that says TURN AROUND so they can show whoever they are walking with the back of my jacket. But I’m very proud to wear that jacket and very proud to be able to help these great people here.
My time here is going way too fast. It is a magnet that pulls me every morning and it is difficult to leave at night. I can’t even think about leaving in Oct; my heart goes to my throat each time I think about leaving here.
Well, starting to get sappy and it is late so I will close.
P.S. Thanks, Sue, that is one very thankful military member on this side. I had one young man that came in today that was very amazed at all the things he received. He said that he did not think anyone back home cared any more.
P.P.S. We are looking for any information about groups (Church groups, Civic Groups, Schools, Scouts, etc) that you might hear about that are sending items to the hospital. If you could provide an email address, web site, or phone number to me about these groups we would appreciate it very much. We are going to try to curtail the items that we don’t need and have them send the items that we do need. We need all the help we can receive in this effort. THANKS!!!