Many of you have been following my story about my daughter Sarah, who has joined the Air Force at the age of 18. She will not be deployed overseas (Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea) immediately, but I know that it is likely sometime in the next 2 – 3 years. Some of the staff at McCall’s Quilting have taken a personal interest in supporting our troops and have discovered that many soldiers do not have access to necessities for personal hygiene and do not have anybody to send them mail and/or e-mail from home. We have discovered an organization, Adopt A US Soldier (http://www.adoptaussoldier.org/), and we are actively participating. One of our ladies, Tricia, has written the following:
I heard stories about soldiers not having basic necessities. I heard stories that there are many who have no one at home, receive no letters or care packages, and it struck me this is Christmas and how alone I would feel in a strange place in the middle so much tension. I simply had to sign up to adopt a soldier!
Oh, I did debate whether or not I could actually commit to sending care packages and letters. Not really could I, but would I?
I took the step, signed up really late on a Tuesday night, and waited for the email on my assigned soldier. The website said it could be three days before they would make a match. I was most concerned that I wouldn’t get the information until it was too late to get packages to him/her by Christmas. On Thursday morning, I woke up with the information sitting in my email. I was so excited, I was giddy!
My soldier is in Afghanistan. His name is Miguel. He’s in a new compound with no access to purchase necessities except through the local shops. He asked for personal hygiene items and snacks, but most of all some distractions for when they are off duty… for his squad of 15 men.
I’m lucky. He has intermittent access to email and it is his preferred means of communication. I hear from him every few days, a quick sentence or paragraph. I feel like half the time I just blither on about my day, my cats and dog, the weather. I don’t think it matters. But I know how much it brightens up my day to see a message from him in the in-box. He begins or ends almost every email with a thank-you, but I wonder if he understands that I should be thanking him. He’s in a foreign country, away from his family, fighting for me and my freedom. He’s there to make a difference. He gives me the chance to feel like I’m doing something too.
I do not know what he does, where he goes, what he sees, who he interacts with, or if he is in any danger. I do know that he cares a great deal about the men in his unit, he calls them his friends, and he lets me know if there is something special they’d like. I’ve only been in the program for 10 days.
The Adopt a US Soldier program needs people. The website gives a lot of good information and very realistic expectations for its sponsors. It offers a way to communicate with others, a place to ask questions, and to get answers from someone who has experienced the same concerns. It offers support on subjects I hadn’t even thought about before I signed up from people that have firsthand knowledge. It offers tips and examples of things to send and how to fill out the shipping forms. It’s been operating for about 5 years, and hopes to continue until there’s no longer need. They are a 501c3 organization and they could use your support, because right now, they have more soldier requests than they have sponsors. www.adoptaussoldier.org (See picture below of Tricia’s adopted soldier.)
Thanks for listening -