Dear Friends -
Well we've made it through Halloween, temperatures are dropping, and we are getting into full swing with the holidays. As November will always be known as the month for "giving thanks", I wanted to let you know about an opportunity to do something nice for someone very special to me.
As you all know my baby brother is in Iraq. He's part of the 355th chemical company in the US Army. While he was trained to look for those illusive WMD, he's currently running convoy missions with generals and other important people that need military protection. He's been over there since August and luckily only one explosion hit his company so far. No casualties! However, I got an e-mail from him this week and I noticed a marked change in his mood. I can tell he is getting really homesick. In a nutshell, he said "Well, obviously it sucks because my daughter is growing up and I miss my wife. The days are long and it's hard. I miss home." The good news is the military has been good about giving a 2-week reprieve leave in the middle of their tour. Jon was one of the lucky ones to get the holidays off to be home. (I'll believe it when he calls me from a plane heading to America.)
After noticing his weird mood, I immediately sprung into action to send him a package. I got the idea that it would be so great if I could help flood him and his company with letters, notes and packages from home... Anything to pick up their spirits. Hence, the e-mail to you...
So, here are the deets... it's very easy and affordable to send a package. You pay only $8.95 to send it APO to New York and it gets shipped to Iraq for free. It only takes a week door to door. You just need to go to a USPS office and tell them you want to send a package APO. They have two different sized boxes they can give you and all you pay is the flate rate shipment to NY, regardless of weight.
If you feel so motivated and inspired, I would love for you to send something to my brother, even if you haven't met him. If all you have time for is a quick note or card in the mail that's more than enough. If you want to do more here are some ideas.
- used magazines, books, or dvds (it doesn't matter what... someone in his unit will love it... He mentioned Mens fitness and celebrity gossip mags. No need to buy new... anything used is fine)
- gummy candy or hard candy (chocolate has a tendency to melt but it's getting cooler there so it should be OK too)
- gag gifts (anything funny you might find at a dollar store - just something to entertain bored people - they have 15 hr days on and then days off with not much to do)
- canned tuna fish in water, beef jerkey, sunflower seeds, strawberry poptarts with frosting (he can't get pop tarts for some reason)
- chap stick, hand sanitizer, baby wipes
- shading pencils (shading pencils should be like 05- -05 --- I guess from an art store??? He draws.)
- anything sports (he likes the steelers, cleveland cavs, ohio state, and the yankees but any kind of sport poster, logo, stickers, small flag, banner or pennent he would probably like to hang up)
- drawings from your kids or students - he would love that especially since he's a dad now
- something from your hometown
- anything you think might remind him of the US
So, as a lesson on what Veteran's Day means, Sage and I put together this:
full of this:
Yeah, a lot of it is dollar store junk, but it's fun junk. I added even more stuff once I got it all in the box, filling the empty nooks and crannies with skincare samples, a Cars Movie DVD, a Hollywood magnet, and a few other odd things. It was like a puzzle getting everything to fit. I did feel a little weird writing a "Dear Jon" letter (that's his name) to a soldier at war though, but it was a nice letter. Hopefully the package will brighten his day.
With the holidays coming up, there are going to be plenty of soldiers who could benefit from a brightened day. Please consider doing this. Here's a good site to get you connected: http://www.anysoldier.com. It doesn't cost much and it's actually fun finding stuff to fill a box and then trying to make all that stuff fit. War sucks (understatement of the year), but this is a small way we can make it a little less sucky.