I Almost Forgot – And I’ll Bet You Did As Well.

It’s easy to forget things in our busy life. You have so much going on that it’s almost impossible to keep track of every little thing that needs your personal attention. I realized recently that I’d forgotten a major thing, and that I needed to rectify the mistake immediately.

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I’d forgotten to take care of my brothers and sisters overseas in the military. And I’ll tell you what I did in hopes that you’ll follow my lead and hop to the challenge before you log off the computer.

For many years I had friends deployed overseas in combat zones. Starting with Desert Storm I sent support/care packages to unknown soldiers, sailors, and marines. I sent packages to friends after getting a shopping list. I loved doing it and the money wasn’t an issue – I’d been there and knew how much those care packages meant.

Two years ago was the last time I sent a care package. (I think.) I make donations to charities every year that support the military so I don’t have any great guilt over the issue. But I hadn’t sent a goodie box in a long time. I hadn’t sent a hand-packed box in almost seven years.

That changed when an old friend deployed to Afghanistan. I knew this Marine “back-in-the-day” when they were a bull-headed young person fighting the First Sergeant over some Mickey Mouse issue. A few of us who had long since left active duty counseled this young Marine about career issues and how your lack of chevrons will always determine your losing status in butting heads with the top enlisted dog in the outfit.

Thankfully they listened. Today this person is a model Marine – a Gunnery Sergeant with a college degree. Quite a bit of progress since I had the pleasure of making their acquaintance.

So when I found out they’d been shipped to Afghanistan I asked what they wanted and needed. A short list followed on Facebook, along with their new mailing address.

My wife (also a vet) and I spent the weekend shopping for the care package. It was great fun – books, magazines, snacks, cleaning supplies, morale items – you name it and it’s in the package. I filled a set of shelves in my basement with the supplies and as soon as I can type out the customs forms I’ll take the boxes to the Post Office and ship them off.

It’s as simple as that – just do it.

Here’s your challenge: Somebody you know has a brother/sister/cousin/son/daughter/husband/wife who’s deployed away from home right now. This person is standing on the ramparts to make sure you stay safe. They have pledged their life and liberty to secure yours. Find out their name and an address where you can send them a package. Don’t wait for Christmas. Do it today. Best of all, if you can find an email address or a Facebook contact, get in touch with them and thank them for their service. And find out what they’d like to see in that box.

Spend a few bucks – or a lot of bucks. Think about how much it means to you when you get a surprise gift. And throw some extra stuff in the box for them and their buddies. Most of all, write a note. A personal note. Tell them how much you appreciate them and their sacrifice. And ask for a letter in return.

When you are 5,000 miles from home and family that contact, that package of beef jerky, that silly Packer’s sweatshirt, and that note mean a lot to somebody who’s headed out on patrol in a few hours.

I can’t wait to mail my package. How about you?


I Almost Forgot – And I’ll Bet You Did As Well. — 1 Comment

  1. For those who don’t have connections with a soldier, there’s a wonderful organization called Soldier’s Angels. The organization connects soldiers, who don’t receive a lot of mail or support from home, with volunteer individuals/families. Our family adopted a soldier a few years back & it completely blessed us. Sure we sent him letters & care packages, but he gave so much back to us & became like an older brother to our kids. http://www.soldiersangels.org/.

    This reminds me, we need to send him another letter!