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Friday, June 29, 2007

Monster Sock Delivery - Updated

Aug 20, 2007: To see details on the AUGUST CHALLENGE to collect holiday messages for our deployed soldiers, go HERE.

Otherwise, just email your hellos and good wishes to this address:

letters-to-send AT mindspring DOT com

Thanks, Rog!

Only 5,291 pairs to go!

Check this out. With help from Angel-helper Warner, who drove to North Carolina to pick it up, the Holiday Project received a monster donation of socks last week!

Haven’t you always wanted to know what a pile of 14,709 pairs of socks looks like…? This is close! It would be more fun if the socks were out of the boxes, but much too messy… Darn.

Angel Diane and Company

I’ve updated the items still needed here – Diane will have a more comprehensive update in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Cha-ching! 6000!

and counting!


See, it wasn't so hard was it?

If you were lollygagging or missed the original requests, don't despair! Leave it to a marine - they're gunning for 10,000 and then 20,000 messages.

Seeing as there are around 300 million of us back home, that SHOULDN'T be too hard, right?!?

And no surprise, the RCT-6 is spreading the love around. From the comment section in Grim's "6000" post:

Comment below written by: rct-6 public affairs
No photo of the stack at 6000! I've already started handing them out. Gave out probably... 1500? tonight. A huge stack to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, and another to 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment (US Army). There's a stack for our Marines working in combat operations center, and I made sure a stack got out to our Police Transition Teams.

See? They are awful busy over there (see the latest from Bill Roggio and Michael Yon), but our troops would still love to hear from *YOU*.

Check out the RCT-6's blog and their official site.

Now go write that email message.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Don't know what to say to a Marine?

Well, here's the message I sent to the RCT-6, if that will help...


Hey Marine!

Greetings from Arlington, VA :-) I hope this finds you safe and well.

I don’t know exactly what you’re up to, but I’m grateful you’re willing to be there for all of us back home. I live within sight of our nation’s capital and work at XXXX. I moved here about two years ago, and I am really enjoying the DC area. The Mall with its monuments and museums never gets old, especially the Lincoln Memorial, which is my favorite. And the Marine Corps Memorial is just a 10 minute walk from home, which is pretty cool. It’s a regular reminder of you all and what you’re fighting for. I always feel remarkably blessed to have been born an American citizen, and since “there but by the grace of God, go I”, I do feel compelled to champion the efforts of those who are not so fortunate. We can’t always do a lot, but we can always talk the talk. And we can’t always send you guys in to try to kickstart a “do over” for a whole nation. However, when we do, your dedication and willingness to tackle the job are humbling. I’ll do my part back here as what I like to think of as your distant rear guard. I’m behind you 100% - don’t ever forget it. I can’t change the evening news or newspaper headlines, but as a member of Soldiers’ Angels and as a fledgling blogger, I hope I’m helping send a different message. :-)

At the very least, know that I am SO proud to call you “ours” and include you in my prayers each day.

Take care and God bless,

Monday, June 18, 2007

Not for Nothing, Take 4

I wonder why we don't talk more about events like this? (HT: Major John at Miserable Donuts/Milblogs). The plight of Afghan women was big news in the mid-1990's. What happened?

As an over-educated, all-American girl, who's attended 12 schools/colleges/universities and has two diplomas and three degrees, I simply can't imagine life without school.

How fortunate I am.

Thanks all for giving the women and girls of Afghanistan a chance.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Update! Only 1000 so far...

or, according to Grim, about "2 inches". Check it out - he's got photographic evidence to prove it.

Go on, get on that keyboard and send a little love to a Marine.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Care to shout out to a Marine...?

...nicely, that is. Really, there are a bunch of Marines that would love to know that you support their efforts and appreciate the amazing work they've done in Anbar province. (HT: Grim at Blackfive.net)

Not up to speed on the latest from Anbar? Bill Roggio to the rescue, as usual, HERE. Thanks, Bill! And THANK YOU to the United States Marines, and the Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen, who are giving some brave Iraqis a chance.

So drop them an email at RCT-6lettersfromh AT gcemnf-wiraq DOT usmc DOT mil

(for the novices, remove the spaces and replace the "AT" with an "@" and the "DOT"s with ".")

Go on, do your part to clog up their new inbox. :-)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Georgia (Soldiers) on My Mind ---- UPDATED 08-07-07!

Fear not! For all of you who've already readied your shopping list, I've got the address where you can ship all those stocking goodies:

Det-1 HHC 1-108th, ATTN: SOLDIERS' ANGELS, 6784 W. Church Street, Douglasville, GA 30134

Thanks, Diane! (see, I told you she was organized!)
Candy canes? DONE!
Tissues? DONE! !
Lip balm? DONE! ! !
Non-chocolate candy? DONE! ! ! !
Toothbrushes? DONE!!! :-)

When I first joined Soldiers’ Angels, I was a Georgia Angel. There are some terrifically enthusiastic Angels at work in the Peach State, and I’m still on their e-mailing list so I hear what they are up to. They always have plenty going on, because, well, Georgia has a BUNCH of Army bases. And you know what? By next Christmas, there will be around 20,000 Georgia-based soldiers overseas.

So what are my Georgia Angel buddies up to? They’re halfway through a year-long prep to ship 20,000 Christmas stockings to those 20,000 soldiers. Angel Diane has got the lead and is fabulously organized. I decided to post about this for two reasons: 1) to inspire you, and 2) to prompt your participation if you’re interested. I think it’s going to be one of my main Soldiers’ Angels holiday projects.

Home base for this effort is in Douglasville, GA, which is about 20 miles west of Atlanta. If you’re going to be in that area on July 4th, they’ll be collecting items at the Armory from 9am to 1pm. The Armory is along the parade route, so bring your donation and then stake out a spot to watch the festivities!

What can you donate? A list of what Diane is collecting is below. The “still needed” numbers will change when Diane does her July inventory, but this gives you an idea of what’s to be done. So, how EASY would it be to do a small collection or buy something each week until you had a box full of donations to send?

Candy (chocolate) (still needed: 60,000)
Candy (non-choc) - DONE!
Mini Candy Canes - DONE!
Hot Chocolate (still needed: 17,000)
Snacks (still needed: 18,000)
Socks (still needed: 5,223)
Toothbrushes - DONE!
Lip Balm - DONE!
Tissue Packs - DONE!
Pens (still needed: 14,000)
Christmas Cards (still needed: 39,162)

Short on cash? Then have I got a deal for YOU.

How about committing to writing a few Christmas cards? No, don’t just sign your name. Write a note. You could even make your own cards and throw a “Christmas in July” party so that some friends can write a few notes, too.

As someone who barely managed to coordinate and assemble 270 holiday goody bags for delivery to a Navy ship last December, I totally understand the need to collect these items for TWENTY THOUSAND stockings long before December! Heck, assembly and packing take TIME. Trust me. But! it’s well worth the effort! I shipped my 23 packages full of goody bags to that Navy ship late one night in December. It was last minute by the Post Office’s holiday shipping schedule, so it all had to go Priority Mail. The National Capitol post office is open until midnight during the week, so I went about 9:30pm to ship my packages. Done! And it all arrived in time for a little extra cheer somewhere in the Pacific on Christmas morning (I’ve got the emails to prove it!).

But anyway, I was in that post office about a week ago and happened to have the same postal worker help me again, though with just one care package this time. I said, “You might remember that you helped with a bunch of care packages for a Navy ship back in December…?” He said, “Oh, yes, I remember YOU.” LOL! I was pleased to tell him that the effort had been a spectacular success (more on that in a later post, but yes, that’s a pic from the post office last December – gotta love picture phones!).

So make yourself a to-do list with “Georgia Soldiers” at the top and write down what you’re going to do before August 10th. Buy some items to ship to Diane? Make some cards or write some letters?

I’ll be back later in the month with details on how to get your contributions to Angel Diane.

Ready. Set. Go! :-)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Not for Nothing, Take 3

Six amazing days. Just go read it for yourself... and check out some older posts by this terrific milblogger, Badger 6, stationed in Iraq. Some of my favorite posts are:

Hero Flight


Badgers Forward

Some people ask why I'm so involved in Soldiers' Angels. The simple answer is that it provides me with a way to support people like Badger 6 and his troops. If they don't inspire you, I'm not sure what will.

And while you're poking around the internet, don't forget to check in with some of our medics:

Desert Flier
Me Over There
M. Green

Excuse me while I do just that.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

AAR for Operation Fresh Air **UPDATED**

UPDATE/NOTE: Greetings, visitors from Castle Argghhh!!!! Just wanted to clarify that Operation Fresh Air was dreamed-up, organized, and run by four mil wives: Carrie, Cyndi, Cassandra, and Andi, not Soldiers' Angels. And, the major sponsors were Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, Military.com, and Leesylvania State Park!

Carrie's full AAR is below - check it out.


A previous post had prompted readers to volunteer or donate for a special event called “Operation Fresh Air”. According to all who I’ve heard from, the event was a stupendous success! I had to leave shortly after dropping off the items purchased with donations made through Soldiers’ Angels (thanks to all who donated!!!), but co-organizer Carrie shared her "After Action Report", or AAR, (can you tell she’s a military spouse? LOL) and has given me permission to post it here. And darn it, I wish I’d been able to spend the day with this crowd…

Andi of Andi’s World and Milblogs also was there and posted her AAR here, and she has a few pictures, too (HT: Kathi).

“Operation Fresh Air took place on June 2nd, 2007 at Leesylvania State Park in Prince William Co., VA

It was hatched in early March as the absolutely brilliant idea of a Marine wife, Cyndi, in response to the breaking scandal at Walter Reed. She was casting about for a way to do something for our wounded heroes at Walter Reed and Bethesda.

Cyndi, who works for the Prince William Co. Park System, realized that she was looking out her office window at the solution. Fishing!! Beautiful scenic trails and views!! A perfect tonic for what ails the spirits of our wounded heroes. Fresh air and relaxation.

Op Fresh Air was supported by Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. Semper Fi most graciously sponsored the food and drink for the event. Dixie Bones was hired to cater the event with their delicious Pulled Pork and BBQ Chicken as well as equally yummy sides.

On the morning of June 2nd, over 20 volunteers descended on Area 4 of the park and began setting up the pavilion. Round tables topped with red, white or blue tablecloths and a star centerpiece with an American flag were set up. Two banners were put up (one at the front of the park and one in the pavilion) that read simply..."Welcome Heroes".

The park is located on the banks of the Potomac and several pop up tents were placed at the dock along with coolers of water and soda. 10 fishermen volunteers stood by ready to assist the guests with their every fishing need. Two were young Marines from The Basic School at Quantico.

Cyndi's nephew, Kyle, came up from Alabama to play his guitar and mandolin as long as we wanted. He has won several musical competitions and really only started playing 3 years ago. A very gifted young 15-year old.

The bus was late. When they finally arrived (about an hour later than we expected), our volunteers clapped and cheered to welcome them. The ages of our guests went from a 2 month old infant son to an over 50 native of Kansas who was wounded providing security for convoys in Iraq. All of our guests were starving as they hadn't had breakfast. They tucked into the BBQ with an appetite that only the great outdoors can inspire.

Immediately after lunch, the fishing started. I mean, that entire pavilion emptied out. Even though it was very warm down at the dock, nobody came back up until it was time to go back to Walter Reed. I had one young wife tell me that she didn't even know how stressed out she was until she got to the park and truly began to relax. Others wanted to know when we were doing it again. They wanted to come back!!!

One young hero, in a wheelchair, got the opportunity to teach his little boy how to fish. A normal Daddy thing to do on a Saturday, but not if you're living at the Mologne House.

They all stayed an hour later than planned to make up for the hour they missed that morning. When they arrived at the park, they were a little unsure of what to expect. When they left, they were all smiling broadly and hugging and shaking hands.

The fishing volunteers, who were mostly military or retired military, stuck around after the bus left and also wanted to know when we were doing it again.

I think every single person who was at that event on Saturday received something. Some got a chance to breath fresh air, relax, fish. Some made a new friend, some found inspiration, and some found a renewed desire to make a difference.

In addition to Semper Fi sponsoring the food and drinks for the day, the following groups supported the effort:
-- Soldiers' Angels graciously fundraised for sunscreen and rec equipment
(like a badminton set, bubbles, and balls).
-- Military.com provided hats, t-shirts and their publication on Active duty/VA benefits and rights.
-- Leesylvania State Park provided the banners, the facility, little lunch
coolers, water bottles, maps and their newsletter.

We are all grateful for the overwhelming support!!!”

For those who donated toward this event through Soldiers' Angels , the items we purchased are shown in the picture at the top of the post, and to the left you can see some volunteers who set up the badminton set!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Early Salvo in the 2007 Valour-IT Fundraising Competition - GO NAVY!

Ok, I should be asleep, but I just saw this post. (Hat Tip Chap at Milblogs)

Team Navy is getting a gold-plated 4-month headstart on the friendly inter-service competition to raise money for Soldiers' Angels' Project Valour-IT (Voice-Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops).

Since it's for a most excellent cause... GO NAVY!

Flags for the Memorial Day Parade

Memorial Day was special for lots of reasons this year, but participating in yet another Soldiers’ Angels activity gave it that extra bit of shine.

I’d mentioned in a previous post that Soldiers’ Angels would be handing out small American flags to spectators at the Memorial Day parade in downtown DC. Prior to the day, the flags had been sent out around the country so that people all over could write a note to parade spectators or to our troops… Ok, so the idea really was to write to the spectators to say “hey, thanks for waving this flag for me”, but who minds that people all over opted to shout out to our men and women in uniform instead? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

I joined about 20 other volunteers who spread out along Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th Avenues to give away the flags. There were about 10,000 flags, and can I just say that we had no problem giving them all away? I kept swiping extra flags from a volunteer across the street who got started later – but we quickly went through his supply, too! People were really pleased to get them – I mean REALLY pleased - which warmed my heart.

I always enjoy a parade – I like marching bands! - but getting the chance to show appreciation to our vets from every war since WWI really is special. I also got to meet some other Angels, including one civilian recently back from Baghdad with a Marine brother off on another tour soon, and a soldier and her young son. This soldier/mom will be off on her first tour starting this summer. Needless to say, we’ll be keeping track of her so we can send a little Angel cheer her way.

It was a really great day.