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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yay, Marine!

I mentioned that we had our monthly Soldiers' Angels lunch for patients and their families at Bethesda last Saturday.

What I didn't mention was that at the end of our lunch, I ran into Zach. I met Zach, a Marine, at Bethesda last December shortly after he was transferred from Landstuhl, Germany. Even then, just short weeks after his injury, he had so much energy and such an amazing attitude. MaryAnn in Germany wrote about the days immediately following his injuries HERE.

I emailed MaryAnn Saturday night to let her know that I'd seen Zach and that he was in town, not for treatment at the hospital, but to participate in the Marine Corps Marathon!!

When my younger sister ran the MCM a few years ago, I had a great time chasing around DC and Arlington to cheer her on. I now live in Arlington and I'm just a 15 minute walk from Miles 1, 4 and 26. A couple years ago, my sis and I chased around town to cheer on a Navy friend. It's really fun and I get a ton of exercise. Needless to say, when I heard Zach's plans, I told him I'd try to cheer him on as I live so close.

Well, after a late start and then getting stuck on the wrong side of the main flow of runners so that I couldn't get in front to catch up with the trike riders (which included Zach), I made a beeline for the second half of the course in south DC and sat down to wait... yes! I managed to catch a glimpse of Zach at Mile 15 and Mile 20 and yell "Go Zach! Go!" before he rolled by surrounded by a pack of runners.

MaryAnn posted about Zach's latest efforts HERE, so go see the photo of Zach...

And yes, he finished! Totally cool.

Way to go Zach! You're an inspiration for us all. :-)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Operation Fresh Air 2008 - Part IV

I managed to get to part of the final Operation Fresh Air for 2008.

I wrote about 2008 Part I back in May HERE.

I was late, so I missed the lunch. And it was colder than expected (and I didn't bring a coat!), so I didn't go hang out on the dock with the fisher-people. Darn. However, it was a pretty day and getting outside for some fresh air is key (I was late because I'd gone out for exercise that morning!). Between fishing and kite flying, folks seemed to have a great time.

And, I did get to chat with the military wives, who coordinate and run these fishing events for our wounded vets who are recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center and elsewhere, which is always worth the trip.

When I attend, I am representing Soldiers Angels' and our tangential support for these trips. So when I get introduced, Carrie or Cyndi will say, "This is Lisa. She's with Soldiers' Angels."

Quite often the vets have heard of us, but not always. When they have, it's always fun to hear how they know about us. Last Saturday was no different.

One volunteer (a marine) said: "I know you." Someone had received a Blanket of Hope and had asked the marine to do some research into the group that had sent it. Nice.

A wounded veteran was there with her children, and she first learned about us when she received one of our insulated travel mugs in Iraq. The photo above shows one of those mugs (you can buy one of your very own at www.angelsstore.org; proceeds support Soldiers' Angels operations). Her mug was a prized item in theater, she said. "Every one knew that was my mug", making it clear that no one dared walk off with it! And I'm pretty sure she said it came home with her. It seems like such a small thing, a travel mug. I have 3 or 4 between the office and home, so you forget that when someone packs up their kit to go to Iraq or Afghanistan, they probably don't waste space on a coffee mug. But that doesn't mean that they didn't wish they had one once they got there.

It's the little things. Something to remember for your next care package!

Anyway, my thanks to Carrie for giving me the heads up so that I could head south again and join in the fun. I'm also grateful to all the women who contribute to these events - their events truly address the need that our wounded vets feel "to just get away" (that's another direct quote from last Saturday!).

Well done!

P.S. We had our monthly Soldiers' Angels lunch for patients, family members, and the navy medical staff at Bethesda yesterday, and one of the docs looked at our sign and said: "I had a silver travel mug in Iraq that had that logo on it." Heh. Small world.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Whoohoo! Currently only 8 troops waiting for adoption!

If you're interested in one of those still waiting, go HERE.

And care package ideas are HERE and HERE.

Done! One more Blanket of Gratitude...

Made one yet?

Details are HERE.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Film Premiere: Warriors... in Their Own Words

MaryAnn brings word that Kelsey Grammar is hosting a premiere of the documentary which he narrated and which I wrote about here.

If you're in LA, check it out. If not, order your own copy like I did.

It's worth the time and money to watch. And as I mentioned before, high school history and civics teachers should consider screening it for their students.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Blankets of Gratitude

Hey all! There are actually two Soldiers' Angels holiday blanket making efforts going on right now...

One is "Blankets of Hope" which involves making full size blankets for our troops overseas, which I linked to here.

The other one is "Blankets of Gratitude" for which I'm making the small afghan/lap blanket (sorry Shelley! Got them muddled...) - the lap blankets are for our vets in more than 60 veterans facilities across the country.

Anyway, lap blankets are to be about 36" x 48"; blankets for the deployed are more like 58"x84".

If you'd like to make a lap blanket, please send an email to:

va. crochet. craftteam @ gmail . com

and my Angel buddy Michelle will help you get it to a Veteran!

If you don't crochet, the no-sew fleece type are great for either size! Instructions (pdf) here.

Y'all, the listing is growing

It's 440 now. 440 of our troops are wishing for an Angel. Can you help? Adopt a troop!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Adopt a Troop! 131 Waiting for an Angel...

Can you make a commitment? Write a letter once a week? Send a package once a month? For the length of their deployment?

If so, go HERE to learn how to become a Soldiers' Angel!

Go HERE or HERE for tips on your first care page.

If that seems more than you can manage, go HERE and see if there's something else you might like to do.

Do you knit or crochet? Go HERE and help my Angel buddy Michelle in Iowa and others with this massive holiday project for our Veterans in VA hospitals. My afghan is about 25% done - got to get busy!! They need LOTS of help.

Thanks in advance :-)