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Friday, October 23, 2009

Send a Care Package. Annoy A Mail Clerk...at least at first :-)

A great letter from a Medic in Afghanistan who was on the receiving end of some care packages from Soldiers' Angels. Here's an excerpt, but go read the whole thing:

"I must admit the Soldier who is our mail clerk was cursing my name when he went to check the mail yesterday and discovered that many of the packages had my name on them. Oh how the tune changed when it was discovered that the contents of the packages were for our wounded warriors and the Soldiers assigned to the team."

I have a suspicion that I've caused similar consternation on one or two occasions over the last 5 years. Last year I sent 12 or 14 boxes to a medic for their holiday party, but those boxes at least went out in three batches. However, my favorite Post Office experience was from December 2006, when an my Angel buddy, Michelle (in Iowa), and I inadvertently adopted a Navy ship for Christmas.... Whole ship.

With contributions from family and friends, we collected cards and goodies to fill 270 homemade gift bags. Because it was a last minute "adoption" and the goodies were heavy, I needed to send everything Priority Mail in those great flat rate boxes. 23 flat rate boxes to be precise (thanks, Dad, for the postage money!). Fortunately for me, the National Capital Post Office (a block from Union Station in DC) is open until midnight each weeknight. I drove over on a Tuesday night at about 9:30pm and wheeled in my load of boxes. When the clerk who was to help me saw my pile, I could see him thinking "oh no!". However, he quickly caught on to the project at hand and didn't give me a hard time at all when we realized that I'd printed out my customs forms incorrectly and had to hand-write all 23 of them over again. Anyone who knows what postal clerks have to put up with as far as clueless unprepared customers also knows what a "pass" I got. No "go stand over there and come back when you're done". Nope, I wrote fast, and he methodically processed my packages.

So we got the packages all set to go and I said thanks with a smile.

I was back at that post office after the first of the year and happened to get the same clerk helping me. I asked, "I don't know if you remember me, I..." He interrupted, and said, "Oh yes, I remember you." Ha! I'm confident that there was a twinkle in his eye. Better yet, his face brightened when I told him that I'd gotten several emails from sailors on Christmas Eve letting me know that the US Postal Service and US Navy had done yeoman's work to get the packages to the ship (somewhere in the Pacific) on time. I got a thank you message from the ship's Command Master Chief too. And I got one more email about 10 days later that I'll share later, in honor of TEAM NAVY and the Valour IT fundraiser. But just to tease... To this day, it's the coolest email that I've ever gotten as a result of a Soldiers' Angel project.

So, be an Angel, go annoy a Postal Clerk...until they catch on and smile too.

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