Saturday, October 30, 2010

Soldiers' Holiday Care Package #2 In The Works

Costco was a madhouse this evening. People have so few friggin manners and common courtesy is so foreign to most it has become uncommon courtesy. I was almost at the boiling over point by the time I got done shopping for a whopping total of only about 6 items (5 for the package and one personal purchase). I guess people just don't understand anymore that someone exhibiting good manners is no excuse for them to use bad manners. It is absolutely amazing just how many people are rude, obnoxious, ill mannered assholes types nowadays but I survived and care package #2 is in the works.

I was able to finesse my way through the shoving, bumping into, cutting off, hurried crowds and actually keep my temper under control despite them to get the shopping done. Next time I go on a weekday, I hope! Purchases I made were few but should be well liked by the soldiers when they receive them I picked up a box of 100 Slim Jims, a 30 count box of Funbites (a berry flavored all natural candy), a 10 pack of Hi-Chews (another fruit flavored candy), and a 40 pack of Doublemint chewing gum (not 40 sticks of gum but 40 packs of gum with 5 sticks each). Oh, and before I forget I also got them a box of Bicycle playing cards containing a dozen decks of cards. All that stuff for the care package went for just over $52.00. It will probably take me until next weekend to pick up a few more items for the package and then to get it all boxed and shipped out.

If you have not alrready donated and can spare something, a donation toward the Soldiers' Holiday care packages would be appreciated. Remember these young men and women are in harm's way to prtoect us and our freedoms; they can use whatever we can send them.

All the best,
Glenn B

Soldiers' Holiday Care Package #1 Away

I never got around to sending off the first Soldiers' Holiday (Thanksgiving/Christmas/Chanuka) Care Package off earlier this week as I had planned although, I did get it mailed out today. As I posted earlier in the week, it contained a box of tootsie Roll Pops, a box of Chewy granola type bars, a box of assorted Hershey's chocolate bars, a package of AA Duracell batteries (I think a 36 count), and a three pack of Merino wool socks. It will make some soldiers happy, I am sure of that.

The cost of everything in the package was $57, my initial donation The cost of shipping was $17.35, including insurance. That is a total of $74.35. That was all out of my own pocket, money from donations will be used starting on the second package. The reason only my money went toward the first package was because I went shopping before I had any donations; still the box had a note in it letting the soldiers know this is a team effort on the part of me and my blog readers. Right now, we have another $110 or so in the fund from donations for future packages. I will throw in another $20 or $25 toward the next package and that means we have about $135 on hand for the next package or two. As usual I will also be throwing in shipping out of my pocket. This is not to try to convey that I am doing anything grand but rather to give you all a complete accounting of the money being spent on the care packages so you know exactly where your money is going. Receipts for the shipment are pictured in this post. I will make similar postings with each package sent.

You know, for the most part, I do this around the Thanksgiving, Christmas/Chanuka, and New Year season. I continue after that but on my own without asking for donations passed the holidays. When the soldier comes home, I wait until a couple of months before the next holiday and ask that a new soldier be assigned to me from Soldiers' Angels. In case you are wondering about my doing this, here is some background. It is the 4th year that I have been doing it and the 4th soldier to whom I have been assigned, by Soldiers' Angels, to send packages, emails and the like. I started asking for donations for a holiday care package fund back in 2007; I may have sent packages to another soldier before that by way of soldiers angels but I think my first soldier, who was assigned to me in the spring of that year, was the same one to whom we sent our first team effort packages for which I collected donations back then. Now that you know how long I have been doing it, you may also be wondering why I do it. I was never in the military. It is one of the regrets of a lifetime for me. I went right into college at or very near the end of the war in Vietnam. I was not dodging the draft, I fully intended to join up should the war still be going on when I hit 18 bit it was all but over by then and college seemed the smart thing to do. Right after college I went into the federal civil service in LE. I did not think much of the military until I was in my young 30s. Reagan was president, small wars were taking place, terrorism was hitting us hard, and it seemed larger wars were brewing. So, I tried joining the military reserves when I was about 32 or 33. They would not have me because of my age and because I had a back injury that required surgery only a year before my attempt at joining up. He who hesitates is lost for sure and my opportunity to serve in the military was lost because of my hesitation. I continued my civil service as an LEO.

Despite my not having served in the U.S. military, I have great respect for our troops who do serve. I know how tough it can be to serve away from home because of numerous details to which I have been assigned, to fight for your life against bad guys, to be so scared you almost crap in your pants because of an assignment that was terrifying, to have the nightmares that come with having shot someone, and I have seen the devastation of war first hand at the World Trade Center or what remained of it and have been traumatized by it. I know all that but only on an intermittent basis and only have seen any of it a few to several times in my life, I have only seen a very small sampling indeed. I have never seen it each and every day as do many of our young men and women who serve in our military. I can only imagine what it must be like for them to be so far from home, for so long, in hostile lands, surrounded and in the midst of the destruction of war. That is all while most Americans seem to have forgotten that we are a nation at war with an enemy who wants to destroy us and who are doing their best to destroy our troops. I have not forgotten and I am simply trying to do something to help make it easier for some soldiers who are protecting us and our freedoms. I am trying to give them a little happiness and make life a little easier for them with each box that we send them.

Thankfully, some of you, my wonderful readers, have not forgotten either. I have received a good amount of donations from you each time that I have made the effort to put these packages together. Sometimes I wonder why I put up with all the bullshit involved in getting these packages together, sometimes just letting a soldier know we care does not seem worth it what with the asking almost begging for donations, shopping for items, buying shipping boxes and tape, getting the items all packed and packed well at that, making out the customs forms and the insurance forms and the mailing labels, redoing the customs forms because the postal clerk tells me I need to use a different form (this happens almost every time I go to the post office regardless of which form of two available I hand them they always want the other one), then accounting for everything here in my blog so you can see your money was well spent on items for the packages. And I do that several times each year just before and during the holiday season. Then I see something on TV or on the net about some soldiers who were killed, or about a guy with only half an arm, or without legs (or worse) or I see something about babies being blown up by terrorists scumbags, and I remember why I do it. Then I just decide to get it done.

There is also something else that makes getting it done a lot easier. That is people like you, people who show good will toward out troops and who make donations. I would still do this without the money you send me but I can tell you that without a doubt the packages we send would be nowhere nearly as nice as they are because of your generosity. You folks are the greatest, you really are, I mean that. Some of you are vets, some not, some are conservatives, some may be liberals (I don't figure too many liberals read my blog though), and all of you are Americans who care about our troops and who want to help make it easier for them. You guys help make it easier for me too, without your showing of support I would probably have a much harder time at this. You guys boost my morale quite a bit and that helps me get the job done. Thank you.

Enough of my babbling, I have shopping to do for the next package or two. I am probably off to Costco and maybe Walmart and maybe Dick's Sporting Goods to to see what I can get to go in those packages. Of course, when I send them, they will also contain a note about the team effort we are making and that will express to the soldiers that without your help, this would not be getting done near the scale at which we are accomplishing it. Thanks again.

All the best,
Glenn B

PS: The soldier's first initial is M and he is at an FOB. I am not at liberty to divulge more without his permission. I have sent him an email asking for his permission to give some more information but he has not answered it yet. I will try another email soon. Hopefully all is well with him.