Instead of telling each and every one of you separately, I'm just going to let you read the letter I got last week. Here it is:
Our office has recently learned about your efforts to support our troops overseas. Toys for Troops is well recognized across the state and has grown beanie baby after beanie baby.
To recognize your efforts in supporting our troops, Lt. Governor Pat Quinn would like to recognize you as a Homefront Hero. The Homefront Hero Award goes to everyday people (civilians) who are making the extra effort to help out our soldiers, military families and Veterans.
To celebrate, we will be holding a press conference on Tuesday, December 11th at the State Capitol in Springfield. The press conference will be at 1pm and last approximately an hour.
Get out! I'm going to the state capitol on Tuesday, isn't that wild? A press conference! I'm already trying to compose myself, and Hollywood's Fightin Mad Mary has sent me a ton of TV tips, as she promised she would if I ever had to face a camera again.
The letter stated that I'll be asked to say a few words about the organization. It's difficult to summarize it, when I feel that so many deserve so much credit.
So many point out to me, when I say that, "YOU did, this Lori. This is YOUR doing."
I know, I know I've done my part. I have e-mailed and blogged and written letters and shaken hands and hugged friends and strangers, and sacrificed a bit of space in my garage.
But others. Jeff and Michelle have driven all over the state helping out. Jeff picks up my graphics and runs to have them made into signs and posters. He made our t-shirts, and has represented us at public affairs that I have been unable to attend, and applied for charity grants to help us pay for shipping. It is their friends that stepped up, and voluntarily maintain our website, and print our banners and posters.
Clint gives up at least a couple evenings a week, if not all of them, on a regular basis, to this organization. He helps me fold cards and stuff envelopes. He's offered up the use of his covered trailer, picks up tables and coffee pots and food on his days off, and on more than one occasion The Boy has shoo'd me out of the kitchen so that I can get back to printing labels and letters, while he whips out dinner to die for.
Local Marine Mom and friend Chris Lyke rallies for us constantly, collecting soldier's names for our mailing list, and making homemade cookies for "our sons. Friends! Melissa's trunk is consistently refilled with beanies as coworkers leave them at her desk. John Otto! Our attorney! My God, where would we be without him, how tired he must be of my e-mails asking questions such as "Is the EIN the same thing as our tax number?" Another friend for a quarter-century, Steve printed 2-part receipts and delivered them to my house IN FREEZING RAIN last week, so that I'd have them for the packing event.
Man, I'm telling you...I'm just standing over here with a big old stick, pointing out what needs to be done, compared to the rest of you.
I did not do this alone. I never could have, not in a million years.
In 7 months, the joint efforts of parents, siblings, and spouses of soldiers, and real, live actual soldiers have done this. Teachers and attorneys and restauranteurs have done this. Television reporters and newspaper reporters and deejays have done this, side by side with veterans, girl scouts, boy scouts, police officer and firefighters. Friends and family and seamstresses and bakers and businessmen have stepped up.
Bloggers! Lord, let's not forget the bloggers! You've mailed beanies, and boxes and money and you've put the word out there for me. As Sammy Sosa said, "Blogging been very very good to me." (It was him that said that, right? I get my politicians all mixed up.)
Lordy, I get in a tizzy just thinking about it! I can't say all of THIS on Tuesday, we'll only have an hour, you know, and there are 9 other recipients that have to take a turn, and I suppose the Lt. Gov. will want to say a few words.
I'll keep working on that. And I'll wear blue, and no flashy jewelry, and I won't look into the camera..
....and if any of you can give me a tip on how to speak in public about something that is so, so dear to you, without turning into a blubbering...well, MOM, then I'd sure like to hear them.