Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day & Thanksgiving Care Packages to Troops

I couldn't decide on which title to use up there; this was such an amazing day, on 2 (two!) counts!

First of all, the Lincoln Trail Elementary School really comes through for our local vets. The assembly they put together is amazing. The children accompany in the color guard, and with it, 200 more Veterans. Vets of all ages, and from every branch of the military.

They honored U.S. Veterans by reading letters to them. They honored U.S. Veterans by writing poetry for them. They honored U.S. Veteran's by singing to them. They honored U.S. Veteran's by interviewing them on camera, and creating a video with their answers to such questions as "what did you learn in the military?" and "what did you miss the most?" The video also included snapshots of veterans and their families.

As part of their Veteran's day project, the students have been helping Toys for Troops by collecting items for soldier's Thanksgiving Care Packages. They wrote hundreds of letters, and presented me with all of that, today, along with some money to help send everything.

There were so many wagons that I lost count. And look at all of the loot in just this one!

I thanked them and promised them that their letters would be in the hands of soldiers on the other side of the world, most likely, by the time they sat down for their own Thanksgiving feasts.

And after the event, these Vets thanked me. And I thanked THEM for all they had done for us and our country. I was honored to be in this photo with them.

And off we went, for Phase II of this day:

Box after box was brought in, and merged with donations that had come in from the community in the last couple of weeks:

We are slow at work this week, and I got that A-OK to pack our boxes there. Coworkers joined in the fun.

Here's Kurt, our maintenance guy, and jack of all trades. He can wire, plumb, farm, rebuild your transmission, perform brain surgery and fly a rocket to the moon. And yet my tape gun got the best of him.

Apparently this editor, Heather, also slept through TapeGun 101. She fought the gun, and the gun won:

Uh, twice:

Jessica, Diane, and Kurt finish adding letters, sealing, and throwing on customs forms:

My job: To point at things, and say "do this" and "do that," and make my coworkers do alllll of the work, so I could then pose with the final products:

Me, and the smoking tape gun.

My car, until tomorrow morning:

Thank you so much to everyone that helped this event go so smoothly. Bloggers, friends, and acquaintances forwarded our newsletters and my e-mails. Many "far-away" readers helped by sending their own boxes to soldiers from their own homes.
  • Financial donations covered the majority of the shipping expenses.
  • Care package items were left on my porch, brought to my workplace, and dropped off at the "country casa" as Clint or I worked there.
  • I received homemade cookies from fellow bloggers, in the mail, did cookie runs last night to pick up more, and had even more dropped off today. I have an 8 am run in the morning, will pack the last few boxes, and then it's off to the post office.
It is once again, a joint effort that made this project a huge success. It is because of your contributions that we receive letters such as this one, from A1C Shanna H, just 3 weeks ago:
I just want to let you know and the generous people who work
with you that the all airman I've met through my almost three years in
the military appreciate everything you are doing. From the children's
letters to the homemade cookies, all are packaged with the TLC that we
need and miss. The best part of a deployment is walking into work and
seeing a letter with my name on it. It's a constant reminder to us that
all our efforts are not going down for nothing. And the Americans that
we so proudly fight for are stepping up and showing their own gratitude
with a reminder to the soldiers and airman overseas. I will never be
able to say thank you enough for all your efforts.
I'll close now, with this video, of the students singing to the Veterans as they left the Assembly this morning:

Oh, and P.S.: Our next project starts...yesterday. Christmas Gifts to Soldiers. Get ready for it!