I'm often asked what it's like to volunteer with Soldiers' Angels in Germany. Well, as with any non-profit, there is a lot of administrative work, planning, coordinating, and a lot of correspondence. There's a lot of schlepping, unpacking, and sorting of boxes of donations. There's a lot of late-night phone calls.
It's a lot of things, but above all it's an honor and a privilege to work with our soldiers, their families, and all who support them.
My experiences with our wounded and ill soldiers are personal, and not mine to share, but I can take you for a short tour through my inbox.
Subject: Looking for help with an injured Marine
I was referred your way via the Soldier’s Angels. I’m trying to find out information for a co-worker who’s nephew was injured in Iraq via an IED. We believe he has been moved to Landstuhl in the last day or so. I’m looking for any information I can give his family and to see if there is anything he wants or needs that we can help facilitate.
Thanking you in advance for your assistance and grateful for your service to our soldiers and their families…
Subject: Important question
Dear Fine Folks,
My nephew was injured by an IED in Baghdad today. Xxx is the CO's driver. He and the CO were driving when hit by the IED. Xxx has [description of injuries removed].
His father just called to report that Xxx is in the hospital in the ICU in Baghdad in critical condition. If his condition improves he'll be delivered back to Germany.
So, I'm asking for two things.
#2. Any thing you can do to help.
And, because tragedy and kindness always exist together, there is the outpouring of love and support from perfect strangers who want to do something. Receiving each and every one of these emails brings me to tears.
Subject: next shipment
The Ladies are just so very excited about being able to give a little of themselves for those who are giving so very much of themselves for us.
Thanks again for letting us help.
The Bloomin' Loomers of Vancouver, WA.
The Bloomin' Loomers have sent over 200 hand/foot warmers, hats, and Blankets of Hope since March of this year.
Subject: request from robert ferrigno
Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette suggested I might send some copies of my book Prayers for the Assassin to Landstuhl so the troops who are less critically injured have something to occupy them while they recover.
I told him that would be wonderful and gave him our address.
Subject: request from robert ferrigno
I deeply appreciate the opportunity to do some small favor to the men and women who have sacrificed so much to keep my children safe.
I've also contacted some other writers who are eager to help and they're passing the word on. You may get a LOT of books.
And we did.
Some of the books sent by Robert and fellow writers in the Soldiers' Angels Germany mail room.
So far we've received books from Robert and authors T. Jefferson Parker, Don Winslow, Brian M. Wiprud, Ben Rehder, and Bill Fitzhugh
Subject: box sent
I'm sending 7 warmers made with love and prayers for our brave soldiers. My contribution seems so small but the prayers are substantial.
Subject: Soldiers' Angels - DVD Player
I have a brand new 7" portable DVD player that I opened literally within an hour before reading the email saying you need some of them.
If you'll take it, please tell me where to send it.
Subject: Blankets of Hope
If you still need blankets, please send instructions. I'm a Soldier's Angel, and I send packages and so forth. I really feel so blessed to participate. I would like to help with the blankets if you need more.
Subject: want to help
What can I do to help?
I can sew / crochet / quilt.
Subject: DVDs for wounded
Hi Mary Ann, It's me Cathy. I spoke to you a few months ago regarding the 7th grade class and their project to collect DVDs for the wounded. Well their project is complete and I went there yesterday to pick them up.
I cried the whole time they were presenting them to me. It was so touching. Those kids worked so hard. They have even written letters. I'm going to enclose them also.
The teacher was so happy that her students responded so well to doing this project. She thinks once she gets her next 7th graders in the fall she will see if they want to this all over again. Isn't that wonderful...
Have a happy and safe holiday... Cathy
Subject: items for wounded
We are so happy to help in anyway possible. I wish we could do more! What are your greatest needs?
Be safe and be well.
Wouldn't you feel honored and privileged?
God bless our troops and all who care about them. Everyone who does something makes a difference.
"These little ripples of kindness add up to oceans of greatness." - Patti Patton-Bader, Founder of Soldiers' Angels.