You’ve Got Mail
Ping, I have received a new email. Indeed, I see a steady stream of email come in from coworkers, volunteers, troops seeking support and supporters themselves coming in daily.
On this particular day, I received my absolutely favorite kind of email. One of our regular supporters, Henry has emailed me informing me that he has received a postcard. Yippee! Henry and his wife Teresa are lovely people and in fact, have sponsored packages for many, many troops over decades. Furthermore, Henry includes a photo of the postcard from his soldier. Reading it absolutely brightens my day. I definitely know it has brought a smile to Henry and Teresa too. With Henry’s permission I am happy to share his note with you as well.
Prior to joining the MAF team in 2009, I had worked for many years with a now defunct troop support operation. While there I forged some close support relationships. One of my first regular supporters was Henry, a patriotic and caring individual. Henry was determined to make sure our troops didn’t get left behind or forgotten . Ardent in his support, he even brought us to the attention of other family and friends who would come in and support us as well. When I transitioned to the Director of Troop Support for MAF, Henry was one of my original supporters to come along to support our efforts. “I followed you” says Henry.
I reached out to Henry to see if he would be willing to speak with me about his support journey and its importance to him and Teresa. Without hesitation Henry was all in.
“As I have said to you before, I really appreciate the cards, they’re not necessary but they are so much appreciated. When I don’t get one, I don’t say “Oh jeeez, how come I didn’t get a card in a while?’ The fact that they take the time out of their crazy day defending the country. Doing whatever they’re doing and they want to sit down for the five to ten minutes to send me a card to say ‘Thank You.’ You can’t image how much we appreciate it!”
What if you don’t hear back?
I asked Henry what he would say to any supporter who might feel a little disappointed. A good-hearted person took the time to send a care package and they have not heard back. What then? “Look, and I will speak for Teresa because I know she feels the same way. Under no circumstances do we do this because we need to hear the thanks from the soldiers. The fact that they and the families are making the sacrifice that the rest of us at home aren’t making is more than thank you enough.”
Henry added “We’ve sent multiple packages, you take care of that for us, if we get one card, I’m thrilled, if we get no cards, I’m still thrilled because we did what we wanted to do which is to say ‘Thank You’ in our own little way to these people who are making the sacrifice.”
What started you on your support journey?
“Teresa’s dad Louis served during WWll in the 101st Airborne,” said Henry. “Dante, his younger brother was killed in the Pacific.”
Louis yearned to avenge his brother death. He wanted to serve in the Pacific. However, his upcoming orders were for Europe. After being told if he would join the special forces or become a paratrooper, there was a chance he might serve in the Pacific.
“To my surprise, a man who had never been up in a plane in his life decided to join the paratroopers. They didn’t change his orders they sent him to Europe. In his entire life he never landed in a plane. He took off in perfectly good, operating planes and he jumped off. I don’t know how many practice jumps he had but he told me he had nine registered jumps, A registered jump is considered a jump into battle.”
Henry chuckled. “Later in his life, Louis would brag about it. ‘Yeah, I’ve never landed in a plane.’ He never took a civilian flight. He transported to and from Europe by ship!” Henry went on to recount several more amazing stores shared by Louis. My favorite included bathing in champagne in France because the town they were in had no running water due to bombardment, so the locals came and offered the American troops bottles of champagne to bathe in!
“I appreciated the sacrifices he made, his family made and I know too many people kids, friends who have served and I am just humbled.”
Henry shares following graduate school, he became an aerospace engineer for a time. Working closely with the Navy, he observed first-hand the sacrifices troops routinely make. Attending several Navy training schools Henry learned about how planes land and take off on aircraft carriers.
One school was in New Jersey and every Friday one of the sailors, Eddy would catch a ride with Henry back to New York. Eddy wanted to see his family but because he couldn’t afford to get there any other way he would bum a ride with Henry. “I’m thinking to myself, that’s sad, he is serving the country and he can’t afford to go home. They are making sacrifices the average person doesn’t know about, and it’s not just the person, it’s their families too. So, the little bit we can do to say ‘Thank You’, we’re more than happy to do it.”
Easter Volunteer Shout Out
They hustle, they bustle about in a fever of organized activity assembling boxes and stuffing them full of goodies. They then tape, label, and load them into USPS trucks! Wow, this just makes me tired thinking about it! Most importantly, our volunteers help us fulfill our mission of troop support. Are we thankful? Clearly we are! In truth, our amazing volunteers are the best. Offering their skill, dedication and above all, their demonstrative love for our troops. We absolutely could not fulfill our mission without our volunteers.
Please enjoy some photos from our Easter packing parties!
Easter is Upon Us
Take a moment from your hectic life to offer up a prayer for our troops as Easter arrives. While we gather in church pews, our troops are huddled in tents and mess halls making the most of yet another holiday away from home. We strive to send the troops boxes full of great items our troops crave but can be difficult to find have while overseas. Our Easter boxes remind our troops of home and the creature comforts they enjoyed back home. A happy reminder of their family and friends they left temporarily left behind.
It’s never too late to show your support. We have a big old stack of care packages just waiting for sponsorship so we can send them off to our troops. Thank you to all our wonderful supporters who have sent their love across the miles. We could use a couple more helping hands if yours might be available to spread our message of support. Don’t forget, every care package comes with the ability for you to include your own personal message of support. From our family to yours, have a safe and blessed Easter!
Let’s Hear it for the Peeps!
Easter is chock full of traditions. Families enjoy their own unique traditions that make Easter memorable. At MAF, our family has one Easter tradition we just love – Peeps. They are colorful, squishy, and oh so sugary sweet. What fun to tear into a care package half a world away to find those familiar little chicks staring up at you!
Peeps make Easter packages for our troops extra special. Don’t wait, Peeps only come in to roost once a year. Once they are gone, they won’t be back until next Easter! But don’t worry too much! In addition to Peeps, there are plenty of items soldiers crave. Gourmet coffee, beef jerky, cookies, Gatorade, lip balm, hand and face wipes, deodorant and more can regularly be found in a MAF care package. A premium MAF care package offers a great way to remind our troops that home isn’t really that far away after all
To learn more fun fact about Peeps check out their official twitter @Peepsbrand, it’s lots of fun!
Back for a Limited Time! Marshmallow Peeps are in our seasonal Easter Troop Care Packages!
A physical reminder that we care about them and are thinking of them and have not forgotten about them is one small way we can serve our deployed men and women. While they may miss out on Easter egg hunts and baskets full of goodies, they can still enjoy a great big care package full of love from home. Never underestimate the power of a thoughtful gesture and a personal note from you in your care package to them!
When you send a care package through Move America Forward, we include space for you to write your very own note of support. You don’t need to be Faulkner or Jane Austin to let out troops know you value them; they will appreciate your kind words of encouragement more than you can ever know.
Your note in their care package can make a world of difference. It can truly be the little pat on the back that gets them through a rough day.
April Photo of the Month — Mail Call
The mail truck arrives and the troops eagerly line up. What a thrill to hear your name called out and bonus, it’s a care package. Score!