Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday Letters from the Front: Friends for Life

Every Friday, we high-light some of the great letters and emails that we receive from the many men and women Soldiers' Angels have adopted and are caring for as they serve our nation far away from home. Angels always get excited when they receive messages from their troops and love to share them with others to let them know how much their support means to these fine citizens on the front lines.

We hope they inspire you, too.

Most of the Soldiers have made friends for life

The LTC (Lieutenant Colonel) of 618CT (combat team) recently wrote his wife about the great support his soldiers received before and throughout their ongoing deployment. His wife is a member of Soldiers' Angels in Landstuhl, Germany and works extensively with our members there, not only in supporting this unit, but in greeting and caring for the wounded of every branch of service (and civilians, too) when they arrive from the front at Landstuhl Military Medical Center.

He wrote:

Please let MaryAnn know how much we all appreciate everything she does for us as well as Soldiers' Angels. We get support from a number of different sources, but none are as generous, and most importantly, as consistent as Soldiers' Angels.

Most of the Soldiers have made friends for life and receive priceless correspondence and support from patriots all over the US. I have been a slug in not thanking her from day one. Her support began before we ever deployed and I am truly grateful. I need to do something for her and Soldiers' Angels to thank them.

Soldiers' Angels need no other thanks than this wonderful letter and knowing that we made a difference. MaryAnn is our Soldiers' Angel who was the first to take our Blankets of Hope and First Response Backpacks to our wounded at Landstuhl. CBS recently covered the importance of the Blankets of Hope in this piece about a similar organization dedicated to sending these wonderful blankets: Quilted Care Packages.

Kimberly Dozier received one of these wonderful blankets and said, "Let me tell you, from anyone who's gotten one of your quilts, it means a lot," Dozier said. As one who has been through it, Dozier said, "it's something you never forget."

Find out more about our Blankets of Hope.

We Will Sacrifice Everything

"Angel Bakers" are Soldiers' Angels that bake cookies and other goodies to send over to our troops. Angels will bake hundreds of cookies to send to any of our adopted service members. A soldier who received some of these goodies and a message of support from the team wrote a heartfelt letter to the Angels:

"It is Americans like you that make us proud to stand against the overwhelming odds and atrocities here because we will sacrifice everything to ensure that hearts like yours continue to beat strong and support our troops i just want to say personally , Thanks"

Find out more about Angel Bakers.

Why We Do What We Do

One of our great strengths is the number of Angels and their great sense of community. If an Angel needs assistance with providing a special care package or other support to an adopted military member, they can put the call out and Angels around the country (and even across the oceans) answer. In this case, a sailor on the USS "IKE" Eisenhower, received a bunch of cards for his birthday:

"And thank you again for taking the time to send me all of those cards. I'm still sorting through them to write back and say thank you to all of them. It was a big shocker because I had no idea so many people really cared. From what we see on the news all the time it sometimes seems that nobody really cares but I know deep down that a lot of people do and that's why we keep doing what we do."

The USS Eisenhower was deployed for six months in the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) from October 2006 to May 23, 2006. "Eddie" wrote this follow up message upon his return.

Other Angels participate in the "Cards Plus" Team that specifically tracks and sends Birthday, Anniversary and other cards.

An Answer to a Prayer

Angels also provide support to our service members when they get back from their deployments through programs and individual acts of kindness. This requested support comes through special "alerts" that let local members know that a service member is in need.

In this case, a returned veteran was trying to get a home for he and his son. He needed help and Angels answered the call:

There is a great story about Francisco, when I sent the email out to the Florida Angels for furniture and/or household goodies and gift cards. I got a email that Francisco had written saying if he didn't get any money to pay his rent by that night he couldn't move in and he would have to sleep on someones floor, and the very next email I got was from a woman in FL that said she was on her way over to Francisco's Apt. with $300.00 and a queen size bed. Now if that isn't an answer to prayer I don't know what is.

Click on the image below to see a larger version of the letter from Francisco.

These requests come through a variety of official and unofficial channels. A local Angel Community Leader is usually contacted and tasked with talking to anyone from Social Services, Family Readiness Groups, etc and directly with the service member to verify and ascertain the situation. Then the Angels get to work.

Welcome Home Vietnam Vet

Soldiers' Angels are dedicated to serving all of our Veterans, past and present. We believe that service to our nation, our ideas and our people is one of the highest callings that a citizen can answer. We understand that our military consists of OUR people. People from our communities: friends, family and neighbors. When our nation sends our people to war, we believe it is an honor and a privilege to insure that all are cared for and all receive our gratitude.

When Angels meet an active duty member or veteran, we are sure to thank them for their service, no matter the war, no matter the service:

I went to Lowe's to buy a weed whacker. I asked this nice older man, a store employee, for some help getting the correct whacker. We picked one out and he was getting it down for me and made some joke about a pretty woman like me having a big, strong boyfriend/husband he didn't want to mess with, so he would lift it down for me. I joked right back that I didn't have either, but I was an angel to a Marine and a Mom to some of the 82nd. He turned and looked at me oddly (can't imagine why), so I told him about Soldiers Angels and what we do, how we work, the basics. I told him we send care packages, cookies, letters of support, all sorts of things. He asked if we were paid by the military and I told him no, all volunteer and explained who Patti was and how/why she started us.

The next thing I knew the man was in tears and then he threw his arms around me and picked me up (I am not the biggest woman you will ever meet). He put his head on my shoulder and cried. When he had composed himself a moment later, he explained that when he had come home from Vietnam, all he had ever gotten was spit on and called Baby Killer, that we would never understand what we were doing for those deployed service members and how they would never be able to really tell us. I hugged him again and told him Welcome Home.

When you meet a veteran, make sure you thank them for their service. They are the reason that we are living free today.

Next time you think you're having a busy day at the office...

There are many members of Soldiers' Angels who have family and friends in the military, though, not all Angels do. Many Angels simply support our Military because they believe it is the right thing to do. One lady who runs a blog (web based journal) calls herself "Some Soldiers' Mom" and has actively blogged since her son had deployed to Iraq. He was severely injured in August of 2005 and is now being medically discharged. His mother is a great advocate of the wounded and those suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). She sends us this letter from the front:

A Day in the Life of an Air Ambulance Team

This article is a brief synopsis of a day in the life of a US Army Forward Support Medical-Evacuation Team (FSMT) in Iraq. The team has sixteen soldiers and three helicopters. The soldiers are eight pilots, four mechanics, and four medics. The pilots are all commissioned officers or warrant officers. The mechanics and medics are enlisted personnel; mostly sergeants. The flying machines are Sikorsky UH-60A Blackhawks. Each can carry up to six litter patients, or four litter patients plus four ambulatory patients. In the summer heat of Iraq, where 110F is the mid-day norm, the Hawks fly at about 130 knots (twice as fast as your family car on the highway).

The duty cycle for our team is 1st Up, 2nd Up, Chase, Off. Each of these is a 24-hour period, so we are on duty for 72 hours then off for 24 hours. Off is not really off as we have housekeeping chores and home improvement projects going all the time. Currently, we're filling and stacking sand bags around our housing trailers to protect us from near-miss indirect fire attacks such as incoming mortars and rockets. The Anti-Iraqi forces lob a few of these missiles at the base every week.

Read the rest here: A Day In the Life

A little letter or card makes a difference out here

It doesn't take much to bring a smile or comfort to a deployed soldier's life. Even the simplest and least expensive thing can make a difference:

"I have grown so much as a person and your letter of inspiration really helped make it that much easier this week. You don't understand how much a little letter or card makes a difference out here! Well, I can't thank you enough for supporting me and my fellow soldiers in this journey and mission that God has chosen for us. Words can't express the warmth you have placed in my heart. I will keep this feeling with me as I go out everyday on my missions!"

Silky Dirt

Sometimes, great local companies and national corporations help us support our members with generous donations and discounts. A Soldiers' Angel recounts her recent experience with Jonathan Antin hair products.

Jonathan Antin is a Beverly hills hairdresser that had a reality show on the Bravo Channel & he sells a line of hair care products on QVC, at Sephora & Ulta.

I put a free sample of his hair cream: Silky Dirt in a care package to my unoffical soldier Katja. (I love to save up samples and send them to the gals in the sandbox)

Kat got the package & she loves the samples. She uses a sample a week as a treat. A few weeks ago she used the Silky Dirt. She loved the smell of it so much!! And so did all the other girls. To quote her, "they all took turns smelling my head!"

So I started thinking wouldn't it be great to send samples for all of them? I emailed Jonathan's PR dept and today I received 6 boxes full of silky dirt samples!!! It's about 300 samples.

I can't wait to sent them to her. I know they will be a big hit!!

Thanks for reading and if you are in the market for some hair care products, I ask that you remember Jonathan supports our troops!!

Have a great day!

Amy's Alerts

"Amy's Alerts" come straight to the Angel Forum to let us know about the immediate needs and requests of deployed individuals or entire units. Even up to "Company" level (100-200 soldiers, airmen or marines). One marine was a recipient of support from a recent company of marines that was supported through an "alert". This is what he wrote:


Hi. My name is Jonathan and I am one of Lt. ---- Marines. I just wanted to thank you guys and everybody else back in the States. Your support helps us so much over here. I wish you all well and I hope for the best for this world.

Deeply Honored To Have You As A Friend


What are you doing this summer? Do you want to make "a friend for life"? Feel the joy and soul uplifting Angel power of supporting our troops by joining Soldiers' Angels and adopting a hero today.

- May no soldier go unloved