Thursday, July 05, 2007

Soldiers' Angels: Adopting A Hero

Soldiers' Angels is a diverse organization with many projects and programs to support our deployed service men and women, their families and veterans of all wars. This support comes in many forms, but the main goal of Soldiers' Angels is to insure that our deployed service members know that someone here on the home front cares for them, believes in them and supports them during their missions around the world to defend our nation.

It is exemplified in our motto: "May no soldier go unloved."

If you read the story about the founding of Soldiers' Angels, it tells how a young soldier wrote home to his mother that he really appreciated the care packages and letters, but many men in his unit did not receive anything from home. He was sharing his care packages with these men. He asked his mother if she would send more care packages and letters for those in his unit. She recruited family and friends to help her send more over to the troops in her son's unit. It grew rapidly from. Many organizations and corporations began to send donated items and money to the group. It was shortly thereafter that Soldiers' Angels became a non-profit organization. All donations then became tax deductible. All donations are used to purchase or ship products to our service members.

The mother was Patti Patton-Bader, Grand Niece of General George Patton and her son Sgt Brandon Varn who was deployed to Iraq in 2003.

How It Works

Signing Up For Support

A deployed member of our military can "self-submit" or be submitted by family, friends and, sometimes someone from their unit by completing a simple form on the Soldiers' Angels website. The form asks for basic information such as Name, Rank and APO or mailing address. "Deployed" means someone who is stationed on a base or ship that is not currently on or harbored in the United States and who is serving near or in a theater of war, in support of the Global War on Terror or other National defense. This includes such places as Djibouti, Africa, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq and many other places around the world. Ships at sea or in foreign ports also qualify.

The service member's name, rank and mailing address are verified against deployed units to insure appropriate support. Soldiers' Angels never makes this information public in order to insure OPSEC (operational security). Once the service member has been accepted, they are sent a welcome letter from Soldiers' Angels and a starting "care package". The service member is then assigned to a volunteer, called an "Angel", who will write letters and send care packages to that individual or unit directly.

Becoming An Angel, Supporting Our Troops

People who are interested in providing this support to our troops complete an online form at Soldiers' Angels providing basic information like name, address, phone number and email. This information is never shared with or sold to any other organization. A local team leader in the area will call the potential Angel and verify their information. This is also for OPSEc since it is important to insure the safety of both the deployed service member and their family.

Once the new angel is "confirmed", they are sent the name and address of a service member needing support. "To adopt a soldier you must commit to sending a card or letter a week and AT LEAST 1 or 2 care packages a month. This is important to help bring home a healthy hero."

Some Angels choose to support more than one service member or an entire squad or platoon.

On any given day, hundreds of thousands of service men and women are deployed in defense of our nation. On any given day, hundreds of thousands of our service men and women go without mail or even the simplest care package letting them know that they are cared for from home. On any given day, Soldiers' Angels receives hundreds of requests for support for individual service members and, sometimes, entire units. Current deployments continue to increase and be extended. This means that the number of military personnel needing or wanting support increases exponentially.

This is one reason that Soldiers' Angels in Kansas City has become very active in our local communities. We want to get the word out about Soldiers' Angels and invite Kansas Citians and all those from surrounding communities to join the organization to help support these wonderful defenders of our nation. Our support is not only necessary, but greatly appreciated.

Here is one of the hundreds, if not thousands, of messages that Angels receive from those that they support:

Soldier's Angels,

My unit and I want to thank you for all your support. Your thoughts and prayers have kept us safe for the last 10 months and are going to see us home safely very shortly.

Keep up the good work. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines as well as all other service members' morale may be uplifted by a single letter. Imagine the power of a care package with special items just for him/her! You guys are helping people cope with the separation by creating a link with our world. God bless all of you for what you are doing. Your support means the world to us and has helped us understand that our time away from home hasn't been for nothing.

SSG Michelle

Please join Soldiers' Angels in supporting these fine men and women by going to our main website: Soldiers' Angels and click on the left hand side bar titled, "Adopt a Soldier".

- May no soldier go unloved