While we wait, this afternoon, for her surgery to begin, and news of its success, I'll share with you some nicey-nice stories, and catch you up with Brian.
A weeks ago, I posted a little shout-out for beanie babies, to send to Brian, so they could toss them to the kiddies in Iraq.
The response has been astounding. Within 2 days, Lindsey, pictured below, met me in the Sam's parking lot with 20 of them. She's readying to move out of her parents' home, go to school, and is giving away her toys. She gave me the beanie babies, and the larger stuffed animals were going to the crisis nursery.
Our connection was made through Chera, who read my blog, and on the same day, read Lindsay's notice on Chambana Live Journal, and put us together. Seriously, what are the odds?
So, I squooshed Lindsey's 20 beanie babies in a box, and shipped them off to Brian. A week later, our friend Tina asked for Brian's address. 60 more—SIXTY, people!!—were boxed up and shipped off.
Brian gave a hearty laugh when I told him that 80 beanie babies were en route. He said "are you serious?" I assured him I was, and told him that if if he wanted me to call off the beanie baby drive, he'd better do it now, because they're still rolling in. He said "there are a ton of little kids over here, go ahead and send 'em!"
Game on, kid.
A few days later, Wendy sent me this photo of a donation box she'd set up in her sons school, and another of the beanie's she's collected so far:
Including this Army Bear!
Saturday morning, I got this in the mail:
It was filled with these:
And it had come from these 3 little girls, in Memphis, TN. That's Kelsey on the left, Rebekah in the middle, and Morgan on the right. They are 8, 5, and 18 months old.
Their mother wrote,
"they can relate to your son being gone because their dad has been gone for 16 months ~ and they love doing things for other people!"Couldn't you just burst?! They got to see their Daddy this weekend, and he gets to come home for good in July, yayyyy!
Many more of you have let me know you're getting care packages together, for Brian, and for Any Soldier; I'm sorry if I haven't named you here, yet, or if I've overlooked something. But I appreciate your gestures more than you will ever know. I am daily blown away, with your actions, and your kind words.
Update from Brian, then:
- Brian has been able to call more often lately. Last I talked to him, he'd just received the first box of beanie babies. I'll let you know when I know what the children's response are. He promised to take pictures, so we can look forward to those also.
- He's wanting very little right now, asked me to send trail mix instead of candy, and wet wipes, powdered drink mix, and AA batteries are still hot commodities.
- Seems that the GPS system and thermal scopes are rather loosely wired, have a tendency to uh...fall apart...and require battery backup, until they can rewire things. I don't know a thermal scope from my elbow, but it seems like something I want my kid and his buddies to have functioning in tip-top shape.! They're tossing around batteries like crazy to keep these things up and running.
- My last package to him included a few printouts of blogs, as he requested. I printed out all of your comments also, and wrote in the margins notes about each of you: who you are, what you do, where you're from, and how I know you. He'll be happy to meet you, I am sure.
- He has very little time on the computer; there are only 6 computers for 3,000 men (what?!! you read that right!) on Butler Range. There is 1/2 hour limit for each user, the lines are long, and the men try to get in and get out so that everyone can use them.
- It's hot there, and getting hotter. They put a giant camo net over their tent, and it cooled things off considerably.
- He was given more badges and ribbons for his uniform. My notes say "combat action badge" ribbon: "war on terror" "Iraq campaign"
- He got a package from a little boy named Jacob, through AnySoldier.com
And what can I send him next? I asked him. He can think of nothing he needs...but how about photos? Friend and family, please.
So, while I work on gathering those up, please send me YOUR photo, at firstname.lastname@example.org., or pop one in the mail for me (email me for mailing address). I will get a print made at Walgreens, write your name on the back, tell him how great you are, and relay any messages to him.
Come out, come out wherever you are, I am waiting for your photos. If you're too shy to send on of yourself, send one of your dog. It's the Great American Photo campaign, that I just made up. I'll be over here waiting.